Feedback being sought on proposed northwest bus improvements

Auckland Transport and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency are asking for feedback on a proposal to significantly improve public transport connections to and from Auckland’s northwest.

The plan to make bus journeys quicker, easier and better connected involves upgrading and extending the existing bus shoulder lanes along the Northwestern Motorway (SH16) and building interim bus stops at Westgate and the Lincoln Road and Te Atatū motorway interchanges.

This would enable a northwestern express bus service using the motorway which connects with local feeder services operating to each station. The bus network will also be reviewed to make better use of the proposed new bus stops and adjustments are planned at motorway interchanges to increase priority for buses.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford says this joint AT and Waka Kotahi project will allow faster and more frequent bus services.

“Bus passengers going from Westgate to the city during the morning peak could save up to 35 minutes on their journey as a result of these improvements.

“This project will also create around 300 jobs and support our economic recovery,” says Mr Twyford.

Mayor Phil Goff says the project will have economic and social benefits for the northwest and will help support jobs and population growth.

“The $100 million in government-funded upgrades for public transport in the northwest will enable a further 170,000 people to get in and out of the city within 45-55 minutes on the bus,” he says.

“This will support jobs and population growth in the area and help to reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions by allowing more people to commute without driving. Construction of the projects will create jobs and provide economic stimulus across the region.”

Funding of $100 million has been provided to deliver these interim bus improvements as part of the Government’s recently announced stimulus funding package of infrastructure projects. There is $50 million through Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and $50 million from Waka Kotahi through the National Land Transport Fund.

Waka Kotahi Senior Manager System Design, Robyn Elston says, “A fast, efficient bus service along the motorway with improved journey times will give people more transport options, encourage them to leave their cars at home and help reduce motorway congestion.”

She says dedicated bus lanes are proving their worth during the current closure of lanes on the harbour bridge, moving many more people, more quickly, than private vehicles.

The improvements are to be built over the next five years and, once complete, will encourage more people to use public transport while plans are made for longer-term improvements.

Looking beyond the next five years, Waka Kotahi plans to explore options for a mass rapid transit system so that even more people can be moved along the Northwestern Motorway (SH16).

AT and Waka Kotahi welcomes feedback from communities on the proposed interim term improvements and what they think the long-term investigations for rapid transit along the Northwestern Motorway should consider.

Feedback is open until Sunday 25 October - give feedback on this proposal.