It is frustrating to read that council are considering removing the bus lanes from Remuera Road, or at least along parts of it. Of course bus lanes will create more congestion for users of the road who continue to drive their cars, but in some ways that is half the point – to provide people with an incentive to catch the bus. It is almost impossible for bus travel to be faster than car travel if you don’t have bus lanes. That is because buses need to keep stopping all the time to let passengers on and off. It is pretty common for buses to take twice, or three times, as long to do a trip as it would for someone to do that same trip in their car. As a result, most people continue to drive their cars and Auckland becomes an even more automobile dependent city.

While the majority of Aucklanders who use public transport catch the bus, there are relatively few corridors where a large proportion of people going along that corridor are catching the bus. These include Onewa Road, Dominion Road and the Northern Busway (probably a few others too). The key for all of these corridors is that buses have been provided with a way to bypass general traffic congestion. In the case of Onewa Road there is a transit-lane, which allows for buses and vehicles with three or more occupants. Dominion Road has standard bus lanes along its entire length, while the Northern Busway is a fully grade separated busway. For people travelling along these corridors there is a real incentive to use the bus and be able to break free from Auckland’s general automobile dependency. This has enabled Dominion Road to avoid super-expensive widening (and when that does happen, it will be to allow even faster public transport), it has increased the capacity of the Northern Motorway through the busway, and it has given people who use Onewa Road in the morning a viable alternative to sitting in their cars for 20 minutes going nowhere.

Situations like this are one of the reasons I really do look forward to Auckland having a Super-City in the future (as long as some necessary changes are made). I look forward to having one transportation agency that both runs the bus service and is in charge of creating bus lanes. Perhaps then that agency will see the value in having bus lanes and they will be expanded further throughout Auckland, rather than being undermined where they exist. For now though, ARTA and NZ Bus need to fight to keep their Remuera Road bus lanes.

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  1. It’s been been 6 months what happened to the lanes? Despite the council knowing this:

    “The committee also yesterday noted that the Remuera Rd bus lanes were creating greater than expected public transport benefits, after officers reported that buses accounting for just 2 per cent of peak-time traffic carried up to 45 per cent of people travelling along the corridor.”

    did they remove them? If so then talk about blind belied in the motorcar despite all the evidence.

  2. I think council kept the Remuera Rd lanes, but used money from the very small PT budget to downgrade the Tamaki Drive lanes to T2 carpool lanes.

  3. Well not eveyone catching a bus along Remuera Rd comes from Remuera of course, most of the routes run out past GI and St Johns plus there is the 007 crosstown and a couple of local routes.

    In the busiest hour the timetable shows are 17 inbound buses on Remuera Rd, if that compromises 2% of vehicles as noted above then there are a further 850 or so private vehicles per hour inbound. At the usual rate of 1.3 people per car this means the private vehicles are carrying 1,105 people per hour. If the private vehicles 55% is 1,105 people then the buses 45% is 904 people, or about 53 per bus.

    850 vehicles per hour sounds a touch low (half the figure commonly given for a motorway lane), although given the 50kmh speed limit and the amount of traffic lights on the road it might be right. 53 people per bus does mean basically every bus during the peak would be full and have standees, can anyone confirm if this is the case?

  4. @Admin – well that’s encouraging news, the Tamaki lanes can be reverted back to transit only when the tram is installed 😉
    @Andrew just stating what the council report said was the usage of the bus lanes circa April 2009. Remuera Rd and St John’s Rd are pretty much the only ‘direct’ West to East link in this part of town so I am not so surprised that so many buses use the route. A lot of cars probably try and head for the Southern Motorway.

    The route has pretty limited hours as it is:
    “The citybound lane would run from 7am to 9am while the outbound lane would run from 4pm to 6pm.”
    which barely cover the afternoon peak hours.

    According to the council:
    “24 buses travel along this route during each peak period, carrying around 1000 passengers each morning and evening.”

  5. As a cycling commuter along Remuera Rd I have followed the bus lane saga for a few years. In my opinion the design of the bus lane was poor, and some changes have been made. I would doubt that there are 45% of people travelling that route on buses. There has never been any enforcement of this bus lane and it has regular, should I say constant, car traffic in it between 7-9am and 4-6pm. Lastly, there was talk in of making the bus lane a T2 lane (after the trials on Tamaki Drive), but no recent word from the council on this. I really hope this doesnt happen.

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