ARTA have notified quite a few changes to bus routes throughout Auckland. The changes are to the following routes:

Urban Express 104 and 105, Ritchies 945X, Metrolink 200, Metrolink 530, Metrolink 506, Metrolink 006, North Star 873, North Star 952, North Star 964, North Star 963, Go West 102 and 107 and Route 13F, 36F 98F.

Looking through the individual changes for each route (click the above link for details), they are generally routes which operate just a few times a day, but have more typical and frequent alternatives. Now while I’m not really a fan of cutting public transport services on principle, I am of the opinion that the current system of bus routes throughout Auckland is incredibly overly-complex, and what we really need are higher frequencies along a more simplified route structure. Most of Auckland’s more successful bus routes fit into that category – of offering a pretty direct services along a major corridor that runs at good frequencies throughout the day, particularly at peak hour.

So I guess I do kind of see where ARTA are coming from in rationalising the bus system in this manner. However, I do kind of feel as though for each service that is ‘rationalised’ we should get an additional service elsewhere in the system. With bus patronage growing, we shouldn’t be reducing the number of services in Auckland, but rather reallocating resources from where they’re not needed to where they’re more needed. In recent months it seems like it has been “cut cut cut” and we haven’t seen the expansion of services on routes that need such expansion.

So come on ARTA, give us some good news to go with the bad.

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  1. My understanding is that the driver behind the ‘rationalisation’ of the less frequent bitsy services is to allow more frequent services on the key routes. ARTA has no (that’s NO) funding to increase bus services. So if they see a need to add additional capacity (more buses) to key routes, those buses need to come from existing operation. Luckily there are a number of these vestigial services that mostly carry air due to their infrequency and (sometimes) out-of-the way routing. They’re a hangover of the time when the idea was to get a bus stop within 400m of every house – never mind the fact that only one bus would stop there per day and it wasn’t going where you wanted to!

    ARTA undertook the same exercise in the south recently with the H&E Botany to Downtown Auckland services (changed in August 2008) and Botany Local and Manukau Cross-town services (changed in February 2009) being rationalised. Additional capacity was added to the 680/681 (Botany to Downtown Auckland) service and patronage in May was 37% higher than the previous May. Patronage on the Botany Local and Manukau Cross-town services was 13% higher for the same period.

    Credit should be given to ARTA for the work they’re doing optimising the bus network with zero dollars. It certainly worked in the south, I’m sure we’ll see benefit out west as well.

  2. I fully support simplification (of routes and numbering) and greater frequencies, I think this would more than make up for the extra walking distance for some people…

  3. I imagine a bus system that feeds off my extensive heavy and light rail system and also crosstown and CBD direct buses. Routes would be simplified and there would prepay sales only with services running at frequent intervals (depending on demand of course) For example for Western Bays I recommend simplfying 004,005,006,007 E2, 015,017, 024,025,027,028,034, 035 and 045 into just 7 routes
    001 Pt Chevalier via Jervois and Meola RoadHerne Bay/ Westmere
    002 Pt Chevalier Limited stops via Williamson Avenue and Hopetoun bridge
    003 Grey Lynn via K’rd and Richmond Road
    004 Grey Lynn/ Westmere Limited stops
    005 Ponsonby via Freemans Bay
    006 Pt Chevalier- Newmarket via St Lukes
    007 Pt Chevealier- St Heliers via Greenlane
    I also reccomend running the bus services into a purpose built semi underground with natural light bus terminal at the Midtown station passengers can simply change there to head to the Downtown area (You can head there either by train or city loop tram (some bus routes converted to tram routes so that we can have less fumes in the CBD.

  4. Yeah I have thought about possible ways to through-route buses a bit more since writing that post and I would agree Harry. All Tamaki Drive buses could easily become “Point Chev via Herne Bay” buses, or Richmond Road services.

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