According to its draft plan Waiheke Local Board is going to provide park and ride facilities at Rocky Bay, Ostend and Surfdale to encourage you to use public transport to the ferry. It is also going to ‘review bus routes, affordability and frequency’.
That’s the problem with having as your leaders people who’ve only been on the island for five minutes. They have no memory of the last time park and ride was tried and failed, or the time before that. And why is our green board proposing such a big city urban solution for a semi-rural little island with a small population? It seems to me to contradict the island’s character.
However, being a ‘Green Party’ board it is hardly surprising your local board’s plan starts from the underlying ‘green’ premise that all cars are morally ‘bad’, and so by extension are all car drivers, whilst all cyclists, walkers and horse riders are morally ‘good’. After all this is a religion, maybe cult would be a better description, we are talking about with all that implies about dividing people in ‘us’ and ‘them’.
Why won’t park and ride work?
Well firstly there would have to be a better public transport system on the island otherwise people are unlikely to be enticed out of their cars. That’s a pre-requisite. A private bus company runs the bus service which feeds its ferries. Has either Auckland Transport or the Local Board got the money to fund a public transport system on Waiheke. No.
Leaving that rather large hurdle aside we come the Beacher’s Brook of hurdles - where will people park? There is no public land in Rocky Bay, Ostend and Surfdale for parking. Will the Local Board or Auckland Transport fund the purchase of land, assuming there was any available? No.
Maybe in Surfdale they could use the car park outside Stefanos. Go and ask the business owners there if that’s a good idea. Good luck with that.
In Ostend the privately owned site that will one day house a new supermarket was used for a previously failed park and ride experiment. Even that won’t be available soon.
Rocky Bay? There’s barely enough room for a bus to turn round let alone provide a place where cars can be left all day.
Last but not least is the simple behavioural reason why it will never work. If I commute from my home in Ostend I can get to Matiatia in ten minutes, add another five to park the car and walk to the ferry. At the beginning and end of my ferry commute I add half an hour to my working day. If I were to take a park and ride option that would stretch to an extra two hours a day, an hour each way. It’s a no brainer, I won't do it.
They’ll be suggesting car pooling next. Oh to be green, morally superior and stupid.