Congestion just got worse for West Aucklanders
Congestion just got worse for West Aucklanders says Waitakere Ward Council Candidate Christine Rose.
With the closure of the North Western Motorway hard shoulder ‘bus lanes’ today, bus users have been shunted down the priority order. Buses carry more passengers across Auckland than any other public transport mode. A full bus can remove 40 single occupancy vehicles off the road. But unlike elsewhere in the region where services and routes have improved, for those riding buses on the North West Motorway, service reliability and timetables just deteriorated.
Waitakere Ward Council candidate Christine Rose, who is a user of the North West’s bus services, says NZTA’s tunnel-visioned approach will drive more people into their cars as bus travel times become longer and less reliable. “The incentive to take the bus was marginal but worthwhile, because of the priority provided by the hard shoulder lanes – they were never very comfortable and not the most efficient, but at least meant we were on average travelling faster than cars. This advantage has now been removed”.
“Bus passengers are now right down the pecking order. North Western buses already wind through congested local streets along irrational routes, face long delays stuck among general traffic on on-ramps and with few priority measures”. “This latest move might as well be deliberate economic sabotage given the negative effects it has - congestion costs will increase and employers are unlikely to accept repeated excuses that “my bus was late” because passengers fail to get to work in time”.
Mrs Rose says NZTA’s Tommy Parker is unrealistic to suggest that North West commuters take the bus instead of their cars given the three years of congestion ahead as the agency widens the North Western Motorway. “If you’re going to be stuck in general traffic you may as well be in your own car, sadly I’m sure we’ll see more people deserting buses in favour of their own more comfortable and flexible private vehicles. This is a disaster for public transport use”.
“The best and most cost-effective solution would be to dedicate an existing road lane to buses, even at peak times, thereby maintaining and improving bus users’ service and the public good. The only way to encourage people to use the bus is to improve the service, but closing the existing hard shoulder makes it worse’, says Mrs Rose.
‘There’s no light at the end of the tunnel even in the long term, as the North Western motorway will increasingly act as a through road, with Westies’ access inhibited by ramp metering and growth-based congestion’.
Christine Rose is standing as Councillor representing Waitakere on the Auckland Council.
Christine Rose is a proven advocate for the West. She has 15 years local & regional government experience, including six years on the Auckland Regional Council with Mike Lee and Sandra Coney, current Auckland Councillors who fully endorse her for the Waitakere Ward Council position. Christine was Deputy Chair of the Council for a term, Chair of the Regional Transport Committee and Deputy Chair of Parks and Heritage. Christine supports more affordable and efficient transport given the West faces years of congestion on the NorthWestern Motorway & increasing travel costs. As West Auckland continues to grow, local parks, sportsfields, swimming pools and other facilities need to be provided while keeping Council costs down. Christine wants to see better control of ‘Council Controlled Organisations’, and a solution to the Ports of Auckland dispute. She supports affordable, good quality, well designed, energy efficient housing. Christine is concerned about growing poverty, and youth unemployment, and supports local clean jobs and businesses, and a Living Wage for workers. Christine supports arts and heritage and is a well-known environmentalist.