Early buses connecting to intercity rail

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The most valuable land near a rail station is within the 500m walking catchment. With city taxes being linked to the value of land and what is built on it, spending $2,246,000 ($21,000 per car park) on car-parking and then allowing these parks to be used for free is a cost to everyone and will please no one: we all know that demands for car parking can never be satisfied.

Old Chruch building remove to provide more car parking

In the ‘start-up passenger rail service, Business Case – Engagement Register’ the NZTA discussion notes say (p212) ‘Potential to have Orbiter from start-up – bus service supporting rail service’ but add that ‘most people drive private vehicles’. We see NZTA has funded ‘building 100 car parks’. NZTA goes on to say ‘the Transport Agency will be interested in the mode neutral, rather than access via car focus’. Is there any evidence NZTA will fund an earlier start for an Orbiter bus connection from start-up?

The same ‘Business Case’ from Waikato Regional Council (WRC) says (p60) ‘Existing local bus services can easily be re-routed and timetables altered to integrate with the Start-Up service’ … (p65) WRC will ensure that the existing bus services integrate well with the rail timetable when is finalised … (p67) The Orbiter and Northern Connector bus services will be reviewed to provide a bus connection to The Base station. WRC will ensure that the existing bus services integrate well with the rail timetable when is finalised … (p68) The Northern Connector and Huntly-Pukekohe bus services will be reviewed to provide a bus connection to Huntly station. WRC will ensure that the existing bus services integrate well with the rail timetable when finalised’. Are we going to see any evidence WRC is planning to start early connector bus services to rail stations?

If Regional bus services start earlier, a third of Hamilton’s area will be within 300m of a morning bus connecting to the Hamilton to Auckland rail service. This would not only include the Orbiter route but would mean that all along the Te Awamutu, Cambridge and Huntly routes people could park and ride at a much lower cost to the tax payer. When car parking is spread under such circumstances, it does not cause the type of congestion generated by a hundred cars leaving a single car parking facility at same time.

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Hamilton Buses Vs Osnabruck & Koblenz

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Osnabruck (population 164,748, density 1,400 ppkm2) has “Five MetroBus lines (M1-M5), nine StadtBus lines (11-19) and the new ring line (10/20) [providing] a good basis for an attractive and at the same time sustainable mobility offer in Osnabrück. It connects newly created residential and work centers such as the Landwehr district and the Westerberg campus and, with improved travel times on all lines, also does justice to your changed working hours, leisure and shopping habits. On weekdays, therefore, the “daily cycle” (10 or 20 minute cycle) starts one hour earlier on all bus lines, i.e. at 6 a.m. and ends in the evening hours at 8 p.m.” (Osnabruck BusNetz 2020)

On Saturdays, the MetroBuses run every 10 minutes on almost all sections

In Hamilton (population 165,100, density 1,500 ppkm2 area 111 km2), the Comet provides a main liner service at a 15-minute frequency (10 minutes once Fitzroy is added), the Orbiter as a ring service at a 20-minute frequency, then over 20 public bus services at a 30-minute frequency. For hours of service: ‘Bus stops along the Comet route are served every 15 minutes between the Hospital and The Base via the CBD (Transport Centre on Anglesea St) between 6.30am-7pm weekdays and half hourly evenings and weekends’. Note: Hamilton services start half an hour later and finish one hour earlier, compared to Osnabruck.

Koblenz (population 114,024, density 1,100 ppkm2): an area of 105 km2 (p16 Report) is serviced by 10 through route bus services. Route #2/12 is similar to our existing Comet service, where two routes become one, providing a 15 minute frequency along most of its length. The service starts at 5.28am and ends at 11.48 pm, while Hamilton’s Comet run starts at 5.45am and ends at 9.39pm

Summing up:
The frequency of Hamilton’s bus service at 10 to 20 minutes is as good as you will find in a similar sized German city.
Hamilton’s bus service starts later: the earliest start I can find is 5.45am on the Comet run. In contrast, in Osnabruck the 10 minute frequency run starts at 5.11am, and the 20 minute frequency starts at 4.46am. In Wuppertal service starts at 5.12am, and in Kassel, tram #1 runs every 15 minutes from 5.38am, while other services run earlier. Koblenz starts at 5.28am.

A bit more detail:
Osnabruck Ringline route – the earliest timetabled start time is 4.46am, and the full service Rail Station to Rail Station starts at 5.17am with first 83 minute completed ring at 6.40am. The last complete ring ends at 8.49pm and there are then partial services up to midnight. 
• Hamilton’s Orbiter has its earliest start at 6.05am. Base to Base starts at 6.15am, completing the first 72 minute orbit at 7.27am. The last Orbiter run finishes at 9.51pm.

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