Passengers Last Consideration By AT And Auckland Council – Public Transport Users Association

While the country prepares to celebrate the first Matariki holiday weekend, incompetent mis-management by Auckland Transport will see the popular Britomart to Onehunga train services permanently ruined.

“Through silence, zero public consultation and general incompetence, the faceless senior management and Board of Directors at Auckland Transport, will from this Friday force all Onehunga – Britomart trains to terminate at Newmarket” said Jon Reeves, National Coordinator of the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA).

PTUA Chair, Niall Robertson says, “It appears senior AT management have a death plan for the Onehunga line, hence their recent idea of shuttle trains to Penrose and now this”. The line’s future is seriously under threat now that a $30 billion deal to build light rail to the airport is proposed. Currently passengers can travel from Britomart to Onehunga in a little over 20 minutes by train, something the $29 billion “slow light rail tram” will take over 30 minutes to traverse. Robertson says, “The question has to be asked, is AT is working to cull faster, superior train services in an attempt to make the more expensive and slower light rail look better than it is?”

Robertson added, “60% of the passengers using the service want to go to Britomart, why truncate the service at Newmarket?”. Rail workers concerned about AT’s idiotic decision have suggested viable alternatives which would allow Onehunga services to continue to use Britomart which casts doubt on AT’s longer-term intentions.

Former Auckland Councillor and Auckland Regional Council Chair, Mike Lee, worked hard to have the Onehunga railway line rebuilt and reopened in 2010 after it lay disused for decades. See link:

Mike Lee castigated AT for using temporary CRL work at Britomart as a pretext for permanently cutting Onehunga services. The veteran politician said “I note it is the very same individuals in AT whom I well remember stubbornly resisted the recommissioning of the Onehunga Branch Line who are now the AT managers retrenching this service. AT is paid hundreds of millions of dollars per year by Auckland ratepayers to provide public transport services for the public. But once again we see the public’s travelling convenience coming last in the considerations of AT bureaucrats. AT shows once again it doesn’t or even care much about the needs of public transport commuters. AT’s plan will just drive down patronage at a time when we should be incentivising more not less zero emission public transport. There are much better passenger friendly solutions than cutting this popular ‘Queen Street to Queen Street’ service off at the knees.”

The PTUA is calling for the senior management to come clean and show all the alternatives they considered, and why the illogical idea to terminate Onehunga trains at Newmarket was “the best option” they could come up with.

The PTUA wants nonsense to stop and AT to return services direct between Britomart and Onehunga. Public transport users are not at all the consideration in these idiotic decisions, and no one seems to be holding AT to account. Reeves says, “The tail is wagging the dog. AT is destroying good public transport services while the mayor and councillors hide behind their faceless officials. Passengers are AT’s last consideration in this major mistake” Reeves added.

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