Taxis are getting access to Grafton Bridge on a trial basis to make it easier for people to get to Auckland City Hospital and Starship Children’s Hospital.
The year-long trial will allow taxis to use the bridge 24 hours a day giving them the same access as buses, motorcyles and bikes.
Auckland Transport’s Network Operations and Safety Manager Randhir Karma says the trial is being run to see if adding taxis affects other users of the bridge.
“We will be reporting back on driver behaviour, bus travel times and intersection queuing every three months.”
Mr Karma says Auckland Transport will carry out CCTV monitoring of Grafton Bridge throughout the trial.
“The bridge is a major link to the hospitals and allowing taxis to use it at all hours should improve access for patients and visitors.”
The existing bus lanes operate 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, at other times the bridge is open to general traffic.
“We will be converting the existing bus lanes to ‘bus and taxi’ lanes and the signs and road markings will be updated.”
Mr Karma says there will be rules around taxis using the bridge. “There will be no overtaking of cyclists and the taxis must give bikes space when following them. They won’t be allowed to pick-up or drop-off passengers and u-turns are banned.”
He also says the taxis cannot use the special vehicle lane when they are not in service.
Auckland Transport will be using video cameras to enforce the rules during the year-long trial which starts on 31 August.
I have a few big concerns with this.
- Taxis using the bridge and queuing at the lights at either end will reduce the number of buses that get through intersections. This will obviously make public transport slower so a case of a few taxi’s holding up buses that could be carrying more than 100 passengers.
- That this will be just the tip of the iceberg and following the trial there will be a greater push to allow taxis to use more bus lanes around the city.
- Some taxi drivers already struggle to follow the road rules so it wouldn’t surprise me to see ATs rules regularly flaunted unless they have near constant enforcement.
You try my patience, taxicab. FLY, YOU FOOLS! pic.twitter.com/Gajs3SSGxh
— You Shall Not Path (@YouShallNotPath) July 29, 2015
Just to reiterate, here are the rules for Taxis
- Can only use the bridge if carrying passengers
- Must be a branded taxi i.e. no services such as Uber
- No stopping on the bridge to pick up or drop off passengers.
- No u-turn manoeuvres on the bridge.
- Give cyclists space when following them across the bridge – unfortunately there is no definition of how much space should be given
- No overtaking cyclists on the bridge.
Given the general behavour of some taxi drivers – definitely not all – I suspect that AT are going to need a lot of enforcement for this. Wonder how long it is till we first hear of a taxi following a bike to closely or overtaking? If you do experience it also make sure you provide feedback to Auckland Transport.
On monitoring AT say
The trial will assess the impact that taxis have on pedestrians, buses, cycles and motorcycles along with any potential influence on general traffic.
- Interim analysis of driver behaviour, bus travel times and intersection queuing will be carried out every 3 months.
- Specific public or bus driver feedback will be reviewed as it is received.
- Auckland Transport Operation Centre (ATOC) will undertake CCTV monitoring throughout the trial period.
- A final review will be done once the trial has been completed.
If significant adverse effects on safety, compliance or lane productivity occur, the trial may be stopped early.