Opinion: It’s time to Disband Auckland Transport

9th June 2024: This was originally posted before I got the chance to actually talk further in depth with some of their consultants face to face regarding my concerns in the months that followed and would be fair to say my view expressed in this post perhaps isn’t as strong. That said, there is still improvements that AT could be making and much faster than they have. Plan to update this post in due course.

Admittedly, I’m at my wits ends. Auckland Transport as an organization I feel have persistently failed to deliver for the people of Auckland and has shown little willingness to reform their ways. This organization I strongly feel no longer has the social license to operate. It’s time to disband the organization, integrate it’s functions back into the council and get leaders in who are willing to do their jobs and deliver for the public.

They’ve thrown excuse after lame excuse for their failures, taken a hands off approach and attempted to cast blame on other entities for delivery of frankly a crap end-product (service) to the public. I think it’s time the organization (that is, should this organization wish to have any hope of continuing to exist) took a long look at itself and actually own up + acknowledge the transport issues facing Aucklanders and take the lead to champion delivery of reliable, timely, efficient and cost effective transport networks rather than shrug their shoulders to say “not our problem / fault”.

Services are still being cancelled en masse. Yet they want us to change from our cars and seem to be very keen to roll out enforcement cameras to use against the public – the very people who pays their wages – in order to coax us to change. How on Earth (or Mars) is that modal shift going to happen when passengers turn up to their stop only to find repeatedly their train, ferry or bus service has been randomly cancelled with the list of these cancelled services running all the way to the moon and back?

I invite anyone who defends what Auckland Transport has achieved to actually convince me what we currently have is even usable, practical, dependable and caters to the day to day transportation needs of most Auckland commuters.

At this point, I will admit to harboring a lot of animosity (I loath to use the word “hate”) towards Auckland Transport, more specifically towards their ongoing performance (or lack of) to date. I’m still figuring out how to channel (Positively harness) this anger as an ordinary individual rate-paying Auckland resident. It may be that I have to seriously look at forming my own Lobby / Advocacy group to hold Auckland Transport to account for their actions?

I’m aware that Greater Auckland is perhaps the biggest existing advocacy group already in this space but will be the first to admit while I strongly agree with their vision to reduce dependency on cars, and opening up travel choice, I don’t necessarily agree with the way they appear to be approaching this (which seems to be more to retrofit — at great uncertain cost and great disruption to those neighbourhoods potentially for years — new infrastructure in those existing neighborhoods).

In my view, we are probably best to encourage the majority of new housing be 6-10 story apartment blocks right beside existing high capacity public transit corridors and with day to day amenities and services within walking distance — See my separate article where I detail my thoughts further. Auckland Council and Auckland Transport should be working in lock-step with respect to urban planning and transport planning – to be frank, I’m not convince they are. If they are, then why are we continuing to sprawl well away from major transport infrastructure (Rail lines, Bus ways, Motorways)? Look at the area east of the Tamaki River.

As a complete aside, I wouldn’t be surprised Auckland Transport have purposely modeled their Logo on a Tortoise (With the ‘A’ forming the shell and the ‘T’ forming the neck and head). May be the organization should just be called “Auckland Tortoise”?

It’s important to note this post is not aimed at the many hardworking grassroots frontline employees both within AT itself and those of their contractors (e.g Bus Drivers, Train Drivers, Train conductors, Ferry personnel, public counter staff, etc).

Opinion: It’s time to Disband Auckland Transport

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