The other day I noticed that the Central New Network Map now due to be rolled out second quarter next year had been updated

Some changes I have noticed

  • Instead of having greyed out Northwest services the map has a line called West. I like this change as these buses do stop on Great North Road so are usable.
  • The crosstown buses have renamed to 6** numbers. I kinda liked the Crosstown names but they may be hard to integrate text wise with the real-time boards. I also wonder if just keeping them 0** numbers like many are currently would have just been easier as less change as well as a little different from radial routes.
  • Crosstown 9 now the 680 has been reduced from Frequent Transit Network Level of Service to Connector Transit Network Level of Service meaning another crosstown route has been cut back.

The original proposed Central New Network was so good. It really has been sad seeing it piece by piece being watered down and the principles behind it abandoned. Even small things such as consistent numbering with the 2 digit routes mean frequent and 3 digit routes mean connector/local are being abandoned which we are seeing with the 380 not becoming the 38 when its frequency is increased in December. I seriously urge the Government, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to work together to make sure the Central New Network rolls out right including but not limited to

  • Fixing the Outer Link by returning it to the more efficient route structure of Crosstown 4 but keeping the successful Outer Link branding.
  • Bringing back Crosstown 5.
  • Returning the 650 and 680 to Frequent Level of Service as originally consulted making them the 65 and 68.
  • Funding the necessary bus priority to make the New Network work better. This isn’t just more money to increase km of kerbside lanes which, to be honest, provide the least benefits, but being smarter with priority with bus advances at intersections, priority to better assist right turns or smarter signals. It even includes cheap simple actions such as increasing lane operation times or upgrading T2s/T3s to Bus Lanes. These upgrades will also save money in the long run as they reduce operational costs.
  • Providing the necessary budget to fully roll out the frequencies especially outside of peak.

While not as glamorous as Light Rail or Electric Trains these changes could make a massive difference to public transport users.

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63 comments

  1. Can someone more learned than me advise me on whether it’s a good idea to run all the 22’s to Rosebank, rather than splitting off to New Lynn.

    Seems like GNR between Avondale to New Lynn has enough service from the 18 anyway, so running all the 22’s to Rosebank instead would increase frequencies for the residential and industrial areas off Rosebank road?

    Also, running all the 22’s to rosebank means you could reroute the 22 down St Jude St, right onto GNR and through Avondale Shops, and left onto Rosebank Road, so you could concentrate all the services onto the two bus stops on GNR at Avondale Shops, rather than having the extra bus stops on Rosebank Road in the town centre at the moment. Thoughts?

    1. I’m guessing because 22 services New North Rd and would be quite a busy corridor/service route to the main New Lynn interchange so you wouldn’t want make people transfer to the 18 service half way along the main route.

      1. It is good to see AT ax 715,719,756,757,767,769 tamaki dr bus routes, are those buses routes replaced by the new tamaki link bus?

    2. I tend to agree. I am not a fan of suffixed bus routes (such as the 14W and 14T) and ideally they should have a whole different number or be rerouted or curtailed to suit one common route.

      The 22B (now 22N) pretty much follows the same as the 22A (22R) and adjacent to the Western Line with the only distinct advantage of a connecting bus being to visit Westfield St Lukes. Both the 18 and 138 connect New Lynn and Avondale.

      Currently the only buses stopping on St Jude Street are rail replacement services. I’m guessing it’s more disruptive routing the services via a level crossing (although the 22 routes still do via Morningside Drive).

      1. It’s not ideal with the level crossing, but like you say it already happens at Morningside Drive. But in my view, the benefits of providing greater frequency to Rosebank, where there is considerable residential and commercial activity, and the benefits of consolidating services to just two bus stops in Avondale shops, outweigh the negatives from the level crossing.

        If this was done, AT could get rid of the 138 as well.

          1. AT could get rid and scrap the outer link route because it is a mess, 650 should be going in the Greenlane hosiptial grounds, I think it needs to have a interchange. 321 should be named to the hospital link grant

      2. I’m not familiar with the stops, buses or patronage of that area, but looking on paper, surely 22 services a fairly busy New North Rd itself & you wouldn’t want to force transfers for a couple of kms remaining to New Lynn – a major interchange?

        Splitting routes is fine when you get further out want to cover more area with half the frequency as you are in an area with less demand but can provide a one seat ride as well.

    3. I got excited there for a minute, when I saw “increase frequencies” “industrial areas” and “Rosebank Road” all in the same sentence. Alas, there’s still only a 138 local service at the industrial end of the peninsula. Is there some specific reason why it is not a good idea to provide public transport to industrial areas? I know a lot of the people who work in such areas are probably shift workers, for whom public transport may never be feasible (at least until we get self-driving buses). But these areas do still have at least some people working standard hours – and the numbers/proportions may be changing over time – how do AT determine this?

      1. Plus Rosebank road isn’t just industrial, it has substantial residential catchments off the main road over half of the peninsula, as well as major schools. All the more reason why it seems like a good idea all 22’s should run towards Rosebank Road instead, which also removes the need for the 138 (interchange at Avondale).

  2. Has anyone asked AT why 380 hasn’t been renumbered to 38? I guess it also a special route because it also uses different bus colours

    i do like that they have been removing the old 0** number, I can see that it would be hard to keep Crosstown names. Will be interesting to see route number for North network next year.

    1. I guess this is an obvious issue when you number a bus route based on frequency – its very hard to change a route number that everyone knows just because you have upped the frequency.

  3. +1 to everything above. This is getting ridiculous now.

    I realise that the 380 has some limited brand recognition, but surely it would be better to name it the ‘Skylink’ or ‘airlink’ or similar if they do want to build a brand? Also, the 380 really needs to be split into two routes with both terminating at the airport.

  4. Isn’t this just the existing network with some numbers changed?
    Certainly all the buses I use look exactly the same – including the 009 which is going to remain a handy route with terrible frequency, hours of service, and punctuality.

    1. The equivalent of the 009 is quite different for the NN espectially east of Onehunga. Which part did/do you use? The new 680 New Lynn to Onehunga & a combination of other new routes for the other side to Sylvia Park which I mainly have used, I’d expect consistent frequency etc compared to the 009 which is really bizarre when it comes to night, weekends etc.

  5. Doesn’t seem to be a new frequency table to match this new map? Like how it shows the West, East and South linking NN routes though. The 650A (old Crosstown 6a) not do a dance around Tui St now or is that simplification of the map?

        1. The 392 (now demeandered to the 390) was a fantastically silly route, and with the south auckland bound buses always the least modern available, the curves and bumps would match any rollercoaster. There will always be a certain nostalgia for the inefficient in this increasingly efficient world.

          1. The 392 introduced me to Auckland buses when I was visiting a number of years ago. It didn’t leave a great impression, especially with the level of weekend service, unfortunately I wasn’t aware that there were numerous buses running along Great South Road not far from where I was staying on Campbell Rd.

        2. AT finally remove 302,312 and 390 31x one tree hill buses, they a mess and 595 glen lnnes to briotomart via ellerslie, so happy to see them removed, means bus users on those buses might have to catch a different bus and transfer to a train

  6. Thanks Harriet. I’d like to be supportive, but I’m growing increasingly disappointed with the NN execution as well.

    My prime gripe is Parnell, where I work. AT are currently consulting to implement street parking charge at $35 / 8 hours; I’m all for pricing parking to match demand & supply, and don’t drive to work, so far so good. The income can go to better PT. as an alternative.

    What I had not realised (how?) from NN consultation is that the NN cuts buses on Parnell Road by 40% of existing during peak hours. That’s 800+ less pax capacity over the peak 2 hours by my rough calcs.

    Not so good, especially as current buses are typically pretty full (_before_ any parking charges come in), and as the only remaining routes under the NN plan are the delay-prone Inner and Outer Links. Unloved Parnell station hardly makes up for the loss of more convenient bus capacity. Not sure where the $35 /day charges are going, but it’s clearly not into better PT choices for the area.

    I suggest this will not end happily…

    1. Unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of PT connections where I live and don’t have hours a day to spend on meandering buses before and after work. This could be made much more bearable by having a Western Line connection at Parnell Station, but this does not exist until 7:45pm.

      1. Drive to someone outside of the center with cheaper/free parking and then take the PT into Parnell?

        Or buy an ebike – 15/day at 240 days = $3600 is enough to cover the cost of a good ebike.

        $35/day is essentially is a congestion signal telling you to do that.

        A bigger PT network would be better, but there are alternatives.

        1. I do not have the luxury of $3600 to spend on an ebike or the time it’s going to take me to get from Massey to Parnell. Here’s a congestion signal, perhaps AT should be held accountable for the clusterfuck that is Parnell (inc. train station) before they can levy a parking charge on people for not using PT?

          1. That trip is less than 20 km. You’d manage that in 45-50 minutes on an e-bike. That’s quicker than driving door to door at peak hours.

            You can get a good e-bike for $2,000. That’s far cheaper than the cost of driving to work even if parking were free and you already owned the car.

          2. I mean that the increased parking cost is sending you a signal to either 1) find an alternative transport arrangement or 2) look for work closer to home.

            I feel for your situation, but to be honest it’s part of the problem.

            For example – if I’m going to the city as a family of four it’s cheaper to drive. Parking in the weekend is not too expensive and 3 (for now) trips on Hop cards return is more expensive than parking.

            However, if they triple the price of parking in the city. Then I’d have to think about that trip and maybe arrange my trip planning.

            It’s a challenge – this weekend it was buses from Newmarket to Britomart, so we just drove even though we went on a schedule and did plan to take the train.

          3. @SailorBoy

            $2000 ebike is probably not the greatest investment. Battery capacity will drop at least 20% after one year. (Like a phone.)

            40km return will require at least 500 Wh battery and more to cover the capacity loss after one year. Plus that doesn’t give you room for side trips.

            I just used $15/day as a opportunity cost number, but if you save a real $35 dollars a day in parking…

          4. “Just move closer to your job or quit your job and find one closer”. It’s almost like where I can live is a function of what I can afford and where I work is a function of where I could get a job. Does someone want to throw in ‘Just telecommute!’ for the trifecta of projecting an above middle-class existence across all transport users?

          5. We need to accept that your lifestyle projects huge costs onto everyone else. Transport policy is a really dumb place to address an inequitable distribution of wealth and income. We should improve incomes and wealth generation for lower than average income earners and price transport more accurately.

          6. This is not a pile-on, but sometimes were we chose to live is also defined by our lifestyle expectation.

            (Greater) Auckland is no longer a city where we can (easily) chose to live like our “parents” did. The market has dictated that via direct costs like land prices and indirect costs like congestion.

            It’s a concern and unless we make the hard choices now it gets harder for children to have any choices.

          7. This is a textbook example of how lack of equity in transport planning exacerbates existing inequalities. Here, in common with many Western cities, richer people live in middle-class inner city suburbs, while poorer people live in the outer suburbs.

            An equity-based transport policy could easily provide better frequencies and lower fares to those locations, recognising that poorer people often have fewer employment choices (both time and place) and less discretionary money to spend on transport.

            Instead in Auckland, we have a topsy-turvy fare system that punishes the outer suburbs with both higher fares and lower frequencies. It’s regressive, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

            I think it’s wrong to blame buttwiz for his predicament – instead at the very least we should look at equalising fares for all public transport users (ie no zones) and massively expanding the reach of effective public transport to the many in greater Auckland who are caught in the stranglehold of expensive auto-dependency.

          8. I cannot see flat fares for buses being anything but regressive. Huge numbers of low earning people commute entirely within one zone. How is doubling their transit fare ever not regressive?

            There is definitely an argument to provide better transit service in less affluent areas as a way to enhance equity, I was wrong there. However, hugely subsidized parking (which is what ButtWizard seems to want) is a really shitty way to do it.

            Agree with ButtWizard on one thing though, several people at AT need to be sacked over Parnell and the state of the new network.

          9. Can i just say I’d be super happy to catch the train in and back each day if I didn’t have to walk up Parnell Rise at the end of it because it’s literally quicker than catching the bus.

            Also: Shifting parking from workers to residents is another huge subsidy, with the key difference between being I can’t park on their driveway when the street is full. And if public transport in Parnell is so great, the residents should just use that to get to work anyway, right?

          10. Yeah, the train situation at Parnell is an embarrassment…

            I completely agree regarding parking. Local residents have the greatest opportunity to make other arrangements for parking, therefore, they deserve no further rights to public parking.

          11. @Nicholas There is that other market signal on the housing market you might have missed… Long story short, areas where cycling is feasible, or where you can catch any decent PT, are now reserved for upper class only.

            E-bikes are still very expensive over here, last time I checked you’d pay at least $5000 unless you go for the cheapest entry level model in the shop. Which is probably not a great idea if you’re planning a 20 km commute.

            And then there’s is those other signals in our street design, which for most normally adjusted people mean they must not ride a bicycle on the street.

          12. @roeland

            1. If you compare that $5000 to the cost of a car, then it’s not really that expensive. So really it’s a historic or lifestyle choice.

            2. Yes, there is that market signal.

            Actually for my situation I commute from Onehunga to Wiri. I’ve been looking at ebikes but the concerns about the route and lack of real bike infrastructure as delayed me making a final decision. My commute would be about 13 km, which is the same distance to town.

            I’ve actually discussed this with people. I personally think the while the focus on center may make “economic” sense in terms of catchment. It loses in terms of equality. I’ve made this mainly about PT and the LRT rollout (*), but it also applies to bike infrastructure.

            Even more so in Auckland as Manukau/Airport is a major metro zone. Maybe more important than the CBD which is mostly full of lawyers. 😉

            My argument has been mainly that there is choice in these areas – even the NW – but not really in the SW. This is driving the dynamic with the Onehunga Bridge and it’s traffic problems.

            I think it’s also clear when all parts of the city need infrastructure, that the areas which get it first will likely see property price movements. Part of Twyford’s plan is to tax that uplift.

            (*) I strongly think Onehunga-Airport-Manukau LRT should be done first. This would also bring more cycle ways into the area.

          13. “I’ve been looking at ebikes but the concerns about the route and lack of real bike infrastructure as delayed me making a final decision”
            → That’s how cycling usually works over here, unfortunately. So long for choice.

            Maybe that will change over the next decades, but that’s not going to get you to work tomorrow.

          14. Yes, I have to decide to put my life in the hands of some truckie on Favona Rd.

            There is a consultation for Otahuhu to Mangere bike lanes, but just east-east as far as I can tell.

  7. Yes TimR, having worked in Parnell the evening peak buses are appalling. First the actual schedule bears absolutely no relationship to the online journey planner,and second, it bears no relationship to the timetable because the route is just so damn congested. I found it quicker and more reliable to walk ten minutes to the train rather than hang around at the bus station. Of course that too was frustrating because some trains didn’t stop. Its kind of bizarre that with only a handful of people boarding the train that a stop couldn’t be accomplished in 20 odd seconds -is dwell time at every station still 55 seconds?
    And yes its a positive move for parking to be priced to reflect the cost of providing it. I will be providing feedback on this consultation and I will be saying that all day, everyday should be charged for just like the public sector does. (It is bizarre that in Takapuna with 2200 odd car parks that they are charged at about fourpence halfpenny per hour. No wonder that there is such a demand for parking and AT currently has a proposal to build 400 more at probably a cost between 20 and 30 million. Clowns!)
    And yes the funds from car parking should be deployed into public transport so that AT can start to achieve on the first principle of its SOI. As I have said before it is a sad indictment that in ten years AT has not been able to reduce the number of vehicles travelling into the city by one solitary vehicle.

    1. That only works if parking revenue from Parnell goes into improvements in Parnell. Otherwise you just increase the cost of working in Parnell for workers without providing any credible alternative, as you already note.

    2. I think in Takapuna it’s a combination of clowns and comedians jointly thinking that Takapuna doesn’t need a train station and then somehow being surprised that over-provision of car parking and gridlocked traffic is the expensive alternative.

      I feel for Buttwiz. There’s perhaps an equity argument for providing free parking exemptions Auckland-wide for anyone that doesn’t have access to frequent public transport. That would at least in part redress the severe imbalances in AT’s current transport planning that are leaving so many people stranded in their vehicles.

      1. I’d rather see the assumption that residents should be given the exemptions questioned first, as everyone else is subsidising their on-street car storage. The idea that people using long-term parking (i.e. the office workers who are here every day) don’t support local businesses and cafes is laughable. Once you start stripping away these rationalisations for parking restrictions, you get to some inconvenient conclusions.

        1. I spend so much money in the area where I live. I buy lunch, today after work I’m going down to the shops to buy shoes, I buy petrol, so many other business in the area are supported by people working in the area.

  8. I absolutely agree about the 380 route – they’ve hardly got the new route numbering system in place before they’ve corrupted it. I doubt very much that the “brand” recognition comparison with the Airbus of the same number is in any way a factor in whether passengers and commuters use public transport.

    I also wonder about the proliferation of “Link” routes – we are now up to five, with the City, Inner, Outer, Waiheke and Blue Links. These all operate on routes which are likely of interest to visitors and tourists, which I’m sure is AT’s strategy. The purist in me says these routes are also crying out for a route number – even if only L1 to L5. But four of the five are also Frequent Service routes and could benefit from having a standard two-digit route number while still retaining the “Link” branding. Think 10 for the City Link, 61 Inner, 62 Outer, and 79 for the Blue Link, for example.

    Which also raises the issue of numbering for the RTN. I rather like the convention recently used in the Greater Auckland post on the RTN network, giving these routes a letter. With seven RTN routes now in the frame you could well have A for Dom Rd/Airport, B for Westgate, C for the Western Line-Onehunga, D for the confusing Southern/Eastern Line combo, E for the Henderson to Otahuhu line via Newmarket, F for the Northern Busway routes (F1 for downtown and F2 for the University perhaps) and G for the Panmure to Botany busway. Could even add in a Route H with a frequency hike for the Devonport ferry. No chance that we’d run out of letters – up to 26 RTN routes possible. Or give them a colour (think Red Line, Blue Line, Orange Line etc).

    Call me old-fashioned but having a route identification system that is logical and CONSISTENT seems to me essential in making the network as legible as possible.

  9. (replying to your 3pm comment with Buttwizard)

    But Sallor Boy there are also strong equity arguments in favour of eliminating zones; have a quick read here where they explain things way better than I could ever do:

    https://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2015/03/30/broadening-the-city-through-a-universal-fare-card/

    I agree with you that the city needs to progress from its long-standing auto-dependency but this progress should be shared. We both want commuters to use public transport rather than bringing in cars, but I feel that $35 per day is a heavy penalty for the many who are unfortunate enough to have no choice.

    1. That article argues that lowering transportation fares is equitable. Not that eliminating zones is equal. You are arguing for a massive increase in subsidy, not a different distribution of fares. I agree with you, but I think it is dishonest to not clearly indicate that that is what is required.

  10. David B, I struggle to see otherwise that if the cost of providing parking is $35 then that’s what should be charged. By comparison, If you work in the city and want to park the early bird rates are from $24 or so upwards, that’s what you pay, or you travel another way. I am almost certain that these rates would be higher except for the considerable amount of cheap car parking that AT provides.
    The answer to reduce auto dependency is almost certainly increasing the cost of automobile travel. Despite a huge number of public transport options to get to the city car trips have not decreased at all in ten years. So the issue I suggest is not the availability of buses/trains but that people find it cheaper to drive to free company provided parking, or parking considered affordable.
    There will always be people who for whatever reason can’t use public transport, but as a country we will increasingly be in a situation where we cannot afford people to drive, particularly fossil fueled vehicles.

  11. David B, the fare card that you speak of is a variation of the enormously successful Viennese yearly pass. This has resulted in over 900 million public transport trips per year and only 27% of all trips occurring by car. It seems that the cost of this pass is so low (NZ $2 per day) that the locals have to find a compelling reason not to use public transport.
    It is going to take a bold initiative to propel Auckland towards such widespread public transport use. With AT so strapped for cash, money has to be diverted from somewhere else or current revenue streams such as car parking need to be worked much harder. I also think that it is reasonable if very cheap public transport is provided that park n rides should have a cost, at least the difference between the cheap fares and the current fares.

  12. I think 625 from Glen lnnes to Britomart should keep on being removed because 75 sounds like an much better service, 635 used to run on grand dr in Remuera,but those residents need to use 782 and catch the train from Meadowbank or Ellerslie to get to the CBD, Can someone get AT to bring the 635 bus?

  13. AT removed 719 (former 717 route) from Sylvia park to britomart via panmure,glen lnnes and orakei, These routes have been replaced with a comtruition of 743, eastern line train and 762 and Tamakilink, 719 was a horrible bus for my grandma

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