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Capital Connection - morning protest planned
July 2012

Tomorrow morning (Thursday 26th July) passengers from the Capital Connection rail service will be driving to Waikanae Station to further highlight the failure of the NZTA to subsidise this vital commuter service from the Manawatu and Horowhenua.

While this drive to Waikanae will show how inadequate the parking is at the station, it will also serve to highlight how the NZTA and the Ministry of Transport has failed to consider the wider implications of their lack of support for this service. These implications being:

1. Loss of income to the region from professional commuters moving from the region to areas that are better served by (subsidised) public transport.
2. People such as retirees, tertiary students, school groups etc who do not have the alternative means of driving to Waikanae will become transport disadvantaged.
3. Overcrowding and unreliable service of the TransMetro trains; if the Capital Connection is cut, the equivalent of an entire train load of passengers will start using the already stretched metro units.
4. Road safety issues concerning driver fatigue will become an issue, with many people expected to drive to and from Palmerston North, Foxton, and Shannon each day, on top of an hour long, uncomfortable, train journey on the Units.
5. Lack of toilet facilities; it is unreasonable to expect people travelling for over two hours to go without toilet facilities – the toilets provided at Waikanae Station are currently closed in the afternoons and evenings.
6. Cutting the Capital Connection will put more cars on a road that is already struggling. It will make travelling time less productive since many people work while they travel; this is an impossible task while driving or while taking a metro unit.
7. Commuters who live north of Waikanae will have no rail option left if the Capital Connection is cut. If it is expected those people to drive to Waikanae and take the train from there, where are they expected them to park their cars?

In conclusion:

When compared to the 58 (including 8 weekend services) subsidised rail services between Masterton & Wellington; the people of the Horowhenua/Manawatu are being severely disadvantaged with the NZTA's contradictorily position of refusing to join with the Wellington Regional and Horizons Councils and subsidise this very important transport link for people living in Shannon, Otaki and Levin as well as the two main cities. If it's good enough for the Wairarapa line, why not the Capital Connection?

Only Gerry Brownlee can require the NZTA and KiwiRail to work with Horizons and Greater Wellington Regional Councils to ensure that this essential rail link between Palmerston North and Wellington is retained.
Bringing the Capital Connection under Trans Metro with funding from the NZTA and regional councils as well as a small fare increase simply brings it into line with every other commuter train in New Zealand.

The time frame for the cancellation of this service is unclear to us, but we fear that it may be as close as the end of this month – that is next Tuesday.

Peter Kirby
Capital Connection Commuter

Sandra Simmons (added 393 weeks ago)
The UK is also now trying to rectify mistakes of the past and is trying to take cars off the road, park and ride rail schemes have been in operation for some time and are very popular, the railway system is being extended and improved at a cost of billions. It is quicker, cheaper and more efficient for all of us to travel by rail and is better for the environment. This is a global reality!
Val Kirby, Perth, Western Australia (added 393 weeks ago)
I know that Perth is trying to keep cars out of the city and so how will Wellington cope with another hundred cars driving into the city to park if people don\\\'t stop and get the train the rest of the way.
C Lampp (added 395 weeks ago)
The fact that approx 35 regular CAPITAL CONNECTION drivers parked their cars in the Waikanae Station car park before 6.00 am this morning shows the passion that people feel about keeping the CAPITAL CONNECTION running. To those of you who arrived as usual, were unable to find a car park in time and as a result missed your unit connection we apologise. Unfortunately if the CAPITAL CONNECTION is cancelled this will become a regular occurrence. Please express your concerns to Gerry Brownlee, Nathan Guy and your council. Help keep the CAPITAL CONNECTION, this service is important for our district.
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