Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Auckland Transport official response

Remember the case of a Supergold Card fare being issued by a Waiheke Bus Co driver to a passenger who was not 65 nor had a Supergold Card?
Now Auckland Transport Public Transport Operations Manager Mark Lambert finally got round to mailing me an official response:
Auckland Transport requested a copy of Fullers investigation into the incident that occurred in March 2011. I can advise that an independent company investigator from Wellington conducted two days of covert observations on Waiheke Island. During that period, no evidence of fraudulent driver activity was identified.
An interview with the driver in question was conducted and it was concluded that the error occurred due to an inattention detail and poor technique with the use of the Wayfarer (ticketing) equipment.
As a consequence, the Waiheke Bus Company manager has spoken to all drivers to reiterate the correct process for the issue of Super Gold card tickets.
I can confirm that, as part of its Contract Management process, Auckland Transport continuously monitors all Public Transport operator declaration regarding patronage and financial claims made under the concessionary fare reimbursement scheme.
In addition, Auckland Transport administers and monitors the regional declarations made by Public Transport operators as part of the national SuperGold card free travel scheme introduced in October 2008.
In support of this, periodic financial and patronage audits are made across all participating operators.
The audit review seeks to validate the integrity of the supplied data through the following process:
1. Historical trend analysis of patronage movements by contract, route and passenger type.
2. Sample testing of operator daily sales records and reconciliation by monthly declarations.
3. Sample testing of operator on board supervisor/inspector ticketing services.
4. A sample of unannounced observations is made to monitor the validity of the ticket issue process.
5. Auckland Transport conducts regular Mystery Traveller surveys across all operators to monitor customer service and satisfaction levels. These surveys include correct ticket issue for fare tendered.
6. Auckland Transport continuously monitors customer complaints to identify any abnormal trends and actively requests operators to investigate individual cases.
7. Auckland Transport may conduct an independent investigation upon circumstance.
So, good news, but vigilance remains the by-word. The issuing of correct fares will become less problematic under the HOP scheme, and my hope is that this should see the SuperGold Card integrated into it too. Auckland Transport expects all operators to have become members of the HOP system by the end of 2012.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Winter mishaps

It's that time of year again - living on Waiheke and being faced with Fullers is like Groundhog Day - when the Winter misfortunes beset Fullers. On 6 July we had the undignified crash bang fest featuring Jet Raider and the Devonport Wharf. Then a mechanical failure on Superflyte. And to top it off, Quickcat, freshly returned from its annual survey where she's been presumably prodded more than a hooker on K Road, lost power to one engine on the 6.30pm AKL-YHK run.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

CBD bus route changes

Auckland Transport released the new bus map for the inner city with all the new routes they consulted on in the past few months. For ferry users there will now be a City Link bus from Wynyard Quarter to K Road (it may not be a very fast route as it will still be stuck in the Queen St traffic swamp). But the Central Connector may become a faster route to Newmarket than the Inner Link. Route 30 to Grey Lynn, taking over from the old 035, moves to Albert St instead of Queen St.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Draft Local Board Plan 2011

The Waiheke Local Board Draft Plan has been released for consultation starting on 8 July. Submissions need to be in by 8 August.
This is what it has to say about transport:
Fast ferry services to and from the Auckland Central Business District have both encouraged economic growth on Waiheke Island over the past two decades (in 2009, there were 2,039 people employed in 1,191 businesses on the Island) and created a significant commuter population (approximately 1,200 people commute to the mainland for work).
However, the relatively high cost of ferry services adversely affects residents and commuters and may become a major problem if fares continue to rise. It also has the potential to impact on visitor numbers with negative consequences for the local economy and employment. However, the introduction of the New Zealand Goldcard free travel system has boosted the number of older people traveling to Waiheke Island.

We will advocate to Auckland Transport about the high costs of ferry services, which are due to the lack of subsidies for the privately owned services. We will advocate for the introduction of a subsidy as we recognise the effect increasing fares have on the local community, visitors and the local economy. We want to see Waiheke public transport services (ferry and bus) included in the Auckland Transport integrated ticketing scheme. In order to encourage increased bus patronage we will advocate for a series of linking, cross-island, feeder routes for smaller buses.
We will advocate, in the interests of local and regional development, for transport links and adequate wharves to provide better access to and around the Hauraki Gulf Islands.
We acknowledge the prosperity brought to Waiheke by our relationship with the city and will actively work to preserve and enhance this.
There are some long-advocated Fullerswatch points there, including fare rise concerns, subsidies and integrated ticketing.