Double decker bus preparation Double decker bus preparation

The introduction of double decker buses is an exciting development in the evolution of public transport in Auckland and we need to make some changes to streets in Auckland to ensure the buses can get around safely.

Northern Express double decker bus

More double decker buses needed

In recent years there has been strong growth in public transport use in Auckland. The number of people taking bus journeys has increased by over 50% since January 2010, while train passengers has grown by over 25% during the same period.

The new buses will address the massive passenger demand during peak time by increasing the number of passengers each bus from 45 to over 100. This is an increase of around 70% on some of the busiest routes without putting extra buses on already busy roads.

Passengers on the double decker buses can experience more room and improved seating, and some buses have USB charging points and free Wi-Fi.

Getting Auckland’s streets ready

Double decker buses cannot immediately drive safely along many of Auckland’s main arterial routes. For example, when a double decker buses pull into some existing bus stops, depending on the angle of the road, the top of a double decker can hang over the footpath. Obstacles such as building verandas, trees, power poles or lines and signs, require Auckland Transport to carry out preparatory works along the route prior to the buses coming into service.

Double decker buses have a height of 4.25 metres and width of up to 2.9 metres. To operate, they need the following clearances:

  • a vertical clearance of 4.75 metres and horizontal clearance of 1 metre from the front of the kerb at bus stops,
  • 15 metres for entry into a bus stop, 15 metres for the bus stop itself and 10 metres to exit the bus stop,
  • a vertical clearance of 4.75 metres and horizontal clearance of half a metre from the front of the kerb along the road corridor.

Trial runs with polystyrene mock up

As part of the risk assessment, Auckland Transport conducts trial runs along planned double decker routes using a single decker bus with a polystyrene mock-up to check the clearance work is sufficient.

Polystyrene mock up on top of bus Polystyrene mock up close up

Clearance measures

Clearance measures may include:

  • Tree pruning or if it is unavoidable tree removal
  • Trimming verandas and canopies
  • Building out the kerb
  • Constructing side islands
  • Relocating services such as power poles
  • Relocating signs
  • Relocating bus stops

If other projects that help provide clearance for double deckers are in the construction pipeline, such as cycleways that move the buses away from the kerb, Auckland Transport may need to employ appropriate temporary safety measures. This is often achieved using flexi-posts at the kerb line to guide drivers and keep the buses away from the hazards.

Double decker routes

Double decker buses are currently in service on routes between the city centre and East Auckland (Howick and Botany), Central Auckland (Waikowhai via Mount Eden Road) and North Shore (Hibiscus Coast or Albany, Glenfield via Onewa Road).

The next double decker routes will be to Onehunga (via Manukau Road) and along Dominion Road, expected to start later in 2018. We have also started work on services between the city centre and Glenn Innes (via Remuera Road) and Midtown to New Lynn via New North Road. There will also be new routes added in the North Shore.