One of the key public transport projects to be delivered over the next decade is a busway from the Airport to Botany (A2B). While the full busway will take years to be built, some parts, such as an upgraded Puhinui Station and some early bus priority measures are expected to be completed within the next few years. The aim previously has been for it to be in place by the America’s Cup in 2021. That will help enable a relatively fast and reliable connection to the airport with further improvements when the full busway is built.

We’ve been hanging out for more information on what is proposed at Puhinui and I think the lack of information to date has helped feed some of the recent airport transport discussions. A previously confidential paper to Auckland Transport’s board that has recently been made public finally gives us some details about this critical project.

The station is expected to cost about $60 million and will initially be built with an at-grade bus station beside it but it is designed so that a new bus only bridge can be built across the rail corridor to integrate directly with it. They’ve completed the preferred concept design and the preliminary design is due in December with procurement due to start by the end of the year. Construction is expected to start by the middle of 2019 and be completed in the first quarter of 2021. To serve the upgraded station, the existing 380 airporter bus route will be changed and they say priority lanes will be provided along most of the route. Here’s what they say about the station

Preferred concept design option
  • The Puhinui Station Interchange has been progressed as part of the Short-Term Airport Access Single Stage Business Case. A preferred indicative layout was identified with stakeholders in July 2018. This informed the Concept Design process which was completed in September 2018. The preferred concept option is shown in plans in Attachment 1 and has been endorsed by all relevant internal AT key stakeholders.
  • The option provides an interchange facility between train services and an at-grade bus station as an early deliverable (first quarter 2021) that accommodates the ultimate rapid transit station in due course with limited need to retrofit. It consists of providing a pedestrian concourse over the railway line similar to Otahuhu Station, and includes escalators similar to Panmure Station.
  • Preliminary Design has commenced and is expected to be completed by December 2018. A key outcome sought is for the interchange to project a “City Gateway” or “Airport” feel. A key part of this will be to ensure the rich and strong cultural history and significance of the area to Mana Whenua is reflected and embraced within the interchange design in accordance with Te Aranga design principles and in collaboration with Mana Whenua.
Use of customer insights to inform interchange design
  • The interchange design has been influenced by customer insight findings collected as part of the Airport Access Programme Business Case. When discussing the proposed Puhinui Station upgrade, key messages from customers were safety, “hassle free”, seamless, easy to navigate and quality. The design has aimed to achieve this by ensuring seamless and direct connectivity between modes to reduce the “hassle factor” of interchanging and by imbedding passive safety measures such as visual clarity, quality retail activity and visibility of staffed locations.
Future proofing for future rail functions
  • The interchange for delivery in 2020/21 allows for proposed third and fourth rail line alignments (as provided by KiwiRail at the time of design)
    and is future proofed to allow for proposed inter-regional rail services between Auckland and Hamilton to stop (but not terminate) at the station.

Here’s what the first phase of just the station and at-grade bus interchange could look like. I like how the station canopy extends the length of the platform than then integrates straight into the bus station – although I have to think the engineers, in a bid to bring the cost down, are going to scale it all back so I’ll be surprised if it ends up looking like this.

One aspect you can see in the images above is a deck like structure protruding from the upper level, this is where the busway bridge will eventually hook into. Below is a bit more detail, first the ground level. Buses will pull in here to stops alongside the station where escalators and lifts will bring people up to the upper level. There also appears to be a kiss and ride type facility.

Next is the upper level which will be gated. Eventually when the busway bridge is built, people heading to the airport will walk up the escalators from the train platform and straight out onto the bus platform which will make for a seamless connection. It’s not clear if the bus interchange and kiss and ride facility will still exist then. One thing that’s not clear is if there will be grade separated access to the eastbound bus platform (northern side) or if there’ll need to be a pedestrian crossing on the bridge.

and some cross sections looking east and north.

It’s not entirely clear how the 3rd and 4th main will be accommodated in this but it appears they be on the outside of each of the existing tracks. I guess if needed they could have side platforms but I wonder if this misses an opportunity to create a twin island platform design, like the old Kaiwharawhara Station in Wellington. It certainly seems like Kiwirail have enough land for a second platform and tracks based on this image showing the existing land holdings and requirements.

Until the busway bridge is built, buses will use the existing Bridge St bridge, as per below.

Overall I quite like what’s proposed here. Let’s hope AT are actually able to deliver it on and do so on time

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147 comments

  1. Bit disingenuous in the opening paragraphs there Matt given the first concept sketch in the AT report has stated Busway or Light Rail – something NZTA will decide when ready to do so and has made perfectly clear to all the Southern Local Boards including Howick.

    None the less Quarter 3 is when the sod will be turned, good to know.

    1. Ben it may eventually become Light Rail, but it will certainly begin as a Busway. There is no chance of meeting the timeline with any other technology.

      1. Sorry Patrick I should have been a bit more clear my end.
        Stage 1 will be bus and bus priorities through til 2021, I was looking more at stages 2 and 3 when they become funded. Maybe LRT to Manukau and bus priority to Botany then once the Botany Interchange is complete for the Eastern Busway extend LRT all the way out. NZTA (and AT) have been couching LRT language in reports to the southern and Howick Local Boards but again yes stage 1 is bus, stages 2 and 3 push for LRT so time lines are met.

  2. Double island platforms are critical if we think long term and want a lot of people shifting between express and local services.

    1. Disagree on that at this location. Puhinui is the key transfer point between Southern and Manukau lines, so retaining the current island and adding side platforms for the 3rd and 4th mains is better for that. I would like to see the east side platform become an island itself with a 5th platform for intercity traffic, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to be on the plans for some time, unless it supplants existing plans to do the same at Otahuhu.

  3. Looks interesting! Definitely will be keen to see how much survives the budget rounds but good start. Pleased to see that they’re looking at fast tracking it, hopefully no significant corners are cut that we live to regret.

  4. If they are spending this much, hopefully they will also incorporate a sophisticated, secure bike parking facility (as seen at stations in the Netherlands, Japan) so people are able to use bikes to complete their journey to and from home. I can’t understand why this hasn’t been incorporated into other new stations being built – distances between houses and stations in Auckland can be slightly too long to walk as we know, so making it easier for people to make multi-modal journeys would make so much sense.

    1. Yes, I was being shown photos yesterday of purpose-built, extensive bike storage at railway stations in towns of 200,000 in Germany. This report to the board does say, “$16M is allocated to a range of other improvement measures including localised bus priority and walking/cycling improvements – minor to moderate measures that can be implemented within the 2020/21 timeframe”

      So the money is definitely there. What remains to be seen is whether the design for cycling and walking access happens in parallel with all the other strategic decisions, or if it gets tacked on at the end in a substandard way.

      1. Wow! For just 200,000 people! Someone needs to show the designers/board/whoever makes the decisions these photos. Are they actually looking to the rest of the world for ideas like this? Cause what we keep doing here isn’t working, building these big stations like islands that people have to either drive/taxi/catch infrequent buses to.

        A perfect example – the Manukau bus station. The most requested improvement was for cycling facilities – yet they rolled out the project and said that cycling facilities were ‘outside the scope of the project’. Why South Auckland is being excluded from cycling improvements in the city I have no idea – it’s relatively flat, the potential is there for it to work so well. Bike theft is horrible in this city so people would be so much more likely to ride if they felt their property was safe, not just locked to a couple of crappy hoops outside. Someone needs to show these people the pictures you’ve been seeing!

  5. “key messages from customers were safety, “hassle free”, seamless, easy to navigate and quality. The design has aimed to achieve this by ensuring seamless and direct connectivity between modes to reduce the “hassle factor” of interchanging and by imbedding passive safety measures such as visual clarity, quality retail activity and…”

    Customers say the same about connections between frequent bus routes, all over the city…

  6. “31. The proposed investment is expected to uplift the area and act as a catalyst for urban renewal within and round the interchange precinct.”

    Yes, but the $16M for local access won’t go very far, if that’s what they’re thinking. This is not an easy place to walk or cycle.

    I note the quarry to the south was for sale last year. Now there’s a brownfields intense mixed use opportunity, which could be designed to have excellent active access to the station. Did anyone propose this? Hmmm, 10 ha of medium density… that’s 400 homes that could be underway…

      1. Logistics hubs, good-oh. To move all our Stuff around. Wasted opportunity.

        Next best opportunity are all the big warehouses to the W – SW – S of the station. There’s 1.5 to 2 ha there. Beautiful spot for TOD; shouldn’t be being wasted on roads-based businesses. It even borders the old homestead for the area, with its mature trees, including some fine fruit trees. That could be a good community hub. And those logistics companies might even want to move to the quarry? Surely, there are only so many logistics companies we need?

        1. Industrial land especially HEAVY industrial land in South Auckland is highly sought after and protected in the Unitary Plan as the Onehunga Industrial complex decamps and shifts south. It wont be just logistics but also support industrial services as well.

          In any case industrial land is short close to major transport areas so I see it as a good use of the land.

          1. Yes, and the industrial land near the station only occupies about a quarter of the catchment at Puhinui anyway. I agree that heavy industry should not be pushed out to greenfields sites. The quarry is a better site for industry, though, than that beautiful Puhinui soil.

      2. Beats me – what the heck is the logic to “filling in” a former quarry? You spend 50 years digging a hole and pulling rock out of the ground, via millions of truck movements – and then do the whole thing in reverse, filling the hole back in again with millions more truck movements ? If that doesn’t fit the definition of bloody pointless activities, then I don’t know what does.

        1. Well we are getting an extended train depot out of it; and that stuff from Waterview had to go somewhere. Though I think the real reason is so we have useable land and not just an inaccessible lake.

          At both Stonefieds and Three Kings people are living in the holes left by quarrying…

        2. The most expensive part of any major earthmoving works is disposal of the spoil. It’s almost impossible to get a consent to dump soil, so you are at the mercy of existing landfills. Conversely the opportunity to fill in a disused quarry is a piece of gold, you not only dump your spoil in a easily accessed, close by location… you remediate a huge hole in the ground back to something close to what it was initially.

  7. The idea of travellers with wheely luggage in various states of dilapidation after a long flight having to clunk them onto a bus, then off the bus, navigate a multi-level interchange with hopefully multiple escalators and then jigger them onto a skinny train is ludicrous. No amount of pou whenua and tukutuku will make tired travellers love a windy, smelly bus/train station covered in graffiti and Big Mac boxes. Everyone will just Uber, unless it gets airport-charged out of existence to promote the new transfer station. Just extend the train to the airport – solved.

    1. Why would you waste a whole lot of money extending the rail line to the airport when ‘travellers with wheely luggage in various states of dilapidation’ would have to ‘jigger them onto a skinny train’?

    2. You’re trolling, Peter. 🙂 The needs of the network, which route needs to come first, and the costs of different options have all been discussed.

      Or is this product placement? If so, let me negate that: I’ve never taken Uber and I never will. He he.

      1. “The needs of the network” don’t matter a jot to someone contemplating a journey with bags. Build it, sure, but don’t expect them to come. And no, there are no trolls lurking beneath that bus bridge, and no billy goats above.

          1. You’re right Joe, I knee-jerked on that. This isn’t mostly about passengers on planes – it’s about worker commutes, which I admit was lost on me at first. I suspect most releases about airport transport are initially perceived, and critiqued, as being about people catching planes, which needs to be borne in mind.

          2. Yes, and a decent chunk of air travellers (say 40%?) take carry-on luggage only too. So bulky luggage is a really weak rationale for spending 2 billion on extending a heavy rail line.

          3. @ Stu
            $2Bn?? That figure has GOT to be wrong. Down my end of the island $850 million apparently buys you 27Km of 4-lane motorway through hilly country with major earthworks as well as umpteen bridges and viaducts (Transmission Gully). Something smells of rotten fish here and too many GA’ers are pretending it’s roses.

          4. that’s my hazard a guestimate for NPV capex plus opex.

            To get HR rail to airport you have to:
            1) double track Onehunga, including undergrounding
            2) extend line to Manukau Harbour and bridge
            3) tunnel a long way out from airport
            4) run lots of empty services

            Could be wrong!

          5. Transmission Gully is hilly country so there is no development to buy out. From memory the estimate had over 600m just to double track to Onehunga with all of the trenching and property acquisition in severely contaminated land next to very busy roads. Transmission Gully also didn’t need to build a submarine over 2km long and then bury it in a swamp. Transmission Gully also had a ruling grade of 8% compared to about 3% for heavy rail to the airport. Transmission Gully also didn’t have other motorway structures to weave through and around for most of it’s length or a bridge to build in 30m deep silt.

            The 850m estimate for transmission gully is also about 6 years old. Construction inflation over that period is over 50%. It would cost 1.3B if we were starting now.

      2. Look, I agree an interchange, and a decent connection to Botany, make a lot of sense to the residents of the East – I just doubt that anyone else who doesn’t live within 100m of a station will use it as airport transport. It’s just too hard.

        1. People already use it, the 380 Airporter connection at Papatoetoe. This will make it substantially faster, easier and more direct. So substantially more people will use it.

        2. Yes loads of people already use the bus connection. And many more would if it was frequent, faster, and reliable. My suggestion is we improve the bus/train connection/service via Puhinui and then stand back and see how many people start to use it before committing loads of dosh to anything else (whether light or heavy rail).

          1. I use the 380 sometimes to get to flights. It is well used, especially since it went to 15 min frequency. More by workers and students than tourists.

            Tourists seem to choose the expensive airport bus because it’s easy to understand at a glance where it’s going, compared to 380 then train, or 380 to Onehunga then 30 to town.
            I always choose train, light rail or Metro when travelling abroad given a choice. Never buses as it’s harder to figure out where you are.

          2. @Peter f, Yes agree with all you said. As I’ve stated below, I think a traveller, especially from overseas will likely use Google Map directions & it won’t yet distinguish that the SkyBus (or Intercity service for that matter) costs a lot more or is more awkward to book etc

            Once train frequencies are more often, & this newer bus link is more frequent & faster, it’s more likely to get picked as a prefered journey due to the time savings.

            All the wayfinding improvements & quality of this interchange will obviously promote itself as the one to use in a lot of cases too.

    3. I think people who’s suitcases are knackered are the last group we need to be worrying about when designing at PT network to serve the needs of Aucklanders.

      To be honest if they can’t afford a new suitcase then they are probably the perfect target market for this new interchange, a $4.80 – $7.00 bus/train trip to the city as opposed to whatever an uber trip costs.

    4. You know what thousands of people already do at Auckland? ‘travellers with wheely luggage in various states of dilapidation after a long flight having to clunk them onto a bus, then off the bus,’ to a carpark, find their car, then sit in traffic for whatever length of time, and pay sums sometimes over $100 for the privilege…

      Anyway, again; someone working at or around the airport makes around 500 trips a year there and back, whereas even the most busy flyer perhaps 1/10 of this. So who is the the more important customer here?

      Yes air travellers are important, and some will and some won’t use PT, so in terms of PT ridership numbers and traffic congestion relief (mode shift) those twice a day riders are key.

      And a high quality and quick and affordable transfer is much less of an issue for this target market.

      1. Totally agree that for airport workers who currently clog the connections, yes, it makes a lot of sense. I had my traveller’s hat on – you’re right, Patrick, as ever.

      2. Another factor is I’ve found travellers won’t try the current train, 380 bus combo due to fear of mucking it up or being late so it’s a risk factor of missing a flight. Some transit apps like Google won’t distinguish between the cheaper or free transfers compared to using the SkyBus so it may suggest that to readily. Actual example from last week is family members will actually train in the wrong direction into the CBD & use the SkyBus as it’s the method they know even though it takes longer and costs more. Another factor is lack of weekend train frequency at present.

        So this proper airport transfer hub should help greatly as it would surely be more apparently obvious to use because the where and what to do and be significantly clearer & faster as well.

      3. If the more ‘important’ customers of this interchange are the airport workers then why bother with this:
        ‘A key outcome sought is for the interchange to project a “city gateway” or “airport” feel’
        This key outcome sure makes the interchange appear to be primarily aimed at airport customers NOT mainly workers.

        1. The architectural designers probably just need a theme, but yes, why is it a key outcome? That sounds like a sure path to misconceptions about purpose of investment.

          For an alternative theme idea, they could base it all on harness racing and horses, as the farm here used to be a horse stud. Or, it could be themed on the WWII American camp that was housed here. Or on the motor rallies they used to host.

          1. Yes, I agree Patrick. But I think Bogle’s question wasn’t why do we bother with a quality feel at an interchange for workers. Rather, why do we state the outcome must have a ‘city gateway’ or ‘airport’ feel if the investment is being made to serve workers in the precinct, many of whom aren’t even at the airport, and if they are, don’t need a daily reminder that it’s an airport.

            The reason it’s a good question is that we don’t want misunderstandings along the “light rail to the airport” line. This is a part of the network for Aucklanders, and it’s being funded as such. Why is a ‘city gateway’ or ‘airport’ feel a key outcome, given the misunderstanding risk associated with it? Surely “quality finish” is a better one? Or even “ensure the rich and strong cultural history and significance of the area to Mana Whenua is reflected and embraced within the interchange design in accordance with Te Aranga design principles and in collaboration with Mana Whenua”, for its own sake, not because it’s near the airport.

          2. I see what your saying Heidi, it’s a good question but for what it’s worth it could help with shifting airport traveller number to using the service.

    5. We don’t build airport links just for air travellers. Workers who use twice a day, all year long are a far bigger market.
      And not all air travellers are coming from long trips. Half of airport arrivals and departures are domestic trips and I’d say a decent proportion of international trips are fairly short, from Australia or the islands. Not to forget that half of the trips are departures and so this would be at the start of their trip where they may prefer to reliably get to the airport on time than risk being late for to traffic.

      Lastly, I’ve seen luggage for on our trains easily, especially in the middle carriage where there are longitudinal seats. Not that everyone has luggage, the three times I’ve flown (last being Thursday last week) I haven’t had any luggage.

      1. Yes, true, fair points all of them. With hand luggage from downtown it is a decent option. And of course for airport staff.

    6. It is quite common overseas in first world countries. However, I suppose in little old New Zealand, the people from those countries would prefer sitting in traffic for 2 hours at peak.

    7. Naa- I’m with Peter – no transfers please. If I have a choice between a tired, stuck in traffic bus, that gets there in one trip – and a disjointed trip having to switch modes in the middle – I am taking the bus. No mode change for me please.

      1. The good thing is that option will still be available with the Skybus if you are going to the CBD or taxis. The Puhinui interchange improves the transfer option for people who prefer to pay a bit less, whether they are a passenger or worker.

      2. That’s ok Guy — you stick to your expensive one seat ride if that’s what you want. Also, Dom Rd to Airport LRT will suit you fine.

        Most people, however, will take the faster cheaper option that involves a connection.

        Even when LRT is built, I suspect the BRT botany with HR connection at Puhinui will attract in the order of a couple million airport journeys p.a.

        Simply because if you’re coming from east or south it’s the logical option.

        1. and from the city centre… but LR will be gold for those on its route, and probably west too depending on connections (we have good ones in the CFN). Also the Shore will likely also have a good, if longish, one seat ride with Light Rail across the harbour.

          1. “Also the Shore will likely also have a good, if longish, one seat ride with Light Rail across the harbour.”
            Now I’m starting to salivate…

  8. Cycling and walking design at the concept stage is important in avoiding costly mistakes. There’s only mention of budget for it in the report. Can anyone fill us in on whether the concept stage designs have incorporated cycling and walking considerations?

  9. I came back from London 2 weeks ago and was quite happy to get the 380 to Papatoetoe and the train to Britomart. No problems.
    Of course I live centrally so that helps.
    And I was also quite happy to get the tube from Heathrow. I’ve got better things to spend my money on than expensive airport transfers.

    1. Tube to London Heathrow = Existing regional rail extended to Auckland Airport. Not LR on-street, and not with a forced interchange to busway. Let’s be clear on this.

      1. Tube to London Heathrow != Existing regional rail extended to Auckland Airport

        Existing regional rail extended to Auckland Airport == HeathrowConnect

        Existing Auckland rail is part of the national network, sharing with other services. In no way a proper dedicated metro like the Piccadilly line.

  10. The passengers will carry heavy luggage. It will be a pain if they have to go up and down. The escalators are unsafe for heavy luggage. So many passengers may need the lift. An potential issue is there is not enough lifts and will have a long queue.

    Also the station as a “Gateway” lacking any amenity nor attractions beside it. It is a plain boring interchange in the middle of nowhere.

    A better outcome is a compulsory acquisition for the land around it and build something attractive. Like outlet, amusement park, museums, hotels etc. That is good for the local economy.

    1. Maybe a science museum dedicated to Soil, and how only a few areas of the world have really excellent fertile soil. :/ With perhaps a little history of this area…

      Or may a Public Exhibition Hall of Urban Planning, like they are building in cities in some parts of China, where public education around these concepts seems to be getting more attention than it is here…

    2. The gateway concept should have decent luggage handling facilities such as luggage trollies on platforms and non step type escalators which lock in the luggage trolley wheels. As for the buses will these have luggage storage separate from the passenger compartment and will the driver park then get out to supervise luggage transfer to/from the bus?

      1. I completely agree that luggage storage is important, but this should be achieved by using a sensible internal layout, not by using under floor storage. Underfloor storage makes loading too slow and prevents level access for less mobile passengers.

    1. Given it’s a bridge it might encroach into some of the properties immediately to the north, or at the very least significantly impact on their amenity.

          1. Ben you do get that trains are wider than the tracks, don’t you, track gauge is not the metric here.

            LRT takes less width than BRT but still more than one traffic lane, and then there are stations…

          2. Yes, so we still don’t know why the station can’t be positioned where a future bus direct overbridge wouldn’t have to encroach on properties on the north side of Puhinui Rd.

          3. The way the plan lines things up it removes any loss of residential land on the north side of Puhinui but the south side can not avoid being effected. Its unfortunate that some news homes are being built by the Mobil station. The front ones will most likely need to be demolished. Unless of course the buses are just running on the roads with general traffic. I do hope a pedestrian crossing over Kenderdine is part of this.

            In any case given I live within walking distance and I am glad to see the change.

  11. All good – fits with what Local Boards have been told over recent months. Next big problem is resolving the additional or widened bridge across the Pukaki Creek at the west end of Puhinui Road just as it enters the airport land. Apparently issues of “cultural sensitivity” have been raised which is leading the planners to consider a 10km detour rather than the direct route we had always assumed between the motorway and the airport (which is about 5km). Seriously – active consideration is being given to diverting the RTN route about 5km NW up SH20 from the Puhinui Interchange, then nearly 5km SW along SH20A to the airport. Even if there were no stations along the way this would add 3-4minutes to the journey time not to mention $hundreds of millions to the cost. While the creek may have some significance to local iwi – I have never heard of it being considered a taonga. Given that there is the existing SH20B 2 lane bridge (with pedestrian path), widening it to cater for the proposed upgrade of the highway to motorway standard (4 lanes?) + the proposed RTN route does not seem to me at all unreasonable – so I hope that the detour route is very quickly scotched and forgotten.

    1. From what I’ve been told, the I with the bridge comes from a commitment signed by then mayor of Manukau Barry Curtis to local iwi that there would never be another or wider crossing

      1. I’d suggest AT quickly put a process together that allows them to bring the local information to the table before they start planning./sarc

        What about a double-decker bridge – does that classify as widened or new? Would it have less impact for Maori? How much weight can the existing piles and foundations take?

      2. Sorry too bad, but a decades old promise by Barry Curtis really can’t be binding on the future governments of New Zealand

        1. Of course not; our government can do as it pleases. Even promises by the government aren’t binding on the future governments of New Zealand, either. Or that’s the way it’s panned out, anyway.

          Funny thing is, we might just look back and think, yeah, maybe some restraint on how we let roading infrastructure ruin our waterways would have been a good idea, and yeah, maybe we should have listened to Maori?

          Or, maybe we can reallocate road space instead of always building more?

        2. What you’re suggesting is pretty much another chapter in the story of colonialism isn’t it.

          If promises that were made, in writing, can just be ignored because it’s not convenient it will open up significant issues with things like the treaty process.

          1. If colonialism means building a straight road rather than spending a fortune on a 10km detour via Mangere, then yeah I’m 100% good with colonialism

        3. Is this not the same Barry Curtis that had shares in the land out East Manukau and didn’t want any sort of rail [LR/HR] out that way ? , only tarseal everywhere ?

  12. If the bridge cannot be widened, Graeme, I would propose that this detour should be taken by the general traffic, for whom we have built SH20 and SH20A at great environmental and public cost. The busway should get the existing bridge.

    In any case, I think this is what should be argued – then the people who advocate for general traffic can negotiate with iwi, and public transport, for once, doesn’t have to be traded off.

    1. Alternatively, how many buses are we talking? Have buslanes and traffic lanes leading up to the bridge, then over the bridge just one lane way each way, with priority given to the buses.

      1. Probably one every ten minutes to start with. I think your solution is exactly what they will go with and will explain the ‘bus priority most of the way’ reference above.

        1. It’s not ideal for the buses, but a better use of resources, and the sort of thing we should be actually doing all over the place. Put in the bus lanes, and cope with the pinch points like this.

    1. I don’t understand the endless gloom by commenters here on plans and projects, especially funded ones, have you seen Ōtāhuhu station? Is that just a tin shed?

      1. Yes it actually seems the “big” stations/interchanges are great, wasn’t quite sure if this project would make it into that league of “big” in AT’s mind.
        I sometimes wonder if these big ones are too great & expensive so that there is no money left for a shelter or decent transfer infrastructure for the minor transfer points around the city. I suspect that is just more a matter of lack of money in generally for PT, especially in the recent past. Also seems to be the fragmented teams that handle infrastructure etc.
        Anyway I suspect the AT big restructure will help with all this going forward.

    2. Very funny. Yet this impressive design has yet to go through the cost cutting and service paring stages. It would be great to have an Otahuhu station level of design and amenity, i suppose we just have to wait and see.
      I noticed the rail interfacing mentioned the 3rd 4th mains but no mention at all of the future light rail line Airport-Puhinui-Botany. Or is this just distant in the future to affect this proposed i terchange design?
      Since Otahuhu station has been mentioned I often thought that the concourse that ends in a large wedge windowed area over the rail lines, looks as though its ready for a concourse extension further west over more rail lines , perhaps new platforms for an airport line

      1. I asked that one this morning in terms of Light Rail for A2B. Right now that is still being worked on via the business case study. First priority is getting Puhinui upgraded and the bus priority measures between the Airport and Manukau Bus Station sorted by 2021

      2. Otahuhu concourse does allow for another island with 4th and 5th platforms. May never come to pass with Puhinui finding new favour.

  13. Flying out next Saturday afternoon, I decided to see what public transport from East Auckland to Airport looks like.

    The route planner from Howick gives me a 3 bus journey which comprises of 53 stops and will take between 1 hour 25 minutes & 1 hour 40 minutes.

    I’m pretty sure I’ll do the 25 minute drive and park at the airport.

      1. I sometimes Park in airport Oaks if just going away for a day or two at the weekend and catch the 380 the 10 mins to The airport. Bob The area is safe with security patrols and cars parked day and night in some parts. Why pay heaps to the park and ride places?

  14. How will passengers get from the eastbound bus platforms in the future state to the ticket hall? Grade separated or via a pedestrian crossing? It’s hard to see from the information given.

  15. I am sure it will all be lovely its a pity about the 380 bus having to be rerouted though although I will have to see what happens before I moan. Worse thing I will have to walk to Puhinui Station instead of Papatoetoe station. But anything beats paying the airport parking fee. Its so nice knowing that your car is safely locked up in your garage at home. I actually would never use a park and ride station or a Taxi. And the best thing super gold card free travel. But you need to be organized if you are one of those people who is always running behind schedule or have a partner who is then I feel sorry for you. I have even being known to purchase a more expensive airfare so I can catch the 380 bus to and from the airport.

  16. Disagree with the concept.
    Any link from Puhinui to the Airport should be heavy rail & then continue to the CBD as heavy rail.

    Why force three transfers of mode?

    Heavy rail to BRT to light rail???

    It’s completely inefficient

    1. Yeah but it might happen by 2020 any heavy rail link will take to 2030 take the CRL for instance it won’t be finished till 2024 FFS. And God only knows when the light rail will get there.

      1. There have been a zillion posts & comments on HR to the airport in the past, can we not bother please going off topic on this one. Hence my “yawn” above.

      1. @ KLK
        $1Bn for one station?? That figure has GOT to be wrong. Down my end of the island $850 million apparently buys you 27Km of 4-lane motorway through hilly country with major earthworks as well as umpteen bridges and viaducts (Transmission Gully). Something smells of rotten fish here and too many GA’ers are pretending it’s roses.

        1. In any case, Dave, heavy rail would need its own bridge at the western end of Puhinui Rd, and that can’t happen. While I’d love for the general traffic to be removed from the existing bridge, that’s pretty unlikely. So in the constraints of having to share the existing bridge, it’ll have to be light rail or bus.

          1. Imagine NZ a different place, though. One where iwi don’t have to front up with time and resources to renegotiate every time people wanted to change what they’d promised.

            Iwi don’t want another bridge over the water. That’s understandable. Constructing bridges causes damage. Bridges bring noise and fumes and runoff, and they interfere with natural processes and amenity.

            With all these projects, AT are refusing to reallocate road space. The cost of trying to establish the CFN2 is far higher as a result. Let’s go with the restraints as they arise, and use them as opportunities to make AT reallocate road space and keep costs down.

            In any case, if HR had a bad business case, negotiations with iwi won’t make anything cheaper.

          2. Generally agree. I can’t quite understand why AMETI is demolishing houses along Pakuranga Rd to keep four lanes, while further west on Lagoon Drive they take away two lanes to build the busway.

            West of the plaza Pakuranga Rd is well over capacity as the Waipuna Bridge took a lot of the traffic (Sorry AMETI tangent).

            I think another bridge on Puhinui Rd would make sense if there was a bus every two minutes like the Northern Busway, but that is probably a long way away for the airport connection.

          3. Yes, agree with all that. And if there is a bus every two minutes, that’s an excellent service. Surely you could make the case that most of the general traffic could switch to it, with trucks and those who must drive, having the choice between long waits at the bridge, or taking the long way around. Still better than building another bridge.

            Traffic evaporation with excellent people-moving capacity. I realise I haven’t looked at the truck numbers, but do I think Maori should have to put up with another damaging bridge so that our consumer society can move Stuff around? Not at all.

        2. The ground around the airport would probably have something to do with it, it’s not really the kind of ground that is ideal for below sea level tunneling. It’s the main reason the single interchange at Kirkbride Rd cost $140 million to build.

        3. Dave B, KLK is referring to building a new junction in a very constrained space, an new rail tunnel under a motorway, 7km of new double track, half of which ends up in tunnel, and one new station… all to serve one new station. A billion bucks to add one station to the transit system.

          By the way, transmission gully has an availability payment of $125m a year for 25 years. So the reported $850m price is a fiction from the PPP-friendly marketing department, the actual cost is $3.125 billion.

          1. Yes, I totally agree that the actual cost of Transmission Gully will be way higher that the oft-trotted-out $850m. This is the price touted by supporters and proponents.

            I just mention this to highlight how pricing can be talked-down by proponents of something (i.e. make it sound as cheap as poss to improve your chances of getting it), and talked-up by opponents of something (i.e. make it sound as expensive as poss to scare away proponents).

            Each time I see huge costs being bandied about for heavy rail, including onerous requirements for unnecessary undergrounding and insistence on gradients to be climable by 2,000-tonne freight trains, I see this age-old process in action :o)

          2. The proponents of HR via Puhinui have been the ones recently saying that it will cost $1 – 1.5 billion.

          3. DaveB, LR proponents used the HR gradient chesnut to bias construction costs in favour of airport LR. Apparently its a mortal sin to suggest any HR gradient that is too steep for that 2000 ton freight train yet easy for an AM class emu.
            I have seen this used to poopoo NS HR.

    2. Because majority of people that go to the airport dont go to the city. I’ve used 380 many times, and all the times ived used it, majority of people using it are airport workers. these workers live around the South Auckland/South East area. If you want to unclog the car routes to the airport, get the thousands of airport workers into public transport.

    3. Transfers aren’t really a big deal. You have to do it in many places, eg Bangkok
      If you have a huge amount of luggage and a group of people you will take a cab anyway.

  17. For me and my wife personally, we drive to he airport from Huapai, park in a pre-booked safe parking area, a mini bus takes us to and from the airport, and we drive back home again. Without factoring in the cost of the 80km round trip, the cost is $70 for a week, a small price to pay just for the sheer convenience of what we do – By the way, the Wiri quarry was where the spoil from the Waterview tunnel went. Manukau City was suggesting it be built into a Greenmount style windbreak – Greenmount started as a hole in the ground quarry – but the airport put paid to that.

  18. This is better than the 380 route as its less km by bus, looks better on a map (straight line between airport and train on a single road), is wholly on a road where a future busway or LRT would sensibly be built, the first stage is cheap and can be built and put in place quickly.
    Long term I think the LRT or busway bridge should also be built to take cars. The existing bridge will need to be replaced anyway when the 3rd and 4th mains are built, and the 4 corners are a hazard. The drawings aren’t clear but I assume the LRT/busway won’t have both lanes to the south of the vehicle lanes, so this would also avoid crossing vehicle lanes each side.

  19. The over bridge should be LRT from day one, not a bus way.

    I struggle to see how we will get an actual busway to Manukau, let alone Botany. LRT fits in the corridors proposed, allows the grass werges to remain grass, and is likely to be less expensive.

    1. Gosh, is it? It could even be quite a bit more expensive and still be better to do now than to have to change things later and design for both. Would it really be in the same ballpark once you take into account strengthening the roads?

      1. In my humble opinion, yes.

        5-10 % of the LRT would piggyback on tracks and traction for CC2M, a bus solution would need a duplicative busway.
        LRT will not require modifications to the SH20 overbridge to fit the transitway underneath.
        LRT will fit in the Puhinui Road corridor.
        Raised, centre running LRT can be installed on Lambie Drive with limited kerb or access modification, a busway would destroy the median strip.
        LRT could be snaked up the motorway corridor between the Rainbows end and Sports Bowl stations, a busway would require change to the motorway layout, property acquisition, or significant changes to GSR.
        LRT can fit all of the way down Te Irirangi Drive with no property purchase, a busway cannot.

        Especially regarding your ecological views, LRT is far better as the paved width can be 6m or 4 strips of 0.5m in grass compared to 9-10m for a busway designed for 80km/h. The tracks could also be built to run as a causeway through a shallow wetland.

        If someone tells you a busway is cheap, they are proposing unseparated bus lanes (current Dominion Road), not a busway (AMETI).

        1. Thanks, Sailor Boy. So is it getting something done quickly before the America’s Cup, that is driving this decision? Or do they think there’s more public resistance to a busway than to LR (which would be mad!!)

          1. I find it interesting that the America’s Cup is the motive for pushing the Puhinui ‘gateway’ with some urgency. Clearly this project is seen as improving airport users’ PT experience and not so much for airport workers.
            This first stage may well be all there is for many years after the Cup as other PT projects take all the O2 away.
            Perhaps if the Cup is retained and then in another 5 years we may see another spurt of airport PT activity involving rail, bus and Puhinui. Although by then we will have CRL, Regional rail and maybe a start to some of the LR up Queen Street.

          2. If GA’s analysis of costs matches Sailor Boy’s, I wonder if the GA line should be:

            “We understand the push to get a busway to Puhinui Station before the America’s Cup. Since light rail is a cheaper and better option, it’s important that the cost difference is recognised as a cost attributable to the America’s Cup. This cost difference includes:
            -the difference in cost on this leg of the Airport to Botany line
            -redoing the Puhinui Rd section as light rail after the America’s Cup, or
            -the additional cost involved with putting a busway instead of light rail all the way to Botany”

            It is mad if the whole route ends up being a busway simply so this short section can be done in time for the America’s Cup.

          3. Yes I would agree. Once this first bit is done then before totally committing to the busway and the busway bridge it would be nice to see the full business case for LR vs Busway (whether just bus lanes on existing roads or a proper separate bus only roadway)
            I just hope we don’t end up with just painted lines on roads.

        2. I think you might be overstating the differences between BRT and LRT in this context. Everything I’ve seen indicates a twin track LRT line needs around 7.5m in a road median, while a twin lane BRT is around 8m. Both broader at stations of course.

          The key question in my mind is whether this corridor requires that super high passenger capacity within those simple two lanes. My guess is not, I’d expect this crosstown line to have peak demands of something like a quarter of a major radial rail line.

          So to thumbsuck, This is not the same league as the airport to city, northwestern etc and it doesn’t require the extra cost and constraint of LRT. This is a horses for courses situation.

          I’d say BRT can provide enough capacity in the same corridor width as LRT, with the same speed and practically the same passenger experience…. but with the benefit of being easily stageable, and saving something like $25m a km on track and power systems.

          1. I do like the permeable grass strips that LR can include… Over that length, that’s a bit of stormwater infiltration and urban heat effect reduction. 🙂

            However, the stageable aspect is important. And the political aspect of gunning for light rail is complex: would this project get tarnished by all the misinformation arsenal that the light rail to Mangere project is receiving from the Dominion Rd nimbys? Alternatively, would coverage of light rail for this project (which will probably be more favourable than on Dominion Rd) assist the public’s understanding of light rail to Mangere project?

  20. Looking at the interchange building I see the 3rd main west of the up line but there is no plan for a platform to the west of the 3rd and associated platform canopy. This should be included now as we are likely to have regional trains by the time this interchange is up and working. The gaps in the 3rd main between Puhinui and south to below Wiri would be fairly trivial to complete. Also if the 3rd is not proceeded north of Puhinui then at least a connection to the up main just north of Puhinui would permit through running.
    It just seems crazy not to include this platform in the initial build

    1. Read the text. Third is accommodated and there’s space for a fourth. Sadly it doesn’t look like we’ll get island platforms though; one up, one down, but rather one island and two side platforms… (hope they futureproof for a 5th too, gonna get busy here)

  21. They should be building two 9-car island platforms right now, with four wired, bi-directional, operational running lines.

    Even if just for a short stretch, it might allow overtaking, additional services, terminating, resilience etc etc – and get the works and inconvenience done once.

    1. Extending a platform isn’t really that inconvenient, most of the platforms in Auckland were extended from 4 to 6 carriages last decade with minimal impact on operations.

    2. c, that would require shutting down the station and removing all the tracks, then building a new station and tracks in place.

      Do you really want to shut down the rail network for six months to a year?

      1. Yes. Do it once. This is global best practice and the line needn’t be closed even if the station is.

        @ Jezza, the inconvenience is the whole lot, quadding, signals, new islands – platform extensions are the least intrusive part (that you cherry picked). Again, do it fully, and once.

        1. In fairness it was the first point you made in your comment.

          I agree with you in terms of island platforms, now is the time to get it right. There is no reason tracks for the third and fourth main need to be laid now, they can be laid at anytime without too much disruption.

          1. Islands would be brand new, not extensions as such. And yes would definitely be a big upheaval.

            But before it is an interchange, it’s not actually an important local station – better to close it all down before it actually serves its greater purpose!

          2. Yes, I agree islands would be a significant disruption. Like you I think it is worth the disruption although I think it would be worth investigating temporary platforms as they did with the Newmarket station 10 years ago as there are still users of Puhinui even if it isn’t busiest station.

        2. Aside from the fact that closing Puhinui would cause major issues for me. There is a way the station could be upgraded to two islands without closing it.

          1) Build an island platform to the east of the south bound line
          2) Lay track to the east of the new island and make this the new south bound and the old one the north bound.
          3) Remove the old platform
          4) lay a new 3rd track by what is now the north bound and build a new island
          5) The current 3rd track becomes the 4th

          Yes there will need to be line blocks but not ones that need to last for months.

  22. In the meantime what can be done to improve/maintain the run time of the 380 particularly at peak traffic times.
    As an 80yo we frequently use it and it’s good with the rail combination, But the bus journey is convoluted, I hope to still be using this when the Puhinui station/interchange comes to fruition.

    The bridge on the Pukaki creek could move many more people in buses than in cars so maybe if there isn’t room for both buses could have lanes to both ends then priority for the bridge.
    We need to honour our agreements.

    Bus time keeping is all important and needs to take priority over other forms of road transport on all routes. Waiting in the rain for a bus that then drives past cos it’s full is extremely frustrating and causes loss of patronage.

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