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Construction begins on park and ride stations

Construction begins on park and ride stations for NZ's first busway

Minister of Transport Paul Swain and North Shore City Mayor George Wood launched the earthworks and construction of New Zealand's first busway today at the sites of its two northernmost stations.

Opening in 2004, the Albany and Constellation park and ride stations (pick up and drop off) will be two of the five stations of the $140m North Shore Busway which will operate as a two-way dedicated motorway for buses and high occupancy vehicles along the eastern side of the northern motorway.

Busways operate around the world, but North Shore City's will be the first in New Zealand. The project is a major part of the Auckland region's plan to develop an integrated transport network for its growing population. The North Shore Busway and services will link with the central Auckland Britomart Transport Interchange due to open in July.

"This project is about making public transport an attractive and viable option for more of our residents," says North Shore City Mayor George Wood. "We have to invest in quality facilities that make public transport the first choice, rather than a last resort," he says. "The stations will be state-of-the art and the services will be faster and more frequent for journeys around our city and across the Auckland Harbour Bridge. We're giving buses priority in an effort to move more people around quickly and efficiently,"

Partners in the busway project are confident that the scheme will greatly enhance the people-carrying capacity of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Just one lane devoted to buses and multi passenger vehicles can move 11,400 people in a typical weekday morning peak hour, which is about 1800 people more than the other four lanes of the bridge combined.

The Albany park and ride station will be sited in the heart of the rapidly growing residential and commercial Albany Centre on a 7ha site bounded by the northern motorway and Oteha Valley Rd.

With the 350 car parks to be built in stage one, Albany park and ride station will be the focus for all stop, local and express services. Additional car parks will be added to the station as required to a total of 1200.

The Constellation station will also be a park and ride station, with a total of 400 spaces. Constellation will also be a focus for all stop, local and express services. This station is also sited in the heart of a busy commercial and light industrial area, and will serve a growing residential population in the vicinity.

Both stations will be finished to a high standard, with effective timetable and information systems, security lighting, closed circuit security television, 'see through' lifts, glass walkways and extensive landscaping.

The busway, which will also service the three other planned bus stations, Sunnynook, Westlake and Akoranga, is being built Transit NZ and funded by Transfund. All five stations are being built at a cost of $56m by North Shore City Council which received a grant of $40m from Infrastructure Auckland for the project. The entire system will provide essential links for a range of bus services and routes in the northern part of the Auckland region. The two park and ride stations will be fully functional in 2004, before the completion of the busway and other stations in mid 2006.

The Busway and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project is a partnership between North Shore City Council, Auckland City Council, the Auckland Regional Council and Transit NZ.

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