Mike Hosking: Zealots need to accept public transport is a failure

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 12 Mar 2020, 9:19PM
Roadworks and congestion is being created by the ideology. The cars aren’t making it worse, the ideologues are.

Mike Hosking: Zealots need to accept public transport is a failure

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 12 Mar 2020, 9:19PM

For about the 1000th time, Three last week dabbled in that tiresome exercise of having modes of transport race from point A to point B

It wasn’t even a good attempt, but what did grip me was the claim from Auckland Transport that traffic would keep getting worse if use of public transport didn’t grow twice as fast as it currently is. 

Now on that threat, because that’s what it is, is an admission of failure. Their admission is public transport use isn’t working.

Like Luxembourg last week becoming the first country in the world to make public transport free, it’s an admission of complete and utter failure.

If public transport is the answer, we would be using it, and not just that, we would pay for it. When you literally have to give stuff away, it’s the living example of a supply demand failure; the supply is there the demand isn’t.

Backing it up is the European study on public transport and the $28 billion investment across Europe, showing it doesn’t decrease car use but a lot of the money is wasted.

What the zealots refuse to see when presented with this failure is that what they believe or want to believe simply isn’t true.

Why would we stick to cars? Cars cost more, parking is a pain, congestion is a bigger pain, so why are we still in them?

One, because public transport is a joke. It's unreliable, there is rarely a day when it doesn’t break or strike or run late or get cancelled

Two, most importantly, it doesn’t allow us to live our lives.

If your life involves walking out the door to the train station hopping on an express two stops later your round the corner from your work, then brilliant, public transport works for you.

But most of us aren’t like that. Most of us go from A to B to C to D to E, it involves work and school and uni and meetings and sport and chores and errands and the geography is wide.

No bus, no train covers it or even comes close to covering it. It simply doesn’t work, so we stay in our cars.

And that’s before you get to the scandal of this. Part of the congestion, an increasing part, is because of the roads deliberately being shrunk to suit the zealot’s agenda.

Two lanes roads are now two lanes plus a bus lane and a bike lane and cones and road works, and the roads weren’t that big to start with.

The congestion is being created by the ideology. The cars aren’t making it worse, the ideologues are.

They have a failed dream, they’re down to threats, if not giving it away and still we are in the car. We’ve seen what they’re selling, and we don’t want it because it doesn’t work.