Aucklanders have got on board with this week’s major changes to city bus stops and bus lanes.
Auckland Transport has added more than 1.2km of new bus lanes to the city centre to minimise effects on bus timetables when construction starts on the City Rail Link (CRL).
In November, a new stormwater main being tunnelled under the eastern side of Albert Street between Swanson and Wellesley Streets for the CRL will affect traffic lanes at these and the Victoria Street intersections.
Some bus routes and stops have been moved to new locations away from these construction works.
Bus Services Manager AT Metro, Brendon Main, says the changes to bus stops affect 10,000 customers and involve 3,000 trips a day. “The great news is that most people have seen the need for the changes. In the first five days, we’ve had just a handful of inquiries from people, mainly about changes for some North Shore routes.
“Some people do have to walk a bit further with stops moving to mid-town but they can transfer to get a bus direct to Britomart.”
Mr Main says after a little confusion on the first day, Auckland motorists have worked out how to deal with the new bus lanes in the city. “The bus lanes separate buses from other traffic, enabling them to bypass traffic congestion so they have shorter journey times and can keep to their timetables. This encourages more people to use buses, which in turn, means fewer cars on the road.”
Motorists who are turning left can only enter a bus lane 50 metres before the intersection.
The other big change this week has seen the introduction of the New Network for the Hibiscus Coast. As well as overall improvements to frequency and access, the extension of the popular Northern Express service to Silverdale makes journeys to Auckland City Centre and the North Shore up to 30 minutes quicker during off-peak times. Patronage numbers in the first week from Hibiscus Coast are up 10%.
Mr Main says local buses are now connecting with the Northern Express at the Hibiscus Coast station. “Some of those connections didn’t happen at first, but I’m confident that issue has been sorted.”
Auckland Transport has had ambassadors out and about in the city and on the Hibiscus Coast to help people. Those ambassadors have handed out 20,000 maps at bus stops and 20,000 brochures have been mailed to households on the Hibiscus Coast.