Investment To Future-proof Auckland’s Northern Busway
North Shore residents are set to benefit from funding allocated in the Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) to improve the Northern Busway.
Auckland Transport (AT) completed a detailed business case which is included in the RLTP - proposing enhancements to the hugely-successful Northern Busway, increasing its capacity and protecting service reliability as patronage continues to grow.
Since the busway opened in 2008, ridership has increased by an average rate of 25 per cent per year, growing from approximately 1,300,000 in 2008 - to almost 8,000,000 in 2019.
This patronage is expected to grow in the future, with a 170 per cent increase projected to around 21,700,000 by 2038.
By 2028, around 32,000 trips from the North Shore are expected to cross the Waitematā Harbour in the morning peak, up from 22,000 in 2016. Almost 60 per cent of those trips are to the city centre or fringe areas.
The detailed business case recommends improvements over four stages.
Stage one will provide immediate relief for some of the current challenges at stations and stops across the busway - including platform and bus stop extensions, widening, signal optimisation on Fanshawe Street to help bus reliability, and minor bus priority on SH1.
Overall journey time is expected to reduce by approximately five minutes.
Stage two will see station upgrades and new infrastructure - to better enable circulation changes at the busway stations.
Councillor Chris Darby says the Northern Busway is one of Auckland’s standout public transport success stories.
“Bus passengers inbound in the morning peak is about 8,000 passengers. This is such a success story for our community. The proposed enhancements will enable our successful Northern Busway to meet projected demand and allow AT to continue to provide a high-quality service.”
AT’s Chief Executive, Shane Ellison, says the busway’s need for enhancement is the type of challenge he loves to see.
“The number of people using the service means that the enhancements are required - to ensure it remains a travel choice for those to and from the North Shore. The detailed business case will also inform future additional Waitematā Harbour connection investigations, in particular our rapid transit network planning,” Mr Ellison says.
$62 million has been allocated in the Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP).
Implementation of the Northern Busway enhancements are indicatively planned for the period between 2028/29 – 2030/31.
If funding is available earlier - then some of the enhancements may be delivered before that timeline.
To find out more about the final 2021 – 2031 RLTP, visit www.at.govt.nz/rltp
Benefits of stages one and two:
- Longer platforms at busway stations means buses will not have to queue to let people on and off buses. This will help with buses bunching together - which means that there won’t long gaps between buses arriving at stops
- Wider platforms mean that there will be more waiting space for customers - which will make getting on and off the bus easier. Buses won’t need to spend as much time at stations/stops.
- Changing the traffic signal timing along Fanshawe Street will help with bus reliability.
- Overall journey time is expected to reduce by around five minutes.
- New facilities at busway stations will mean local buses and NX buses will have their own platforms and turn-around area, creating additional space for more buses.
- Pedestrian crossings at busway stations will change from ground level to overpasses – which will be safer for people and bus drivers.