Auckland Transport has unveiled its proposals to completely overhaul the east Auckland and central suburbs bus network and replace it in two years with one that is simpler, more frequent and more connected. People will then have an opportunity to give their feedback over the next 10 weeks, ending on 10 December.
While the east and central suburbs have specific local proposals, the principles and benefits of the New Network can apply across all of Auckland says Anthony Cross, Public Transport Network Manager.
“The key principle is to run a number of high frequency services that are designed to work together through easy connections, for access to a wider range of destinations.
“To achieve this we acknowledge there are trade-offs such as people walking further to a bus stop or transferring to another service,” says Mr Cross.
For example not all neighbourhoods will have direct services to the City. Instead there will be feeder buses running directly and more frequently to train stations particularly those on the Eastern and Southern lines. By having feeder buses we can afford to offer more frequent services.
Simplified Zone Fares will be in place by the time the New Network is introduced and will make transferring between buses and trains easier. With the new zone fares, if your feeder bus is in the same zone, you won’t pay twice for transferring – effectively a free ride to the train station.
Some of the key changes for East Auckland; better connections between Botany, Highbrook, East Tamaki, Ormiston/Flat Bush and Manukau; better bus-ferry connections at Half Moon Bay; and double decker buses running on key routes. More frequent connections (at least every 15 minutes, 7am to 7pm) between Botany, Howick and Panmure.
For Central Suburbs; six new Crosstown services, feeder buses to the train network, more buses on the weekends and at peak times, a trial service from Newmarket to the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Mr Cross encourages people to get involved in the consultation.
“We need to know what people think about the proposals. Public feedback has helped shape the New Network in other areas of Auckland and we expect the same again. As we move towards addressing Auckland’s future public transport needs, we hope that people will also look beyond their personal journey and assess the impact of these changes on the region as a whole,” says Mr Cross.
Local residents will receive the consultation brochure in their letterbox. All information about the consultation, including proposals and maps can be found online. A range of local public information events are also planned.
In 2013, South Auckland was the first area to be consulted on the New Network. Progress since then includes:
• Hibiscus Coast new services start 18 October 2015
• North Shore – consultation closed July 2015. Currently analysing more than 3500 submissions
• South Auckland – Implementation 2016, following a Tender process and completion of the Otahuhu bus-train interchange
• Pukekohe and Waiuku – Implementation 2016
• West Auckland – Implementation 2016/2017
The New Network aims to create a bus network for Auckland that is simpler to use, and offers more frequent services and better connections to many destinations. It is an important step in attracting more users to public transport and reducing congestion on our roads.
Public consultations in the east and central suburbs will be held simultaneously and will round off the public participation programme which has already covered other areas of Auckland.