The new bus network for South Auckland will significantly improve public transport options for many people in the area. A key feature of the network is about making it easier to transfer between services and one of the main places that will happen is in Manukau – one of Auckland’s most important regional centres. All up 15 different routes will stop at or pass through Manukau making it one of the busiest locations for buses outside the City Centre. Added to those numbers will also be inter-regional buses. To handle those buses Auckland Transport have long talked about building a bus interchange opposite the train station and now they’ve finally released details about it.
The proposed Manukau Bus Station is a key part of the roll out of a new public transport network across south Auckland. It will provide Aucklanders with a new network of buses and trains that will get them to their destination faster and more efficiently.
The Manukau train station sees an average of 1037 daily week day passenger trips and is currently the 13th busiest station in Auckland.
What’s missing is a bus station to create a bus and train transport hub for the south.
Auckland Transport (AT) has now developed concept design plans for the proposed new high quality bus station, aimed at making it easy to transfer between trains and buses, as well as between bus services. It will be designed to have sufficient capacity for long distance coach services. The facility will also feature a large enclosed waiting area similar to an airport lounge.
AT seeks feedback on the concept design to help make an informed decision to provide a high quality bus station and customer experience.
Located right next to Manukau train station, the Manukau civic offices car park on Putney Way (between Davies Avenue and Osterley Way) will be transformed to a 23-bay bus station. The train and bus stations will be linked by a covered walkway.
The AT project, in partnership with the NZ Transport Agency, is expected to cost approximately $26 million.
They say the interchange will have the following features:
- 23-bay bus station (21 saw-tooth bays and 2 parallel bays) right next to the existing Manukau train station.
- The new station will be built on the site of the Civic Building car park, on Putney Way (between Davies Avenue and Osterley Way).
- Bike parking racks, taxi parking and drop-and-ride area.
- Waiting lounge.
- Real time passenger information.
- 24-hour security, help points and CCTV.
- Universally accessible.
- Supporting the increased volume and movement of buses to and from Manukau and the wider network.
- Designed for use by regional coach services, eg those currently using Leyton Way at Westfield.
And here’s what it is proposed to look like. The MIT campus and Manukau Train station are in the background.
The building is said to have the following design features.
- A high-quality building with an architectural look and feel incorporating local and cultural history.
- Saw-tooth layout, similar to the Hamilton Transport Centre and Hamburg Central Bus Station in Germany, to provide higher operational efficiency.
- Roof planes running in north-south direction, designed to provide maximum amount of natural light.
- Promoting intuitive orientation and way-finding.
- Designed to enhance the sense of space.
- Stormwater runoff from the bus bays and bus manoeuvring area will be treated through rain-gardens located within the station area, prior to discharge to the wetlands in Hayman Park.
- Bus station access will be via Putney Way to provide easy access to the train station.
For all the impressive talk from Auckland Transport I have some serious concerns about what they’re proposing.
We absolutely need good facilities for passengers but this design seems like complete overkill. It seems like they’re trying to build both a bus interchange and bus layover into one design. Yes some of those facilities may be needed for long haul buses but for the most part they are likely to be a fairly minor part of the interchange. If the new network is successful then over time many of the urban bus routes should become increasingly frequent meaning buses will need to be turning around quickly and therefore will keep wait times short. For many the structure will be something they just pass through quickly on their journey rather than a place to linger.
The interchange is predicted to be hugely expensive at $26 million – which is a huge chunk of our PT budgets. Perhaps some of that cost is simply due to big the structure is with the building appearing to be about 150m long. Given the council wants Manukau City Centre to become a dense urban area – and therefore one with fairly significant land costs – it is absurd to so big and land hungry.
It probably would be cheaper and better for passengers to have had a smaller interchange that buses pass through and have layover facilities somewhere else close by in one of the industrial areas. In such a scenario buses terminating buses would drop off their passengers then drive out to the layover facility just a minute or two around the corner. Of course the reverse would happen for buses starting out. The image below is an example of what I am thinking of.
One of the advantages of such an idea is it would open up more space on the site for commercial or residential development which seems to be one of the key goals for the area.
Even as proposed there seem to have been some odd decisions made.
The sawtooth design seems all about squeezing as many buses in as possible. The down side to this is it will make for more complex manoeuvring of buses entering and exiting the interchange. In addition there are two bus bays outside of the sawtooth design on the southern side of the interchange. They seem very isolated from the rest of the interchange and it’s facilities.
Another option that may have been overlooked is to have facilities on the streets. The images show they plan to temporarily have buses stop directly outside the MIT campus so I wonder why they didn’t consider making those more permanent and also having some on Putney Way
There are probably lots of other issues too but another one you may noticed from the images and text is the talk of bike parking. it is of course essential to have that although the plan seems to have it quite isolated outside. With such a massive development it seems a lot more effort should have gone in here to integrate bikes better – like has been done in Christchurch. Perhaps even worse that than is there appears to be no way for less confident cyclists to get to the station, especially from the east. The plans for Putney Way include a wide footpath which is appropriate in a centre but no cycle facilities – not to worry of course because on street parking has been retained.
Who knows, perhaps my thoughts are off on this but either way you can have your own say. Consultation is open till 20 November and there are three information days.
- Tuesday, 10 November 2015 – 12 to 2 pm – Centre Court, Westfield – Manukau
- Thursday, 12 November 2015 – 5 to 8 pm – Centre Court, Westfield – Manukau
- Saturday, 14 November 2015 – 10 am to 1 pm – Ground level, Manukau Institute of Technology, entrance to Manukau Station