Will John Key stop delaying the Auckland City Rail Link?

Another steep rise in Auckland public transport patronage in August demonstrates the need for the Government to start investing in rail and busway infrastructure now, not in the 2020s, the Green Party said today.

“The rail network is close to peak capacity already and John Key needs to start on projects like the City Rail Link (CRL) now to ensure the city keeps moving,” Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said today.

Auckland Transport’s latest patronage figures showed rail use soared 16 percent in the 12 months to August and was up 19 percent from  August 2013.

Patronage on the Northern Express busway was up 9.7 percent for the 12 months to August and 19.9 percent on the same month last year. 

"Now that John Key has been re-elected with broad support in Auckland, will he finally commit to the investment in rail that Aucklanders have said they want and the city's economy desperately needs?” asked Ms Genter.

“Aucklanders at train stations and bus stops are already being left behind, and it’s standing room only for thousands of commuters on crowded trains and buses. John Key’s Government needs to act now, not in 2020.

“Britomart is already at practical capacity at 18 trains per hour and cannot take more than 20 per hour until the city rail link (CRL) is built. That means we can't get trains more frequently than every 15 minutes on a line. 

"People are waiting and being crammed into trains - but we can't grow public transport patronage if there are not more trains and buses, and we can't have those unless we invest in infrastructure like the CRL.

“Imagine what it will be like in 2024 if the Government continues to delay the CRL.

“National has allocated virtually no new money for public transport infrastructure over the next ten years in their transport budget. They are barely increasing the funding for services.

"The first electric trains in Auckland were launched in April and these figures show that delivering cleaner and faster train services across the city will seriously boost rail use and cut road congestion.

"National belatedly accepted that the rail link must be built, but they have put unrealistic blocks in place so it can't start until at least 2020.

"Despite falling per capita vehicle use, National is still planning to spend billions on motorways on the fringe of cities, while spending for trains, buses, cycling and walking is minimal.

"A recent national poll showed that Aucklanders favour public transport spending over roads by a four to one margin.

"The City Rail Link is the next essential step in creating a smarter, greener transport network that works for all Aucklanders. It will unlock the bottleneck at Britomart and get the full benefits of electrification,” Ms Genter said.