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Bus to the airport now, trains in future

Bus to the airport now,
trains in future

13 June 2008

The ARC has backed a plan for an airport rail loop, after receiving advice that projected growth would more than support a successful train service.

“We are keen to get on with safeguarding the route,” says Christine Rose, committee chairwoman of the transport and urban development committee. “Newly released research is providing a clear direction for protecting routes and future investment.

ARTA has completed its investigation, ‘Planning for Rapid Transit Corridors in South West Auckland Metropolitan Region’, which looks at options using buses, light rail and heavy rail.

The research, reported to the ARC’s transport and urban development committee this week, says the best long-term option is to integrate the airport into the suburban rail network, with a loop connecting Onehunga, the airport and Manukau city centre. The plan includes the construction of a rail line from Avondale to Onehunga.

ARTA advised the committee that the number of people working near the airport is expected to grow from the current to 13,000 to 30,000 in the next 30 years, while the number of plane passengers could reach 35 million per annum. This was more than enough to support a successful rail service.

Most people, 80 per cent, would be traveling to destinations north of the airport. Nearly 70 per cent would be heading to the CBD, North Shore or west Auckland.

A combination of new rail lines (a CBD loop tunnel, Avondale -Onehunga, and the airport loop) would increase access to Auckland CBD. In each morning travel peak, an additional 200,000 people would be within 30-minutes of the city centre, and their travel would be unaffected by road congestion.

“The benefits are of regional and national importance,” Christine Rose says.

“Public transport has a role in making it easier to get to and from Auckland International Airport. It can improve accessibility within South Auckland and open up new transport options between the region’s north and south.

“The new, direct bus services to the airport from Auckland CBD and from Manukau city centre, which begin on June 15 and 16, are a good start. We’re starting to lift Auckland’s game – both as a place to live and as a destination.

“Congratulations to ARTA for getting these value-for-money, high-frequency bus services underway. ARTA deserves even greater recognition for methodically formulating long-term plans, based on quality research.”

The ARC this year received the Campaign For Better Transport’s 10,000-signature petition supporting an airport rail link. “The findings of the ARTA study provide a sound basis from which to progress those aspirations. We’re still at a conceptual stage, but ARTA will now be able to scope the work required to protect corridors.”

“Some future-proofing work has already started. The new motorway bridge across the Manukau harbour will be strong enough to support rail running beneath, and an adjacent portion of State Highway 20 has been shifted sideways to leave enough room for rail to run alongside.”
“We are taking a long-term view, though our immediate focus for rail remains electrification of the network, providing better services and upgraded stations, and reopening commuter services on the Onehunga and Helensville lines as part of wider core network upgrade,” Christine Rose says.

The research will be presented to the Regional Land Transport Committee on Wednesday.

New bus services
From 15 June:

Manukau 380 (Pacific Tourways)
 Connects Manukau city centre and the airport
 Every half-hour, daily
 First bus departs Manukau city centre at 4.15am
 Last bus leaves the airport’s shopping centre at 11.30pm
 Connects to trains at Papatoetoe station
 Serves domestic and international terminals; airport retail centre

From 16 June:

Airbus Express
 Direct route between Auckland CBD and airport (via Mt Eden Rd)
 New timetable – every 15 minutes through most of the day
 $15.00 one-way or $22.00 return.
 Reduced fares for backpackers, students, senior citizens, children and airport workers
 Dedicated bus stop at the Downtown Ferry Building
 Connects to trains at Mt Eden station

Manukau cross-town services
 Connects Botany, Otara and Mangere
 Stagecoach routes 364, 374 and 375 from/to Auckland Airport will now also stop at the domestic terminal, in addition to the international terminal it already serves
 Monday to Friday
 Every half-hour in am/pm peaks; hourly inter-peak
 First bus arrives at the airport at 7.00am
 Last bus departs 5.45pm

For more information call 09 366 6400, or visit www.maxx.co.nz and use the MAXX online journey planner for advice on routes, times, fares and maps.

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