The journey to Rotorua had barely begun when I saw a yacht sinking off the point at the end of Shelley Beach Rd. What I really mean it is it had sunk. Maybe it was hit by lightening in the Thursday night donner und blitzen but by early Friday it was history. Next time I looked there were only the masts to be seen.
Advertising on the back of Auckland Transport (AT) buses in the city talks of people being too 'posh' to take the bus. Perhaps there are more fundamental reasons why people aren't flocking to public transport as they predicted.
For public transport (PT) to be successful it needs to be frequent and affordable. Before the rise of the car that is exactly what it was where I grew up in the city of Manchester. A car was a weekend luxury rather than a commuting option.
Auckland Transport is trying to make PT both but there are so many constraints to its success that uptake will be limited and patchy. One of the constraints is the much vaunted Hop Card. Its intent is laudable and, frankly, only to be expected in a modern city. However, it has features that make it unattractive to the occasional traveller as explained in a letter the East and Bays Courier.
A regular overseas business traveller who lives in Auckland says there are three reasons he doesn’t have a Hop Card when he has similar cars from London, Hong Kong, Osaka, and Shanghai; a 25cent top up fee, a use it or lose it after 60 day clause, and a two year expiry date. All useless for the infrequent traveller.
The advertising on the back of a bus shown in the picture demonstrates the desperation from AT at its lack of success. As Mark Thomas, Local Board member for Orakei, says “I’m not sure who Auckland Transport thinks the ‘posh’ people of Auckland are, but a better reason ‘normal’ people don’t use PT is well expressed in the letter to the East and Bays Courier."
There’s surprise over the lack of support for subsidised ferry services after an initial uptake. Too expensive and inconvenient say letter writers to the Herald. Although rail passenger travel is up it’s not going as well as expected, mainly because of the increase in fares.
Full marks to AT for trying to introduce PT systems but they need to take heed of the fundamental message that it needs to be frequent and affordable. That effectively means huge subsidies as well as retro-fitting Auckland. Can we afford it? I doubt it.
Today’s Herald gives the table of NCEA achievement by Auckland Schools. The figures for Waiheke High School make grim reading. All levels of achievement are down. Whilst the Level 1 figure is only 3.3% lower than its 2012 figure, but still at a very creditable 90.2%, the biggest cause for concern is in the dramatic fall in Level 2 (year 12) which has dropped a massive 17.5% since 2012. Of all 96 high schools in Auckland this is the third biggest decrease at Level 2. Most schools are showing significant improvement at this level.
Waiheke High was only one of 4 schools showing a lower figures across all levels (1,2,3, and UE) and worst amongst decile 6 schools. This doesn’t bode well for future UE statistics. Where is the school going wrong? Is it the Board of Trustees, or teachers?
This contrasts with the performance of Selwyn College a decile 4 school. The government had to step in 2008 to address wrangling between the Board of Trustees and opposing parent groups. A commissioner was appointed to run the school and since when it has thrived, more than doubling performance which is now over 90% at all 4 levels.
It must be religious fruitcase day. First a Catholic priest raves against Lego, now a Muslim king defines all atheists as terrorists. Ah well, it was hardly a country at the top of my ‘must visit’ list, so no loss to me personally, but the rise in religious intolerance around the world is a cause for concern for civilised people everywhere.
Saudi Arabia has introduced a series of new laws which define atheists as terrorists, according to a report from Human Rights Watch.