Public transport groups are renewing calls to run trains from the Auckland CBD to the airport.
A public meeting has been called by the Public Transport Users Association and NZ Transport 2050 to argue that trains, not modern trams, are the best form of rapid transit to the airport.
In recent months, New Zealand Transport Agency chief executive Fergus Gammie has said the best route between the CBD and the airport is by train to Puhinui, and transferring to buses or trams for the final 6km leg to the airport.
The transport agency still intends to build a $3.7 billion line for modern trams, referred to as light rail, from the CBD to the airport but sees the lines as combining transport and development opportunities.
Next Tuesday’s meeting will highlight an alternative transport strategy called Start, “Straight to Airport Rapid Trains”.
NZ Transport 2050 chairman Paul Miller said 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 hijacked 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 Rd and won’t remove a single truck from the roads trying to reach the expansive airport logistics and surrounding manufacturing zones,” he said.
Meeting organisers will present information to highlight the disadvantages trams will have to an airport, including how the bus link from the airport to Puhinui station is not a First-World solution.
An artist’s impression of light rail running down Dominion Rd to Auckland airport. Image / Auckland Transport
“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,” said Miller.
Jon Reeves, national co-ordinator of the Public Transport Users Association said: “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.
Jon Reeves, from public transport lobby group Campaign For Better Transport, wants trains to run from Britomart to Auckland Airport. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Auckland has spent over $6.5b 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, Reeves said.