MOTAT to be the new home for the Auckland Dockline Tram

04 November 2021

  • Wynyard Quarter
  • News

When the Dockline Tram loop was launched in 2011, its purpose was to attract people down to Wynyard Quarter, which had only just begun its transformation journey from an industrial area to a waterfront neighbourhood.

Ten years on, Wynyard Quarter no longer needs an introduction. It’s a popular precinct for Aucklanders and visitors alike, filled with homes, businesses, open spaces, and activities for people of all ages.

Motat Tram

Continued progress is still well underway to regenerate the area. In 2023, Willis Bond will commence work on its West 2 residential development on the current site of the tram’s shed. The development will bring new apartments to Wynyard Quarter and accommodate the demand of those looking to call Wynyard Quarter home.

Due to this, Eke Panuku reviewed the tram’s operations and considered several alternative locations for where the tram shed and trams could reside.

After diligently considering the available options, the Eke Panuku Board decided the most cost effective and suitable option is to cease the tram operations in late 2022. The tram and assets will be transferred to Auckland's Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT), which currently operates the trams in Wynyard Quarter for Eke Panuku. This decision was supported by the Planning Committee at their 4 November 2021 meeting.

“We need to be purposeful in what we prioritise.”

Waterfront Priority Location Director at Eke Panuku
Fiona Knox

On the decision, Planning Committee Chair, Councillor Darby says: “The Planning Committee supports the decision of Eke Panuku to transfer the tram into the care of MOTAT, which will continue to operate the tram for visitors at MOTAT.

“The tram operation at Wynyard Quarter is clearly not financially sustainable. It was not designed to and does not provide a public transport function. The priority for the continued growth of the Wynyard Quarter is to prioritise attractive transport options that support continued regeneration and connect with the wider city centre waterfront.”

MOTAT has been chosen as best placed to manage the tram. It has considerable tram expertise, drivers and other resources available to support the relocation to its facilities at Western Springs. Transferring the assets to MOTAT will mean that Aucklanders and visitors will have the opportunity to continue to ride and enjoy the tram, as well as enjoy all the other historical attractions at the museum.

Fiona Knox, Eke Panuku's Waterfront priority location director, said: "We know the tram has been loved, but as the quarter has grown up, we’re now at a stage in our regeneration journey where we need to be purposeful in what we prioritise.

"Our road corridors need to be able to support public transport demand and safe access for walking, cycling and micro mobility. Vacant sites will become a thing of the past as residential and commercial developments take shape next to our public open spaces."

Originally introduced to Wynyard Quarter as an attraction to draw people to the area, the tram has operated on its 1.5km loop intermittently since 2011. The tram operations were suspended from 2018 – 2021, as the lines encroached onto neighbouring development sites. Operations resumed in time for the 36th America’s Cup, and since then the ridership numbers have totalled 6509, which has not covered the operational expenses required for it to function sustainably.

“The cost of operating the Wynyard Quarter trams at MOTAT will be significantly less due to the resources we have in place, and it will help us meet the significant visitor demand we have for our tramway and ensure that the trams can be enjoyed for generations to come,” says Michael Frawley, MOTAT Director and Chief Executive.

“We support the decision and look forward to welcoming the Wynyard trams to MOTAT in the next year or so.”

In the meantime, the Auckland Dockline Tram will continue operating over the remainder of this year and 2022. The tram operates every Sunday except for school holidays, public holidays and long weekends where operations are extended to Saturdays as well. All-day tickets are priced at $2.00 for an adult and $1.00 for a child, and seniors with a SuperGold Card and under-five-year-olds ride for free.