Living bus shelter trial begins

Two of Auckland’s bus shelters have come to life with more than 1000 plants adorning their walls and roofs.

The living bus shelters are being trialled in Panmure and Manukau. They are part of Auckland Transport’s (AT) wider effort to respond to the changing climate. They are believed to be the first living bus shelters in Aotearoa and were celebrated at a small opening ceremony this morning.

Mayor Phil Goff says he welcomes the trial.

“Green buildings provide a range of benefits—they absorb carbon, improve air quality, soak up stormwater and support biodiversity for native insects,” he says.

“Increasing the amount of green space in our city will make it more pleasant, liveable and environmentally sustainable, while contributing to our other efforts to tackle climate change such as introducing zero-emission buses on our public transport network.”

AT’s Environmental Specialist, Dr Cathy Bebelman, says the trial will look at the viability of installing more green infrastructure throughout Tāmaki Makaurau.

“Green roofs and green walls are a really important part of how Auckland Transport responds to climate change.

“One of the significant benefits is that green infrastructure like this also reduces temperatures on hot days. In the city there are lots of hard surfaces that hold the heat in. Plantings in these areas absorb this radiant heat, which means pedestrians and wildlife are less susceptible to the negative effects of high temperatures, like heat stroke.”

The living bus shelter in Manukau has been installed on the Diorella Drive bus shelter near Redoubt North School. Dr Cathy Bebelman has been liaising with the school’s environmental team to teach children about green buildings and she says that they are “extremely enthusiastic” about the project.

“They are ambassadors for the living bus shelter and will monitor the vegetation and educate others about the trial. They are looking forward to making sure that it’s looked after and respected.”

The living bus shelters join an increasing number of green roofs and walls around Tāmaki Makaurau, including The Auckland Domain and Botanic Gardens, The Cloak at Auckland International Airport and the NZI Building.

Learnings from the trial will be applied to the ongoing AT work programme, Greening Our Network, which is seeking to increase the ecological function of our road corridors.