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The Mapp Report: Busway Bungle


Listening to the people

Early next year the North Shore Busway will be open. This project will have cost around $300 million, covering the roadway, the stations and the various parking facilities. The Busway was initiated 10 years ago. At that time, it was intended to be used for buses, and high occupancy vehicles (HOVs - cars transporting three or more people). On that basis it had strong support from the Council, and the local community.

Now we are being told that only buses contracted by the Auckland Regional Council (through its agency ARTA) will be able to use it. At peak times (an hour or so in the morning or evening) there will be a maximum of 60 buses per hour. But for the rest of the time, there will only be a bus every 10 or 15 minutes.

An empty Busway?

That means most of the time the Busway will be empty. Not even airport buses or tour buses will be able to use it. Transit has said 'no' to HOV vehicles for several years on the basis that the central motorway junction cannot cope. This proposition simply does not make sense. Presumably these vehicles are already on the motorway, stuck in traffic like everyone else. In fact encouraging HOVs should actually reduce traffic, if people were prepared to car pool on the basis of shorter travel time on the Busway.

Transit is out of line on this. Taxpayers and ratepayers have not spent hundreds of millions of dollars for around 300 vehicles (buses) per day. This was always intended to be an integrated solution; encouraging buses, other forms of public transport and high occupancy vehicles to use the Busway.

Where's the accountability?

North Shore's new Mayor, Andrew Williams, has been demanding accountability from Transit and ARTA. The members of Parliament in North Shore, East Coast Bays and Northcote have the same view. We encouraged the Busway 10 years ago as an integrated solution, not for only 300 vehicles a day.

Transit's closed mind

Transit has a habit of ignoring the public. They have steadfastly refused to consider an extra lane for motorway entrance at Esmonde Road down to Onewa interchange, even though there is enough space. All they needed was intelligent design.

It's time for Transit (all the Board is appointed by Labour) to listen.

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