Major Bus Lane Changes


A new standard look for bus lanes, Tamaki Drive is to permanently change its bus lane configuration to T2, Onewa Rd stays T3, the Grafton Bridge signage is considered adequate although could be simplified and first-time bus lane offenders will now get a warning only.
Any new bus lane introduction will see offenders get warnings only for the first 2 months.

Proposed new  signage and road markings will be trialled by Auckland Transport at four sites, with options including;

  • the use of a solid green line adjacent to the solid white line demarking the bus or transit lane
  • the use of a 50m indicator arrow and broken lines (double green and white line) to reflect where drivers may cross into the bus or transit lane in order to execute a turning manoeuvre and the use of a symbol-oriented sign to replace otherwise wordy signage.

That’s among the outcomes of the major review of bus lanes and T-configurations by Auckland Transport outlined at AT’s board meeting today.

A look at 5 major routes has resulted in these decisions:

  • Dominion Road : retains the current bus lane configuration
  • Fanshawe Street : retains the current bus lane configuration
  •  Onewa Road : retains the current T3 lane configuration
  •  Remuera Road : retains the current bus lane configuration, and AT undertakes further monitoring to confirm the current assessment
  • Tamaki Drive : permanently changes the Bus lane to T2 lane configuration

With regards to the physical appearance of bus and transit lanes, an extensive review of current practice abroad hassuggested improvements. A change in a Traffic Control Devices (TCD) Rule by NZTA has also enabled the designation of bus (and transit) lanes from the beginning of a corridor to the end, without the need to break up the routes into multiple segments at intersections along the way.

The change will result in the reduction of signage necessary along the route, and in turn facilitates clarity to road users.
A series of templates have been devised to cover the signage and markings of bus lanes and transit lanes, providing standardised treatments for the region,and which also addresses current and historical confusion related to the appearance of these lanes.
The templates concentrate on simplifying and clarifying line marking and signage associated with these lanes. Of particular significance is the recommendation to use a solid green and white line demarcating the bus or transit lane, as opposed to the single white line currently being used.

A second key element is the use of a 50m indicator arrow, and broken lines to better reflect where drivers may cross into the bus or transit lane in order to turn off the route.

Auckland Transport’s board also decided on these moves:

  • Working with NZTA, the courts and the legal system to review the scale of bus lane infringements. Currently, a red-light running infringement with the possibility of a crash and associated casualties carries the same $150 penalty as the illegal use of a bus or transit lane.
  • The issuing of warning notices for first-time offenders.  Warnings currently exist for ‘out-of-towners.
  •  Warnings during the first two months of operation of a new bus or transit lane. A six-month focus on substantially reducing the number of infringements and a subsequent review of the signage and line-makings if this does not occur.
  •  The potential to include bus lane elements in the official New Zealand road code will also be looked into.

The report says: “Historically bus and transit lanes across the region were often implemented from a local perspective, at times differing from area to area, creating confusion for drivers.  The purpose of the review looks to provide clarity and consistency in demarcating these important lanes across the region.  Auckland’s population is projected to grow to two million people by 2035. In order to accommodate this growth, Auckland will require a public transport network that can carry at least 200 million passenger trips annually.

“With road widening opportunities largely limited, increased efficiency of the available road space can best be achieved by increased public transport usage and increased vehicle occupancies. It is in this context that bus and transit lanes are both beneficial and necessary”.

Additional points from the review include:

  • Noting a high level of compliance around bus lanes at 97-98% and low levels of infringements, which show the general public in Auckland understand how and why  bus lanes operate
  • Grafton Bridge is separated out for special case treatment, given the number of infringement notices issued in comparison to other bus lanes.  The review concludes that there is sufficient signage in place on the bridge but simplification of signage using different mediums could be beneficial. Options include electronic signage, larger lane signage and work with GPS navigational suppliers to ensure devices preclude entry to Grafton Bridge from 7am to 7pm.  Work on Grafton Bridge will be completed by September this year.




  1. richard says:

    The bus lane police seem a little selective in their policing and need to get about a bit. I have never seen the Taharoto Road lane by Westlake Girls College policed and many parents/students/teachers seem to think they are buses

  2. geoff_184 says:

    So if a fully marked bus lane is from 4pm to 6pm only, does that mean the fully marked bus lane can be used for car parking outside those times? Or does it become a traffic lane? Why do some clearways have parking spaces marked out, while others are marked as normal looking traffic lanes?

    I think they have a lot more work to do to clarify things than what is outlined here.

  3. joust says:

    looks like a good plan - should definitely clear up the left turn confusion.

  4. Feijoa says:

    Yes, plan looks good and should resolve the issues people had, especially letting the bus lanes continue through intersections. It will make a massive difference on Albert Street.

    While I agree red light fines should be higher to reflect seriousness, why don’t they raise those rather than dropping the bus lane ones? I see drivers running red lights at nearly every city intersection I cross during rush hour and the deterrent/policing is obviously not working. The fine should be $500 — that would make a difference.

    I also hope they’ll extend the Dominion Road bus lane hours at the same time if they’re going to redo the signage.

  5. KarlHansen says:

    “While I agree red light fines should be higher to reflect seriousness, why don’t they raise those rather than dropping the bus lane ones?”

    They haven’t SAID they would drop the bus lane fines (and I agree - raise red light fines instead). Those and the red light fines are set nationally anyway, so not just their own process.

    Re Dom Road operating hours, they may keep that until they redo the road as part of the upgrade. I suspect that the replacement of the signage will be a gradual thing.

  6. Roger says:

    “A second key element is the use of a 50m indicator arrow, and broken lines to better reflect where drivers may cross into the bus or transit lane in order to turn off the route.”

    Is there a plan to show a similar arrow where traffic turning left onto the route must leave the bus lane?

  7. Matt L says:

    Roger - I assume the answer to that would be no. There is no need for a car to be in a bus lane when exiting a side road, if they can’t turn into the general traffic lane straight away then they should wait till they can do so.

  8. KarlHansen says:

    Roger, traffic turning left ONTO the bus route may not use the bus lane anyway, because it can and has to use the normal traffic lane, and simply crosses the bus lane rather than entering it. That, as far as I know, is not to change.

  9. tbird says:

    Matt, “There is no need for a car to be in a bus lane when exiting a side road,”

    There is a definite need to enter a bus lane to turn left. Especially when it is busy.

    Imagine a road with two lanes. The leftmost lane is the bus lane and at the end of the lane is a set of lights with separate straight and left signals.

    Imagine the left lane is packed with buses and other cars, and you need to turn left. Problem is the straight light is green and the left light is red. How do you get into the correct lane?

    This happens every day on Symonds Street.

    Check out the photo I uploaded one year ago today. Tell me what the white van should do if he wants to turn left and everyone behind him wants to go straight.

  10. Feijoa says:

    “They haven’t SAID they would drop the bus lane fines (and I agree – raise red light fines instead). Those and the red light fines are set nationally anyway, so not just their own process.”
    I heard AT spokesperson on National Radio this morning and pretty much confirmed that they want to drop bus lane fines rather than raise red light penalty.

    @tbird you have read it wrong. Matt is talking about turning left to exit from a side road (or driveway) onto the main road with bus lanes.

  11. Max says:

    @tbird - Matt was talking of a car EXITING a side road, not entering it.

    In that situation, you may have to shortly stop ON the bus lane as you cross it (or the guys in a blocked general lane may not let you in), but you should never actually be needing to travel within the bus lane.

  12. Matt L says:

    tbird - you completely missed the point. Cars on a road with bus lanes will know when they can cross into a bus lane to then turn left due to the markings described in the post. What I am referring to is a car turning out of a side street into a road with a bus lane, in that case the car shouldn’t be using the bus lane as a merging lane and should only leave the side road if there is space for them in the general traffic lane.

  13. richard says:

    One thing motorists do at the Taharoto Road Westlake Girls entrance which i consider illegal and annoying for buses is:-

    There are two entrances from the street to the college, one a light controlled one with a short right turn lane. Before the lane is a short,say 50-60m length of bus lane which is a waste of time because of the right turn lane and the 50m rule for the school traffic.

    Further up there is another entrance with no turn lane and right turns should be banned but they are not. Cars sail up the bus lane to turn right and stop IN THE BUS LANE. My understanding is you can only CROSS a bus lane and if your exit is blocked you have to wait in the general traffic lane before proceeding ACROSS the bus(or cycle) lane.

    This is the situation Matt is referring to as well when entering from a side road……you can’t block a lane you can only cross it.

    One road I hate is Dominion Road where the lanes are a mess until you know them and like many Auckland Streets the road is too narrow for the lanes so they are squeezed in at substandard width. Bus drivers seem to think yipee a free lane and speed up when in fact more hazards exist and they should slow right down passing close on the left of stationary traffic. This feature has already contributed to one pedestrian death.

    The ideal place for priority traffic is in the centre of the road because they go faster and then have stops like tram islands……..then lay the tracks and bring the trams back!!!


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>