Spend fuel tax money on cheaper trains, not trams!

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Petrol prices will go up 11.5c in Auckland on Sunday, as the regional fuel tax comes into force.

There were queues at stations across the city on Saturday, as motorists filled up for $1.99 for perhaps the last time in a while.

Jon Reeves from the Public Transport Users Association says the extra cost – estimated to be about $5 a week for the average Aucklander – people will start tossing up whether to leave the car at home.

“This price increase may just well tip them over into public transport,” he told Newshub.

“Auckland Transport will then think, ‘Right – we may have to add some extra buses on certain services.”

The revenue raised will pay for just a fraction of the $28 billion plan to fix the city’s transport issues. But Mr Reeves fears it’ll be wasted.

“One of [the plans] is building a slow tram to the airport. We’d rather see a fast train built there, which can be implemented in four years and cost a fraction of the cost of a slow tram.”

Instead, he says the Government should be making it cheaper for people to catch buses, trains and ferries.

“We would like to see [Transport Minister] Phil Twyford and [Auckland Mayor] Phil Goff both get really serious about this and say, ‘Hey – we’re going to reduce the cost of public transport.”

Mr Reeves says the fares should go down by 25 percent.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said Sunday’s income boost from the Families Package for low- and middle-income families will more than offset the extra they’ll be paying at the pump.

“The amount of money we’re talking about here on average for a family… is about $75 per week they’ll be better off. The increase in petrol is estimated to be around $5, so there’s a huge difference.”

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Passenger Safety Win. Public Meeting Called Off

The Public Transport Users Association is claiming a win for passenger safety this week as Auckland Transport has decided to review its previous decision to remove Train Managers from all trains.

The Public Transport Users Association is pleased with this week’s decision by Auckland Transport (AT) to retain Train Managers on board all passenger trains for the time being.

“We were incredibly concerned that AT Metro was riding rough shod over the safety of train passengers. Fortunately, passengers can now be assured that staff will be on board all Auckland train services while a review of train safety takes place” PTUA Coordinator Jon Reeves said.

Two weeks ago, the PTUA ran a very successful public education campaign and train safety survey. 89% of 601 respondents thought it was a very bad decision by AT to remove Train Managers from all passenger trains. “98% of respondents also said they had witnessed or been on the receiving end of unsavoury behaviour on AT trains even with existing train managers, meaning we need better safety management not less”, said Christine Rose, PTUA Chair. “That prompted the PTUA to hold an urgent public meeting on Monday, 12th March in Ellerslie. However, now that AT Metro has decided to hold an independent review of the decision to remove Train Managers, we believe passengers stand a much better chance to retain safety and security on Auckland trains” Rose added.

Public Transport Users Association volunteers and supporters spoke with thousands of train passengers at Britomart, Papakura and Henderson stations.

Reeves added “We ran into opposition for our stand against the removal of Train Managers, both from transport bloggers and Auckland Transport / Transdev management. But we knew we were representing the views of the public who actually use the trains”. “Now it’s time to move forward for an unbiased, impartial review of safety on the railway network.”

As an independent voice for public transport users we are pleased that the Public Transport Users Association could add pressure and give passengers a strong voice in opposition to AT’s plan. Should the outcome of the promised safety review potentially lessen the security of train passengers, the PTUA would not fail to represent the public interest again. “We will be keeping a watching brief on this issue” Jon Reeves said.

ENDS

Passengers Oppose Train Safety Reductions

Public Meeting Planned

Press Release 28 February 2018

Over the past week the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has surveyed train passengers at
Papakura, Britomart and Henderson stations, as well as online, about Auckland Transport’s plan to
remove Train Managers from all trains.

The results of the survey show train passengers fundamentally want to feel safe on Auckland trains.
84% of the 601 respondents completely disagree with plans to remove Train Managers. In surveys
and online feedback, many respondents were aware of and very concerned that Train Managers
could be removed and replaced by a handful of roving “Transport Officers” who will be spread thinly
across all bus, ferry and train services.

Jon Reeves, PTUA Coordinator said. “Our survey findings suggest the Auckland Transport and
Transdev decision remove train managers are out of step with what their “customers” want which is
safety on all trains, at all times”. Reeves added that the PTUA has never received so much feedback
so quickly to a single public transport issue.

Due to the massive feedback and safety concerns expressed by current rail passengers the Public
Transport Users Association will be hosting a public meeting to discuss and focus on these issues. It is
hoped that passengers will be able to talk with Senior Auckland Transport and Transdev
management about their safety concerns. Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, Auckland Council Councilors
and Local Board members will be invited as well the Minister of Transport Phil Twyford. “Twyford is
the Minister in charge of the NZ Transport Agency which have not yet approved the plan by
Auckland Transport to reduce safety and security on passenger trains” Reeves said.

Christine Rose, PTUA Chair said “We are hoping key decision makers will be able to attend this
meeting to hear passengers’ concerns and address their fears. Many survey respondents had
experienced or been scared by violence and aggression on the Auckland passenger rail network, so felt we need more security, not less.”

The urgent public meeting will be held on Monday, 12th March, 7pm at the Leicester Hall, Corner
Findlay and Ramsgate Streets, Ellerslie (3 minutes walk from Ellerslie railway station). All train users
and those concerned about safety on passenger trains are welcome to attend.

Data from our questionnaire:
1) Do you feel safe on board trains now? 85% Yes

2) Will you be concerned if there is no one to help you in case of emergencies, violence or
threatening behaviour in your train? 95% Yes

3) Have you heard of Auckland Transport’s plan to remove on board train staff? 95% Yes

4) Is it a good decision by Auckland Transport to remove Train Managers from all trains? 84% No

5) Have you ever seen or been party to unruly behaviour on an Auckland Transport train? 98% Yes

5a) If Yes, were you concerned for your personal safety of safety of other train passengers? 88% Yes

Train Safety Public Meeting
Monday 12th March, 7pm, Leicester Hall, Corner Findlay and Ramsgate Streets, Ellerslie

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Train Passengers To Voice Safety Concerns

Today the Public Transport Users Association is calling on Auckland Mayor Phil Goff to stand up to Auckland Transport and Transdev (the train operator) and defend train passengers’ safety.

AT Metro and Transdev have put in place plans to remove Train Managers from all Auckland passenger trains in July. The PTUA believe this is putting passengers’ safety in jeopardy for what certainly looks like cost cutting.

Train Managers are fully trained for emergencies and have skills unique to the rail operation. AT Metro and Transdev are replacing them with lower level “Traffic Warden” type staff who lack the full training required to be a Train Manager.

Under the cost cutting plan many trains will operate with no-one on board to help passengers in case of a disturbance or emergency. The train driver will remain locked in the drivers’ cabs and will not be able to intervene. “This should be of major concern to females, elderly, the disabled and generally all law-abiding passengers who catch trains” Jon Reeves, Coordinator of the PTUA said.

The PTUA understands the Rail and Maritime Transport Union have highlighted the safety deficiencies of the plan to Auckland Transport. Jon Reeves added “We are seriously concerned about the safety angle and the effects it will have on train passengers. I personally witnessed a disturbance on a weekday train at around 8am travelling from Parnell to Britomart in December. Thankfully the Train Manager quickly intervened and what looked like a gang member quickly stopped harassing passengers for money and swearing.

The point the PTUA is making is that all the data modelling in the world cannot factor in rogue elements and passenger emergencies on Auckland Trains. If they remove Train Managers it will be up to passengers to protect themselves with no back up what so ever.”

Today PTUA members and supporters will be at key railways stations handing out flyers to passengers to make them aware that their safety is going to be put in jeopardy by AT Metro and Transdev. Reeves said “We’ll also be asking passengers to fill in a short Train Safety Questionnaire so we can determine if we will hold a major public meeting about passenger safety in March.” Train passengers can also fill the questionnaire below.

The Mayor, Chair of Auckland Transport, AT Metro and Transdev management would be invited to the public meeting to hear from train passengers. “Ironically this plan to make trains less safe for passengers has never gone to public consultation. So we’ll bring the public to them so they can get a real gauge on this situation” Reeves said.

The PTUA may also invite the Minister of Transport, Phil Twyford, as the NZ Transport Agency has the power to veto the Auckland Transport plan to reduce train passenger safety.

ENDS

About:
The PTUA is a voluntary, non-politically aligned transport lobby supporting both current and future public transport users.

Facebook: Public Transport Users Association-NZ

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