Waikato Rail Not Dead


Waikato’s regional council has still to be won over with the idea of a Waikato-Auckland rail service.
It still seems to especially worry about its financial viability and subsequent funding needed for such a service.
But it has not yet closed the door - despite a parliamentary committee recently deciding not to consider the CBT’s Waikato rail petition, claiming local bodies had already rejected the idea.

But with so much negativity surrounding the idea, you have to wonder if the council is just being polite in leaving the issue on the table, rather than getting into any more fights by outright rejecting it.

Anyway, there is no sign that it would happen anytime soon.
Environment Waikato’s latest council meeting has decided to leave it to be considered as part of the council’s annual plan process and also considered for the Regional Land Transport Strategy review 2010, and the Regional Passenger Transport Review in 2011.
Norm Baker, chairman of the council’s regional transport committee raised these issues to the council in the wake of the Waikato rail petition:

  • From the reports received to date, it is apparent that a large degree of subsidisation would be necessary to establish a commuter rail service.
  • A targeted rate is a possible funding source, also mounting a stronger campaign for NZTA to contribute can be considered.
  • A new business plan for KiwiRail called the Turnaround Plan was recently signalled as an initiative in the forthcoming central government budget. It is likely that a more commercial footing for rail services will be stressed and that Auckland Regional Council will be called upon to contribute more.
  • A Park and Ride service at Papakura has been suggested, with dedicated Waikato carriages on the train.
  • Getting access into Britomart is a key issue, and currently this is operating at capacity.

And he said already stated were the view that  :

  • The cost per Hamilton ratepayer to subsidise the service would be significant.
  • The majority of passengers could embark at Pukekohe and further south, and not from Hamilton.
  • Council should investigate a Park and Ride option based on a South Auckland rail station.
  • Establishing a commuter rail service at this point in time could impact to the detriment of the bus services now running successfully in Hamilton.
  • Access to Britomart is crucial to the efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed service, and this issue needs to borne in mind for the long term.

Council worries about the funding impact on existing Hamilton bus services

It’s obvious it would require considerable effort for backing of the proposal, especially with this report to the council meeting on the revenue issue:

Taking the most likely service option to be a peak service being provided in the morning and in the evening (i.e. two trips per day), and assuming a patronage level of 30% the costs would be:

  • Total Costs: $1.6 million
  • Total Fares: $ 0.36 million
  • Net Costs: $1.24 million

The fare revenue is based on patronage of 14,500 passenger trips per year.

This assumes the 96-seater carriage is 30% occupied on average and completes 500 runs per year (5 days per week morning and evening, excluding public holidays).  Total fare recovery is based on an average one-way fare of $25.

There is no opportunity to fund the commuter rail service without making  significant cuts to existing passenger transport bus services operating in Hamilton or the region.

This leaves the option of funding the deficit in net costs through rates levied from Hamilton and Waikato District ratepayers. This would require additional rates to be levied on these ratepayers.

If all of the shortfall were imposed on Hamilton City and Waikato District, the additional rate impact would be on average around $25 per property. This is over and above the existing Environment Waikato Special PT rate of $38 per $100,000 Capital Value already levied on Hamilton ratepayers.  This option needs to be considered in light of pressures on local government to keep rate increases to a minimum.

Related Posts

  1. Waikato-Auckland Rail Link Deemed “Not Viable”
  2. Waikato’s Regional Council Says No To Funding Hamilton Rail
  3. Beehive Bins Waikato Petition
  4. Big Meeting To Get Waikato Rail Link Resolved
  5. Waikato Rail Plan Moves One More cm Along The Track - Maybe




  1. Nick R says:

    Park and Ride at Papakura?! Get real.

    Who is going to drive up from the Waikato then park an hour out just to pay a fare and get on a crowded commuter train?

    No one, they will just keep driving like they had done for the last two hours.

    And how the hell you manage a ‘Waikato only’ carriage that doesn’t go to the Waikato I don’t know.

  2. ingolfson says:

    “Who is going to drive up from the Waikato then park an hour out just to pay a fare and get on a crowded commuter train?”

    This may mean a park & ride from Papakura TO Waikato.

    Whether that makes sense, I don’t know.

  3. Geoff says:

    “No one, they will just keep driving like they had done for the last two hours.”

    Hamilton to Papakura is only a little over an hour by car. Then a 50 minute train ride from there, so about two hours all up. Even taking into account the transfer time, it will be about the same, or slightly faster, than going by train all the way.

    I hope the train campaigners start to seriously recognize they have targeted the wrong crowd for getting the train started.

    It’s not the place of ratepayers to pay for long distance trains. It never has been, and it probably never will be.

    Any future campaigning for a train to run, needs to target the people who are responsible for running trains - KiwiRail. It’s their job to run long distance trains, and if they won’t do it on their own initiative, then that’s where lobbying comes into play. Either to get them to do what the public expect of them (with our trains), or to get somebody else to run them.

  4. Carl says:

    Park and ride? do me a favour, by the time you pull off the motorway and go through all the lights, that in it self would be 15-20 mins at peak time.

    A train from Hams to Auckland, stopping a few stops between Hams and Pukekohe and possibly Drury (a small town just before Papakura, where all the people from Waiuku who usually bus to Papakura could get on get on freeing up parking space at Papakura and then in turn get more peope on the train).

    then possibly non stop to say New Market then Britomart or something. it doesn’t need to stop at all the stations on the way Britomart.

    they should do a bloody poll, on the net, infact why not do one on here, and see what people actually require.

    this in turn would actually give the people of Pukekohe, Waiuku, Taukau and Drury better access along with People from Hamiltion, Huntly, Mercer ect….

    surely it has to make sense, more cars off the road ect

  5. Andrew C says:

    The Pukekohe-NewMarket-Britomart morning express could be stretched to include Huntly and Hamilton with dedicated Waikato carriages.

  6. Cierat says:

    Those numbers just don’t add up guys! Consider:

    1. Why would occupancy be only 30%? There are at least a thousand people travelling between Hamilton and Auckland every work day for a 9-5 stint! A full train could be a real possibility here for 2 trips a day!
    2. Net costs met by Council are actually 40% of the $1.24m as i the real world NZTA meets the other 60% for a service like this.
    3. Net cost would fall over time due as more people start using the service, so a lot of this is really a one off cost to set up the service.
    4. Cost could be reduced by joint venturing with ARTA to extend a couple of their Pukekohe services to start with
    5. Maybe ratepayers don’t mind paying extra for a couple of ears to see this service established… did anyone ask?

  7. Carl says:

    Can I also make one other possibly point that many of us have missed, the amount of young people like me, that possibly might be going in the direction of Hamilton for Uni studies?

    Surely is not all one way traffic to Auckland, Yeah fair enough the last trip of the Day could stay over night in Hamilton to be there in the Morning to drive back to Auckland. But I know for a fact a lot of People around Pukekohe and the surrounding areas attending Waikato Uni and Polytech, that in self I dear say would fill a carriage on the way down and one on the way back later in the day.

    also how many people from Papakura or what not possibly work in or around Pukekohe?

    Jon, I really think you should run a poll on here, and maybe put it out on Facebook or Twitter or something, we should have a thread about what questions should be asked in the Poll, then push it out there… see what people have to say, the more we talk about it, the more it gets out there, the more people start to learn about it.

    I’m pretty sure there are way more people from where I come from that would love to see a Hams-Auckland Auckz-Hams Service, but probably don’t know how to voice their opinion anywhere.

    the local paper wont do dick, but an internet based forum can always do wonders, anyone one can pick it up…

  8. Jon C says:

    @Carl, Good thinking on the students.
    Sadly a poll won’t add to the authorities’ view on the issue. They have already had a big petition but it comes down to dollars and cents and so far they don’t think, while it’s a nice to have, the money justifies it compared to a highway.


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