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Panmure Interchange Progress

Note from Matt L: Please welcome Luke to the TransportBlog team. He has been a long time reader and commentator of the blog. He is half way through a Masters of Urban Planning Degree at Auckland University, and is also the Auckland Policy Director for Generation Zero.

 

As we have previously highlighted work is ongoing around Panmure as part of the first major stage of the AMETI project.

Panmure is an important node on the future frequent network as it links buses from Eastern Suburbs such as Pakuranga and beyond into the rail network.

The Howick and Eastern buses are timetabled at about 40 minutes from Panmure, while the trains take 20 minutes. This new interchange will allow very easy interchange between rail and bus, and this may mean that passengers bound for Britomart from the East will find it best to transfer to train if they are headed for the Britomart part of town. This will give further capacity to the buses down the line for passengers from Ellerslie – Panmure Highway and Great South Road.

Panmure map RPTP

This interchange also includes the first part of the Eastern Busway, which is planned to extend to Pakuranga by 2020, and Botany by 2030. Of course as part of the Congestion Free Network we would really like to see this fast-tracked, and generally complete by 2020.

 Substantial progress has now been made on the new Panmure Station and Bus Interchange. I must say it looks very impressive and will allow the easiest rail-bus interchanges in Auckland, with the bus interchange being right on top of the station.

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Panmure Station and Interchange from the slopes of Maungarei/Mount Wellington. This shows the relation to the Panmure town centre, the roundabout (soon to be removed), and the new roading connections around the station.

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Interchange building from opposite side of Ellerslie-Panmure Highway. Note the white bus shelters to the right of the photo.

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Close up of interchange building from the future busway. The lifts inside are already in use as disabled access. Managed a quick look inside and must say looks very impressive.

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The project website does not give an update as to when this interchange will open, however I suspect it be in January, soon after the summer shut down. Should see a big boost to Panmure station patronage as a result, as well as helping renewal of this part of town.

40 comments to Panmure Interchange Progress

  • Greg N

    Welcome to the team, Luke.

    A question:

    You say “The Howick and Eastern buses are timetabled at about 40 minutes from Panmure, while the trains take 20 minutes.”

    By this I take it to mean that H&E buses now take 40 minutes to get to Britomart from Panmure
    (via EP highway to Ellerslie town centre and then Great South Rd to Newmarket), and the train 20 minutes (via Glenn Innes, Meadowbank and Orakei stations).

    This correct?

    It must therefore be a long journey to use the bus from Howick to get to Britomart then.

    I think the Panmure interchange is long overdue, but the interchange and station seems to have been taking forever to build.
    [Yes I know they're building the EP highway rail/AMETI Trench road bridges at the same time - but they've already opened and in use].

    The whole area, the station and building included doesn’t seem to look a lot different (i.e. better) than when I last visited it during the Easter Rail shutdown in April this year.
    Except for the brown roof on the glass box – which makes it look like a petrol station forecourt.

    Can’t wait until its finished though, the EMUs come on stream and the buses really start the integration to the trains.
    But those trains have to run on time and arrive without too much of a wait and also have room inside for people to get on the train.

    With electrification yet to happen on this stretch yet (the masts aren’t even up between here and Britomart) – the EMUs will be a longer time coming to the Panmure part of the world, so even if the buses come a-calling at Panmure next year, passengers may find the “inn is full” and the service wanting when they try and use the train – which may put some folks unused to the new way of using PT (changing modes and (in the short term) – paying more $ – to speed your trip).

    I also assume that if the majority of bus passengers end up leaving the bus at Panmure, that H&E may reduce the frequency of buses between Britomart and Panmure, while upping the frequency on the Eastern suburbs to Panmure (breaking one route into two smaller sub-routes).

    I hope that the PTOM planners have factored that into their negotiations over the new integrated bus routes that are coming – and also plan to educate the bus users as well lead of time so they know what the options and changes will be – and that they are not penalised too much.

    lastly have we any word on the old Tamaki station? Or is this on the back burner still?

    • Nick R

      Indeed it is, and the 40 minutes by bus is the somewhat aspirational timetabled time. It can regularly stretch to 50 or 60 minutes depending on loading a and traffic. Meanwhile the train is consistent at 19 mins, except during breakdowns and system failures.

    • Luke C

      The bus route from Panmure to City is a very handy route for people on Ellerslie Panmure Hwy, and under frequent network only route on Great South Road. Also until CRL many bound for Newmarket, Grafton, Midtown and the Uni will find it easier to stay on the bus. However once have integrated ticketing should look at removing the direct to Britomart expresses.

      • Bryce P

        I used to live in Panmure and work in Ellerslie (on GSR). The trip by bus was slow and uncomfortable along EP Hwy so I went back to my car. (And no, I wasn’t going to ride EP P Hwy

    • Sam

      Ive been recently catching a combination of two buses and two trains to my new job, and Ive actually noticed that AT Hop does not penalise me for changing modes on fare stages – i.e – if I travel a stage on a bus, then 3 stages on trains, then another stage on a bus, I get charged the same as if I travelled 5 stages on one service: my final bus ride costs me about 65 cents (student fare) instead of the standard 1 stage fare of well over a dollar.

      So passengers transferring at Panmure (a fare stage) will not have to pay more compared to their fare if they stayed on the bus.

  • Are they going to cover the stairs to/from the rail platforms? That could be a very miserable walk on a windy, rainy winter’s day.
    Nice to see an integrated exchange as exist overseas. Is this an NZ first by design? I know Hamilton used to have the main bus stop nearly above the inner-city railway station, but that was a happy accident since the train station was there first.

    • No New Lynn bus stops are pretty integrated, even to the point that they are named as an extension of the rail platforms i.e. rail are platforms 1 & 2 while the bus platforms go from 3 upwards.

      Some old photos
      Train station is in the building to the left

      and accessed by a raised crossing that comes straight out from the front door

  • Adam W

    I look forward to seeing more of your blog entries Luke.
    The station looks great, and the combination of trains and buses is needed.

    My question is around connection to the town centre; from what I can see there is still a big road in the way. Any direct easy connection on foot? An underpass or something? Otherwise it will be like an island surronded by roads.

    • I walk along Queens Road and over to the station a few days a week and yes, the connection from the end of Queens Road to the station is anti-pedestrian. There’s a traffic light crossing up Jellicoe road, but the nature of the built up area there is that you can’t help feel apologetic for even daring to cross the road and hold up the traffic. And then the route from there to the station is across the Mobil forecourt; I half expect them to one day say Oi, get off my land.
      I’m really hoping the removal of the roundabout sorts things out.

    • I also bike to work too; I’m, shall I say, an assertive bike rider (for your own safety, you have to be in AKL), and still the stretch of road from the Forge Way lights to Lunn Ave is f*cking dangerous – excuse the language but there’s no better way to describe it, particularly the stretch from Mt Wellington/EP Highway lights to Lunn Ave.

    • Actually, because of its four lanes and yellow-lined curbs, all of Ellerslie-Panmure Highway feels dangerous to bike on, which is a real shame as Panmure-Ellerslie could be an enjoyable ride.

      • Luke C

        Ellerslie-Panmure is a real shocker for anyone but cars. In the 2.5km from Lunn Ave to Main Hwy only 2 pedestrian crossings. How is one supposed to catch a bus if too dangerous to cross road in morning or on way home. Really need to add a T3 lane along here, should have been downgraded once the South-Eastern Highway opened.

    • Starnius

      Hi Adam – this is the proposed long-term layout once the reoundabout gets removed (which I think will be next year)?

      http://www.aucklandtransport.govt.nz/SiteCollectionImages/L4ImgImpTrans/AMETI/Panmure-roundabout-july2013.jpg

      The main walking routes would be either along the Mountain Road or EPH widened footpath and then across a zebra over a less busy Jellicoe Road – hopefully, eventually that car park triangle will also be used better – I understand Council is seeing it as a prime spot for a couple of multi-story town centre mixed use buildings.

      • Luke C

        Yes there was something in the latest Auckland Development Committee about this proposal, though had difficulty lining up private sector partners at the moment. There are already few low-rise apartment buildings around the station. In the long term could be really great if get more people living here, but might take the CRL for development to really kick off here.

  • Waspman

    Instead of a busway why not an eastern railway connecting Pakuranga/Highland Park and eventually looping to Manukau? The road bed is essentially the same effort, perhaps a lot more considering it has to be sealed and the North Shore bus lanes would be railway were it not for the Harbour Bridge obstacle. Busways seem a temporary cheap alternative (very Auckland) that can cater for smaller numbers but are expensive and less flexible to operate for moving bigger numbers owing to more vehicles & drivers. The RWC proved that.

    • bbc

      For starters NZTA won’t fund railway infrastructure so that would have to be built fully by AT, a busway on the otherhand is a road so NZTA will partiale fund it.

      • Waspman

        Seriously, its a public transport corridor! Do their rules state that to qualify the vehicles that use it MUST burn diesel, the corridor surface must be oil based and must use bitumen, must have rubber wheels. No wonder we are so far behind. Law changes are badly needed then as this is not serving the public.

        • Starnius

          It’s also a bit late for that, as we have already built the first parts of the busway (on EPH) and will soon construct the busway to Pakuranga.

          I don’t have a problem with that – a GOOD busway is pretty awesome PT – even though Waspman is correct that the distinction from a funding perspective between rail=no and roads=yes is idiotic.

        • As much as I love rail, it isnt always the best option financially or politically. As Starnius says, there is nothing wrong with a good busway, especially if it funnels people into the existing rail system.

          • Luke C

            Although railway ideal, would be vastly more expensive. The good thing about busways is they can be staged very well. Also do not require full grade separation which any new metro railway would need. Maybe in the 2040/2050 CFN map, but not in the forseeable future.

        • Yes Waspman, the government has made it illegal for NZTA to fund railways.

          I wouldn’t belittle busways so readily, the Northern Busway is faster and carries more people than any one of our current rail lines,

          • Waspman

            I’m not belittling bus ways, its better than nothing but its always the way in Auckland, something/anything is better than nothing so we settle on a bus way. Hence the Harbour Bridge with no walkway, no rail and 4 lanes or Britomart with two tracks in or out or one track each way and 5 dead end platforms, a sports stadium in Mt Eden of limited use instead of using the CBD and on it goes. Yes rail start up is dearer but being electric & fast and infrastructure that lasts far longer than a road surface its a very long term investment. The trouble is when patronage picks you have to find another registered COFed vehicle from a private bus company that uses more diesel along with a driver for it and all the accompanying rostering/training/employment complications, with rail another unit can be coupled up instantly and you are in business or separated as the need arises..

          • You are belittling busways, calling them better than nothing etc.

            An extra rail unit can only be coupled up instantly if you have already bought more than you need and have them lying around wasting space and money. It is a lot easier to procure buses and drivers if patronage growth is stronger than expected than it is to buy trains and train drivers.

          • Steve D

            @Waspman: Eden Park is essentially only suitable for rugby, cricket, and league. (Potentially, it could be used for soccer). It gets almost all the use it can, given that it’s only useful for a few codes.

            Vector gets more use, but Vector is adaptable to just about any use, from basketball to concerts to conventions. I think it’s actually a pretty good setup we’ve got – the more compact stadium with lots of use is in the central city, and the less well used and more spacious Eden Park and Mount Smart are in more distant areas, but still handy to rail for the odd times you actually need to get a lot of people there. The main problem is that we have too many large stadiums, and there’s very little good to say about North Harbour.

            I think putting a large, specialised stadium right in downtown is actually a waste of a perfectly good location – it will only be used a small fraction of the time and the rest of the time it’s totally dead. But we do need large specialised stadiums, because every now and then, we do actually need to have a Super Rugby playoff or All Blacks test. Why not put them futher out, or at least Kingsland?

    • What you are referring to Waspman is the Botany Line which has been touted before. It was last touted in 2004 to be built alongside the Eastern Transport Corridor or more infamously known as The Eastern Highway. When Banks was defeated in 2004 the Botany Line got defeated with it.

      However, there is nothing stopping the revival of the Botany Line – you just need to be more savvy about it now than in 2004. By around 2025-2030 building the Botany Line in stages as an Elevated Light Rail Transit system going from Panmure Interchange to Manukau (then onto the airport) via Botany Town Centre should be deemed feasible on most fronts. Effectively what you are building is a mini version of the Vancouver Sky Train that works very well over there. Bit by bit, stage by stage (as I have presented to the Auckland Plan Committee (predecessor to the Auckland Development Committee which also got the revised version) and written more recently in some of my on posts) is how you do it while keeping monetary and political costs down.

      So I hear you Waspman – and Council have heard about it as well (The Botany Line). One just needs to be patient and chip away at it progressively and often it becomes a reality

    • A southeast rail line is obviously the ideal. It could have stations at Highland Park, Botany TC and Flat Bush and eventually run through to Manukau station. However I imagine it would be a huge challenge technically and require large amounts of tunnelling – billions of dollars. Should lobby Council to take a closer look and conduct some studies, however that doesn’t mean we should not back the busway in the meanwhile.

  • Jeff H

    Hope the Panmure Interchange will offer workable connections with buses to and from Highbrook Business Park.

    Currently requires a long walk from the train station to Panmure shops and the timetables aren’t commuter friendly.

    • Luke C

      There is also soem bus-bays parallel to the station, on the mountain side of the tracks. Presume these are for buses to terminate, such as the Panmure – Highbrook services. The ability for easy connections is a main driver for this project, so that why I think will help rail patronage.
      An AT report from a few months ago suggested there would be changes to bus routes soon after station opened to take advantage of these opportunities.
      The Highbrook connections are also proposed to improve as part of the frequent network.

  • Exaucklanderinsydney

    Just saw AT’s release on their website re plans for the new Otahuhu interchange which should be just as transformational for that area. Exciting times ahead.

  • Starnius

    Has there been any update on the rumor that AT is proposing to have NO cycle parking at Panmure?

    • That is being challenged by CAA and the ridiculousness of it has been pointed out to people at very high levels. Watch that space.

      Please write to AT/AC and tell them you are not happy with it. That is the best way to help.

    • Luke C

      Thats ridiculous! Some decent cycle links, especially as the Tamaki bridge will be getting a much improved cycle lane. Will be attractive to cycle from Pakuranga, Waipuna and other adjacent suburbs.

      • Max

        The cycle links to the station will arguably be quite good in a few years (extremely good, compared with what is there now). It’s the fact that they still open brand new stations without bike parking that really bugs us. It’s a bit like building a whole building and then saying “Sorry, we didn’t put in doors into the doorways – they were too expensive once we had paid for all the other stuff – surely you won’t mind it being a bit windy?”

      • Max

        Because the reason that was given to us why they didn’t have bike parking is that they had cost overruns. Great, huh? Bike parking – breaking AT’s bank. Sure.

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