There has been a lot of talk about the new bus network that was first proposed in the Regional Public Transport Plan. Thankfully it received extremely strong support from those that made submissions allowing Auckland Transport to start working towards implementing it. While the overall concept has been accepted, there is still a long way to go yet as the specific routes that make up the network will need to be consulted on. Today Auckland Transport have formally started that process with the release of a video to explain the new network. Here is the press release:

Transforming Auckland’s Public Transport Network

Auckland Transport will shortly hit the streets to consult over the New Network for public transport services in Auckland.

The New Network is a region wide public transport network which is proposed to deliver bus services at least every 15 minutes throughout the day, seven days a week on major routes between the hours of 7am to 7pm. Services will connect better with train services for those customers who require connections.

The New Network will be rolled out by Auckland Transport over the next three years starting with bus services in South Auckland in 2014/15.

To help people understand what the New Network will mean for them, prior to consultation, Auckland Transport has released a video guide today. It can be viewed at:

Auckland Transport’s Chief Executive David Warburton says; “We are in a period of transformational transport change in Auckland. Any change is challenging. Significant changes in the transport area in Auckland includes the completion over the coming months of Auckland’s integrated smartcard for public transport, the final step in the introduction of the AT HOP card on bus services following the roll-out last year on trains and ferries, the arrival of the first of Auckland’s fleet of new trains and our New Network for public transport services. These are large-scale transport projects for a city undergoing transformation.

“If Auckland is to cope with expected growth in population, public transport must become a very real transport choice for more Aucklanders. But in order to encourage greater uptake, we need to make bold changes to provide a better level of service, respond to public demand and expectation and provide better connections to the places people want to go.

“Due to the sheer scale of the changes we are proposing, consultation and implementation for the New Network will be broken up into several phases. Consultation on the New Network begins in June in South Auckland. Other parts of Auckland will be consulted on in the coming years”.

Dr Warburton says, “The changes will not happen immediately. Any significant transformation requires disruption which is part of change. Implementation of the New Network for public transport will be challenging for a period.

“The video released today demonstrates the scale of the changes the New Network will bring to Auckland.

“In June and July, Auckland Transport will have people in the markets, shopping centres, transport hubs and on the streets in South Auckland talking to customers about these changes and getting their views”.
Dr Warburton says, “ The public will be invited to fill out feedback forms at the Open Days and can also provide feedback at our consultation webpage, or by filling out our freepost feedback form”.

I must say, this is probably the best press release I think that AT have done. I love how they have talked about how transformational this will be and how all of the key PT projects, integrated ticketing, electrification and the new bus network tie in together. But the good news doesn’t stop there. The video they have produced is superb and easily the best they have done to explain any project. It excellently explains why we need the new network, the logic behind it and even some of the finer details about the proposal.

On the page AT have set up for the new network, they also have a new and very pretty version of the frequent network map that we have seen before.

New Bus Network May 2013

All up I am very happy, not just with the new network but with how AT have started to communicate it. If they carry on in this same vein for both the network and other projects like the CRL then it will really help in getting the public to understand why these projects are needed.

Good work AT, give yourselves a pat on the back.

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        1. Or a very good double ganger. Used to be a time when they made (properly still do) AT staffers star in those videos the next step up I guess :p

  1. A long-awaited example of professional information sharing from AT. As a matter of interest does anyone know where they broadcast these things, aside from the net?

  2. Excellent(!!!!) communication, explains the rationale and benefits so well! Such an exciting proposal – well done AT.

    This vid also is ideal template for something on the CRL – no talking heads, no boring technical shit, just visuals like this video showing the limitations of the rail network and how the CRL will fix them – through-routing and so forth.

  3. One problem that I have is with the cessation of the Great South Road service all the way into town. Sure this duplicates the train but when the train is not available due to train faults/freight train failure/track fault or because somebody at Veolia doesn’t give a damn and cancels services to get back on time there is no alternative because buses are feeding the appalling train network.

    1. Bear in mind that this network is designed to work with the new electric trains which are expected to be a whole lot more reliable than what exists at the moment. Ultimately, it should be the job of the rail network to step up its game; not the job of the bus network to cover for rails drawbacks. This is the only way you’ll get an efficient, reliable, integrated multi-modal transport network.

      1. The new bus network is supposed to take effect in the South from “mid-end 2014”, well before the electric trains will be running all of the services on the Southern and Eastern lines. On the other hand, hopefully the network will be more reliable with the works for electrification complete, and a few spare trains in case of breakdowns.

    2. You raise a good point Chris. In the first instance there is a bus alternative up Great South Rd, but it does involve transferring from bus to bus (and possibly a third bus depending on how far out you are). But it does point out that we will need a proper railbus fleet and processes to manage disruptions and planned closures.

      When the network is so reliant on bus-rail integration there needs to be contingency measures to maintain service if the rail component fails.

    3. it has always been my view that buses on a route like Great South Rd serve a different market from the trains, a short trip/long trip opportunity provided by the different spacing of stops & stations

      therefore there needs to be a continuity of bus service along these routes, but it need not be a continuous route along the full length and if the interfaces between bus routes are well planned, i.e. converging on major employment/activity nodes, the need for bus to bus transfers should be minimised

      1. yes Steve completely agree. Great South Rd serves at least two quite distinct markets: north of Ellerslie and south of Otahuhu, which deserve much greater frequency than the bit in between. That’s the benefits of developing a connective network – you split it into relatively distinct markets that can each be operated at the frequency they deserve, which enabling connections between them for people making slightly unusual longer trips. Or they catch a train.

  4. Great to see this all moving ahead, but why did they release this on budget day? This would appear to minimise the chances of positive and effective coverage, given most journos will be busy with budget stores. Is the threat of old Mr or Mrs X complaining in the herald about losing their bus stop really that scary? 🙂

  5. I really hope that they sort the buses on the Hibiscus Coast out, they are an absolute mess. Should be simple to, an RTN route to Silverdale, then an FSN route to Gulf Harbour, and one to Waiwera, plus 1 route each in Orewa and on the peninsular to act as coverage routes that go hourly.

    1. RTN requires grade seperated right-of-way, which you won’t get to Silverdale for a while yet. But if you look at the RPTP (or the map above) you can see that some of the services on the NEX will be extended North to Silverdale.

      1. That isn’t how it is going to work though. Nor is it the best way for it to work. My main issue is that there are 15 routes going from town to the coast, yet in the middle of the day you may well have to wait 55 minutes for any of those buses. Again, would be be much better as an RTN (FSN until that can be done) all the way to silverdale and then remove all of the routes that currently do the trip From Silverdale to town.

  6. Wow, three different bus routes out of Milford to ease the congestion that won’t happen from development of the town centre. But I suspect that the problem for the vociferous locals has never been about the threat of congestion, but rather that less affluent people would have a chance to move into the suburb.

    1. 2 actually, but completely agree. My line to sum up their arguments is that ‘we couldn’t possibly allow anyone incapable of buying a million dollar house to move here’

  7. It’s a really nice network diagram, and I was delighted to see an Auckland-wide network that shows services (bus, train and ferry) intended to operate at least every 15 minutes, 7am-7pm, 7 days a week. Well done, AT!

    If it performs as promised it will deliver really strong economic benefits to Auckland, and quite quickly as well. Consistently reliable service frequency is the key to getting success in public transport.

    The section in the full report on ‘farebox recovery’ is also interesting (p.115) in that it shows how different public transport mides are subsidised unequally. Bus fares are about 50% subsidised by the council, train fares are about 75% subsidised and ferry fares are only about 20% subsidised. No wonder that ferries are so expensive then!

    It would also be interesting to see how the comparison with private car use looks, because looking at the billions being poured into roading I suspect that car usage is more heavily subsidised than any of the public transport modes. Don’t know how the road expenditure would translate into per-trip subsidies though, including an equivalent contribution from bus users.

  8. Any bets on what the feedback from Auckland Airport will be?

    Probably something along the lines of: “we are against frequent buses which would increase congestion on the already busy routes to the airport. We strongly prefer a train line extension to the airport instead.”

    The unspoken position would be: “we will never let anything screw up our carparking revenues which are a license to print money. The airbus concession is a reasonable little earner too. To deflect criticism we will support a train line in favour of buses as long as there is no money or political will to build track. As soon as rail gains momentum we will find reasons to object. And ultimately, we own the land all around the airport, so nobody can make us improve public transport services.”

    1. I suspect that the Airport may not be as hostile as you think, nor as cynical in its support of the rail link, simply because it must be closer to having higher value uses for that land close to the terminals than just car parking. As the recent addition of a hotel there suggests. It has serious growth plans that will involve efficiently moving a lot people, both travellers and workers, and those involved in the adjacent businesses, that frankly can not be done any better than by train.

  9. You could actually put some really nice apartments insome of the areas around the airport aye. Not too close but on the edge of their land, well connected to everything, close to potential large parks etc.

  10. This is just a draft map? Because there doesnt seem to be a Northcote to Takapuna line…apart from that it looks good

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