I was away in the weekend cycling the Kaiwhakauka Trail, (linking to the Bridge to Nowhere and the Whanganui River), so I missed riding the new electric train. (The Trail was highly enjoyable and memorable, as was Blue Duck Lodge at Whakahoro, where the Trail starts. I fully recommend you plan to get to both!)
To make up, I popped over yesterday with my bike on the Devonport ferry to ride the new train to Onehunga. It was all that we have been promised – clean lines, spacious, big windows, comfy and quiet. During the design phase for the trains Cycle Action’s team spent a lot of time working with AT on how bikes would be carried in the central carriage. They were good people to collaborate with, and the result is impressive !
- The middle carriage has a clear symbol on the door to show that bikes are welcome and easy access with the floor the same level as the platform. (Take note of the green button as well, as you need to press that to open the door).
- There is space dedicated for at least 3 bikes, with straps to secure each bike.
- For non- peak use, there are 2 other locations for bikes, where the seats are upturned as a default position so the bike symbols are clearly visible.
After doing so well with the train, we need AT to allow us to work with them to ask cyclists what they would regard as fit for purpose bike parking at different public transport stations and terminals. I thought the Onehunga Train Station was good because AT built a shelter over the bike parking. This photo shows one of our cycling colleagues feels more is needed, by creating a temporary tarpaulin shelter to protect their bike from yesterday’s south westerly showers.
Looks sadly 3rd world for a 1st world transport facility.
It is also worth mentioning that the train had to crawl from Newmarket down towards Britomart, and was stalled for 4 minutes while it waited for a platform to come free. I assume we will have more of this until we have the CRL. You have to wonder why the Government feels it is necessary to put up barriers to delay this to 2020.
AT’s media release today reports train patronage increased 14% in the year to March, while cycling increased by 9%. This is further evidence that Aucklanders want more and better transport choices to avoid sitting in queues of cars.
Here’s hoping the Government comes to its senses soon, and steps up with the CRL funding as a sign of its respect for and desire to partner with the transport successes we are notching up in Auckland.