Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Auckland Transport consultation on RPTP

Auckland Transport is consulting on aspects of its Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP). This is our submission:

There is a glaring and unjustifiable omission from the proposed zones: Waiheke Island. We are Auckland City ratepayers and we have every right to be included in the zone system, especially since one of the public transport companies on Waiheke is subsidised by AT and one company accepts (single fare) Hop cards. Waiheke Islanders should have the ability to travel from Waiheke to the City centre on one fare, just as is ­proposed for travellers on the mainland going the same distance. Travellers using their Super Gold Card already enjoy this integrated privilege and it should be extended to all island travellers. The fare structure should be the same as for Manukau South to the CBD, i.e. Zone 4. Using a zonal Hop card on any travel mode (bus/train/ferry) should not make a difference to the fare for the distance travelled.
Regards the proposed zone fares, Zone 4 indicates a $6-$6.50 range (compared to a $9.50-$10 cash range). This seems a fair ferry fare. Currently both ferry companies charge a ‘tourist’ premium on their single fares of around $20. For Waiheke regular travellers and commuters, who have access to multi-ride and season tickets, the fares are already at the Zone 4 cash range.
In the ‘proposed fare products’ you need to delete the reference to ‘inner-harbour ferries’ and include Waiheke ferries too. The Hop single day and monthly passes (plus any others planned) should be available on Waiheke too, as it is/will be in any Zone 4 area.
In summary:
-          Waiheke Island to be included in the proposed zone system;
-          Island-serving ferry and bus companies integrated in the city-wide fares system on an equitable (distance) basis;
-          Seasonal Hop passes covering all transport modes city-wide, including all ferries.
I understand that AT has had historical trouble (as did its predecessor, the ARTA) in reigning in Fullers’ monopoly and has still not succeeded in integrating that company properly by abolishing the PTOM exemption. This not the public transport regulator’s only failure. The Fullers monopoly now seems broken on the ferry service (no thanks to AT) by the Explore Group. But Explore is not even mentioned in any plans to be included in the Hop fare system (let alone getting a proper working berth on Pier 2). Why these oversights and shortcomings? And when are they going to be remedied?