The last major areas of Auckland’s new bus network are locked down.
“The new public transport network for Auckland will now become a reality,” says Anthony Cross, Public Transport Network Manager for Auckland Transport.
The AT Board has approved the new networks for east Auckland and the central suburbs, these areas now join the completed network which includes the south, west and North Shore.
Mr Cross says, “In finalising the networks for the east and central suburbs, we are satisfied that we have struck a good balance between the needs and concerns of people and the core principles of the New Network which aim for greater frequency and better connections.”
About 1200 submissions were received during public consultation. There have been changes to ten routes out of the 15 services proposed, eight services will have timetable changes, two new services have been introduced and two services removed.
Some of the key features of the final network are:
- Terminating the majority of bus services at Panmure Station as it is far quicker to get to the city by train.
- Maintaining one all-day frequent service to the city, starting at Botany and providing access to Ellerslie, Newmarket, Auckland City Hospital and city universities on the way.
- Retaining an express service from Howick to the city via the motorway, at peak times, when demand is highest.
- Reducing the number of buses into the city to avoid duplication with train services.
- Three services timetabled to meet the ferry service at Half Moon Bay, connecting several areas including Howick, Botany and Bucklands Beach.
- A frequent service operating between Botany and Manukau providing access to the high growth area of Ormiston Town Centre.
- Better connectivity to Highbrook and East Tamaki business precincts, addressing the needs of workers.
- Significantly improved weekend services to match that of weekday services.
There were 3743 individual pieces of feedback. The final network has been designed as a result of this feedback taking into account practical and budgetary constraints.
In total, 53 proposed routes were consulted on, route changes were made to 18, 11 routes were removed, and 12 new routes added.
Some of the key features include:
- A new Blue Link service – a 15 minute service that will run the full length of Tamaki Drive to St Heliers - as well as an all-day route from West Tamaki Rd, Kohimarama Rd and Kepa Rd to the city.
- A modified version of the popular Outer Link service has been retained.
- A new route from St Lukes via Kingsland and Ponsonby to the Wynyard Quarter.
- Main arterial routes such as Manukau Rd and Remuera Rd will have improved all-day frequencies, especially in the evenings.
From an Auckland-wide perspective, Mr Cross says, “It’s taken us nearly four years and enormous effort to reach this point. We feel confident that we are delivering an integrated public transport network that will meet the demands of a growing city and help with congestion.”
The New Network provides a coherent platform which is future-proofed so that it can be expanded and improved in step with new developments rather than have to go through complex and disruptive overhauls time and again.
Mr Cross says, “Now that we have got the structure right, we will be able to make improvements in the future, for example upgrading some routes to frequent, which are not shown as such now.”
He also says, “We are well aware that not everyone will be happy with the final network in their area or realise the benefits that it brings.
“For example, transfers between journeys may be a necessary trade off to give people access to multiple destinations through high frequency services. This will be strengthened by the introduction of ‘Simpler Fares’, a zone-based fare system that will make bus and train travel, including transfers within a zone, a much cheaper option overall.”
South Auckland will be the first of the major areas that will be implemented, at the end of October, west Auckland will go live in the middle of next year, east Auckland and the central suburbs in late 2017 and the North Shore in early 2018.