Thursday, August 7, 2008

Trains are cool: hurrah for the tax increases

I regularly go by train to work in Auckland. I like that it is less stressful than coping with some car drivers who are aggressively self-centred in their driving, and who take every opportunity to get an inch ahead of other drivers

I like that, when necessary, I can do some work on the train. I like the sense of community. Some days there's lots of lively chatter on the trains (and not just by people talking loudly on mobiles). And I like it when the train runs on time.

I don't like the frequent delays. (Last night there were major delays due to some unnamed incident in Otahuhu). Often a train has to wait for an oncoming train to free up the line so it can continue. This means the 'express" train is not so express. Like last night, the express (running late) made unscheduled stops at stations. One or two people stood hopefully outside the closed doors, becoming increasingly frustrated that the doors never opened.

So the train system desperately needs an upgrade. Though I like the rather quaint system of "conductors" who collect our tickets; especially the cheerful and friendly ones. Sadly, I think an upgrade will do away with them.

There was some angst yesterday about the increase in Auckland Regional road taxes to help pay for the rail upgrade.

New Zealand Herald: Motorists hit with new fuel taxes
Auckland motorists face new fuel taxes of up to 10c a litre from 2011, to pay for electric trains and other congestion-busting public transport investments.
As the above article says, the Automobile Association is complaining about lack of consultation with motorists and other Aucklanders. Well as an Auckland motorist, and train traveller, I am happy to see this money being raised for improvement of the rail system. This is going to be increasingly important form of travel in the future. People need to get used to the idea that, in the future, private cars will no longer be the dominant form of transport in NZ.

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