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Transporters miss Melbourne Cup opportunity

Media release
Newmarket Business Association

1 November 2005

Transporters miss Melbourne Cup opportunity

Melbourne Cup day festivities at Ellerslie should be a perfect day to promote public transport and sober driving, but of course Auckland's public transport authorities have dropped the ball again.

“New Zealand’s fashion capital, Newmarket, is ashamed that Auckland transport authorities haven’t put on extra services for an increasingly popular fashion and racing fixture in Auckland’s events calendar,” said Newmarket Business Association General Manager, Cameron Brewer.

“We’ve got lots of people in Newmarket and the CBD planning to go to Ellerslie today, but almost all will be driving their cars.

“Thousands of people will be converging on Ellerslie for a day of racing and to watch the televised race that stops a nation. Most will be drinking and because there’s no special public transport organised, many will be driving home afterwards in Auckland’s clogged evening traffic.

“The likes of Connex, Stagecoach and ARTA should be wooing race goers to catch a train or bus to Ellerslie. There will be a huge amount of corporate hospitality – what an ideal opportunity for Auckland to positively promote its public transport to people who normally get around in very big cars!

“The region needs to get behind the Auckland Racing Club’s desire to really grow some key race meetings, but I don’t think the city’s latest event strategy even mentioned horse racing!

“With a bigger and brighter Auckland Cup week now transferred to the first week of March, Auckland’s public transport authorities have got four months to organise and promote special trains and buses to this calendar event. Today would have been a good forerunner, but alarmingly it seems transport authorities hadn’t thought of it.

“A big day at Trentham in Wellington sees special train services put on and well publicised, with rides adding to the carnival and character. Today there should’ve been a special train, leaving Britomart, going via Newmarket and Remuera and pulling into Ellerslie. That would have been a lot of fun for the hundreds joining corporate marques and attending charity lunches.”

“Injecting some fun into Auckland public transport is long overdue. If Auckland is going to lift its public transport patronage, the transport authorities need to create opportunities to give people a taste of public transport. Otherwise we’ll never get people out of their cars.”

Mr Brewer said Auckland’s public transport authorities desperately need to get more creative and market their services to those who don’t normally use them. He says regional estimates show there will be at least 43 percent more cars on Auckland's roads at morning peak by 2021.

ENDS

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