Trains, buses and cars – we need them all

A nice rant by Bernard Hickey against the rushed Auckland electrification decision. I’m not arguing with him on the rushed aspect, nor on the specifics of this particular decision, which seem to be remarkably absent.

However the comments have unveiled a cars versus buses versus trains versus whatever war.

Let me copy my comment on the thread:

To me it is simple – a decent sized city (any city really) needs multiple modes of transport, and Auckland is currently a public transport joke.

The aim should be to make the retail cost of each transport option include the full cost or benefit of it’s economic externalities.

  • That means driving a car should incorporate the cost of smog, congestion and road building/maintenance.
  • Travelers on a bus should receive some of that car congestion subsidy – after all they are taking cars off the road.
  • Train riders should receive more, as they are using even less road space and resources per person.

And that’s why trains make economic sense – they work when you add the numbers up correctly.

When we add the true cost of carbon emissions to the equations then things will really start to pay off – for trains and for us all.

Meanwhile car drivers already pay a lot of tax for emissions and so forth via fuel tax, but they do not pay for the congestion cost. It’s a real cost – increased fuel consumption and wasted time spent in traffic for thousands of people.

But we can only start charging for congestion when we have a viable alternative transport system.

So yes – bring in more trains and other mass transit options, and especially bring in more transport to more areas.

Published by Lance Wiggs


One reply on “Trains, buses and cars – we need them all”

  1. Good call Lance,

    So many people do not take into account the entire cost of using a resource.

    It’s not just transport which needs to take this into account. I think we would live a better life if most products included the cost of recycling or dumping them into their purchase cost.


Comments are closed.