North Shore residents can look forward to a simpler, better connected, and more frequent bus network which reflects the community’s needs, as the final decisions on the New Network for the North Shore were released today.
More than 3,100 pieces of feedback were analysed from the consultation that ran from 2 June to 13 July 2015, and as a result of public participation, more than half of the initially proposed routes have been modified.
Of the 40 bus services proposed, route changes were made to 21 of these, 15 had timetable changes, two entirely new routes were added, and one route was removed – however most of the bus stops served by this route (all except three) will be served by other routes.
“Residents of the North Shore were active in engaging with us, and as a result we’ve been able to create a network that is better for the community overall,” says Anthony Cross, Public Transport Network Manager.
Some of the key changes to the initial proposals as a result of feedback, include:
- Connecting the coastal suburbs of the East Coast Bays with a service that runs the full length of Beach Rd; starting from Albany, through Torbay and Waiake, down to North Shore Hospital and Takapuna.
- Introducing a service connecting Campbells Bay with Sunnynook Station, via Aberdeen Rd.
- The above two changes mean that there will no longer need to be a bus route along Sunrise Ave.
- Retaining the current route through Victoria Rd (Devonport shops) for the service between Devonport wharf and Takapuna.
- Providing a service for passengers to travel between Northcote, Hillcrest and Glenfield.
- Connecting the Glamorgan Drive area to Browns Bay, and retaining service for Weatherly and Geoffrey Rds.
- Re-routing services along Don McKinnon Drive in Albany, to provide a closer drop-off point to both Albany Mega Centre and Pak ‘n Save.
Service has also been returned to more than half of the bus stops where it was proposed to be removed, including:
- Chivalry Rd
- Albany Highway, including Albany Village
- Totaravale area and Caribbean Drive
- Bush Rd
- Sunnynook Busway Station and Aberdeen Rd
Dave Hilson, lead Public Transport Planner for the North Shore, explains how reinstating service in these areas has come from a thorough re-working of the proposals, not just reverting to the old routes.
“Everything is interdependent - by making a minor change to one area, we were able to address the needs of the community in another area.
“Through being smarter about how we use our resources, and prioritising changes that would improve services for the most people possible, we’ve been able to make informed decisions that are aligned to the principles of the New Network - which is what will improve public transport for the North Shore as a whole.”
Due to the scale of change, the New Network will be implemented in phases by area. The North Shore changes are currently planned for early 2018, with the earlier implementation of some changes to be investigated.
A comprehensive information campaign will be held prior to any the changes being made, and the new timetables will be available ahead of time, so that passengers can plan their journeys.
“Over the next few years Aucklanders are going to see a transformation in the way buses run, as the New Network is rolled out across the region,” says Mr Cross.
“The Hibiscus Coast was first to implement the New Network last year, which will be followed by South Auckland later this year, and West, Central, East and the North Shore over the next two years.
“The New Network will make it easy and simple for people to access a far wider range of destinations across the region by public transport, any day of the week. This is achieved by running a series of high-frequency services which connect people to ‘hubs’ where they can transfer. For the North Shore you can see this principle at work in the East Coast Bays area. Instead of running buses all the way into the city, which is becoming more problematic as space in the central city is increasingly constrained, there will be neighbourhood services every 10 to 15 mins during peak times to the busway stations. People can then easily transfer to a rapid Northern Express service, which will be largely operated with double-deckers.
“When these changes are implemented we will be introducing a second Northern Express service direct to the City universities via Victoria St, returning via Wellesley St.”
A change to the public transport network on this scale has never been done before in Auckland, and has only been done in a few places around the world.
“Thanks to the community’s high level of input and feedback, we’re confident that we’ll be delivering a network that will fulfil the travel needs for people on the North Shore,” says Mr Cross.