MP Pleas For NorthWest Busway
List MP and Labour candidate for Te Atatu Phil Twyford has made a plea to the Auckland Council’s Transport Committee proposing a Northwest Busway, similar to the North Shore busway and light rail there as well.
Councillors did not vote for the option – but agreed to send his presentation to Auckland Transport officers asking for consideration of bus options for the SH16 from the bus shoulder to an actual busway.
Using an assumption of a cost of $25m per kilometre including low cost railway platform stations in the central median for 14km, he estimates the total cost at $350m. Plus a $50 million “green bridge” across the Whau River to carry buses, pedestrians and cyclists to a bus station on Rosebank Peninsula from Great North Rd at Glendene.
Twyford argued that the northwest of Auckland is currently poorly served by public transport. The Western Line does not really serve this part of West Auckland.
He gave as an example that buses to Te Atatu Peninsular operate every 15 minutes during peak times, but only hourly during off peak times and on Saturdays. On Sundays, there is only one bus every two hours connecting the peninsular with central Auckland. Buses from Westgate and Massey after often not much better- yet again having exceedingly slow travel times.
A 7am 080 express from Westgate to Britomart, a 21k distance via Don Buck Road, takes an hour compared to the 7am NEX Albany to Britomart of 17.3km via the busway of 35 minutes.
“In short, the northwest part of Auckland has a significant need for high quality fast public transport because there’s a lack of employment opportunities in the area – yet at the same time this part of Auckland has poor public transport choices.”
Mr Twyford suggested placing a busway on the northern side of the motorway could be the easiest way to do it as potential station sites are located at Pt Chev, Te Atatu, Lincoln Rd and “with a bit more effort” Royal Road, Massey. The location of a busway station at Westgate should be of prime consideration in the redevelopment there.
He sees two options between Pt Chev and the CBD:
- The buses to follow the existing Great North Rd which has reasonably high standard bus lanes
- The busway to continue down the motorway and eventually link into the city centre via Nelson and Hobson Sts. This might be a staging process. First stage between Pt Chev and Westgate, 2nd between Pt Chev and the city.
With the exception of Westgate stations would be kept away from current congested motorway interchanges and located instead where local roads pass over the motorway at Royal and Waimumu Rd or where they could do so (Flanshaw Rd). A station is also suggested at Rosebank.
He also suggests light rail could be combined with buses. He proposed that the busway should be built with light rail tracks pre-embedded in the surface.
“Light rail on the northern and western busway could be connected throough Britomart which actually has provision for separate light rail tracks built into its structure – currently behind walls. It would be technically possible to run the light rail over the central structure of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. In the CBD the light rail could run on the surface in ways that would be complementary to the rail tunnel.”
The MP said one big effect of the Northern Busway has been a reduction in traffic flows. Between 7am and 8am each weekday, about 8000 people cross the harbour bridge on a bus, a third of all people crossing the bridge at peak times.