I have been getting a few emails lately from people who catch the express buses from Westgate or Kumeu to town about an issue with the bus lanes, or lack of them as a result of the new bits of motorway that opened last year. There are two issues, the first is that the onramp itself was not built with a shoulder on it, despite the previous layout having one. This means that buses are getting held up in general traffic, waiting for around 5 minutes every day where as previously buses could use the shoulder to bypass much of the traffic. You can see the difference between the old and new layout in the image below.
The second issue is perhaps even worse as not only does it hold buses and bus users up, it rubs their nose in it. As part of the previously mentioned motorway works, an extra lane was added close to Westgate as well as a wide shoulder that can be used by buses however it doesn’t yet extend all the way to Royal Rd and won’t do so for perhaps another decade until that section of motorway is also upgraded. Even though there is quite a decent lenth of the shoulder already installed that buses could use, they aren’t allowed to. This means that often buses are getting delayed by 5-10 minutes as they sit in the general traffic lanes just like everyone else.
And here is an image from a reader showing the traffic, you can just see the bus shoulder in the background
So NZTA, while it looks like it would be expensive to change the layout of the onramp, at least let the buses use the shoulder or is it all part of an attempt to to make buses unattractive to help justify more motorway works?