Admittedly, initially had to actually check whether or not it was in fact April 1st. This afternoon, I learn that whole sections of Auckland’s Rail network is to be closed for lengthy periods during the coming 2023 year. Please read the details about these Line Closures here on AT’s Website.
Greater Auckland have already expressed their own dismay and concerns about this on their “GA” Twitter account.
I feel this ought to be a stark wake up call to New Zealand and the need to look into the way we do things in this country. Needed is an urgent nationwide inquiry into our infrastructure works and why everything gets done so glacially slow in this country and continues to get slower. Is it the project management process? Too many differing (unconnected) sub contractors making scheduling and coordination difficult? Overzealous Health and Safety? Too much needless bureaucracy? Lack of Will? Lack of incentive? Same questions go for our Roadworks as well which seem to take forever.
So just what were KiwiRail doing during all those Rail Closures and shut downs in the preceeding years? Did they only just discover the work needs to be done now? Were AT only informed of this now? It’s as if the rail line closures during the prior years (including during the weekends) weren’t already a sizeable inconvenience, It’s going to be just that more difficult promoting Auckland’s faith in the Public Transport network and enacting an effective modal shift away from dependence on the Private Motor car.
Would we be better off being served by Bus ways rather than any sort of Passenger rail if this sort of rather disruptive and lengthy ongoing maintenance is required of rail? What assurances are KiwiRail and Auckland Transport able to provide to the public that there won’t be yet another round of hugely inconvenient, costly and lengthy disruption to the rail network in the years to come after all this work is supposedly complete? How do other countries manage to do it? Or is Auckland simply too small to pragmatically run a reliable and dependable Passenger Train network due to the lack of redundancy in the system (afforded to bigger rail networks in larger municipalities)?
Rightly or wrongly, I am forming an impression that the people in charge of these organizations aren’t serious enough about doing their job properly nor delivering for the public and hold very little, if any, sense of duty/responsibility or accountability to New Zealand. I will admit this is just my opinion as a lay person / ignorant armchair critic who undoubtably won’t have the full picture, but something almost undeniably and certainly seems amiss and some hard questions need be asked of those in charge.