Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

Bus Repaint Fumes

I attended the Kaipatiki Local Board meeting in Glenfield this morning and heard councillors and local board members voicing concerns about Auckland Transport’s bus repaint plans – which will kill off iconic legacy identities such as Birkenhead Transport.

Kaipat bus

AT has been directed by the local board to report to it on what has gone wrong with

AT’s approach is another example of ‘Super city’ regionalisation going wrong. It is resulting in unnecessary cost to ratepayers and existing suppliers, and a loss of the strong locally identified brands such as Howick and Eastern and Birkenhead Transport – which has been around for 80 years. Other transport systems around the world regularly use other operators/brands. In Auckland, Fullers and other ferry operators still remain as a separate identifies.

I understand the new bus branding project cost significantly more than it should have, and an earlier review of the new bus contracts call them “seriously deficient.” As mayor, I will have the bus branding and contracting independently audited. But this happened because there was no local input into these decisions and that needs to change. So my plan for 6 new Regional Transport Boards will strengthen local involvement, improve decision making and reduce wasteful spending on issues like this.

AT remains too disconnected from Aucklanders. Satisfaction with the CCO has fallen among elected members this year with only 40% happy. I suspect this is lower among the general public. After more than 5 years working with AT, I have a clear idea of the changes needed and my reforms of the CCO and the way transport is prioritised will prevent mistakes like this.

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