Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, writes in the NZ Herald-
[..] a frequent suggestion – now a mayoral promise – has been the expansion of Auckland’s rail system with new links to the North Shore, to Auckland Airport and an inner city loop from Britomart Station to the western line. [..] Aucklanders deserve to be told what the operating costs of the rail service will be. If it’s true that the current subsidy is $7 per trip (against around $2 per trip in Wellington) and will rise to around $12 per trip, we need to know. If subsidies to run a rail service used by just 10 per of the population keep increasing, the other 90 per cent of tax payers are going to reach a point of saying “enough”.
Mr. Barnett, please just do some superficial research on other such projects in other cities around the world. Even cities with circumstances much more conducive to the concept of light rail have trouble justifying the cost. Talk to Owen McShane. He has all the facts you need at his finger tips.
The main reason I chose to comment on your story though was for its utter weakness.
Are you for or against? For God’s sake man. Take a stand and pick a side and stick to it. Fight the fight honourably. Spare us the six of one half a dozen of the other speeches. NZ is drowning in indecision. We need leadership, not vacillation. And if you as leader of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce do not yet know what a loony idea light rail is in most cases, then I despair for all of NZ business. Do any business leaders anywhere in this pathetic socialist basket case of a country have a damn clue?
Here’s my earlier post on the issue-
Len Brown and Darren Hughes- Partners in Light Rail Deceit
Posted on December 8, 2010 by Redbaiter
Loopy Lenny and the Pink Faced Poof are both intent on building a train set for Auckland. They want a rail link to the Airport, a CBD rail loop, light rail on the surface streets, and a rail tunnel under the Waitemata harbour. They need to sell this idea to Auckland and to the rest of NZ. (because we will probably all end up paying for it) Practiced con artists that they are, and well experienced in how to dupe NZ voters, Len and Darren will continue to lie about three basic factors in their argument for trains. The three lies they will use are-
1) Rail will reduce congestion. A lie. Amounts spent on rail are so huge other roading projects (a far better alternative in terms of cost benefit) must suffer. Rail networks add to congestion.
2) Rail networks have considerably better cost benefit ratios than other forms of public transport. A lie. Such projects are notorious for amazing cost overruns. See 3) below for the other part of this lie.
3) Rail will move x amount of passengers and produce y amount of revenue. A lie. These claims are always false and used to underpin the false CBRs referred to in Lie 2. Experience shows that figures for x and y are always far too optimistic. Often the trains only carry half the estimated passengers and produce less than half the income generated.
Bottom line is rail is impractical, unaffordable and uneconomic to operate. Right now, with NZ’s parlous economic situation, it’s a loony idea that we need like we need collective holes in our collective heads. Want a detailed analysis of this summary? Go here and read the usual excellent stuff from Own McShane- Retro Rail Alert.