Buses First Success Puts Buses First
More Aucklanders are catching the bus to work as a result of bus priority scheme, Buses First!, put in place by Auckland City, and launched progressively from 1998.
Patronage on buses travelling along Dominion, Sandringham and Mt Eden Roads rose an average of eight per cent in May, compared with the same month last year.
The biggest increase has been in evening usage, with passenger numbers on Dominion Road routes rising 17 per cent and on Mt Eden Road services up 14 per cent.
Across all time zones, Mt Eden Road services rose the most – nine per cent; while Dominion Rd patronage was up eight per cent in May. Sandringham Road services rose just over seven per cent over May last year. (See attached charts)
The introduction of Buses First! has also had a number of other positive effects. Travel times have reduced by an average of five minutes during peak periods, but not at the expense of other traffic which is still finding journey times unchanged; and the number of vehicles on Dominion Road during peak travel times has decreased. This results in buses reaching their destination more quickly.
Public opinion about the new measures is also positive with most people who use shopping centre routes believing the scheme is a good idea. Nearly 60 per cent of business owners report that bus lanes have had no impact on their businesses.
The success of Buses First! is particularly pleasing to Auckland City, which has named the provision of effective transport as one of its main priorities over the next 20 years.
Buses First! is a series of initiatives aimed at assisting buses to avoid traffic delays by providing clear ways to bypass congestion or get a head start on other vehicles. These measures include: peak-time bus lanes for the exclusive use of buses and cyclists; new generation low-floor buses; upgraded on-road information and shelters for passengers; signal pre-emption at major intersections; real-time information signs at the major bus stops; and new limited stops services linked to a park and ride facility.
Principal Transport Planner, Denis Mander, Tel 379 2020 ext 7535
On-road information refers to information on bus times, as in written timetables and the electronic timetables as seen in some locations.
Real-time is up-to-date information about how many minutes away the next bus is so that passengers have a 'real' idea of when the bus will arrive. This is a sophisticated system and only a few are currently in operation.
Hard or electronic copies of the attached charts may be obtained from Auckland City Marketing, tel 379 2020 ext 7776.