Ollie’s Airport Solution


Polish engineer Ollie Mikosza has emailed the ARA to tell them his “Mister” personal rapid transit system would be ideal instead of a rail link to Auckland airport and the CBD.
His proposal he has sent is below.
His system involves small automatic driverless electric cars suspended from an overhead track 10m above street level.

They travel at 50k an hour and can hold 5 people.

Ollie's solution for Auckland airport rail |www.mist-er.com

The stops could be located on the pavement or inside hotels, buildings, malls, hospitals, cinemas and other buildings.
The engineer lived in Auckland for a decade.
He says in an email to me: “I think that city officials are pushing their interests more than anything else, while not so many people are ready to do what I have done and what I want to offer to Auckland.”

Ollie’s Proposal as he sent to the ARC:

1. Offer to solve city public transportation problems via RISK FREE contracting of MISTER services.
2. MISTER system provides higher transport capacity than tramways and buses and at the same time MISTER is much less expensive in development and operation, therefore is PROFITABLE, while much quicker to build than any road or rail.
3. Ride cost is similar to bus fares, while speed, comfort, availability and SAFETY are much better than in any public or private transit.
4. How to finance and build MISTER ? – CONDITIONAL SERVICE CONTRACT with MISTER company to build a system capable to deliver a given number of rides in a given timeframe and at a given cost per ride. Such a CONDITIONAL SERVICE CONTRACT will GUARANTEE that the city will bear NO RISK in relation to the development and operation of the transit services. The required guarantee by the city will be only for the potential shortfall below a minimum threshold of services, being some 2,500 rides per day per each kilometre of the network. Initial system would be
only 10 km in length. Such an arrangement would enable MISTER Auckland Ltd. to obtain funding from commercial banks and develop certification, then pilot systems.
Subsequent extensions of the system throughout the city would not require any further guarantees from the City, as the pilot system would prove the profitability, hence attract banks and private investors to finance additional development.
5. This is already known and frequently practised method of outsourcing of bus or tramway services (with guaranteed SUBSIDY), so it should also be used for this new and much better services, which guarantee profits, not losses to the city.

From the viewpoint of cities, which are considering improvements in public transportation, the outsourcing or Private and Public Partnership (PPP) with MISTER system, is the best way to provide the solution to the mass-transit problems.
It is especially true in the times of economic crisis and cash shortage. Proposed herewith PPP with MISTER Auckland Ltd. will enable Auckland city to provide a much better solution than ANY CURRENT transportation system, yet almost without risk, because the main risk would be passed onto the system developer and operator.
Doing the same with bus or train services GUARANTEES LOSSES to the city, so what could be the reason NOT to subcontract new kind of service, which GUARANTEES PROFITS ?!
Contracting of a minimum level of performance, i.e. ridership per day (with peak hour capacity requirement as well) at much lower cost than for any other type of public transit, and having also a share in profits from the system operation – should be more than attractive to any city. In fact there would be NO COST to the city, but profits.
City’s “risk” would only be to guarantee an offset below the minimal ridership level.
But this is as likely to happen as that of the overnight reduction in car traffic in Auckland by 50%, therefore negligible.
Investor would need a guarantee at the level of only some 2,500 rides per day per kilometer only in order to be able to get bank loans to develop the system.
Smaller or similar cities experience levels of 7,000 to 20,000+ on their transit systems like tramways or subways, so the 2,500 guarantee level for Auckland is really very low.
Providing such guarantee by Auckland, would open the way for MISTER Auckland Ltd. to get bank loans, while there is no real financial risk to the city, as explained above.
The risk is passed on to the private investor-operator, who would build a test and pilot systems, then extensions, manage and operate them all. Usual duration terms of such
outsourcing contracts for bus or other public transit services are between 10 and 30 years, so it is proposed to have such an Agreement based on 20 years. Of course, the investor would expect a good return on such an investment too, but it would depend on the minimum ridership being exceeded . But there should be no problem with that, since all comparable cities have such ridership at least twice as high, as the one being underwritten by the city.
Therefore such a long term and profitable contract would enable investor to obtain finance from private sources, e.g. banks.

So, all that is required from the city to take advantage of this offer, is to sign a 20 year CONDITIONAL contract for MISTER services of a minimum 10 kilometers network (2-way), which will then deliver the specified performance levels of mass-transit (more details below). The city would only have to select (jointly with investor) suitable routes, where the system covers most transit demand and to provide very small areas of city land for the posts, stops, service yard etc. In return, city would also get a share in the profits of the system, when the ridership exceeds the minimum threshold levels.

The 10 kilometer system will be a complete facility including service centre, approx 60 stops and some 1000 vehicles, capable of delivering 78,000 passenger-kilometers per peaktime hour. It is more than any APM (Automated people Mover), LRT (streetcar/tramway) or bus system of the same length can deliver. Such a 10 kilometer system is suitable for moving an average daily demand of 50,000 rides - some 15 rides passengers annually. However the excess of vehicles in MISTER system over average demand, is almost 5:1. This guarantees that peak time waiting will
be minimized,while there will be no waiting during all other times.
It also means that such MISTER system could easily cater for 5x of the demand with no extra investment, while none of the other transit systems could do the same.
The guarantee level for such a 10 kilometer MISTER system would be approx. $20 mil p/year, i.e. if there was NO rides at all ! But even 2,500 rides per day per kilometer (walkway traffic level) would offset this cost. And if the actual rides were at 5,000 level (50% less than usual 7,500 rides in other cities, annual net profit would be some $20 million. to be shared by the city and the investor. And this is calculated at a cost of only $2 per average 3 kilometer ride with average occupancy of 1.5 persons per vehicle - faster and much safer than by car. But ride cost will depend
on the trip length and can start as low as $0,50 to a max. of $3-. If the system was 10x in size, some 100 kilometers, net profit would increase to approx. $400 mil p/year. Because MISTER system is a comparable, yet better transit solution, than any APM, LRT or bus system, not to mention a subway, therefore we hope that this offer will be given serious consideration by Auckland City Council to improve the quality of life for it’s citizens and to save public money, currently spent on GUARANTEED DEFICIT running systems like buses.

By all technical, functional and economic accounts - MISTER is also a better solution than any other PRT system, of which only 3 are in development around the world. As a comparison, an estimated costs for LRT (tramway) system of similar length and capacity would bring a city a net deficit of some $20 mil p/year. Even this figure is calculated with 50% development subsidy from the state or some other transit agency. In addition, trip times on MISTER systems are half that of LRT times, not to mention comfort and safety. In addition, MISTER’s peak capacity would be some 30% higher.
Demand for PRT services of 50,000 trips per day on a 10 km system has been estimated by comparing the demand of some of the existing LRT and metro systems in Eastern Europe. Very likely, even higher demand can be expected in New Zealand and other developed countries or in tourist areas.
And it should not be underestimated that the system would attract a large number of tourists and become an attraction in itself.
It is also assumed that the actual demand will be higher, because people will inevitably prefer MISTER PRT to any public transit system, and even to their own cars. This is because the comfort level will be that of a taxi, while commute costs of $2 per trip will make it more than accessible to everyone. Safety and speed factors of MISTER transit will also generate more demand therefore higher profits, while system capacity and comfort do not become diminished.
The issues with ROW (Right of Way) in the case of MISTER are minimal, as well as development time when compared to LRT or rail.

Here’s his video presentation with English sub-titles:




  1. JSH says:

    what is it with Auckland attracting all these crazy ideas? Whats worse is that the media actually give this crazy stuff some serious attention (im looking at you Campbell Live!)

  2. Anthony M says:

    Looks more like a theme park ride. Im sorry but i dont like the idea at all.

  3. jarbury says:

    Oh golly not another PRT idea. *Sigh*

  4. Joshua says:

    It looks really messy to me.

  5. Hesky says:

    omg, we need at least 50 years to have this kind thing happen in nz

  6. sj says:

    This is bloody stupid. Is this PRT stuff pushed by the road lobby to discredit *real* PT or what?

  7. San Luca says:

    I can’t say i like this idea at all. But I think there is a place for something similar. The context I would give is somewhere like Albany where perhaps from the bus/train station some sort of simple driverless transport system connects to North Harbour Stadium, Westfield Mall, Massey etc.

    What Auckland needs is unobstrusive, inexpensive public transport that isnt affected by cars.
    I would be leaning towards technology a bit more like this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandalay_Bay_Tram

  8. MH says:

    Why not give something like this a go? Auckland has screwed its public transport by leaving it out of the city planning and to put it in is always going to be expensive as we are finding out with busways and tram routes.
    An option like this would definitely put Auckland on the PT map and surely can’t be much more than a train line with the added advantage of not needing major construction to create room for it.
    It would definitely be a unique attraction as well as solve a PT nightmare.
    Be Brave Auckland, Take A Risk! (for once in your life)

  9. JC says:

    I recall this idea was wheeled out a few years ago for Wellington

  10. Ian says:

    Looks as though it could work on a small scale, say from Britomart around the very heart of the CBD. I think the idea has merit.

  11. Andrew says:

    @MH: We did take a risk - from the 1950s onward, we enthusiastically ripped out our tramways and wholeheartedly embraced the car, building what I believe is one of the highest levels of square kilometres of roadways in the world per capita, and we’re still doing it. Look where it got us.

    For a background on what we did, read this:

  12. Joshua says:

    Looking over their sales proposal I do notice one thing, they are saying risk free and Profit Guaranteed, if this were the case the Banks would be jumping at the idea of investing in the service.

    However I do believe it could have some merit in certain situations, one that I’m thinking mostly is on another discussion point on this site, the old Auckland Rail Station, and turning that into a service for intercity trains, the biggest problem with that proposal is the distance between that station and Britomart, If we offered a free transfer service though a similar transport mode it could make that idea more of a reality.


  13. Chris R says:

    Can we reopen Kingseat?

  14. Paul Quinlan says:

    To me, this is a form of marketing spam! This guy is trying to attract investors, and from what i can read on the web, has not managed to do this anywhere. Yes, he appears to have OK from two cities in Poland, but I believe this permission was given a few years ago, to be at no cost to them, but not gone any further!

    Correct me if I am wrong!

    Oh, and it looks ugly and impractical

  15. Jon says:

    I would agree with Paul. This is how you attract investors without paying for the advertising.

    This is totally useless for a link to Auckland Airport. In many countries about 10-25% of freight bound for airports is sent via the rail network. If this was the link for Auckland Airport then the future potential for freight to move via rail is cut. Additionally, it would not be connected with the rest of the rail network (which is slowly expanding finally).

    I admit, in some situations this idea may work. Bearing that in mind I fully endorse any major overseas city to give it a go. Then we can watch to see all the proven profits - as the inventor says.

  16. Nick R says:

    Gah, I’m sick of these cockoo schemes muddying the waters. Auckland needs a tried and effective tranport system, particularly one thy isn’t based on novel technology of untested concepts.
    All this junk does is confuse the public and pollie s. What makes this guy think the powers the be would fund this when they can’t even fund the conventional bus and train links that have been on the plan for decades?

  17. Joshua says:

    Jon - “Bearing that in mind I fully endorse any major overseas city to give it a go. Then we can watch to see all the proven profits – as the inventor says” -

    Thats probably what most cities are saying, I do agree with you, but I guess someone needs to try it before anyone can see how successful it is. However I also agree it shouldn’t be Auckland, we need to focus on our rail network first then think about PRT’s, as an alternative if needed.

  18. Harry says:

    A stupid idea

  19. karl says:

    Fine for a city that has MONEY to try out new things. And if he believes locals will like to their streets be “graced” by his rather clunky overhead rails & pylons, he has not seen angry locals yet.

    This might work on a location like a far-flung university campus, but not as a transport system in an existing CBD / suburban area.

  20. Doloras says:

    Wow, this is the greatest idea since Cooltrainz. (Anyone remember that?)

    The commenter who suggests that ideas like this are funded by road transport to make PT look crazy might have a point, but really I think it’s the other way around - the road transport lobby has ensured that PT is considered “whacky” in this country, and therefore it attracts kooks. (Just like the lighter-than-air transport field: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7918762/Airships-a-second-age.html

  21. DanC says:

    Can’t Auckland connect the existing rail to the airport? How hard is it? It’s what Auckland needs so bad the same time as the CBD tunnel. What route is preferred, Airport to Onehunga or Airport to the Southern line (Wiri???)?

  22. Matt says:

    DanC, the plan is to make the airport a stop on a loop that crosses from Onehunga to Mangere Bridge, down through Mangere, out to the airport, then out to meet the Manukau line via the Ports of Auckland inland port. That would allow the line to be used for freight and passenger trains, and a loop is much, much more useful than a branch.

  23. karl says:

    A Puhinui Road stub line could be built a lot more easily - heck, next year. But then we would have two stubs diverging off the line close by with Manukau on the other side (three stubs if you count Onehunga) - which opens up all sorts of operational issues). So airport rail should really be a loop.

  24. DanC says:

    Build Puhinui first then extend it to Onehunga in the future?

  25. Matt L says:

    DanC - if anything it should be the other way round, from Onehunga will make line more successful as it passes through Mangere bridge and town centre along with the airport industrial area before getting to the Airport. From Puhinui there is nothing till the Airport and then the government will just can the Onehunga connection saying “we already have a connection to the airport”. It will also put even more pressure on the southern line as you will be having to accomodate, southern, Manukau/eastern line and airport services.

    It also makes better use of the Onehunga line and allows for higher frequencies on it.

  26. karl says:

    Good question though, Matt. Would having an airport connection at all (even with a Puhinui stub) be better than nothing?

    If you built the crossover at the main line right, trains could come from the airport, run to the Manukau stub, and then continue on to the CBD, and in reverse. I agree that it wouldn’t be ideal (5-10 minutes lost on an airport-CBD run), and yes, that it would remove pressure to build an Onehunga-airport line. But I’m curious as to whether it could still be a good link.

  27. Nick R says:

    Puhinui alone would be a failure. It wouldn’t generate any non-airport traffic and therefore would have to run at low frequencies which would make it unattractive to airport passengers.
    They should build the whole line from Onehunga to Manukau in one go, in this case I think staging would be a bad idea.

  28. karl says:

    Nick R, I disagree that low frequencies would automatically result. It would in my proposal have the same frequencies as Manukau City. Every train that would now terminate at the Manukau stub would then go on to the airport and in reverse.

    Of course the catchment of Onehunga Mangere Bridge and the industrial areas north of the airport would not be covered - but the airport area workers and the airline passengers would still have a good service.


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