Capital Can’t Grow Bus Patronage
Nothing Wellington does seems to be able to boost bus passenger numbers.
Despite the uneven problems of the train network service because of the rail network upgrade, the old trains and the slow introduction of the new Matangi electric ones, people are not turning to buses.
Compare that to Auckland’s bus patronage which grows month by month.
This is NZ Bus’ Auckland growth alone by comparison.
For example, Auckland’s Northern Express bus patronage continued its extraordinary growth, up to July exceeding the annual PT average. Northern Express bus service carried 2,079,098 passenger trips for the 12-months with a growth in July 2011 compared to July 2010 of +14.2%. Patronage on other Auckland bus services was up 1.7% in July –and up 7.1% for the last 12 months. Latest figures here
Wellington’s bus public transport is currently subject to several reviews by the Regional Council and NZ Bus says it is hoped these lead to service enhancements later in the year when Government unveils the new regulatory regime.
Following on from the success of bus priority ways through Manners Street, Wellington City Council has now agreed to open consultation on introducing morning and evening bus priority-ways through Courtenay Place and Cambridge/Kent Terraces.
A report to the Wellington Council says the restoration of the Golden Mile project - the Manners Mall bus change – has been successful.
It says this has achieved a number of core planning objectives including restoring the original two- way public transport route through the Golden Mile, providing a morelegible bus route closer to passenger demand and bypassing potential traffic delays by creating a largely dedicated route along Manners Street.
“While it is too early to fully evaluate the project, early bus travel survey results are encouraging with the key northbound direction, which has been subject to persistent delays and unreliability for a number of years, showing journey time
savings of around 14% and reduced variability in service times by about 11 minutes during the evening peak.”
Bus operators have reported significant reduction in congestion, no holdups northbound, more consistent trip times with better timekeeping and fewer customer complaints.
The survey results can be viewed in the context of the new lower 30km/h speed limit, long running road works on Willis Street, and the project continuing to settle in.
It says public feedback has also been positive, and Colliers International has reported that pedestrian counts in the former Manners Mall have returned to 2009 levels.
It is proposed that the next stage of the Bus Priority Plan include Courtenay Place, Kent and Cambridge Terrace and Adelaide Road all of which carry large bus flows. A detailed assessment of the scope for introducing bus lanes along these routes shows that it will be possible to implement these with minimal effect on parking or general traffic movement while achieving good benefits for public transport users.
In the case of Courtenay Place, the plan is to address two other long standing traffic related matters.
- The traffic circulation on Blair and Allen Streets where there is the potential to improve pedestrian safety and expand the amount of space available for café/dining while retaining as much parking space as possible.
- Also the issue of poor taxi driver compliance during weekend evenings in particular.
- On the matter of pedestrian safety and convenience, detailed work is also progressing on whether or not the two remaining zebra crossings on Courtenay Place should be converted to signalised crossings in the same manner as the crossing near the Reading cinema. Depending on the outcome one or more of these may be signalised.