How Good Is The Kaimai Express?
ACT deputy leader Ken Shirley and his wife Jenny will today travel from Tauranga to Auckland on the Kaimai Express, returning to Tauranga on the train tomorrow morning.
"I'm a regular traveller between Tauranga and Auckland but have never caught the train before," Mr Shirley said.
"I've chosen the train journey to evaluate the service and determine whether the slower trip is offset by other conveniences such as arriving in downtown Auckland and the greater ability to undertake paperwork in transit.
"Although I'll be travelling to Auckland for meetings, I'll also be evaluating the service from a tourist and holidaymaker's perspective.
"I observe that TranzRail has never adequately marketed these scenic passenger services, concentrating instead on its core freight business.
"Philosophically, I oppose taxpayers' money propping up transport services, particularly when the market offers a wide alternative choice of car, bus and air. There's no place for subsidising trains simply to satisfy some sort of nostalgic romanticism, as the Greens want to do.
"For whatever reason the public don't choose rail in sufficient numbers to make Kaimai services viable and I want to better understand the reasons.
"I'll be reporting back on my trip tomorrow," Mr Shirley said.