AA Calls for Park and Ride Step-Change in Auckland
10,000 in 10 years: the AA calls for park and ride step-change in Auckland
As Auckland looks to bring forward investment in its rail and busway network, the AA is calling for a massive increase in the supply of park and ride facilities, with 10,000 new spaces needed over the next 10 years.
This follows a survey of 1,000 Auckland AA Members who commute to the CBD and who live close to stations on the rail network or the Northern Busway.
AA Principal Advisor – Infrastructure Barney Irvine says the survey underlines just how popular park and ride is with Auckland AA Members.
“Our Auckland Members see park and ride as a practical, convenient service, and an example of a public transport (PT) system that fits in with the needs of users. The problem is, many of them are blocked from using it, because all the spaces at the key sites are taken up before 7am.”
More than a third of respondents who currently drive to work say the lack of available parking at stations is one of the reasons they don’t use PT, says Mr Irvine.
“All of this is why close to 85% of Auckland AA Members believe the city needs to invest more in park and ride facilities.”
Mr Irvine says the feedback reflects the fact that Auckland is seriously under-supplied when it comes to park and ride.
“If you look at cities around the world with successful PT networks, park and ride plays a critical role. Cities like Portland in the US and Perth in Western Australia have similar populations to Auckland but three or four times as many park and ride spaces.”
Auckland Transport is talking about building 10,000 new spaces in the next 30 years, but this needs to happen much faster, says Mr Irvine.
“To catch up with current demand and keep pace with a growing network, Auckland needs 10,000 new spaces in 10 years, with the first 5,000 by 2022. Planning needs to start now, as we crack on with the Northwestern Busway, AMETI, and expansion of the rail network.”
He says that most of the new spaces would go into the periphery of the city, where land is available, and there’s less scope for feeder bus services to get people between the home and station.
Mr Irvine says the investment could add 5,000 or more new users to the network every day.
“About 85,000 people use the train or Northern Busway each day, so an increase of five or six thousand is significant – those are people that would otherwise be driving.”
Mr Irvine says one of the main arguments against investment in park and ride is the price tag, with each bay costing between $15,000 and $25,000. However, costs could be brought down by charging users to park in at least some of the new spaces.
“Our survey results suggest that most people would be willing to accept a charge of $2 to $3 per day to use new park and ride spaces – that would cover most of the construction and operating cost.”
Another reason park and ride is so important is that, for many commuters, using feeder bus services to get to the bus or train station still isn’t a realistic option.
“It’ll take time to develop a decent feeder bus system and, even when it is developed, there’ll always be a big chunk of commuters who have no choice but to drive to the station,” says Mr Irvine. “Currently, many of these people are being locked out of using PT.”