Cautionary tales out of Auckland light rail: a good thing, being done badly

Make no mistake, Wellington city needs mass transit. And we’re watching with alarm how Auckland, in trying to get a vital component of its own mass transit system (that their fast-growing city needs ever more desperately), is kicking itself in the leg

Just in case anyone listening too closely to certain councillors: there’s no other sensible solution to longer-trip cross-city travel that will do all the essential things:

  1. solve the Wall Of Bus through the Golden Mile,
  2. doesn’t involve magical thinking like tunnelling or teleportation,
  3. make Wellington’s city centre better for people rather than worse.

So we’re alarmed to see evidence that Waka Kotahi, in their appointment of the leader for Auckland’s light rail project, apparently scorned the most basic hygiene of propriety. It’s the latest in a maddening series of wierdnesses around this essential infrastructure.  

Let’s be very clear: this isn’t light rail’s fault, it’s always been absolutely sensible for Auckland. What’s a problem here is the weird thinking seemingly afflicting NZ’s transport fraternity (sorry, but that’s a demographically accurate generalisation in 2023). 

And Wellington is just as vulnerable to this as the Big Smoke.

We recommend this reading from our Tāmaki big-cousins, Greater Auckland:

What do you think Wellington could do to avoid the systemic ills provoking these wierdnesses in decision-makers’ work?

Banner image credit: visualisation of the tunnelled light rail idea (one of the weird ones – see recommended reading)

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