22.07.07 22:29 Age: 11 yrs

Mt Eden transport plan eye-wateringly expensive

Category: Media

By: Brian Rudman - NZ Herald

The gaggle of private consultants who came up with the latest plan to ferry visitors up Mt Eden must have confused their Auckland City commission with one from the Sultan of Brunei, or billionaire Alinghi boss, Ernesto Bertarelli.

Who else do they think can afford to splash out $14.9 million on an untried, driverless system involving 16, four-seater personalised rapid transport pods. Even the favoured $3.17 million alternative of three, 36-passenger, rubber-wheeled trains, is eye-wateringly expensive. Especially when annual operating costs will add $1 million to either option.

Could we have a price for the versions without gold-plated wheel rims please?

After all, the free electric City Circuit bus service carries 1.25 million passengers annually - the same number as the Mt Eden service is expected to meet - for around $700,000 a year.

Agreed, the volcanic cones have been disgracefully short-changed for decades and the city's belated attempts to make up for past neglect are to be applauded. But proposing unaffordable remedies is only going to end in tears and recrimination.

The biggest worry is that tour operators have indicated they're likely to bypass Maungawhau-Mt Eden if their buses are banned from the mountain and that could have a major impact on the approximately 800,000 annual visitors to the summit on coach tours. No doubt it would also have a major impact on which ever unlucky maunga the tour operators decided to invade instead.

To read more of this article please visit NZ Herald

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