Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

Transport Measures Don’t Tell The Full Story

Auckland Transport’s rail performance issues have been well publicised. As the graph to the right shows, “service performance” (what AT calls whether public transport arrives on-time) has plummeted from a high 80% rolling average to 73.6% for rail punctuality in June (it was back up into the 80%’s in the first two weeks of July).

Unsurprisingly this has caused a spike in complaints to AT. Up from the usual 1,000 (!) per month to nearly 1,800.


The reasons for this have generally been explained as the “expected” consequences of the significant move from diesel to electric trains across (almost) the whole network.

Some of this is likely to be true, although there was no mention of likely or even potential performance issues in the three page media release heralding a “new era in pubic transport” when the trains’ contract was signed in 2011. Neither the then Auckland Transport Chairman nor Len Brown nor Transport Chair Councillor Mike Lee nor the head of the train manufacturer mentioned this. But then you don’t usually spoil a good news story with the bad, do you.

Or did they not expect it?

Auckland Transport spends a lot of time measuring things. Their Monthly Indicators Report provides 42 different graphs tracking transport economy and performance measures.

But are they measuring all the right things?

Since last week I have been dealing with a constituent who has been battling AT for advice for several months on whether she can put a sign on a footpath to promote the tennis club she helps run. She has had several letters, a number of emails, one or two unhelpful phone calls – but after 4 months she is no further along.

Elected members have both an email “help desk” and a shared staff member we can raise issues with, but the “service performance” standard for both is unreliable. Given the person had been waiting months I went direct. After only two days I started to get a sense of what she was feeling.

Happily, after four and half years I am well practicised dealing with the AT run-around and so I just elevated it up the food chain. Today she got a call from someone who may actually be able to help.

But I wonder where her issue is in the 42+ measurement charts?

Len Brown is likely blissfully unaware of issues like this. But a new leader for Auckland will need to run a council that measures the things that matter.

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    AT Service Performance

    One comment on “Transport Measures Don’t Tell The Full Story

    1. Lark says:

      Susriiprng to think of something like that