Yesterday hailed a massive step forward for Auckland rail passengers with electric trains rolled out on all lines. However, Franklin passengers have yet to share the joy of full electrification as it stops short in Papakura, says lobby group, The Public Transport Users Association.
The group would like the Government to come to the party and put up its share of funding to have electrification extended to Pukekohe, or even Tuakau/Pokeno.
Jon Reeves, PTUA coordinator, says “the only reason why Pukekohe passengers have to change trains at Papakura is because the Government has not funded the logical extension of electric rail services to Franklin.
Compared to building the Takanini motorway interchange around $200 million, the estimated $110 million to extend electrification 18 kms from Papakura to Pukekohe is extremely affordable for the Government and will benefit the huge growth in population and passengers.”
The PTUA would like to see Hunua MP, Andrew Bayly, actively lobby the Government for immediate funding approval. Auckland Transport has already undertaken in-depth studies and the benefit to cost ratio stacks up. Passengers are now encouraged to actively start contacting their local MP to let him know that Franklin deserves electrified rail services now.
“The time for fobbing off Pukekohe rail passengers with excuses is now over. Action and leadership from the local MP is now needed, seen and heard” Reeves said.
The PTUA is also concerned that the diesel rail shuttles operating to Papakura require extremely high quality performance on the part of Auckland Transport (AT).
With Pukekohe passengers now having to change trains at Papakura the onus is now very much on AT to deliver perfect train time keeping.
“The last thing we want to see is Pukekohe passengers arriving at Papakura just as the electric train to Britomart departs or viceversa” Mr Reeves said.
The PTUA will be at Pukekohe station surveying passengers at various dates and times over the next few months to collect feedback about the rail shuttle experiences.
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