Report Lists RWC Transport Lessons
One of the Auckland Council’s main stated objectives with the RWC was to “make public transport use a habit.”
A 250-page external consultants’ report for Auckland Council on the RWC released this afternoon reveals that public transport patronage was not as high as the 50% level expected – but was consistent (37-45%) across the time of the tournament.
The evaluation has been undertaken by independent external consultants but has been “combined with internal council assessments.” The report also reveals that only 8.9% of Auckland businesses surveyed felt the RWC had been worthwhile (every taxi driver I have had since has been scathing of how badly they did and I have been to restaurants where they say up to 60% of business dropped off, especially because of the popularity of the Party Central area of the Viaduct and Wynyard Quarter).
And the report reveals that for opening night, having extra buses as a contingency was considered. AT and Rugby asked the government to declare the Friday a teacher-only day to free up school buses but were turned down. They couldn’t source additional buses but on planning considered they had enough for the expected numbers.
The report outlines the lessons learnt with transport.
- The size of the RWC team was based on ARTA’s previous PT responsibilities and didn;t consider the extra bobligations that came because of all traffic and transport operations being centralised with AT. In future the team needs to be “fluid and appropriate to the magnitiude of the event.” A consistent approach is needed across all areas of the organisation and event promoters need event guidelines which need to be developed showing the level of PT required.
- Events where attendance is greater than 15,000 need the sort of special event bus service operated and the buses should continue until the crowd is cleared.
- Staffing levels and infrastructure implemented for the 3 stations should be maintained for future Eden Park events. Efficient corralling of commuters post-match was important for efficient station management.
- Given the numbers using Grafton station, it might be better to run express services between Britomart and Kingsland.
- When Manukau rail starts, the Manukau special event bus service should be discontinued
- Temporary signage at bus stops should be improve to clearly show which services are leaving for which bay.
- AT should set up their own bank of transport ambassadors and train them for specific transport roles.
- Changes to the bus hub at Eden Park are needed to facilitate a smoother and safer operation, including control crowd fencing, a pedestrian crossing, electronic signage and using Sandringham Rd for the return trip of buses.
- New North Rd should remain open until kick off then be closed if needed for safety. But water filled barriers are needed rather than traffic cones for the closure and warnings posted four days before an event.
- AT should install permanent “sleeves” in the ground at each road closure point for Eden Park for the installation of temporary bollards on match days.
- Improvements are needed to the process for advising residents of their correct entry point for parking and Eden Park should develop a clearly ideintifiable accreditation for authorised vehicles to reduce delays at checkpoints. Parking signage needs reviewing.
- An audit of the mobility parking scheme at large events will determine if there is any misuse of the scheme.
- More taxi ranks are required and taxis should be stopped from enterting Central Ave. St Lukes should be used for coach parking.
- Special event buses should continue for North Harbour events.
The report revisits the troubled opening night.
It says transport planning was based on the expectation at least 50% of the crowd would use PT. PT usage for public events does not usually exceed 30% and is based on a modal split of 10% ferry, 70% bus and 20% rail.
Having extra buses as a contingency was considered. AT and Rugby asked the government to declare the Friday a teacher-only day to free up school buses but were turned down. They couldn’t source additional buses but on planning considered they had enough for the expected numbers.
The planning was also based on the majority of the crowd leaving the Fanzone at the end of the march.
The report estimated 120,000 to 150,000 attended the fanzone and CBD – not the 200,000 earlier thrown around.
Apart from the opening night fiasco, the report says the rail operations “generally worked well” with on average rail patronage to matches being around 10,000 passengers while the return was 12-14,000 because of people walking to the venue.
On the plus side: corralling of pedestrians at Kingsland and Morningside stations worked well and the track crossover installed west of Morningside sped up operations.
Rail patronage on non-match days operated at slightly higher than normal and as the tournament progressed, higher than normal for Sylvia Park and Onehunga where extra buses were needed.
The report notes the issues were also covered in the earlier independent report commissioned by AT.
After the RWC, that independent report commissioned by Auckland Transport and conducted by law firm Meredith Connell blamed the opening night fiasco on the event organisers for their appalling predictions.
It confirms event organisers had predicted up to 50,000 would attend the waterfront celebrations and Auckland Transport put in contingency for a worst case scenario of 100,000.
On the business side, only 8.9% of Auckland businesses surveyed felt they benefited.
Auckland Council CEO Doug McKay acknowledges that the report “shows a number of Auckland businesses don’t believe they have benefited directly from RWC and it suggests this is because benefits have been been spread evenly. We need to understand better the learnings here for next time.”
You do. And it’s time the authorities stop issuing made up inflated predictions for how much financially Auckland will benefit from big events. It’s been proven a false science, like those who estimated the attendance numbers for the opening night event.