A Chance To Be Pro-Active


ARTA is going to offer a revised Saturday train timetable on Sunday September 5  to provide extra services for people needing to travel around the region during the Southern Motorway closure.

But it should grab the opportunity to increase Sunday services permanently.

Yesterday, I almost gave up trying to use a Western Line Sunday train because the services was only hourly; yet when the train did come, it was packed, especially with families which is always encouraging to see.

Buses are not going to be a great answer for the weekend disruption, caused by the introduction of southbound changes to the Newmarket Viaduct, involving the closure of the Southern motorway between Gillies Ave and St Marks Rd and closure of the CBD southbound onramps at Hobson St; Symonds St and Khyber Pass.

Buses use roads like motorists so even ARTA is warning that from 5pm on the Saturday and all day Sunday, “delays are possible on all bus services.”

The motorway will close between Gillies Ave and St Marks Rd

Trains won’t solve the issue either because they don’t go exactly where motorists always want to go.

But introducing a decent Sunday public transport offering via train to commuters will go a long way to helping change attitudes and present a more permanent alternative to those who donb’t even think about using public transport at weekends.

But not if a couple of extra services are just added in for that weekend only.

Southern and Eastern Line services will mainly be operated by 4-car trains with more seats.

There’s rugby on at Eden Park so services will operate with that in mind.

A new timetable is apparently due any day.

ARTA should be innovative and introduce a revised weekend timetable from that day and push the idea public transport’s a great way to go  every weekend instead of Aucklanders on autopilot always clambering into their cars to go everywhere at the weekend.




  1. Matt L says:

    The big thing ARTA claim that is holding back better weekend frequencies, especially out west is the disruption that will be caused by electrification. Looking at the Veolia website there is a lot of outages planned i.e. there are 8 confirmed closures on weekends between now and December with another couple planned in December before the big Christmas shutdown. Putting more trains on means more rail buses are needed to replace them.


  2. karl says:

    From times back, I also understand that with our stretched situation they really need those Sundays for maintenance of the rolling stock. If more of it is in service, that will likely make that harder too.

  3. Joshua says:

    karl - they really should have rolling stock going, the trains operating rotate with the trains getting maintained, not that hard logistically to organise either.

    Matt L - to me thats just a poor excuse, they need to provided a decent service, if it means more rail buses during electrification then it means more buses. Not a reason to skimp on the service really, we can obviously do as before and grab Hamiltons buses along with NZ buses which also have been done in the past.

  4. Matt L says:

    Joshua, I agree that it is a poor excuse. Train patronage out west on weekends is quite high (for the poor service that is provided) and the 2 car trains that are used often packed to the point where people are standing and can’t move.

  5. Nick R says:

    They should simply have two timetables, one for weekday peaks, and one for interpeak, off peak and all weekend.

    Any good reason why Sunday should be less that Saturday, it’s still busy with shopping and entertainment… were no longer stuck in the 19th century when everyone only went to Church on Sundays.

  6. karl says:

    Agree with Nick - has been my feeling in general (for all PT!) for a while. Only have two frequencies for every service. Peak, and off-peak.

  7. James Pole says:

    I agree with keeping the timetable as it is for Saturday services and just increasing car length to 4 cars; and to have the same timetable for Sat/Sun/PH (with extra services on Sat only).

    I think Karl makes an excellent point regarding the increase in rail buses — which seems to be missed by others commenting on this post — it doesn’t make sense to increase rail bus services on weekends when there is already plenty of weekend buses.

    Perhaps ARTA should do a deal with NZ Bus et al for them to accept rail passes on weekends when trains are not operating instead of bothering with rail buses duplicating similar routes to buses that are already scheduled to run. Should be cheaper to do it that way surely — cheaper than chartering lots of near empty buses.

  8. Nick R says:

    Actually I’ll revise my earlier comment. There should be one basline timetable all day seven days a week, ideally clockface with a minimum of 15 minute headways everywhere, to which additional services are added at peak periods.

  9. Joshua says:

    James - Although good in theory, it can actually make things more complicated for the commuter, they will just want to go to where they usually go, the route they know. I think you bring up a good idea allowing people with the rail pass on those weekends, although I still think you need to provide sufficient rail bus replacements. NZ bus are not the only company we can get the buses from either.

    (with extra services on Sat only). - Why only on Saturday? Why is Saturday different from Sunday, personally I’m more likely to catch PT on a Sunday than a Saturday because I play sport on Saturday’s. It should be fair and easy for commuters, Sunday and even Saturday frequencies are poor to say the least, it would stop many to be PT users. Especially between main shopping areas we need much more regular weekend and in particular Sunday Frequencies.

    The Rail Buses have been addressed in the comments previously, it’s quite frankly a poor excuse to provide a poor service.

  10. Matt says:

    Yes, the Sunday frequencies for all services are a joke. I understand having a week-day timetable and a weekend timetable, but not Saturday and Sunday being different. We have Sunday shopping now, even Sunday liquor sales, so the need for bus and train services to be useful is no more reduced on Sunday than on Saturday.


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