Another couple strikes for Auckland Transport – what happened to three and you’re out?
Auckland Transport and Britney Spears are best of buddies right now, because Auckland Transport must have Oops I Did It Again playing in the background of their offices. Firstly, it seems that once again, HOP is going to be delayed. I wrote about my fears of this in December, and it looks like, unfortunately, I was right. Secondly, I’ve received an email from Auckland Transport today that does concern me.
Starting with HOP. An article on Transport Blog today pointed out that Snapper has, once again, missed a deadline in proving to Auckland Transport, NZTA and Thales that Snapper can work with the final HOP system. What does this mean? It means the whole process is probably going to be delayed again. Either AT will have to delay the roll-out for installing Thales machines into buses already fitted with Snapper readers or they’ll be giving Snapper more time to sort their excrement out.
A lot of people seem to be blaming Snapper for the issues here, and they are certainly not without blame. However, for me, at least 75% of the blame goes to Auckland Transport. After awarding the contract to Thales and having the decision stand up after judicial review, WHY in the name of all that is holy would you then allow Snapper the right to service some of the contract. They’ve just wasted significant amounts of time and money on a lawsuit, now you’re going to offer them at least part of what they wanted? Thales said they didn’t want this. Thales said it wouldn’t work. Thales has proven themselves to be correct. Surely, having been offered the full contract, then having NZ Bus taken away from that, Thales would have a case for breach of contract? Having not seen the contract, I can’t be sure, but I hope they’ve seriously looked at this.
Now, this correspondence I’ve had with Auckland Transport. This started after I emailed Mayor Len Brown, with my local MP, Jonathan Coleman, being copied in. The email I sent said:
Hi,I am writing this email because I am concerned at the complete incompetency of Maxx/Auckland Transport. I have been residing in Auckland and attending the University of Waikato for the past few years and as such, I have received a Maxx Tertiary ID Sticker in order to have subsidised public transport within Auckland. For the past three years, I have called the Maxx Call Centre regarding this, and each of the three years I have had an issue with receiving this.In 2009/10, I was told that I need to arrange this with my tertiary provider, which is only true for universities within Auckland.In 2010/11, after the changeover from the many councils to Auckland Council and from ARTA to Auckland Transport, I was initially told I need to talk to my tertiary provider. Knowing this is not correct, I advised the representative of the situation I had the year previous. Eventually, I was told that the forms were “being printed”, then I was told that they were being redesigned with the Auckland Transport logo instead of the ARTA logo. It wasn’t until I contacted the Mayor’s Office and my local MP Jonathan Coleman (Mayoral Reference Number xxxxxxxxxx) that I eventually received this form.This year, it has become even worse. On January 4th, I contacted the Maxx Call Centre. For the first time, the first person I spoke with understood what I needed and told me that she would have the form sent out to me and I would receive it within three days. Not receiving the form, I called again on January 9th. I was told that the representative should not have given me a timeframe for receiving the form as that is not standard practice and that the reason I would have not received the form was there had not been a mail pickup until January 9th. I called again on January 12th having still not received the form. I was told that the department that arranges the forms had only just started back after Christmas the day before and I may receive it in the next couple days. I insisted they put through another request for the form just in case it hasn’t been sent, which the representative said they had done. Still having not received the form, I called a fourth time on January 17th and requested to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor called me back after looking into this and advised the department that deals with the forms had put it in the post on that day and I would definitely receive it by the end of the week (which would be last week). I called a fifth time today (27th January) and spoke to a supervisor who said the form was definitely sent on the 17th. I said that as I have been told that before, I was quite sceptical. I requested that the form be emailed to me. She said she will look into that and call me back.Obviously, this is still being dealt with, however I do think the Mayor’s office needs to look into the clear incompetence of Auckland Transport. How difficult is it to send me a form? It surely shouldn’t take almost a month, even with Christmas/New Years in play. For that matter, why is the form not available either on the maxx website or at Auckland Transport service centres? I cannot understand why this form needs to be a state secret that cannot be easily accessed.As with last year, this email is being CC’d to my local MP, Jonathan Coleman. Hopefully someone can sort this out for this year and make it so I can actually get a form next year.
In response, Mayor Len Brown’s office said:
Dear Mr Farrell
Re: Tertiary ID sticker
Thank you for your email to the Mayor dated 27 January 2012, concerning your tertiary ID sticker.
His Worship the Mayor has asked me to address the matters you raise.
It is Auckland Council policy to forward all transport related issues to Auckland Transport for a full investigation by their experts. Therefore, I have asked senior Auckland Transport officers to look into your concerns as a matter of priority.
Thank you again for contacting the Mayor.
I was surprised that Auckland Transport was being asked to respond when all that will do is given them a chance to say I was mistaken, or something similar, and that the issues I brought up were really issues at all. I wasn’t disappointed. (Note, this may contain errors not necessarily made by Auckland Transport – the letter was written, printed, then scanned and sent as a PDF. I used an OCR program to change the image into text, however this may have been inaccurate)
Dear Mr Farrell
Customer Reference number: AT 2012/xxxxxx
Subject: Request for MAXX tertiary ID sticker application form
Thank you for your correspondence to the Mayor on 27 January 2012 regarding your concerns at the time taken to process your request for a MAXX tertiary ID sticker application form. The Mayor has asked that I review the concerns raised and respond on his behalf.
Firstly, I apologise for any inconvenience that may have been caused by this matter.
Our records show that you called MAXX on 5 and 12 January 2012 requesting a MAXX tertiary ID sticker application form. Our records also show that when you spoke with a MAXX Supervisor on 27 January 2012 you were advised that application forms were posted to the above address on both 5 and 12 January 2012. The MAXX Supervisor then offered to email the application form to you on 27 January 2012. Auckland Transport is unsure as to why you did not receive the forms send by post.
I can, however, confirm that your application for a MAXX tertiary ID sticker was received by Auckland Council on 31 January 2012. The University of Waikato emailed confirmation of your enrolment status as a full time undergraduate student to Auckland Transport at 5.00pm on Friday 3 February 2012. Your application was processed yesterday and I understand arrangements have been made today to courier your MAXX tertiary ID sticker to the above address.
With regards to your comments that MAXX tertiary ID sticker applications need to be readily available on the website, I can advise that MAXX is Auckland Transport’s main contact centre for public transport related enquiries including MAXX Tertiary ID sticker applications. Auckland Transport approved tertiary providers issue MAXX Tertiary ID stickers to their eligible full time students. If students are not enrolled with an Auckland Transport approved tertiary provider they are required to contact MAXX. MAXX staff need to verify certain criteria before sending out the application form to reduce the number of students who are not eligible completing the form and supplying documents in support of an application that will ultimately be declined.
I trust this information is of use.
Thank you again for your correspondence and for your support of Auckland Transport.
Public Transport Operations Manager
What I don’t understand is, if the reason these forms can’t be publicly available is because they don’t want applications from those who are ineligible, why do we need the form at all? Surely, if they’ve already determined I’m eligible in order to give me the form, I shouldn’t need anything more.
I have always made it clear that I do not agree that tertiary discounts should only apply to some tertiary students. I believe that, if you’re going to have tertiary discounts, they should be available to ALL tertiary students, no matter which institution they attend or what their status at the institution is.
Posted on February 20, 2012, in New Zealand Politics and tagged Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, HOP card, Len Brown, New Zealand Transport Association, NZ Bus, Public Transport, Snapper, Thales. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.