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Onewa Rd Enforcement Cuts Travel Times

Onewa Rd Enforcement Cuts Travel Times

Enforcement of the transit lane rules on Onewa Rd, a key North Shore City feeder route to the Auckland Harbour Bridge, has cut morning peak travel times for general traffic by nearly half - and bus travellers have seen their travel time reduced from half an hour to about five minutes.

North Shore City Council has praised bus users, car poolers and others using Onewa Rd as well as its staff charged with the task for keeping traffic flowing freely along one of the city's busiest arterial routes.

The council will now seek authority for its transit officers to additionally police other transit lanes throughout North Shore City, and for their warrants to be made permanent.

The city's transit officers were among the first in the country to be appointed by a local authority especially to enforce moving traffic violations, rather than parking infringements only.

At a recent meeting of North Shore City's works and environment committee, chairperson Joel Cayford said the Onewa Rd transit lane had proved to be a success, and it had achieved its primary aim of moving more people in buses and high occupancy cars over the bridge more quickly.

"We know that Onewa Rd is a vital feeder route on to the harbour bridge, taking more than a quarter of North Shore City's total morning traffic volume," Councillor Cayford says.

"Enforcing the transit rules on the road has allowed buses and cars with three or more people in them to cut their travel time on average from 20 or 30 minutes down to five minutes, and for general users to reduce travel times by up to 15 minutes for the same journey.

"With work on the whole BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system now stepping up, we will be introducing additional transit lanes in other parts of the city, and these lanes will also need regular enforcement. Our transit officers will play an important part in significantly speeding up the flow of buses around the city and onto the bridge," he says.

Permission to use the specially trained and warranted officers was granted to North Shore City by the former Transport Minister, Mark Gosche, in 2001.

The officers were given 12-month warrants to allow the council to assess the effectiveness of the transit lane enforcement.

When the officers were approved by the Minister, the council set performance targets, all of which have been met, says North Shore City's traffic services manager, Tom Morton.

Targets included: · Increasing the number of vehicles that comply with the bus lane rules; and · Reducing the travelling time from an average 20 to 10 minutes over the length of the lane.

Mr Morton says the numbers of vehicles using the lane properly has risen from an average of 80 a day to 280 a day, and there has been an overall drop in the total number of vehicles using Onewa Rd.

"The Onewa Rd lane has performed even better than we expected.

"We would like to thank all the road users for their positive support for the city's efforts to get them to work faster. Bus users can be congratulated for recognising the benefits of a faster, possibly cheaper alternative to reaching the Auckland business district, while car poolers too can enjoy the benefits of faster trips. Now we need to have the other planned lanes work just as well," says Mr Morton.

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