The Eastern Busway (previously known as AMETI) will extend Auckland’s rapid transit network out into the east and southeast part of the city – extending from Panmure out to Botany:

Unlike other parts of the rapid transit network, which run all the way into the city, the Eastern Busway essentially ends at the Panmure station (although over time it may be extended to Ellerslie). In the past there has been a bit of discussion around whether the Eastern Busway should instead be light-rail and extended all the way into the city. One of the big arguments for this is around the capacity of Panmure station. Not so much the capacity for Panmure to handle the level of buses, but that the Eastern line post CRL will at some point become so busy that East Auckland bus users will be unable to transfer to rail, thus unable to leverage the heavy rail network as currently proposed.

There are a few reasons not to worry:

Getting the CRL Right

For a long time, Greater Auckland has been pushing to make sure the CRL is done right by building the second entrance at Beresford Square, as well as making sure all CRL stations (especially K Road) are future proofed for longer trains. These concerns have been taken seriously by Council, and CRL are now investigating future proofed platforms which we hope are included as part of the final works package. Matt has also suggested the ability to modify seating to a more metro configuration in the future if needed allowing higher capacity trains.

CRL Potential Capacity (TPH = Trains per Hour)

What this means is that getting the CRL done right drastically increases the capacity of Panmure to handle Eastern bus users well into the future. This is also another argument for getting the CRL done right as doing so could potentially save a lot of money not having to build a whole Eastern Light Rail system in the future.

Running the Right Post CRL Pattern

The current Post CRL running pattern is a confusing mix of things, however, what it suggests after the CRL is upgraded from 36tph to 48tph the additional western services instead of also being sent to Newmarket or Onehunga are sent east. In the Auckland Rail Development Programme 2015, they only go as far as Glen Innes, however, in CRL Procurement Docs they go as far as Otahuhu.

While I am not sure if they should go as far as Otahuhu as we don’t want too many trains unnecessarily clogging Westfield junction, we definitely shouldn’t stop the extra services short at Glen Innes. If Otahuhu works, that is great, however, if rail modelling shows their are issues the trains could terminate at a turn-back at an upgraded Sylvia Park Station (At the same time we could add gates, a better concourse to the mall, as well as access to Carbine Rd dramatically increasing the catchment of the station).

Sylvia Park Catchment due to lack of Eastern Access

By making sure we run the services further than Glen Innes we increase the capacity of Panmure station by 6 trains an hour each way dramatically increasing the capacity of Panmure station. As these are short runners as well the trains are not likely to be busy by the time they reach Panmure as well thus providing plenty of capacity.

Regional Rapid Rail

If both of the above became not enough a further option exists which would be to stop Regional Rapid Rail trains in the future at Panmure, this would not only give Regional Rapid Rail access to the Eastern New Network but also some further overlay capacity for Panmure. We would just have to be careful that Eastern users do not crowd out Regional Rapid Rail users.

All in all, Panmure has the potential to have plenty of capacity for eastern bus users well into the foreseeable future.

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44 comments

  1. Just want to make it clear why Panmure makes a good transfer point for the AMETI busway.

    The Eastern line is fully grade separated [it has no level crossings except 2 pedestrian crossings across the tracks to the island platform at GI], this means there are no reasons for slow running caused by the ETCS due to need to be slow at road crossings like we see out west.

    So, as a result of that the original Panmure station further south than the present one, used to be about 18 minutes from the main station [not quite as far as Britomart is now] by steam trains – in the old “steam train” days.

    In the future the line could be that fast again [AT planner say 19 for that journey today], if not faster when they sort out the slow dwell times at GI, Meadowbank and Orakei stations.

    This fact means that the alternatives – say using the Ellerslie station with a LRT route along EP Highway will be a lot slower.

    As by the time your LRT has wended its way along EP highway going to/from Ellerslie station, you would be well over half way to Britomart, if you changed trains at Panmure to the Eastern line.

    And of course, if you are heading south e.g. to the Airport, by train, in 16 minutes from Panmure you’d be in Papatoetoe station, ready to hop the 380 bus for the airport.

    So the power of Panmure is really in the fast links it offers to both the north and south.

    I think AT has sold itself short on the design of the platforms at Panmure though and think that 7 or more carriage long EMUs will be fiddly to accommodate there.

    Once they get the 3rd and hopefully 4th mains through the Eastern line [if they ever do] the options for express running may make Panmure an even better choice for the busway users whether coming from/going to West, North or Downtown.

    1. The 19 mins from Panmure to Britomart is mainly due to the congestion at Quay Park. It is timetabled as only 15 mins in the opposite direction (Britomart to Panmure) and generally keeps to this schedule without too much trouble.

        1. The Eastern Line is an absolute ripper. I don’t bother driving to Sylvia Park now – it’s ten minutes by train from Orakei station.

          1. Sylvia Park would have been a better choice as the main PT hub, what with the commercial office building going inside it, the new refurbished eatery lane opened up.

            Cross link via SE highway to Onehunga/Pakuranga, CBD link via the Eastern line, future expansion via Kiwi Property’s recent purchase of land where VINZ is. Almost all of the land around Sylvia Park is also designated Terrace Housing/Apartment zoning so it’s more than likely going to intensify a lot more quickly than compared to Panmure.

            I made some ugly MSPaint drawings on an old GA post about Sylvia Park, in the comments section i put up some ugly drawings.

            https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2017/02/13/sylvia-park-station-easterncarbine-rd-access-lgoima/

            (Admin – Sorry I keep spamming btw, I’m just really passionate about Sylvia Park being so much better than what it could be)

  2. That’s a shocker of a catchment map for Sylvia Park. Has anything changed to ensure that sort of thing doesn’t happen again?

    1. Shopping mall owners views train user only come to shoplift.

      This view is now out of date. Post CRL more and more shoppers will come by train.

      Prephaps the mall owners should buy the site on the east and extend the mall to the east with apartments and redevelop that station into a transit hub.

      1. Bollocks. That station is only there because the mall owner built it. The little bit of connection to the east is there because the mall owner built a bridge. The missing part to the north east is because that land isn’t owned by the mall owner, it was supposed to be built by the Council but never was.
        The catchment is like that because the public bodies failed to do there part.

        1. Would be nice if the bus interchange area could be right in next to the rail…then again at least make it more walkable through the shopping ctr….this would keep the buses pretty quick still generally. Too much car parking going in and space lost I suspect to do in close.

          Central Bus New Network will have quite a few buses coming through or terminating here.

  3. I think the escalators at the Southern end of Panmure will become a real bottleneck once the Eastern Busway opens. There really needs to be a set of stairs at that end to help with passenger flows between the trains and buses.

    1. Pity it wasn’t done as an island platform….went down the wrong on the other day as used to going the other direction…also another family member did funnily enough on the same day but a different trip.

      1. I guess due to cost and space savings, allowing the 3rd main through on the east side easier. Gating etc would of been so much easier.

    2. There is a set of stairs behind the lift. If it’s not stairs it’s abtardis, because a lot of people seem to go in without coming out again.

        1. Then we can only assume Panmure Station has branched out into a very modern form of travel indeed, although possibly just in one direction.

    3. I totally agree. Those escalators are a pain. I haven’t been there for a while but every time I take them I wish at the very least they had keep left signs if not walking on them, especially if rushing to catch a transfer.

  4. Off topic I know, but having recently moved to Parnell I’m a bit dismayed by the second map showing only 3 trains per hour there post-CRL.

    I know the location of the station has been criticised on here before, but since it is there it needs to be serviced properly.

    From August this year it will have 5-minute frequencies at peak and 10-minutes off peak, so if the post-CRL map is correct it will be a huge step backwards, particularly for the many students predicted to use it.

      1. Yes that coloured running pattern map is non standard I guess? so Green western line actually terminates at Britomart/Quay Park?…ohhh just clicked how you read it, match the actual lines that join together..ignore the colours somewhat. So green western one goes to light blue & splits to either Newmarket or Onehunga.

        1. For some inexcplicable reason they decided to color the lines the same as they are today, despite the fact they’ll through route from one side to the other. Onehunga to western for example. Makes it look like all the lines terminate at Britomart when they’ll actually all run through the CRL.

    1. Yes this is a shocker. This level of service will render that station useless. The station has potential if they build a level bridge, one side to cross the platform, otherside to go to the town centre. Also build a laneway along espesso workshop. A lot of development potential.

      1. Sylvia Park would be a better choice as a major PT hub. Imagine if at Sylvia Park train station you could just walk across an upper level concourse over the tracks and directly into the mall itself, especially with the new commercial tower being built.
        SE highway & Waipuna Rd should also be considered as an extension to the cross-town idea linking up to West Auckland.

        I made some ugly MSPaint drawings on an old GA post in the comments section, would be great for others to add their ideas.

        https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2017/02/13/sylvia-park-station-easterncarbine-rd-access-lgoima/

  5. The Eastern Busway should just be built as light rail running from Panmure-Pakuranga-Botany-Manukau and a line from Pakuranga to Howick.

    All the major arterial roads along this route such as Pakuranga Road, Ti Rakau Drive and Te Irirangi Drive are more than wide enough (many 4 or 6 lanes and/or with median island down the middle). Light rail could move far more people than the traffic lanes they would use and would actually attract far more users than buses. New Zealanders are far more likely to get out of their cars for rail services than buses.

    Rather than building light rail to the airport, the Queen Street/Dominion Road light rail line should terminate in Stoddard Road in Mount Roskill, as was originally proposed by AT, and instead build a much needed East Auckland light rail network. Heavy rail should be built to the airport with a loop line between Onehunga and Puhinui as Councillor Mike Lee mentions in this article in today’s NZ Herald:

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12042426

    1. The biggest issue with having LR on these routes is it requires anyone who doesn’t live along these routes (such as Bucklands Beach or Cockle Bay) to catch a bus, then LR, then finally a train just to get to the CBD.

      A busway allows buses from these areas to travel straight through to Panmure.

      Regarding the idea of terminating LR at Stoddard Rd you’re obviously happy with the idea of leaving Hillsborough without a rapid transit connection?

    2. Parnell station – specifically, it’s hopeless location, driven by Lee for a historic shed that never eventuated, at the expense of commuters.

      Reason enough to laugh of this poorly researched opinion piece.

      1. I think he just need more money to finish the station connections as well as getting AT to put in more frequency.

        1. Or he could have prioritised function (commuters) over form (his fetish for a heritage development that laughably never happened).

          And again, he has his priorities wrong. He is focused on travellers who will make up just 10% of users (even less will be going the full distance to CBD) over 90% of users (local commuters) who this SW line is designed for.

          Air travellers can access the CBD via a one seat LRT through the isthmus, change at Onehunga and go up the central corridor via HR, or East via a BRT/HR combo.

          For such a small group of users, relatively speaking, they have an impressive choice of options. And this before we talk about buses.

  6. I am worried about how difficult it may be in the future to put a third and fourth main through Panmure Station. With potentially 12tph of commuter Trains , 8tph of Rapid Regional Rail trains, express trains from the south, and, freight trains; the Westfield Deviation (Eastern Line) will be very busy.

    I think a fourth main will be required if RRR trains are going to maintain an average speed of 89 km/h as in the RRR report.

    I know that Panmure was ‘future proofed’ for a third main on its South Eastern side, however finding space for a fourth main will be very difficult, especially if a platform is desired for all tracks.

    On rather unrelated note, does anyone know if it is possible to find space for a fourth track through Newmarket Station?

    1. It is possible to get a 4th line through Newmarket by narrowing the platforms, but would need to be really, really worth it. Newmarket is already too busy to sacrifice platform area. Panmure could still have a 4th. Just a matter of value for money. We’re a long time from needing it and we don’t even know if there will be port’s traffic through there by then.

  7. The proposed Eastern Busway is far from perfect, and we still appear to burdened with the crappy Reeves Rd flyover.

    It doesn’t really qualify as rapid transit, its got far too many stops, it’s limited to 50kmh and subject to too many junctions and traffic lights. It also serves the area north of Ti Raku drive poorly, needs dedicated bus lanes as far as highland park.

    It’s not at all like the Northern Busway, it’s a missed opportunity done on the cheap.

    But, it’s better than what we have, and it’s all that’s on the table, so I’ve reluctantly made my peace with it.

    Let’s just get it built.

    1. How would you do it without the traffic lights though? It can’t be the same as the Northern Busway cause Pakuranga/Ti Rakau are not motorways.

    2. It’s pretty much it’s own right of way, less stops than currently. Mainly just need peak free flow, full time bus lanes could of almost done it.

      1. I think this is one of those cases where we should not let best be the enemy of better.

        Its going to be light years ahead of current accessibility through this area. I don’t think people will quibble about a few stops here and there.

  8. I think Greater Auckland are doing a great job but a minor change to the Eastern busway that would be hugely beneficial would be to terminate at Sylvia Park not Panmure. The decision for the bus rail interchange to be at Panmure happened 15 years ago – and a lot has changed since then. As Sylvia Park is a huge destination in it own right there are heaps of people traveling there anyway, much easier to fill buses and have more frequent service. This makes a lot of sense as one end of a busway. There is even space for buses to turn back under the flyover by the train station. Better by far and would make public transport more viable for the thousands who travel to Sylvia Park too.

    1. Many people in East Auckland try and avoid Sylvia Park like the plague. In terms of congestion of both people and vehicles it is stressful and not worth the hassle. Farmers moving there from Pakuranga plaza will simply result in people shopping at Botany.

      1. I agree traffic to Sylvia Park is a nightmare particularly at the moment with everything closed. This is why we should have buses going there to get cars of the road. Ideally I would want the buses to come straight of the fly over to the train station with there own separate entrance. This would be fast and efficient and people getting on trains wouldn’t need to go into the mall. We should put public transport where the people are, not build something and hope the may follow.

  9. When the busway is upgraded to LRT, there’s no reason that busses can’t still use the busway. It’s internationally quite common to see busses using the parts of the road that LRT is separated onto.

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