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Twyford’s commuter train has $175 ticket price

David Bennett - Infrastructure

16 November 2018

The Transport Minister’s commuter rail plan between Hamilton and Auckland is so expensive that he could pay passengers to use a taxi or Uber instead, National’s Associate Infrastructure spokesperson and Hamilton East MP David Bennett says.

“Based on a 150-passenger service running at full capacity every day of the year for three years the $57.7 million project amounts to $175 per ticket.

“That is an extraordinarily expensive subsidy and is totally disproportionate to the cost of other forms of transport such as a bus. The Government could pay for taxis or Ubers for all the train’s passengers at a comparable cost.

“The National Party is a fan of efficient transport networks but Phil Twyford has missed the mark with his puffing diesel service, which comes at a gold-plated cost and is too small in scale to make an appreciable difference.

“Between June 2016 and 2017, NZTA recorded an average of 20,532 vehicles travelling northbound and 22,985 vehicles travelling southbound at Bombay every day. Even running at maximum capacity, the train carrying 150 passengers can hardly be expected to reduce motorway congestion.

“National had a better plan for rail. The last Government would have pushed ahead with complete electrification of the network from Pukekohe to Tuakau for approximately $130 million, a more environmentally friendly option than the diesel engine proposed.

“This could then come with a park and ride for Waikato commuters to get into Auckland. Another alternative is to extend electrification into the North Waikato at Tuakau and make best use of both the Auckland rail network and the Waikato Expressway.

“This Government has a phobia about roading and instead of dealing with the choke points on our busiest highways it has taken money away from the regions to spend on pet projects like Auckland’s trams.

“This is also a Government that doesn’t have much regard for the cost of things, having committed hundreds of millions of dollars on working groups that fix nothing now and wasted billions on incentive schemes that have failed to incentivise anyone.

“National made great strides improving some of the busiest sections of the national roading network and knows that infrastructure decisions that come at great cost should be rigorously assessed. The Government needs to think smarter.”

ends

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