Monorail man invited back

Tauranga city council is to take another look at a monorail proposal. Photo: Supplied.

Tauranga City Council is going to take a second look at a proposed monorail system that is claimed to be cost effective and able to operate without ongoing subsidies.

SkyCabs CEO Hugh Chapman told councillors the New Zealand designed system is cheaper than most public transport alternatives at a transport committee meeting on Monday.

The cost per kilometre of two way SkyCab track is under US$20m per kilometre, compared to $15-25m for part busway and bus lane, $31-43.5m for light rail, and $62m for a standard monorail.

It’s also the fastest option, with an average speed of 60kmh compared to 30kmh for bus lanes, 24kmh for light rail and 42kmh for a standard monorail.

The cabs seat eight, with standing room for peak hour or for bikes, strollers etc.

Seated capacity is 4800 in each direction, almost equivalent to two lanes of motorway in each direction on each line, says Hugh.

Peak hour carrying capacity is 9000 people per hour in either direction, with waiting times between cars of from 30 seconds to four minutes.

“We see this as a system that could really change travel patterns,” says Hugh.

The crunch comes with the price. The whole system with lines from Mount North to Baypark and across the bridge to Greerton will cost $560 million.

The project can be split with the first phase costing $384 million. It is a long term system with a life of 50-100 years, says Hugh.

He is proposing the government pay for half, and the regional council put up ten per cent. The rest would come from private equity and bank loans.

“That means this system can operate without an operating subsidy, that’s a huge advantage in terms of its future if you like,” says Hugh.

Fares will be higher but travel times across the city will be considerably reduced and be faster than travel by car, says Hugh. As passenger numbers increase fares can be reduced.

“It is a very efficient operating system, computer controlled, just like lifts. It is very different to what is in the current public transport arena,” says Hugh.

He was unable to tell councillor Larry Baldock what passenger numbers will be required to make the proposed Tauranga SkyCab network pay.

“I would expect you would have some more details on it,” says Larry. “That’s a pretty important claim given it is the operating costs of these schemes that hit us hardest. You have to do a lot more work to convince us that you can actually do that.”

Mayor Greg Brownless says it’s interesting to see a public transport mode that doesn’t conflict with current road use.

“I guess in a way if the funding was able to be achieved, whether it makes money or not would be at the risk of your company SkyCabs?”

He is also pleased no capital cost is required from the city council, as the regional council looks after public transport.

“Something we very much appreciate,” says Greg.

“We do have a bottle neck from 15th Avenue to Welcome Bay. You would be flexible to other routes being included?”

Hugh says the system is very adaptable and can incorporate some quite big spans, and the cabs just hang off the sides of the beam.

“Going up and down or across something is really quite feasible.”

Committee chair Councillor Rick Curach says the system would certainly be iconic for Tauranga.

They will have a discussion of the project and send feedback to SkyCabs, before SkyCabs comes back to the committee at some later stage.



Posted on 24-12-2017 07:52 | By overit

if the idea was a good one, surely one with the carriage on top would be better, like Seattle.


Posted on 14-12-2017 11:15 | By maildrop

Mmm....maybe when it has failed the owners will take it all down and make good all the infrastructure that was disturbed? Oh no, that’s right, it will fall back onto Council, aka, ratepayers. Oh and I pay money to the Regional Council each year so the confusion is yours. Maybe grumpies have been around the block and know what’s coming?


Posted on 14-12-2017 08:31 | By dumbkof2

surely you dont believe the council will have no input on this. they will have to consult all the experts and all the iwi just to think about it

Dreaming !!!

Posted on 14-12-2017 02:12 | By Gee9000

You got to be joking Mate !!!


Posted on 13-12-2017 19:25 | By Sg1nz

Some here seem unable to read the story. The proposal is that regional and central would pay. Seems like the usual grumpys see anything positive as a reason to complain.

Cheap as chips

Posted on 13-12-2017 18:41 | By maildrop

Seats 8!? - its more like a fairground ride isn’t it? From what I remember they always looked very dangerous and unreliable. And run by untrustworthy folk who moved on when they had milked the locals. Next.


Posted on 13-12-2017 18:09 | By dumbkof2

surely you dont believe the council will have no input on this

Break point

Posted on 13-12-2017 17:50 | By waiknot

Can Larry give the break even number of visitors his museum will require. One assume she will know this

Run, run as fast as you can!

Posted on 13-12-2017 16:42 | By red

I would suggest you take this proposal as seriously as SkyCabs website, and guess who else has a monorail... Mickey Mouse in Disneyland!

Read the article dumbkof2!

Posted on 13-12-2017 16:30 | By TheCameltoeKid

It states quite clearly in the article that the Council will not have to contribute to the cost of construction as the funds will come from Central Government, the Regional Council and other sources. I think from what I’ve looked at so far it seems like a good idea. And as Greg rightly asks the system can be added to so it can stretch out to Welcome Bay. Imagine no more empty bus lanes on Hewletts road while everybody sits in congestion bumper to bumper. At first I thought, "What a stupid idea!" To be honest, the more I think about it I think Yeah! I like it.

Good idea or not ?

Posted on 13-12-2017 16:27 | By Gloria Cooke

Trust Council check it out very carefully as the Sydney monorail was closed down when it didn’t pay for itself ???


Posted on 13-12-2017 16:17 | By Capt_Kaveman

TCC stupid ideas


Posted on 13-12-2017 15:26 | By

Great - sounds like good planning.

Good Idea

Posted on 13-12-2017 14:35 | By Nick220

The one that used to be in sydney when i visited was awesome. Unfortunately, we all know that as long as the council is involved it will turn out to be a poorly though out shambles

Facts of it

Posted on 13-12-2017 13:26 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Roads make money for Government and public transport lakes a loss. Add to that Councils involvement and the result is guaranteed to be a loss. The real loosers are ratepayers of course.


Posted on 13-12-2017 12:58 | By dumbkof2

whats another few hundred million this council wants to spend. keep going we will be bankrupt that much sooner

The Simpsons

Posted on 13-12-2017 12:55 | By Captain Sensible

Reminds me of that Simpsons episode! Basically the scammers target the most gullible naive wasteful Council they can find. They have struck the mother-lode with TCC!

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