Last Monday 8th July saw the 5th (and final) CHAT Club workshop focusing on implementing rail or other rapid transit in Greater Christchurch. This series of public workshops has, since February, been slowly working through the various issues and questions of how to get mass passenger transport happening here. If you missed the previous workshops, here are the details of workshops 1, 2, 3, and 4.
A copy of the full presentation for the 90-minute workshop can be found here (5MB PDF). We started with a recap of the overall “roadmap” of these workshops. There have been a series of transport and land use topics introduced along the way to get everyone up to speed and to help lead into the various interactive exercises. Notwithstanding the limited time available to cover these in a few 90-minute workshops, all of this has been geared towards coming up with a reasonable plan for funding and implementing some rapid transit options.
At the previous workshop, participants got to evaluate six PT options presented, based on earlier ideas developed by the first workshop. The overall mean scores from those evaluations were presented this time, and it was clear that some options were considered better at achieving the various agreed objectives.
To simplify further assessment, only the top four options (2-5) were taken forward to consider how they could be funded. Chris first presented some estimates each option was likely to cost, both the initial capital cost and ongoing operating costs – still a fairly ropey exercise without more detailed investigation. Annualised over 40 years, these costs ranged from a relatively cheap $5-12 million/year for the Northern Arterial BRT to a more hefty $51-94m for LRT between the city and Halswell along Lincoln Rd. Then Axel identified some of the possible ways that these options could be funded, from conventional ones such as national land transport funding (NLTF) and local rates to more creative sources like regional fuel taxes or land development value capture.
The main group exercise of the night was to have a look at the various mass PT options and to see how they could be funded. Each group discussed the various funding sources and considered whether they should be used for funding. It was notable that teams were relatively averse to additional local rates funding (too much cost pressure already), but were generally quite supportive of NLTP funding. Greater use of parking charges in high-demand areas and regional fuel taxes also got a fair bit of support. Interestingly there was also a lot of concern about limiting funding approaches deemed to be relatively worse for low-income groups (elsewhere in NZ, additional fuel taxes have been accused of being regressive in this respect).
So is that it for rapid transit? Maybe for CHAT Club for now, but work is now starting by the Joint Passenger Transport Committee to develop a detailed business case for rapid transit in Greater Christchurch. It may take a while to work through the options, but we will keep an eye on what is happening and let you know of opportunities for stakeholder input.
So what has been learnt so far? This series of workshops was a voluntary effort with nowhere near the resources or time needed to produce more accurate or detailed assessments of what is needed (that’s coming next!), but some things seem clear:
- There is plenty of interest locally in developing mass rapid transit options for Greater Christchurch.
- Coordinating new or intensified land development with new rapid transit corridors makes the most sense to get the best outcomes for the community.
- There is a lot of support for use of the existing rail corridors (particularly due to the lower implementation costs), although the opportunity to use the new Northern Motorway for Bus Rapid Transit also appeals due to the existing “sunk cost”.
- There are many potential funding avenues that could be used to pay for one, two or more of the rapid transit options presented.
Thanks to all the participants who contributed to the various workshops! It was hard work but a lot of fun…
What did you think of the workshops?