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Bus & transit lanes

Bus and transit lanes reduce congestion and speed up travel times by separating buses and vehicles with more than a single occupant.

Buses driving on the dedicated busway

Bus lanes

Bus lanes separate buses from other traffic, enabling them to bypass traffic congestion, reducing conflict between buses, bikes and general traffic.

Bus lanes also mean buses have shorter journey times and can keep to their timetables. Bus travel therefore becomes smarter and faster, giving Aucklanders real transport choices.

Key facts:

  • On the Northern Busway, 1 bus = 50 cars
  • In Fanshawe Street, bus lanes alone remove 8,300 cars from the morning peak traffic   

While there's no easy solution to the traffic challenges Auckland faces, bus lanes aim to minimise traffic delays for buses by giving them ways to get through congestion or get a head start on other vehicles. Ultimately this will encourage more people on to buses, which means fewer cars on the road.

Parking-free lanes during peak hours make room for bus lanes on some major roads.


Transit lanes

A transit lane is reserved for the use of the following (unless specifically excluded by a sign installed at the start of the lane):

  • Passenger service vehicles (including taxis, regardless of whether or not they are carrying passengers)
  • Motor vehicles carrying not less than the number of persons (including the driver) specified on the sign
  • Cycles
  • Motorcycles
  • Mopeds

Things to look out for

  • The enforcement area is in excess of the 50m legal maximum a vehicle is allowed to use the lane when completing a turning manoeuvre
  • Vehicles are not allowed on a bus lane during lane active periods
  • Bus lanes can be identified by the green coloured section at the beginning and end (and sometimes sections in between) of the lane
  • Lanes are also clearly marked with roadside signage identifying that the lane is a bus lane and outlining the hours the bus lane is operating. If no times are advertised on the bus lane signage, it means that the lane operates 24 hours per day
  • Operation times differ throughout Auckland so always check the lane sign for details
  • Across Auckland there are Bus Lanes and T2 and T3 (Transit Lanes). Each is clearly marked. T2/T3 lanes are indicated by a red hexagonal shape with T2/T3 painted in white on the symbol. Signage applies to transit lanes every 100 metres:
    • Bus lanes are strictly for bus, cycle, motorcycle and moped use during the restriction times (please note: the Northern Busway, from Constellation Drive to the Harbour Bridge, is for buses only)
    • T2 is for any vehicle that has two or more occupants, cycles, motorcycles and mopeds
    • T3 is for any vehicle that has three or more occupants, cycles, motorcycles and mopeds
  • Vehicles must not stop, stand or park in any bus or transit lane unless they are permitted to use the lane and stopping, standing, or parking is permitted by signs or markings, or the vehicle is an emergency vehicle (ambulance, police car, fire engine etc.) that is being used in an emergency and is operating its beacons.

Auckland Transport operates its bus and transit lanes in full compliance with national legislation and associated bylaw provision. The bylaws from the legacy councils are carried through to Auckland Transport within the provision of the Local Goverment (Auckland Council) Act 2009.

For more details about bus lane provisions and conditions of use, please check out:


Bus and transit lane locations and operating times

Over the next three years, Auckland Transport will continue to make improvements for buses and their passengers on all major arterial routes.

Depending on the amount of traffic, these lanes have varying operating times and conditions. All are well sign posted and marked clearly on the road surface.

Lanes are regularly monitored by traffic infringement officers, who will issue a ticket to those vehicles not complying to the conditions of the lane. If you are unsure about whether you can use the lane, it is best to travel in the regular traffic lane.

Priority lanes for carpooling

The location of all existing priority lanes, priority parks and transit lanes for the Auckland region (PDF 2MB).

Bus lanes in central Auckland

Where the times and/or the days are not specified on the signs, the lane operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Anzac Avenue

Citybound

24 hours - Monday to Friday

Beach Rd to Waterloo Quadrant  / Alten Ave.

Outbound

24 hours - Monday to Friday

Beach Rd to Waterloo Quadrant  / Alten Ave.

Broadway Newmarket

Citybound

7-9 am & 4-6 pm - Monday to Friday

Outbound

7-9 am & 4-6 pm - Monday to Friday

Dominion Road

Citybound

7 - 9 am

Outbound

4 - 6 pm

Donovan Street

Citybound

7 - 9 am - Monday to Friday

Bus lane on the northern side of Donovan Street in Blockhouse Bay, runs from the bus stop west of Rathlin Street, to the bus stop west of Boundary Road.

In addition, new right turn bays have been installed on Donovan Street at the following intersections: Lewis St, McFadzean Drive, Shipton Place.

Ellerslie-Panmure Highway

Citybound

7 - 9 am - Monday to Friday

Main Highway, 170m bus lane on the approach to the intersection of Great South Rd, Main Highway, Campbell Rd  & Wairakei Rd.

Fanshawe Street

Citybound

24 hours

Fanshawe St, from Daldy St to just west of Customs Street West.

Outbound

24 hours

Fanshawe St, between Nelson St and Halsey St (buses and left turners into Halsey St only); Fanshawe St, between Halsey St and Beaumont St.

Grafton Bridge

Citybound and outbound

7 am - 7 pm - Monday to Friday

These operating times apply year round (including public holidays). During the specified operating times the bridge is closed to traffic other than buses, cyclists, motorcyclists and emergency services. All other times the bridge is open to general traffic.

Great North Road

Citybound

7 - 9 am

Pt Chevalier Shops to St Lukes Rd; Western Springs interchange to Bond St (excluding Grey Lynn shops); Bond St to the Ponsonby Rd intersection.

Outbound

4 - 6 pm

Burns St to Bond St; Northland St to Crummer Rd ; Surrey Cres to the Bullock Track ; Turangi Rd to St Lukes Rd ; St Lukes Rd to Parr Rd North.

Great South Road

Citybound

7 - 9 am

Great South Rd, between Greenlane Rd West and Ngaire Ave.

7 - 9 am & 4 - 6 pm - Monday to Friday

Great South Rd between Campbell Rd and Greenlane West.

Outbound

7 am - 9 am & 4 - 6 pm - Monday to Friday

Outbound: Great South Rd between Greenlane East and Woodbine Ave.

Karangahape Road

Citybound

7 - 9 am - Monday to Friday

Between Day St and Pitt St.

Khyber Pass Road

Citybound and outbound

7 - 9 am & 4 - 6 pm - Monday to Friday

Mt Eden Road

Citybound

7 - 9 am

Outbound

4 - 6 pm - Monday to Friday

4.30 pm - 5.30 pm

Between Batger and Oaklands.

New North Road

Citybound

7 - 9 am - Monday to Friday

Between Bond Street and Mostyn Street.

Outbound

4 - 6 pm - Monday to Friday

Between Ace Place and opposite New Bond Street.

Park Road

Citybound

24 hours

Carlton Gore Road to Grafton Road

Khyber Pass Road to Carlton Gore Road

Outbound

24 hours

Khyber Pass Road to Carlton Gore Road

Parnell Rise

Citybound

24 hours

Carlaw Park Ave to Stanley St

Ponsonby Road

Citybound

7 - 9 am - Monday to Friday

Towards Karangahape Road, Ponsonby Road, eastern side between Hopetoun Street and Karangahape Road.

Quay Street

City bound

6 - 10 am - Monday to Friday

Between The Stand and Commerce Street.

24 hours

Central Lane between Lower Albert Street and Queen Elizabeth Square.

Queen Street

Outbound

3 - 7 pm - Monday to Friday

City Road to Karangahape Road

Sandringham Road

Citybound

7 - 9 am - Monday to Friday

Between Watson Avenue and Leslie Avenue; between Ethel Street and opposite Onslow Avenue.

Outbound

4 - 6 pm - Monday to Friday

Between Burnley Terrace and Lancing Road; between Patterson St and Tranmere Road; between Harwood Street and Parry Street.

Symonds Street

Citybound

24 hours

Karangahape Road to Airedale Street; Airedale Street to St Pauls Street; Alfred Street to Waterloo Quadrant.

Outbound

24 hours

Alten Road to Grafton Bridge.

Green coloured lane between Symonds Street motorway off ramp and the intersection with Khyber Pass Road.

Guidelines for cyclists are also marked out on the Symonds Street approach to the Khyber Pass Road intersection.

Tamaki Drive

Citybound

7 - 9 am - Monday to Friday

Between Kelly Tarlton's and Ngapipi Road: T2 transit lane - there must be at least 2 occupants in the vehicle.

Vincent Street

Citybound

6 - 10 am - Monday to Friday

Pitt street to Cook Street.


Transit lanes in north Auckland

Constructed as part of the wider Onewa Road Corridor Upgrade, the specially marked transit lanes are designed to provide quicker travel times for morning commuters heading towards the motorways.

Detailed map of the North Shore transit lanes (PDF 536KB)

Bus priority measures operate on the following roads on the North Shore

The Northern Busway, which runs alongside the Northern motorway from Constellation Drive to the Auckland Harbour Bridge, is a purpose-built road for the use of buses only, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Bus and transit lanes also operate on the following major roads:

  • Constellation Drive
  • Forrest Hill Road
  • Fred Thomas Drive
  • Shakespeare Road
  • East Coast Road
  • Northcote Centre
  • Akoranga Drive
  • Onewa and Lake Roads
  • Woodside Avenue

T3 lane users

  • T3 lane users travelling down Onewa Road to the Northern Motorway or Sylvan Av e can stay in the left-side lane (marked T3 Lane) for their entire trip. 
  • However, T3 lane users travelling down Onewa Road to the Southern Motorway need to merge with general traffic into the centre lane to turn right onto the on-ramp. They have approx 250m to do this movement at the end of the T3 lane but are free to do this any time prior if it is safe to do so. 

Buses

  • Buses are permitted to use the T3 lane for all movements (i.e. to access to Sylvan Ave and motorways).

General traffic

  • General traffic travelling down Onewa Road towards the Northern Motorway or Sylvan Ave need to stay in the unmarked general traffic lane in the centre of the road until the T3 lane finishes. They then have 250m metres to safely merge into the left-side (kerbside) lane to turn left into Sylvan Ave or the northbound on-ramp. 
  • General traffic travelling down Onewa Road to access the southern motorway must use the unmarked general traffic lane in the centre of the road for the entire trip. 

Where are the T3 lanes located?

The new T3 lanes are located in the motorway-bound direction of Onewa Road (from the intersection of Lake Road for a length of 320m, ending just past Bruce Street) and Lake Road (beginning 370m from the Onewa Road intersection).

They join with the existing T3 lane on Onewa Road (from Highbury through to Lake Road), effectively providing a continuous T3 lane from Birkenhead Ave to approximately 250m before the motorway on-ramps and Sylvan Ave intersection.

What are the operating times?

The T3 lanes will operate from 6.30am to 9.00am, Monday to Friday. During this time correct use of the lanes will be enforced. Outside of these hours, they can be used as general traffic lanes and will not be subject to enforcement.

Why was it decided to have T3 lanes here?

The decision to designate the new transit lanes ‘T3’ was made by the former North Shore City Council after considering a number of factors, including the results of a Onewa Rd vehicle occupancy survey showing 65 per cent of eastbound (motorway) commuters were using the existing T3 lane during the hours of 6.30am and 9.00am. More than 300 vehicles were legally using the lane and a total of 66 buses.

In addition, the original stretch of T3 lane on Onewa Road is the most utilised on the North Shore and is a key link to the Northern Busway. Continuing the lane as a T3 will ensure the lane remains uncongested for bus users and carpoolers so the benefit of using the transit lane isn’t lost.

Will these lanes always be designated T3?

Auckland Transport will be monitoring lane use to determine whether the T3 designation remains the most useful option. 

Transit lanes in south Auckland

Bus advance areas and/or bus lanes operate 24 hours, 7 days a week on the following roads:

  • Pakuranga Road
  • Ti Rakau Drive
  • Great South Road
  • Bader Drive

On road and street signage clearly indicates these areas, however if you would like more detailed information, this can be found in the bylaws.


Bus and transit lane-marking trial

Bus and transit lane gameIn working towards the most efficient use of the city's roads, Auckland Transport is trialling new ways to mark bus and transit lanes. These changes are aimed to help motorists identify the 50m maximum entry point where they can move into a bus/transit lane in order to turn left at an intersection.

Changes to road markings include:

  • The use of a solid green line, adjacent to the solid white line, demarcating a bus or transit lane
  • Changing the solid green/white line (marking a bus/transit lane) to a broken green/white line 50 metres in advance of an intersection. This shows the maximum point where motorists can legally enter a bus/transit lane to make a left turn at an intersection.

These trials are taking place on:

  • Quay St
  • Fanshawe St
  • Great South Rd         
  • Vincent St
  • Remuera Rd

In Vincent St we are also trialling the use of LED pavement markers, in conjunction with painted road markings. 

The trial starts in July 2012 and will be reviewed on an annual basis.

Changing the bus lane to a T3 lane on Remuera Road

We’re also changing bus lanes to T3 lanes on Remuera Rd. This will allow vehicles with 3 or more occupants, buses, cyclists and motorcyclists to utilise the lane.

The new road markings (detailed above) are also on trial along Remuera Rd.

This change was implemented June 2012 and will be reviewed on an annual basis.


Need more information?

Contact Auckland Transport