Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Andrew Dickens: Auckland Transport is proof you can't control a CCO

Now, I'm not part of the tribe who automatically thinks that Auckland Transport is a bunch of ideological toss-pots who want to force us out of our cars.

I'm the sort of urbanist that gets there's a limit to the number of cars that can use our roads, and when that limit is hit then you have offer choices so we can all get somewhere.

I don't reflexively hate cycleways or bus lanes. I comprehend congestion charges and I'm excited for the Central Rail Link and even Light Rail. Mostly because I've seen the good a co-ordinated public transport system has done elsewhere in the world.

But AT's 24/7 parking charges change is beyond the pale.

Having developed the city centre with apartments, it will inconvenience residents who have been trying to take their cars off the roads by living in town. It's going to cost ratepayers. Either directly, such as the residents who reckon it will cost them $11,000 a year to park their car now. Or by funding a bureaucracy to run resident parking schemes.

It's said it will affect hospo workers. It won't stop punters who tend to cab or even use public transport into town because they're on the lash. The people it will really affect are the minimum waged workers who need to get in and out of the city outside public transport times - and who are least able to afford it.

But the most chilling part of the story is that the mayor and the Council are powerless to stop it, even though they've helped to cause the problem.

Councils fund council controlled organisations but they don't run them. In this case, the Council looked to reduce its funding so AT unilaterally increased its external fundraising by hiking the parking charges.

But that is AT’s constitutional right. The main Council body, including the elected representatives, have no operational control.

Rodney Hide designed them that way so politicians couldn't get the filthy, compromised hands on big assets.

Auckland hospitality workers forced to pay for new 24/7 parking fees in the CBD

'Massive change': Auckland CBD to be stung with 24/7 parking fees

Which is why I've always laughed about National's plan for council controlled operations to run all our water.

Councils may own and fund CCOs, but they certainly don't control them.

Just look at Auckland Transport.

Andrew Dickens is a broadcaster with Newstalk ZB. - where this article was sourced.

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