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Can Auckland’s transport problems be solved?

Beyond Britomart: Can Auckland’s transport problems be solved?

The Britomart was opened in a blaze of publicity, but the trains did not run on time and the crumbling platforms, graffiti-covered signs and rickety carriages failed to impress the thousands of Aucklanders who were willing to “give public transport a go”.

Most got back in their cars in disgust and will continue to contribute to the congested roads and motorways.

Was it sabotage? Or simply incompetence?

This Saturday, politicians from Auckland’s key local bodies, transport experts and campaigners will attempt to explain what is preventing solutions to the transport problems that anyone who travels round Auckland knows so well.

The seminar, which is open to the public and is free of charge, is being held from 1pm to 4pm, Saturday, August 9, in the Trades Hall, 147 Gt North Rd.

Auckland City Councillor Bruce Hucker, who chairs ARTNL, will lead a panel discussion identifying the political blocks that stand in the way of effective solutions. He will be joined by Mike Lee, Auckland Regional Council, Joce Jesson, Infrastructure Auckland, and Graeme Easte, Western Bays Community Board. Terry McDavitt, Deputy Chairperson of the Wellington Regional Council, is being flown up from Wellington to explain how it is that Wellingtonians can run a public transport system that works – most of the time.

He will also discuss the threats to suburban rail in Wellington if Tranz Rail is sold to an international company with no commitment to passenger transport.

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Darren Davis, consultant to the ARC on transport issues, will describe plans that are underway across the region, followed by Cameron Pitches, who will contribute ideas from the Campaign for Better Transport.

The seminar is not going to be a “talk-fest”. A range of participative activities is planned with the aim of getting Aucklanders involved in trying to work towards solutions.

The organisers of the seminar are clear that any such solutions must involve an integrated transport system involving buses, rail and ferries. Such a system must be in public ownership and community control, as the recent fiasco with Tranz Metro in the early days of Britomart would suggest.

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