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Would You Like Some Integrated Fares To Go With That New Bus Network

At Transport Committee last week we finally got some more detail on both the new bus network but also finally hearing some information about integrated fares. There has been some talk about this already in the media but we deliberately held off discussing it so that we could provide you with some pictures from the presentations shown at the meeting.  How AT want us to use the PT network is going to change dramatically in the next few years, this is mainly being driven by the new bus network that is expected to roll out over the next few years. One of the key features is a number of key, high frequency routes that will have buses running at least every 15 minutes for almost all of the day, 7 days a week along with a number of other supporting routes. These are being designed to form a network and much more emphasis will be put on transferring to get to a final destination. In many ways it will work in the same kind of way that things like metro systems overseas do e.g. the Paris Metro. What’s even more amazing is that everything is being down with the same number of resources, including the amount km’s travelled, as exist today so it means no increase to the amount of subsidies we have to provide (we first saw information of this new network back in April).

First here is a system diagram of what is known as the Frequent Transit Network (FTN) )

Having the FTN network services running at a minimum of one every 15 minutes, even on Sunday Morning, will revolutionise public transport use in Auckland. The only experimentation we have had with higher frequency routes has been the B Lines along Dominion Rd and Mt Eden Rd. Their introduction saw patronage increases of up to 20% just from the improving the marketing yet even they don’t currently meet the criteria for the FTN network due to the lack of evening and weekend services. Most of those routes will likely also have additional services during peak times so the 15 minute timeframe is just the minimum they will be.

Below the FTN network  there is a secondary network running on the same principles but at a lower minimum frequency of at least one every 30 minutes (again they will likely be much more frequent in peak times). Together they form the all day network and in future it is likely that some of these secondary routes will be moved up into the FTN as demand for them grows. Both networks are shown below with blue being the FTN and green the secondary network.

But wait there’s more, in addition to the all day network there will be other routes that will run just at peak times to places like industrial areas where there isn’t the all day demand as well as other routes to those hard to get to places but that only run every now and then. Personally I think that this new network is great (and that’s not just because some of my fellow bloggers have been involved). It is a huge effort to redesign our entire bus network but something that has long been overdue and while there are bound to be a few teething problems as people get used to something new, over time this new network will profoundly change the city for the better.

Moving to this kind of system though creates a problem in a different area, our current fare structure. It works against kind of system as you have to pay a full new fare for every trip you make which means it costs you to transfer. To address this, Auckland Transport has started work on looking at integrated fares (It is important to note that integrated fares are similar but different from integrated ticketing). Integrated fares can come in a variety of flavours but the two looked at in the presentation are distance based fares where you pay for the exact distance you travel, or Zonal based where you have unlimited travel within a time period for the zones that you pay for.  The committee accepted the recommendation to go with a zonal based system and Auckland Transport have been investigating this behind the scenes to model the impact it would have.

The closest we got to seeing what the zones may look like was from a presentation that Auckland Transport wanted to give to the committee confidentially however the councillors ruled that it had to be done in public. The screenshot is taken from recording of the meeting so is a little blurry unfortunately but you can see the zones that are being thought about which mainly seem to follow the old council boundaries with the exception of a separate one for the central city.

These two projects, along with our new electric trains will really transform PT in Auckland so there are some really exciting times ahead.

113 comments to Would You Like Some Integrated Fares To Go With That New Bus Network

  • Bit off topic but related; a great post from Jarrett Walker on Metro versus Commuter running patterns on trains in Australia; so relevant to Auckland [includes argument for west-south services, when we have the trains]:

    http://www.humantransit.org/2010/04/australia-the-pitfalls-of-metroenvy.html

    See Mike Lee in today’s little scrappy paper:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10833098

    Well covered i thought by Mathew Dearnaley.

  • Trev

    Wow that’s a simply beautiful schematic drawing of the new network. Reminds me of the London Underground map.

  • Very exciting. Then add extensions to the RTN; first AMETI, we hope, then the CRL, ditto, and Auckland will be a transformed city.

  • Ooh, they’re bringing in a Grey Lynn–Kingsland service? Finally.

  • Shouldn’t the Hobsonville/Beachhaven ferry also be on the secondary map?

  • Trev

    The Grey Lynn to St Lukes service goes under SH16 via Mountain View Road I think, if you look at the second map closely enough. There is a secondary route over Bond Street though.

    • Yes, if you look at the second map there seems to be a direct secondary connection between Grey Lynn and Kingsland, and with a transfer plenty of options for frequent to frequent links elsewhere.

  • Mike

    My eyes are shot – what’s the Daily Cap in the final slide?

    • Mike

      Ah so it’s capped at the same level as the Discovery Pass price

      • The capped price I have seen floating around the place is $14 but I could be wrong

        • Mike

          Ah sorry I was looking at the top half (2012/13), I guess they are removing the Discovery Pass and replacing it with the $16 daily cap until the full integrated fares are rolled out. Reducing that to $14 will be a nice bonus :)

          • As I read it, the top part says
            – 1 Hop Card
            – Stage based single distance fares
            – HOP Stored Value (10% cash discount, $14 daily cap, Monthly Zonal pass, paper single trip ticket
            – Remove 10 trip tickets and other operator specific products
            – Amalgamate operator specific monthly passes (some losers)
            – Journey = 1++ trips = 50c transfer discount

        • Pardon my French, but shit that’s expensive.

          • And to give that some context, a 24-hour pass for Vienna’s public transport comes in at EUR6.70, or NZD10.56 at today’s exchange rate.

          • Glen K

            …and for local context, the maximum Zone 3 daily cap in Christchurch (which will get you from Rangiora/Woodend to Rolleston/Lincoln to Lyttelton/Diamond Harbour) is $8.40/day.

          • Patrick Reynolds

            Well we’ve long known that Ak has really expensive, and crap, PT

          • Matt Clouds – Remember people living in Vienna are paid in Euro’s, so a simple exchange is not fully accurate, which makes our price seem even more expensive!

          • David O

            That is seriously expensive. Surely expected increases in volumes can enable lower prices than at present?

          • Matt Clouds

            Joshua, indeed, and making that point occurred to me last night. Median net income in Vienna is about EUR1830/month, meaning a one-day capped fare represents roughly 0.30% of annual net income.
            Using on a median personal gross income in Auckland of $660/week ($550 all-sources/all-persons+20% for the Auckland pay factor) gets me a net figure (just assuming PAYE and ACC deductions) of $28,711/year. Which makes a $14/day pass 0.49% of annual income, or 63% more expensive than Vienna after adjusting for local income, and that’s based on a fairly optimistic median income for Auckland. Even if we just went with a figure of $880 for Auckland (10% factor) wages it still comes in at 0.36% or 20% more expensive than Vienna. And we sure as hell aren’t getting anything like Viennese levels of public transport quality and service.

          • Guys, when making the comparison you have to consider what you actually get for your money. In Auckland the zone covers 80km north to south (Waiwera to Pukekohe) and 40km east to west (Waitakere Village to Maraetai).
            In Vienna, from what I can make out, the zone covers about 30km north to south and 20km east to west.

            It’s not really a fair comparison because you can travel so much further in the Auckland example. A better comparison would be to look at a Viennese pass that took in commuter villages 40km out of the centre of town, and see what a day pass cost there.

  • Rob Mayo

    Lets hope that this project is still alive and on target for 2016 completion after the 2013 AC election.

    • You would expect so. I think the nature of PTOM means that the contracting is somewhat locked to the route structure and vice versa, but I would expect that AT (and other regional councils in New Zealand) are getting work underway now.

      This network appears to deliver so much improvement for no extra cost. Aside from localised battles, there would seem to be no reason why anyone would want to stop it given how universally the current network is despised.

      • Ingolfson

        The “buses are evil and communist” crowd would. But good to hear things will not be able to unravel in case people like CB became mayor (hah!).

        • Even they would have a pretty tough argument to derail the process, after all it is no more buses and no more funding that we already have, just run much more efficiently.

          • @NickR – I think you are assuming that the anti-PT crowd think arguments are needed. I havent heard any for the P2W RoNS and that doesnt seem to have stopped the National cabinet. It is just enough that it doesnt fit in with their philosophical viewpoint (i.e. cars/motorways = freedom and the American/NZ dream; bus/train = Soviet style oppression) and that is the end of the “arguments”. Otherwise this debate wouldnt still be going on at least 25% of the latest transport budget would be allocated to PT.

          • goosoid – I dont think those anti-PT crowd would even bother when no extra money is being spent, just a reorganisation. If we were proposing to increase funding for the changes then they may jump up and down.

          • After thinking about it a bit today I think the anti PT crowd wouldn’t stop this plan as it is but look at the possibility of buses running around at 15 minute headways at say 9pm and claim that they aren’t needed so might look to cut the network back on the edges which will save on some subsidy. They will use the same tactics as used around the world in the 50’s and 60’s of saying that only a handful of people are using them and services will still be good but it saves X ratepayer dollars. Of course what that ignores is that people use networks like this on the understanding that they can get where they need to go when they need to do it without having to plan so making it less useful kills patronage earlier in the day.

          • Peter M

            It’s also only at those frequencies until 7pm, so if lower frequencies are required later then that’s OK. I think that a lot of the isthmus routes may well end up seeing 15 min frequencies carried through until midnight. They always seem to have really strong evening patronage.

          • Certain contrarian douchebags will always find some angle to complain about in the media, regardless of its truth or relevance.

            But going back to basics, this is a network redesign using the same resources and subsidy as we have today. However, it is likely to be useful for a lot more people doing a whole lot more kinds of trips. Bottom line is a much better network and much more fare revenue for the same costs. That’s pretty hard to complain about.

          • I don’t think they will see it being the same amount of resources as being ok. They will say that we can cut the number of resources to save subsidy (remember in their minds a subsidy for PT is bad but one for roads is good).

          • Think Matt L has a point, PT opponents will see buses going past with few people in them and think that they are not needed. They don’t care to see how this affects Patronage overall.

      • Peter M

        The network will need strong and noisy supporters. I think we can fulfil that role.

  • Bit puzzled Glenfield isn’t connected to the busway a lot better, like at Smales….?

  • Icebird

    Just nitpicking one point : Wouldn’t the current Inner and Outer Link services count as “FTN” services? They both operate ay 15 minute or higher frequencies during all of their hours of operation.

  • Shaun

    Was gonna comment on the Shore having some large gaps too but – will wait for the plans to finalise a bit more :)

    • Also thought there’d be plenty of demand ‘across’ the spine of the NS, so say connecting that teal route from Takapauna via Smales to Glenfield would be handy….maybe even to Birkenhead? Not that the Shore is my hood so I don’t know the ground in detail but intra region travel linked through RTN hubs for longer trips is a target everywhere isn’t it?

  • SPT

    Not sure I would describe Northcote/Glenfield as an industrial area or a bushclad gully but it seems to have no connection to the busway. Also rather surprised to see that East coast Road does not seem to be down for a high frequency service. Is this because it will be covered by exisitng routes? Or maybe I am just misunderstanding the map. On the positive side, very happy to see a frequent service round the uppper bays that connects to Albany (surpringly hard to get to at the moment). As someone who recently had a taste of using the busway/”feeder” services, 15 minutes seems a reasonable spacing for connecting services and I am looking forward to this improvement. The current 30 minutes means some looonnnngg waits if you don’t time it right and pretty much eats up any time savings you make from not catching a service that wends its way around the suburbs.

    • Look at the second map SPT. Northcote and Glenfield are covered with green routes connecting people directly to busway sation, and East Coast Rd has one too. Just bear in mind that the design for the green routes is a guaranteed *minimum* frequency of one bus every 30 minutes from 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week. That’s the minimum, not the average or even the usual but the worst case scenario. At peak times and across the day most of those would be running every ten or fifteen minutes, some maybe more frequent even.

      Also bear in mind that this network is just a redesign using the resources and funds we have today, so it’s a starting point. The likes of Glenfield and East Coast Rd are good candidates for being upgraded to a blue route as patronage grows and more funding becomes available.

    • Stu Donovan

      I would describe Glenfield and Northcote as important town centres that would probably value a frequent connection to the Northern Busway. What do others think?

  • John Gillon

    Wow – looks like we are FINALLY getting a bus route across the Kaipatiki Bridge connecting Beach Haven and Glenfield. This has been blatantly overlooked for years.
    I believe that buses should be funnelling people from Beach Haven via Glenfield to either Sunnynook or Akoranga bus stations (and vice versa), rather than going via Onewa Road. This would also bring more shoppers to Glenfield.

  • James B

    Any reason why the Britomart to Milford Route via Devonport is shown in one colour? It looks like it’s one continuous route without a transfer.

  • David T

    My eyes aren’t so good – is that actually a direct route between Takapuna and Onehunga?

  • Louis M

    This looks great!

    Do I see Richmond Road included as an FTN line there?

  • SteveC

    I don’t see links to Newmarket from the SHore or from west of Mt Eden Rd, both big gaps for existing travellers, correct me it I’m wrong

    • Nick R

      From the map it looks like the takapuna to onehunga line goes via Newmarket, along which there are a zillion connection opportunities downtown.

      As for west of Mt Eden, the rail line goes from the west to Newmarket. There is also a line from Mt Albert and Pt Chev to Remuera Rd via Newmarket, and again a heap of connection opportunities.

      • David T

        Nick, is there a reason why this line goes to Takapuna rather than having the East Coast Bays service go over the bridge to Midtown and having the transfer there? That would be a less radical change to the current route and would be easier to sell; the current proposal to chop up the 839 route will not go down well, in the last ARTA review the planned termination at Takapuna was dropped due to opposition.

        • Andrew

          I can’t answer for Nick but looking at the map, the East Coast all-day-every-day services actually terminate at Akoranga, where onward travel is via the super-frequent Northern Express spine service as well as the Takapuna-to-Onehunga FTN service. I’m sure there will be direct peak express services supplementing this too.

          • David T

            Except that getting back from Midtown to the East Coast Bays in the evening is not much fun – 2 transfers to get to Rothesay Bay, potential worst case 15 min wait at each with current NEX frequencies. Compare this with current slowish but direct service and you see the issue.
            Can’t see that functionally you would lose anything by taking the East Coast Bays service over the bridge and it would benefit more people than running the Onehunga service to Takapuna – don’t want the patronage to drop because the journey becomes too difficult.

          • I don’t see it as being an issue, walk or catch the City Link to Britomart, get on the busway, then hop on the frequent connector thing out to Rothesay. That will be way faster than riding the 839 over the bridge to Akoranga, over to Takapuna, then Milford, then wind all the way up the bays to Rothesay Bay. That’s my old route, the 839. Believe me it isn’t a fast way to get home in the evening.

        • Andrew

          As for a reason not to have the transfer at Midtown, I think that’s in part because the stations better facilitate transfers and turnarounds than the space-constrained city centre.

        • From what I can see from the map it’s about linking Takapuna to the central city and the isthmus.

          As for radical changes, well it’s a complete and total overhaul across the region, no? Can’t get much more radical than that. I would guess that making the new network work in it’s own right is much more important than hanging on to historical routings.

          • David T

            I get the impression that you think I’m trying to wind you up which I assure you is not the case. No point trying to second guess things until the proposals firm up I suppose.

  • LucyJH

    @greenwelly. I suspect a big factor in the higher cost of Auckland trains is just simply that Wellington has electric trains whereas Auckland has very, very old diesel ones. I don’t know if there’s been a comprehensive analysis of this recently but I think some research showed that until around 5 years ago the govt over-invested in WEllington PT (proportional to it’s population and rate of popn growth) whereas they under-invested in Auckland. So not surprising – to a certain extent, you get what you pay for… Why the comparative over-investment in Wgtn? Well, could be that most civil servants and most PMAs to MPs and all MPs for at least 3 days of the week live in WEllington… There seems to be a general perspective that the rate of investment of rail in Auckland has become higher than that for WEllington more recently. However, I actually wonder whether, if you took into account total population, how rapidly Auckland is growing AND the fact that the money for electric trains is actually a loan, whether WEllington would still be doing better overall? Anybody seen a break down of these figures.

  • LucyJH

    Of course we also massively over-invest in PT in all the rural regions of NZ (despite the fact that the services are incredibly poor) just because they are so spread out. I seem to remember that the FAR paper I read a few years ago showed that the FAR for Southland was something like 10% – or something ridiculous. Not I’m saying we shoudl cut PT services in rural areas and small towns – I think there’s a strong social argument for maintaining or even improving them – but it is probably a fact that, contrary to public perceptions, Auckland (and to a lesser extent WEllington and Christchurch) are probably in a sense subsidizing the rest of the country’s Pt system through our fuel taxes and fares. The same thing happens in health – just because it is so expensive to provide health services to spread out areas that the West Coast DHB spends far more per capita than say Waitemata.

  • Lucy the gov paid for 90% of welly’s new trains where s the 500mill the Nats always claim they ‘spending’ on our EMUs is in fact a loan, with interest.

  • Matt Clouds

    Nick, Auckland might cover more area, but Vienna’s public transport system runs 24/7 and has “normal” operating hours of 0500-0030. Service frequencies in the off-peak still put much of Auckland’s proposed revised network to shame, too.

    I think it’s a perfectly fair comparison, personally.

    • Yes thats fine, but in Auckland your one ticket allows you to consume a huge amount more travel than in Vienna. The comparison isn’t valid because it’s a lot cheaper and easier to service smaller geographic areas, and denser areas. Vienna is both. This has nothing to do with the range of trips available, but rather the cost of providing any one trip.

      Auckland is always going to be relatively expensive to travel around because it covers long distances (i.e. higher costs) with relatively low catchment of people along the way to share the costs. Vienna is always going to be cheaper to service. If Auckland had a million people just living on the ithsmus we could cut fares to a half what they are today and still afford to double the service frequency and span.

  • Lloyd

    Apologies if I’m missing something obvious – is it possible to get a higher resolution of the network maps? On the AT website somewhere, perhaps?

  • LucyJH

    hey Patrick. Yes, I know that but there is all the money that was spent on Project DART as well. So to actually tot up all the different sums of money going into different types of PT and work out the total invested in each city and then break it down into op versus cap exp would be quite a challenge – I know this because I tried at one point a few years back :) Thought somebody else might have more time and energy and/or access to the data than me.

  • The re-routing of the Takapuna-CBD 15 minute bus service at peak time is madness. To divert buses 1km (into gridlock traffic) north to Akoranga Station then to lose 2 stops in Fanshawe St by turning right @ Victoria Park to drop off at Wellesley St to suit UNI & AUT & terminate at Onehunga will mean a loss to all Parnell, Remuera, Otahuhu, & train connections. The really black nightmare will be in afternoon awaiting “delayed” buses coming in from Onehunga. Currently they circle around Mayoral Drive past the Civic Bus Station.

    • David T

      Jan, the reply you will get is that it is easy to transfer to the Northern Express at Akoranga or the City Link in town to make those connections – I will leave it up to you as a bus user to comment on how practical and convenient that is.
      Of course I could reiterate my suggestion that the proposed East Coast Bays services are extended across the bridge, but I would have to don my flame-proof suit first.

      • Jan O'Connor

        Love to know how many of the decision makers actually understand the ramifications of once again messing with a service which works. Every month our local magazine “Channel” speaks to commuters who enthuse about the Esmonde Rd bus service.

        4 years ago ARTA tried unsuccessfully to do what they are trying to do now. Kill it. North Shore City Council listened to the happy commuters.

        I have battled for at least 16 years to :
        (1) get the Esmonde Rd bus lane
        (2) to keep it and
        (3) am now trying to get the Milford, Bays & Forrest Hill buses via Takapuna to be able to re-use the 72m bus station outside the Civic. It lies empty all day after it was closed as a “temporary” measure for the Queen St upgrade.

        It is used as a lay over & the buses by pass it but are not allowed to pick up passengers for these services until after 6.00p.m. & in the weekends. Passengers have to climb to corner of Albert & Vic Sts.

        Basically Queen St should be buses only. The City Link is nearly always held up due to the heavy traffic. Other than taxis & delivery vehicles why are private cars needed there? How many main streets in larger cities ban PT. ??

        • Louis M

          I agree. Essentially the idea of moving the buses to Albert Street was a good one, as it sped buses like the 020 and 030 up and that has definitely boosted patronage. We absolutely need to get rid of cars on Queen Street but I’m not sure if full pedestrianisation would work. The ideal would be for Queen Street to be pedestrians and a tramway to replace the City LINK bus. Other buses could use Albert. However as a compromise I’d accept moving the buses back from Albert to Queen and removing the bus lanes from Albert Street to increase capacity for motor cars there.

          • Jan O'connor

            Louis- Albert St is a major inlet and outlet for car parking. It is a major problem at both peak times. Middle of the day traffic is quieter. Full pedestrianisation of Queen St is not an option – however high quality buses are.

        • Everyone wants a bus service that stops that goes from their house to their destination at a high frequency but that simply isn’t possible unless we were to spend insane amounts of money running buses all over the place with only a handful of passengers on them but the thing is, that is the system we have in place now. This is a completely different way of designing a bus system that doesn’t and by moving buses from some streets to others it opens up option of other trips that simply aren’t possible today. Also remember that this is the all day network i.e. at 1 in the afternoon, on top of this there will be special peak only services that may use different routes and are there to cater to the additional demand at those times (we are yet to see these yet).

          Further my understanding is that this network hasn’t been designed around the existing infrastructure as the intention is to get the most ideal operating patterns in place first. Once we know for sure where we want the buses going we can then work out what infrastructure in terms of bus lanes etc are needed.

        • Stu Donovan

          Jan, you’re misinterpreting the map and I think you need to drop it.

          • Jan O'connor

            Stu, please explain exactly where I am misinterpreting the map!!!!

          • You’re point about loss to all connection to Parnell, Remuera, Otahuhu and the rail network is just plain wrong. Anyone reading that map can see there are excellent direct connections to Parnell and Remuera (the orange line) at several places across the city, not to mention two connections to the Inner Link to get to Parnell another way too. There are direct connections to Otahuhu and the rail network at Newmarket and Grafton. You are clearly misinterpreting the map if you can’t see those.

            I really don’t know where you get a plot to “kill” that bus route from, to me it looks like they are simply extending it through the middle of the CBD to the universities, hospital precinct, Newmarket and several points south. Surely that is a major improvement over just stopping halfway across the CBD and going nowhere else?!

          • Jan O'Connor

            Nick, obviously you are reading from a very oblique map. I have discussed the planned changes with the powers that be. I know that I sound obsessed but from experience one has to be. This has been discussed with “focus groups” in Takapuna – made up of some people who actually use buses!!!! The real commuters who matter are never questioned. They have take the service for granted. I wonder how many users of this blog are Esmonde Rd bus lane bus users? From the sound of the comments none at all.

          • Up until a few months ago I commuted on the 839 daily, did that for years. Does that qualify me as an Esmonde Rd bus user, or are you only concerned with users who come from the Hauraki end? My situation has changed now, but if I still lived in my old place I’d be much better off with the network I can see on those maps above.

          • Jan O'Connor

            Thanks for that Nick. They are talking about taking the bus down the middle of Esmonde north to Akoranga (to pick up) and then connect to the bus way. That will take another 15 minutes at least.

            You must go to UNI or AUT as you like the new route. If you worked in the area of Vodafone you wouldn’t be so happy as the bus will have to go in the middle lane of Fanshawe to turn right in Halsey. No stop at the Tepid Baths. No bus lane up Wellesley St

            Early in the morning i.e up to 8.15am half the bus empties out at Lower Albert St – only AC employees & UNI & AUT people want to go to the end of Albert St. There are now dozens of people exiting Britomart area in the morning climbing up to Albert St & Wolfe – at a disgusting bus stop- (see Devonport-Takapuna Bus Users Group Facebook page) to catch buses to Takapuna. I have had complaints about the number of empty buses which whizz past “Not in Service” going back to the Shore. More shuttles are urgently needed. Often standing room only at that time.

          • No I’m not a uni student nor do I work there, I’m most concerned with getting to the middle of town. Although equally I could want to get to the Hospital or Newmarket or Epsom or wherever. I am very familiar with the nasty Albert/Wolfe bus stop. In fact the whole drama of getting to Albert St in the first place annoys me, so I like this new route that comes across town instead of just servicing the western side and stopping short of Queen St and the whole eastern side of the city. Under the network proposed people will be able to catch a bus to Takapuna from the corner with Queen St, or the corner with Albert St, or from Symonds St, Park Rd etc etc. That sounds way better than what we have now.

            The Northern Express uses Fanshawe St and Britomart. People headed to Vodafone or around Britomart can connect to the NEX at Akoranga or Victoria Park. I don’t see why you would want to duplicate the NEX to prioritise just Fanshawe St and downtown over the whole of midtown, the unviersities, Symonds St, Hospitals, Grafton, Newmarket, Epsom etc. Why run both routes on the one downtown corridor and ignore all the rest of the Central City?

          • David T

            “They are talking about taking the bus down the middle of Esmonde north to Akoranga”
            Not sure what you mean there Jan, do you mean in the general traffic lane down to Fred Thomas Drive? That would be insane. Real sense of deja vu here.

          • Jan O'Connor

            They are talking about taking the bus down the middle of Esmonde north to Akoranga by taking the next right turn offer to the station in the general traffic. It is insane. There is a sense of deja vu here.

          • Noelene Wallace

            Jan, I have been using the Esmonde Rd bus lane & the Takapuna bus service year in and year out. The majority of passengers get out & board at Lower Albert St & either work there or reconnect at Britomart. Why would they want to disembark at Wellesley ST?

        • Jan, from what I can see the Takapuna to Onehunga line goes right in front of the Civic on Wellesley St, you may indeed get your wish.

          I definitely agree that Queen St should be for pedestrians and public transport only, and from what I understand from the city centre masterplan this is the thinking of AT and Auckland Council too.

          • Jan O'Connor

            If the Inner City Link which circles up Queen St via Mayoral Drive & K Rd can be “delayed” most times by 46 minutes & then 2 come at once how long will buses via Onehunga be delayed? When I worked in Queen St several years ago I daily lunched in K Rd in the winter as it is warmer & sunnier than Queen St-no high rises. Buses going to the inner west via K Rd were plentiful and always full. What a joke now!

          • Stu Donovan

            Jan I think you’re referring to the City Link (red) not the Inner Link (green). And the delays to the City Link (which is the only one that runs on Queen Street) do not seem relevant to the Onehunga service?

            In terms of reliability, that’s partly solved by frequency – when there’s a bus coming every 15 minutes or better the reliability of any individual bus is reduced.

          • Jan O'Connor

            David, you obviously don’t know how crowded these buses get at any hour during the day. They can be packed at 12.00pm, 1.00pm or 3.00pm.

            Hauraki & Takapuna bus users won’t walk 2km or 1km from Akoranga Station – so NEX doesn’t exist for these people. Akoranga Station is a $17M (2007) white elephant.

            How often are the buses to Grey Lynn & Pt Chevalier? Every 10 – 15 minutes? Takapuna is served by 858,839, 879, 875, 895. After peak time they are every 15 to 20 minutes. However as they come from as far away as Orewa and Long Bay & get caught in the traffic all the time they often turn up in threes – then there is a long, long gap. This argument is becoming very boring as I have no expertise over any other route and wonder where your expertise lies. I don’t believe in euthanising an outstanding service which does need some small injections due to its growing popularity.

          • Jan I hear your anxiety but I think you should wait for the consultation process and contribute to it. In general the new system is being designed to improve coverage to most places and certainly really busy routes like you are describing. I am not a Shore expert but I do know that it is a special case because of both the need to funnel almost everything on to the bridge and the presence of a number of private bus companies fighting for territory and advantage. I’m sure those working on the redesign will want to hear your experience and needs, who knows it may be the very thing that makes a difference to the result….

            BTW I’m a Grey Lynn bus user and 20 mins is our current frequency and it can get pretty busy but I know we haven’t had the growth on a narrow route like has happen on the Shore since the busway was built. Still can’t understand why there are no bus lanes on the bridge given the numbers that the buses carry….

          • Jan O'Connor

            Thanks for your kind comments, Patrick. The original design for the harbour bridge did include bus lanes- there were also moves to put it through the bottom Coyle Park @ Pt Chevalier-where I lived-but Tom Pearce and my Dad & others soon put paid to that.

            The consultation has started apparently with “Stakeholder” Groups some of whom are not Bus Users. Never too sure how they choose these people. Most of my friends use the Esmonde service daily but have never been asked to a “Stakeholder” meeting.

            The only way to consult is from the ground up. I have done that so many times. Going to the bus stops. and then getting on the various buses and listening to the users.

            Last year on behalf of the Devonport-Takapuna Bus Users Group I bussed in and out at peak time only to get a petition to keep HOVs out of the current bus lane for the 900m before it merges with the bus way as the buses would be stalled waiting for the HOVs to get onto the motorway. . We asked for more buses at peak time instead. There is rarely a problem with the bridge only with the motorway on ramps – we all believe that the ramp lights are a major problem for cars-the buses don’t use them

            Patrick you may or may not work for AT but I was hoping that the new brooms @ AT would see the light and leave well alone.

            There are no 881s going through to Uni & AUT & Newmarket coming through Takapuna – several a morning could be compromise. There are only 3 or 4 Ritchies from Bayswater on this route so private buses are not a problem.

            The planning experts working on the redesign will NOT want to hear about my experience or the users needs at the grass roots level. They never have in the past. And 7.30a.m is an early start these cold and chilly mornings.

          • David T

            Jan, you misunderstood my point. When I said “the reply you will get is that it is easy to transfer to the Northern Express at Akoranga ” I wasn’t implying that this was a satisfactory answer! Incidentally I am an 839/858 user and I fully understand how busy they are during the day, hence my comments regarding the problem caused by essentially splitting the existing Beach Rd service into three segments.

  • Takapuna via Esmonde bus lane is a very popular bus route due to Takapuna’s intensive housing, apartments & walkways from Hauraki Area . Buses leaving the CBD in the morning are filled almost to capacity with workers to the burgeoning Takapuna office precinct i.e. Inland Revenue, Auckland Council. We need shuttles back & forth not delays due to no bus lanes going to & fro Onehunga. No wonder AT wanted to keep this destruction of the best bus service in Auckland quiet.

    • Louis M

      We desperately need some bus lanes on Manukau Road. But just because the bus is through routed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they couldn’t put in some short stopper buses that run between the CBD and Takapuna, if demand was there.

      • Jan O'Connor

        If we are serious about PT in Auckland (and seemingly we are) bus lanes should be on every arterial otherwise people will always use cars.

        • As just mentioned above, the intention is to use this network design to work work out exactly where bus lanes and transfer stations are needed so that the infrastructure can be planned and prioritised accordingly. I understand that work is going on behind the scenes about this already.

      • David T

        Louis, it really shouldn’t be necessary to run additional CBD-Takapuna buses – with a 15 minute frequency from midtown, plus the peak time expresses, plus the NEX, plus the two 15 min freq services from Akoranga to Takapuna, it’ll be like Clapham Junction there as it is. If there are severe delays on the Onehunga – Takapuna run then fix the route, don’t use scarce resources to provide a Band Aid.

        Of course you could run the East Coast Bays services over the bridge ….. nah, let’s not go there!

    • Stu Donovan

      Jan, taking the Takapuna route to Onehunga will provide commuters from the Shore with a direct connection to the City, University, Hospital, Domain, Newmarket and Epsom. Not everyone’s just going to the city you know, in fact there’s a lot of demand for travel from the shore to destinations south of the city centre.

      • Jan O'Connor

        Stu, there are plenty of connections already at the Britomart Transport Centre to go to the University, Hospital, Domain, Newmarket and Epsom. There are few connections from Wellesley to Britomart though. You cannot answer how buses to Takapuna via Onehunga can ever run to a timetable.

      • David T

        To be picky, it will provide commuters from Takapuna with a direct connection; anyone north of Takapuna will have to transfer as is currently the case.
        Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the work that has gone into this redesign; there’s lots of good news in there and nobody would disagree that there are many underused and indirect routes that need reorganisation. I did point out previously that these battles had been fought on the Shore before and got shot down in flames for my trouble, but I didn’t expect it to flare up again quite so quickly. Surely this can be sorted out with some goodwill and communication on all sides? Otherwise we will be getting “Bus Users Battle Transport Planners” headlines in the North Shore Times which won’t be to anybody’s benefit.

        • That’s what I like about what they have proposed. There are two frequent all day routes coming over the bridge from the main part of the north shore, one goes downtown to Britomart, one goes midtown and across to Newmarket.
          If you’re on one line and it’s going the right way for you then great, if you want to go to the other then you simply connect at Akoranga or Victoria Park. Best of both worlds, I have no idea why you would want to send both of the routes to the same place.

          Communication is all good, but if people aren’t willing to consider other users and see the bigger picture of the wider network then it’s going to be hard to get anywhere. People who are solely focussed on their own patch of turf at the expense of everyone else could be quite hard to communicate with.

          • David T

            No-one said it would be easy, nothing of this scale ever is. At the moment we have you and Jan in diametrically opposed positions in a stalemate which won’t go anywhere without communication and compromise. I’m in the middle being shot at by both sides, but hey I’m used to that.

        • Jan O'Connor

          David where will dropping passengers off 950m from the Britomart Transport Centre provide commuters from Takapuna with a direct connection to anywhere other than UNI, AUT & the Hospital. Where is the good news?? The existing route via Esmonde Rd needs no reorganisation. This can be sorted out with some goodwill and communication BUT with the users not with planners using maps which are completely incomprehensible. We need a “Bus Users Battle Transport Planners” headlines in the North Shore Times otherwise the people who will suffer will never know about it until its too late.

          • David T

            Well, personally Smales Farm to Rothesay Bay with a guaranteed max 15 min transfer would have been of great benefit to me in a previous job. I still shudder to think of one wait of nearly an hour in a leaky bus shelter on Shakespeare Rd (pre busway) – could nearly have walked home in that time. I’m not in favour of inflammatory headlines in the paper, I would hope and expect good communication from AT before it came to that.

          • Jan O'Connor

            Takapuna & Hauraki has and will be more intensified – several kms from Smales Farm & 1km from Akoranga Station-built mainly for AUT.

            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10480338

            However I have good reason to believe that once again AT will try this same stunt again. Last time when I was on Council it was only mentioned in two lines at the bottom of an agenda. The genuine “Stakeholders” are never consulted. When I first moved to Hauraki & started using buses 20 years ago I couldn’t accept sitting in traffic for 25 minutes so at that stage started my campaign for the swiftest bus service to the CBD in Auckland. Currently 105 buses a day use it. But there needs to be more 820s Taka-CBD

            ACC came to the party with the highly used bus lanes in Fanshawe St. Why 105 bus be taken off them after the 1st stop by Air NZ.. This Council is in enormous debt. Lets try to budget. Dreams are cheap

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