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Changes to bus services - public input sought

Changes to North Shore and Hibiscus Coast bus services – public input on priorities sought

20 May 2004

New and more efficient bus routes to support the opening of the Albany and Constellation busway stations and routes that provide more ways of travelling around within the north are part of key changes proposed for North Shore and Hibiscus Coast bus services.

The Auckland Regional Council is seeking public input on its draft Passenger Transport Plan for the North Shore and Hibiscus Coast. Changes are proposed for all existing North Shore and Hibiscus Coast bus services with the introduction of new route structures that will include an interim spine service between Albany and Constellation busway stations and Britomart Transport Centre, shorter and more direct express routes and better penetration into developing areas.

The result will be high frequency 15 minute services between Albany and the Auckland CBD, and between Takapuna and the Auckland CBD. More buses are proposed to run outside of peak hours and at weekends, with routes that will make it easy to get around the North Shore. While there are lots of changes, most services in the Beach Haven, Marlborough, Hillcrest, Bayswater and Devonport areas are proposed to stay in their current form.

“Much hard work has gone into designing these services. They are the result of extensive technical route modelling, detailed evaluation of existing services and discussions with operators," says Councillor Catherine Harland, Passenger Transport Committee Chair. "But ultimately the decision as to what is contracted will be a choice between what services provide the most benefits and what is affordable."

Consultation has been extensive with bus users, members of the public, the local councils and community boards. Back in August-October 2002, the ARC conducted its largest ever public consultation initiative for bus services involving a mailbox drop to 83,000 households, on-board bus posters, special interest group meetings, market research and roadshow displays. Further consultation occurred in mid 2003.

“Now as we head toward the tender period, it is again time for North Shore and Hibiscus Coast residents and bus users to give us their views," says Cr Harland. "Service changes come at a cost to regional ratepayers so we must consult the public every step of the way.

Bus services involve year-on-year commitments of rating expenditure and so it is very important that we know which services are the most important priorities, as we may not be able to afford all the proposals we are consulting on," says Cr Harland. In the last tender round for bus services in the South and East of the Auckland region, tender prices from operators were significantly higher than anticipated, despite a substantial budget increase, so the Council was unable to contract for all the services proposed. Cr Harland says,

"This situation underscores why it it is vital for North Shore and Hibiscus Coast residents and bus users to tell us what works for them and what doesn't. I urge people to get involved." Implementation of new services will phased in from April 2005 to coincide with the expiry of existing North Shore and Hibiscus Coast contracts and the opening of the Albany and Constellation stations due in mid-late 2005.

This period of public consultation will continue until 5pm, Friday 2 July. For details of the proposed changes, North Shore and Hibiscus Coast residents can:

Call Rideline on 366 6400 Visit www.rideline.co.nz/eventsandlatestnews Email northernreview@arc.govt.nz Or write to: North Shore and Hibiscus Coast Bus Review Project Manager Auckland Regional Council Private Bag 92012 Auckland


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