Category Archives: News

Comet Bus Vs Wuppertal Schwebebahn & Kassel tram #1

Hamilton’s Comet bus service is a linear public transport service providing a direct route from Hamilton’s southwest suburban bus routes to the Hospital, city centre and Rotokauri transport hub. This post’s focus is on the 10km Hospital to Rotokauri section, benchmarking Hamilton’s Comet bus service against similar services operating in Europe.

Photo from publictransportnz instagram

Wuppertal opened a 13 km linear public transport service in 1901. The 30-minute trip (p4*) runs between 5.12am and 11.23pm (p11*), providing the city with a 3 minute pulse (p44*). (*Wuppertal and the Suspension Railway, Travel Guide by Michael Malicke).

Kassel’s Tram line #1 travels from the bottom of Wilhelmshoher Park along Wilhelmshoher Alle’s straight 4.5km road (for comparison, Te Rapa Straight is about 2km long) picking up passengers from Wilhelmshoher Train Station mid-way, turning to travel through the city centre then to Kassel’s northern suburbs. This post will only focus on the 5.2km section from Wilhelmshoher Park to Konigsplatz (city centre), basically because I have not been north of Kassel’s Central train station.

All three routes (Wuppertal, Kassel and Hamilton) share a mix of land uses. Wuppertal has two major urban centres (Elberfeld and Barmen) and five other districts, which are predominantly small towns with their own centres, so all along the route you find mixed land use. Kassel’s Wilhelmshoher Alle feels as though citizens were able to build and site their homes or businesses along the street where they wanted and where it suited and was convenient for them, so living, business and shopping are mixed. Hamilton’s Hospital-central-Rotokauri route already has mixed land use, but often the single use zones are large and long, limiting the type of diversity one would find in many European cities.

The seven bright orange Comet buses run every 15 minutes between 6.30am~7pm weekdays and half hourly in the evenings and at weekends. Hospital to Town: 9 minutes and Transport Centre to The Base: 18 minutes. It takes half an hour to travel 10km.

The Wuppertal Suspension Railway runs every 2-5 minutes throughout the day (*p45) starting from 5.12am (p11*) and every 15 minutes in the evening (*p46) with the last train at 11.23pm (p11*). It takes half an hour to travel 13km.

The Kassel tram #1 runs every 15 minutes from 5.38am and every half hour after 8.00pm to midnight; after this there is a 1.00am and 2.00am service. On Saturday and Sunday tram #1 runs no less than every 30 minutes from 8.00am to 8.00pm (on Saturday between 10.00am and 6.00pm, tram #1 runs every 15 minutes). The timetable allows 22 minutes to travel the 5.2km section from Wilhelmshoher Park to Konigsplatz (city centre).

Should Hamilton’s Comet bus service be better? Adding Hamilton’s #12 Fitzroy bus to the Comet service would bring the frequency to every 10 minutes, putting it between Wuppertal (population 354,382, density 2,100 ppkm2) and Kassel (population 201,585, density 1,888 ppkm2) for frequency. The hours of service let Hamilton down. Kassel is hard to beat with Tram #1 running almost 24 hours a day (link to Kassel time table). The Wuppertal service starts half an hour earlier than the Comet timetable, which has an earliest start of 5.45am and its last stop at 9.39pm, which is an hour and a half earlier than Wuppertal’s last 11.23pm service.

Link to Kassel public transport network –ßenbahn_Kassel

Category: News

Hamilton train stations Bike & E-scooter Catchment

There are three proposed train stations in Hamilton: Rotokauri, Central, and Ruakura.

The two Hamilton to Auckland start-up passenger services will each start with 4-carriage trains, able to carry 150 passengers each. (Link to KiwiRailBlog)

Stage 1 of the Rotokauri station has a budget of $2,246,000 (HCC Meeting 27 Aug 19 p14) for a park and ride development. This builds 105 car parks, at a nominal $21,000 per car park or $7,000 per passenger. Is this sustainable?

The first Comet bus arrives at the Base at 6.38am, three minutes before the last 6.41am morning train to Auckland. The first full Orbiter bus service arrives at Rotokauri after 7am. Is this sensible?

HCC Growth and Infrastructure Committee – Tuesday 27 August 2019 – page 21

Near a train station, it is normal to have the real estate dominated by bus stops, access routes, safety zones near the tracks, and open public space which includes ticket offices and neighbourhood-type shops. For Rotokauri, the car parking starts about 50m from the platform. In New Zealand, half of all walking trips are more than five minutes (NZTA Ped guide p12). On this basis, a ‘500m walk to the station’ sounds reasonable (Tetteroo p7). Real estate 50 to 500m from the platform could be dominated by car parking at both Rotokauri and Ruakura. At the new green belt central station, car parking is not an option.

The beauty of e-scooters is that they do not require parking and they have a trip distance of 2-3 km (Fitt, H., & Curl, A. (2019). For biking, research by Dutch Railway states that ‘over 45% of all train passengers arrive on their bikes’ and ‘that the distance they travel … is preferably up to 2 or 3 km, depending on the station (Tetteroo p42). This reach can be greater for strong and confident cyclists and the average trip length on an e-bike is about 1.5 times that of a normal bike within the same travel time, we can expect that the catchment areas can indeed be enlarged’ (Tetteroo p96).

For Hamilton, the focus is on people new to biking. ‘In order to facilitate multimodal mobility, it is therefore important that the entire multimodal trip is of high quality’ (Tetteroo p22), so a good 3+m wide shared-use path needs to radiate 3 km out from the station zone in all directions. The quality of the route surface and all curb cut-downs need to be comfortable for the smaller e-scooter wheels. For faster cyclists and e-bikes travelling at speeds over 20kmh on-road cycle lanes of no less than 2m width are needed. We must expect people new to biking to make mistakes. The routes need to feel direct, safe and be highly visible. Obstacle-free zones are the most important in this respect.


Tetteroo, E. (2015). Urban Cycling = HOD. A study of the relationship between urban planning and the hybrid bicycle-train system in Dutch planning practice. Thesis, Master City Developer (MCD 10) Erasmus University Rotterdam & Delft University of Technology. (Retrieved from

Category: News