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Auckland City ironing out Britomart’s wrinkles

MEDIA RELEASE

5 September 2003


Auckland City ironing out Britomart’s wrinkles

Auckland City is moving quickly to fix any problems as they arise at the new Britomart Transport Centre.

“The project is huge by any measure,” says Councillor Greg McKeown, Transport Committee chairperson, “and the work hasn’t stopped just because we’ve had the official opening.

“Clearly there is work to complete, there are construction remedies to address, which is a norm for any construction project, and there are new transport timetables and services to bed in,” says Mr McKeown.

While Auckland City does not have direct control over the train timetables and services, which are handled by Auckland Regional Council (ARC) and Tranzrail, there are areas where it is able to act promptly to provide improvements.

One month after the opening of the Britomart Transport Centre, the council is dealing with some operational issues affecting bus services in Queen Elizabeth Square and around the Britomart precinct.

Some pressure is being felt on the central business district (CBD) streets, particularly during commuter peak periods. It is due to changes made to traffic signalling designed to give priority to buses moving in and out of Britomart while managing peak traffic flows.

“Drivers became accustomed to different traffic flows during the construction of Britomart,” says Mr McKeown. “Auckland City staff are monitoring the situation to fine tune the signal phasing and then to strike the right balance between buses and cars.”

Outside the terminal itself some of the new shelters have been placed too close to the kerb and will require shifting to improve convenience and safety. “This is a construction mistake, relatively minor in the scheme of things, and will be fixed by the contractor at no cost to ratepayers,” said Mr McKeown. “Works will start at 9.30am on Monday 8 September 2003. We hope to address this within a fortnight with minimum inconvenience to bus passengers.”

“The good news is that feedback from the Bus and Coach Association and bus operators has been positive, and we will continue to work with them to improve services to the public. As bus patronage grows from all parts of Auckland, we will need to implement a full range of measures to improve bus flows in the CBD. This not only includes bus lanes and other bus priority measures, but also measures to reduce dwell times at CBD bus stops. It currently takes 5 minutes to load a bus during peak hours.”

“Off-bus ticketing, integrated ticketing, and more passengers using passes rather than purchasing a single ticket on-board are all options for improving passenger boarding times, which is particularly relevant in the CBD in the evenings. We are working with the ARC and operators to move ahead in these areas. We are keen to see progress to complement what is happening on the street,” said Mr McKeown.

Ends

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