Auckland Light Rail is due to become a part of Auckland’s public transport network. The proposed route will run from Māngere to the City Centre, but it aims to be more than just a transport system and strives to create community bonded transport hubs. Jen Scott from Auckland Light Rail said the feedback given about this project showed that Māngere is a very youthful community, and it will provide communities along the line the affordable opportunity to study, and form a community in which they feel involved in.
The Government decided on a tunneled Light Rail system, which would see the modern tram system run through a tunnel from Wynyard Quarter to Mt Roskill. As this type of light rail will run with underground stations, it is not necessary for the tram line to follow the main road lines, and therefore the line has the potential to move a lot faster than a surface-based Light Rail. Tunneled Light Rail will see 17,400 people being moved through the system every hour, in comparison to 8,400 that would be moved with an above-ground system. It would take 43 minutes to travel from the airport to Wynyard Quarter.
The outcomes for the project are to have an easily accessible and integral system with the community and current transport systems, optimising sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, creating an integral community in urban areas, giving a high-quality service, and a service that is good value for money. Community building and a good service for a good price is key to students and their future.
Despite the completion of Auckland Light Rail still being eight to ten years away, there are still ample reasons why students should be getting involved and giving feedback around the project. When looking at age-groups who previously contributed feedback about the project, the 20–29-year-old age group were the second-most involved and second-most supportive age-group. The project is therefore heavily influenced by student thoughts, and the transport company encourages students to lend their voice.
The location of the Light Rail also plays a big role in impacting students, as this provides a far more accessible line for future students, and current students who will go on to work along the line. As the line runs straight into the City Centre, there is an obvious link between people who live along the line and the two main tertiary institutes in Auckland. Those students who pitch in their opinion now will be paving the way for South Auckland youth who may not find a trip to uni accessible, as currently catching multiple buses for over an hour is not economical or practical for many potential students. By removing logistical issues of accessing universities, feedback from current students can help make university more accessible.
As well as this, since the system will not be ready until most students are well past studying, it’s easy to think if it doesn’t immediately affect them, why should it matter? However, the location of the Light Rail system works in conjunction with the urban intensification seen to take place along the line, with an additional 15,000 households expected. There is potential for many students to then be living and working somewhere along the line’s route, creating a need for the project to be done to fit what students want for their future as they will be the ones living there.
How successful the Light Rail becomes also opens the door to Light Rail beyond the Māngere to the City Centre line and has the potential to form lines along the North Shore and North-West areas. Check out Light Rail’s website to see more about the recent feedback, and to stay tuned for more feedback opportunities to have your say in the transport system.