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Photo: Auckland City Council

Auckland launches 10-year plan to revamp bus services

13 July 2021

by Christopher Carey

Auckland Transport and the City Council have launched a new City Centre Bus Plan that outlines sweeping changes needed to transform the network over the next ten years.

As part of the wider City Centre Master Plan (CCMP), the new scheme will see the creation of two new dedicated east-west bus corridors, improved facilities for customers and drivers, and bus charging facilities.

New routes that run through the city centre rather than finishing there will also be created to free up at least one kilometre of kerbspace, which could be repurposed for public spaces or other city needs.

Auckland City Councillor Chris Darby, Planning Committee Chair, said that greater convenience, increased capacity, and improved air quality are at the heart of the new plan.

“There’s a growing desire of Aucklanders to avoid numbing congestion and take advantage of seamless bus corridors to their places of work and education in the city centre.

“New crossover routes and new off-street bus interchanges complete the mix to make the city centre even more accessible for people living and visiting there.”

He added that the proposed plan makes room for 50 percent more people travelling on buses through the city centre.

“It’s yet another component to delivering on the CCMP, providing an accessible, green and liveable city centre.”

Improved design

Currently around half of Auckland city centre’s peak hour commuters arrive using public transport, with 700 buses bringing the same number into the centre as 25,000 cars.

The city’s bus network has undergone several changes in the past five years, resulting in a rise in passengers.

But as the number of trips have increased, more services and better planning of network routes and design has become a pressing issue.

Auckland Transport Network Service Development Manager, Pete Moth, claims there are exciting initiatives in the proposed plan that will deliver substantial benefits for city centre bus users – but it won’t happen overnight.

“We acknowledge that travelling on buses in the city centre can be a frustrating experience for some and that making transfers between buses in the city centre can be difficult and confusing,” he said. “We want Aucklanders to be aware of these changes, to know they are part of the plan that will make the buses and the transport system in the city centre better for all.”

Moth added the proposed plan will benefit both businesses and residents in the city centre.

“By freeing up more than one kilometre of road space in the city centre, we can give space back to the city centre for people and remove buses from unsuitable streets, often outside businesses and residences. This will improve air quality and streets such as Commerce St would be entirely free of buses under this plan.”

Auckland Transport is currently asking for feedback from the public on whether the proposed plan will help deliver the CCMP.

Feedback is open until 19 September 2021.

Image: Auckland City Council

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