Monday, 28 April 2008

White elephants on the hoof

With all the investment on public transport in Auckland over recent years -- tens of millions of dollars spent creating 'bus lanes' that throttle Auckland's roadways and slow down traffic; hundreds of millions of dollars on the Britomart Transport Centre for the several dozen people who use it; hundreds of millions of dollars on upgrading rail lines and railway stations for those same several dozen people; $150,000 per car spent on a busway on the North Shore that is mostly empty while neighbouring motorway lanes are clogged -- after all those hundreds and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars poured down these various black holes of unprofitability, the result has been ... no increase at all  in patronage of public transport*.

You'd think there'd be a lesson there, wouldn't you, one that the "planners" of Auckland's public transport and the "guardians" of taxpayers' money might like to consider?
*Result is from figures discussed this morning on RadioNZ, and here at Liberty Scott's last month.

UPDATE 1: By the way, those without an "ideological commitment to buses" might care to know that buses  need to carry eight passengers to be a better use of road space than a car, and twice as much as that to be more environmentally friendly.  Info here at Liberty Scott's.

UPDATE 2: Looks like the only trains the gummint wants to see running are trains that are gummint-owned and unprofitable.  Story here.  Comment here at, naturally, Liberty Scott's.


  1. Planners really seem to be the same silly socialists the world over.

    Watching an old episode of "Top Gear" earlier this year ... they had a live feed of the 'buses only' lane recently implemented upon one of Britain's major motorways - think it was the M4 - just a few miles out of London.

    Yep .. whilst the other lanes were clogged with cars, this bus lane was wide open catering for .. one vehicle .. one, during the hour in which the show was taped.

    And it was an intercity coach, too, as opposed to a local commuter bus.

    The whole thing just screamed Ken Livingstone.

  2. Elijah Lineberry28 Apr 2008, 11:03:00

    Ha a great beneficiary of speedy bus lanes, I must say it is jolly welcome!

    I cannot help smirking at the chaps in cars waiting for ages, bumper to bumper, to get down Sandringham Rd in 'rush hour' as we go wizzing past in the bus.

  3. To be fair sus, the M4 bus lane now IS useful because cabs can use it, which means trips from Heathrow can bypass part of a queue.

    New Zealand is the only country I know off that bans taxis from all bus lanes, whereas in the UK taxis can use most of them (except a handful in very high density bus streets).

  4. Thanks for the update Scott. They must have changed the rules since, because there were numerous cabs crawling along with the other poor sods.

  5. We ban taxis from bus lanes? I'm sure I read 'Bus taxi only' somewhere... not that it matters since everyone seems to use the bus lanes.

  6. Why have bus lanes at all?

    Why subsidise those gross polluters to spew deadly carcinogens into the air? (take a look at the exhausts from those things, buses operate on a duty cycle which sticks more muck into the air than anything else on the road, they also feature high milage tired engines)

    Why steal money to allow indecently loud buses without proper soundproofing to wreck the hearing of innocent passers-by (note how young peple who listen to loud boom boom music get persecited by the constabulary while rattly hissing buses get a free pass- hypocracy indeed)?

    Why subsiduse these mobile traffic jams at all? If people wanted them they'd pay full cost fares. Let's have some user pays.

    Buses = scam.



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