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Sharing a ride the way to go

June 11, 2004

Sharing a ride the way to go

North Shore City Council is pleased to see Infrastructure Auckland joining the push to encourage car pooling in the region, with its $300,000 grant for a carpooling website.

The grant, for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority to develop car pooling software, builds on work being done in North Shore City to encourage this sensible and efficient means of transport.

Car pooling is already a success story in North Shore City's Onewa Rd transit lane, a lane dedicated to buses and vehicles with three or more occupants, where car pooling rose from nine per cent of road users in 1982 to 26.5 per cent in 2003.

"There is capacity along this corridor for more car pooling, and a website would offer opportunities for more people to share a ride," North Shore City's works and environment committee chairperson, Joel Cayford, says.

"Organised car pooling would help relieve congestion in other crowded corridors, encourage socialising on the way to work, and could save North Shore City commuters around $50 a week each through reduced petrol and parking costs." Strict enforcement of the Onewa Rd transit lane means travel times in the lane are significantly shorter. In this case there was no formal organisation of car pools - commuters simply realised it made good sense to share a ride.

A survey of Onewa Rd found two-thirds of all people bound for the motorway in the morning peak were travelling in the transit lane, twice as many as in the general lane. That meant 68 per cent of people on Onewa Rd were travelling in just 27 per cent of the vehicles.

Buses on the corridor are now more reliable, people are getting to work and home quicker, and average vehicle occupancy has risen from 1.9 to 2.69 people.

Transit lanes are part of North Shore City's efforts to improve public transport and across the city. Options are now being examined for possible transit lanes in other corridors, including Constellation Dr, Shakespeare Rd and Forrest Hill Rd. The public will be asked to give feedback on these in the coming months.

"We want to give people fast, efficient transport options that will let them choose to share a ride or leave their cars at home and still get where they are going," Joel Cayford says.

ENDS

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