Public Transport Funding Needs a Boost in Budget Today

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has high hopes todays budget will deliver on key public transport investments.

Jon Reeves, National Coordinator of the PTUA says “We hope the Minister of Transport has finally found the $100 million required for Christchurch commuter trains the Labour party promised in the 2017 election campaign. Canterbury needs the promised commuter trains as soon as possible, today is a good day to announce good news.”​

In Auckland Trains To Huapai are urgently required to help alleviate congestion in Huapai and Kumeu as well as provide another level of inter-connectivity for Nor-West Auckland. Christine Rose, Chair of the PTUA said “It’s clear Labour’s election pledge of light rail trams to Waimauku won’t happen for many decades, so let’s get moving now with Trains To Huapai using the existing available rail resources.”​

The bPTUA would like to see guaranteed funding for 3rd and 4th railway lines in South Auckland and electrification extension to Pukekohe, more Labour party promises from the 2017 election. “We understand Kiwirail is ready to go but are awaiting funding from Government.” Reeves said.​

The PTUA would like to see a boost to general public transport funding allowing for fares to decrease across all main cities to help encourage greater uptake of bus, trains and ferries. “Well-being can also mean a reduction in pollution and increasing the environmental benefits. Increased public transport usage benefits everyone” Reeves added.​

The Government should now also be acquiring a railway corridor on the clear green fields between Puhinui and Auckland airport. A budget announcement would be welcome to signal the Minister of Transport has vision an good intentions for our largest gateway airport in the country.​

“We await with interest today to see if public transport really is important for the Government” Rose added.​

AT Unsustainable – Govt Intervention Fully Supported

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) fully supports the call by the “Open The Books” group for a major review of Auckland Transport (AT).

The PTUA has many concerns about the undemocratic behaviour of the Council Controlled Organisation. AT has its own agenda and not one of them is to listen to the community, public transport users, ratepayers or businesses.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff campaign on transparency last election and has not delivered on his promise. “The fact Goff quickly removed the only democratically elected senior councillors (Mike Lee/Christine Fletcher) from the board was a step in the wrong direction that he has never repaired and now Aucklander’s trust in AT is lower than low” Jon Reeves, National Co-ordinator of the PTUA said.

The PTUA agrees with Open The Books for the Government to immediately place control in the hands of an Commissioner while a full scale review is undertaken of Auckland Transport.

AT has a defensive, highly funded and very active public relations spin department who will attempt to discredit any organisation calling for a review. PTUA Chair Christine Rose said “We fully expect to see the ratepayer funded PR team at Auckland Transport in action now to protect their unsustainable organisation. We hope the Government is listening to the people of Auckland – AT has huge issues, and questions need to be asked of its structure accountability and performance”.



A group of organisations is calling for the Government to halt plans for the costly slow tram between Downtown Auckland and the airport via Mangere and for Trains to Huapai and bus lanes to replace the Government’s now cancelled tram to Westgate and Kumeu.

Led by the Public Transport Users Association and NZ Transport 2050, the groups want the estimated $6 billion estimated cost of the tram systems to be used more efficiently, by expanding the existing railway network and improving bus lanes on the SH16 motorway route for a significantly lower price tag, with faster delivery.

A public campaign gets underway this Wednesday 1st May, with ads running in the New Zealand Herald entitled “Auckland deserves better value from Government transport spend”. The campaign highlights sensible transport solutions, a ‘Smart Plan’, which the Government refuses to consider, compared with how much it wants to spend on a slow airport to city tram line, and the illusionary West Auckland tram to Kumeu. For significantly lesser amounts many alternative public transport projects could be constructed benefiting hundreds of thousands of more Aucklanders get to jobs, housing, recreation and to the country’s largest international airport.

The Smart Plan projects include:

  • Extending commuter trains to Huapai.
  • We have the rail infrastructure let’s use it. Stations and Park and Ride facilities are already built and lie unused at Waitakere and Huapai railway stations. Auckland Transport already own unused diesel passenger trains, which with some relatively minor upgrading would be permitted to travel through Waitakere tunnel under new Health and Safety regulations. With upgrades to the line for the Governments Northport project electrification extension could be possible in the future.
  • Constructing a rapid airport railway link between Wiri and the airport. Providing a fast, low-cost rail connection from the whole of the rail network to the growing airport and industrial zone. Additionally, allowing for freight to be moved by rail to the industrial area.
  • Expanding New Rail services to Mount Roskill and the Airport from the west, leveraging the proposed Northport freight line (Avondale to Southdown extension) We can use the proposed freight rail diversion to the CRL to deliver passenger services to link work, employment and urban regeneration with existing rail technology
  • Adding express rail services to South Auckland with the Government’s planned 3rd and 4th rail lines expansion. Effective public transport is not just about providing any form of service; it needs to be a timely and true alternative to a car. Express journey times from Pokeno, Tuakau, Pukekohe to Newmarket, the airport and the city provides true work-life options for many more Aucklanders
  • Investigating busway options between the city and Westgate alongside the North West Motorway. The Northern Busway has provided a highly effective option for Northern commuters. Let’s look to leverage this for the growing North West. Alternatively, we propose investigations into using an existing motorway lane at peak periods for express bus services to and from the city. Potentially bus stations could be built in route.
  • Utilising investment in the City Rail Link. With billions invested in this major project the Governments Slow Tram plan makes zero use of the new central Auckland rail tunnel.

Jon Reeves, National Coordinator of the Public Transport Users Association says “Unfortunately political egos are getting in the way of sensible public transport decisions for Auckland. We could build a list of truly worthwhile public transport improvements, or we can have the slow tram from the city to the airport in 10 years.”

NZ Transport 2050 Chair, Paul Miller says ” Our groups have spoken with airport workers, travellers and business owners along the slow tram route, and with residents of West Auckland and many Local Boards around Auckland. They want solutions that will help the majority of Aucklanders, something that the slow tram won’t deliver. What’s worse is, the Transport Minister has told us that the tram line is a priority, yet there is no business case and very little public support to justify it. All we know is the tram cost has jumped from $1.2 billion in 2015 to over $4 billion now, before the project has even started. Why should all of Auckland be forced to fund through rates, asset sales and petrol taxes for this white elephant while sensible projects Aucklanders actually want and can be easily justified be completely ignored the Minister of Transport.”

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union has also joined in the campaign to highlight the slow tram plan is not the best investment for Auckland. Wayne Butson, General Secretary of the RMTU, said “No one but a small bunch of individuals residing in Central Auckland seem to want this light rail tram. We want the Government to be honest, admit that it has never studied a railway from Wiri to the airport, so therefore, should not make any hasty decisions on a slow light rail tram to the airport. Our members do not support this $6 billion tram idea because it’s going to fail while Auckland’s traffic gets increasingly worse. For Nor-West Auckland there is a partial solution available now, extend commuter trains to Huapai”.

In the lead up to this year’s local body elections the combined groups will be hosting a number of public meetings around Auckland, including in West Auckland to highlight the poor value for money the slow airport tram presents and the fact the Government will not even commit to a low-cost extension of commuter trains to Huapai.


The Public Transport Users Association is a non-politically aligned volunteer lobby group representing current and future users of buses, trains and ferries.

Partners of this campaign are:

  • Public Transport Users Association
  • NZ Transport 2050 Inc
  • Rail and Maritime Transport Union

Jon Reeves, National Coordinator, Phone 021 529 404 /
Christine Rose, Chair, Phone 021 056 3784,

NZ Transport 2050: Paul Miller, Chair, Phone 021 648 152 /

Rail and Maritime Transport Union: Wayne Butson, General Secretary, Phone 027 496 2461 /
Websites: //

  • START- Straight To Airport Rapid Trains
  • Public Transport Users Association ? NZ
  • Trains To Huapai


An urgent public meeting has been called for Tuesday 9th October, Mt Eden War Memorial Hall, 487 Dominion Road, to highlight why the Government and those behind the scenes promoting trams/light rail and bus links to the airport have got it all wrong.

The meeting has been organized by NZ Transport 2050 Inc and the Public Transport Users Association and will highlight an alternative transport strategy called START “Straight to Airport Rapid Trains”.

An urgent public meeting has been called for Tuesday 9th October to highlight why the Government and those behind the scenes promoting trams/light rail and bus links to the airport have got it all wrong.

The meeting has been organized by NZ Transport 2050 Inc and the Public Transport Users Association and will highlight an alternative transport strategy called START “Straight to Airport Rapid Trains”.

NZ Transport 2050 Chair, Paul Miller, says “The Government and Auckland Council have been sold a lemon which won’t solve the massive congestion issues caused by the trending growth at Auckland Airport. It seems that officials have been hi-jacked into something which simply does not solve the congestion problem, wastes the billions we have spent on trains, will cause significant issues for those living on Dominion Road and won’t remove a single truck from the roads trying to reach the expansive airport logistics and surrounding manufacturing zones.”

Meeting organisers will present facts which will highlight the disadvantages trams to an airport will have. It will also show the bus link from the airport to Puhinui station is not a first world solution.

A modern, fast train linking the airport to every single Auckland railway station and south to Hamilton and Tauranga is what we need the Government to take a serious and objective look at.

The Minister of Transport, Phil Twyford, needs to be open minded on the airport congestion issues before he commits taxpayers to fund one of the slowest tram/light-rail links in the world to Auckland airport and a “user unfriendly” airport bus shuttle link from Puhinui railway station.

Jon Reeves, National Coordinator of the Public Transport Users Association says “If the NZTA are going to fund any large scale transport project we would like it be a something that benefits the widest reach of Auckland, the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. It’s called a railway network which is already in place. Auckland has spent over $6.5 billion on our railway network in the past 16 years, and the city rail link tunnel will further open up reach of our rail system. To not capitalise on that investment by operating fast, modern Airport Trains is purely crazy.”

The public meeting will include guest speakers Councilor Mike Lee, Paul Miller (Transport 2050) and Jon Reeves (PTUA).


The public meeting is this Tuesday night (9th October), 7pm, Mt Eden War Memorial Hall, 487 Dominion Road.


Straight To Airport Rapid Trains (START) Campaign is organised by:

Paul Miller, Chair, NZ Transport 2050 Inc: 021 648 152

Jon Reeves, National Coordinator, PTUA: 021 529 404 /


NZ Transport 2050 Inc. and the Public Transport Users Association are incorporated societies with the aims to challenge poor transport decisions and to protect the rights of current and future public transport users.

START – Straight To Airport Rapid Train

Spend fuel tax money on cheaper trains, not trams!

Ptua nz logo

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.”

Click here for Newshub Article

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.


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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