This is a guest post from reader Graeme Gunthorpe
The Inner Link is a crucial part of Auckland’s transport network, covering many central suburbs and running every 10-15 minutes from 6am to midnight.
But its circular design is failing riders every day, causing delays, frustrations, and eroding public trust in the network.
Continuous looping lines are prone to bunching, and the only way to regulate the service is to hold the vehicle and allow those in front to extend their lead.
You can try this quick and nifty visualisation to see how bus bunching works in practice (works best on desktop).
Trains are not immune from bunching either. London recognised it with the Circle Line, and in 2009 turned it into a teapot with fixed end points. (Uncircling the Circle Line, London Reconnections part 1, part 2)
Victoria Park Pause
Back in Auckland, this bunching has led to the Victoria Park Pause, where Inner Link buses stop for up to 10 minutes. Infuriated patrons debate whether to walk the 15 minutes to their destination or wait for the bus driver to re-emerge from their (probably well deserved) break.
If you’re travelling between Parnell or the city and Ponsonby or vice versa, this Pause can be the difference between choosing a bus or an Uber.
The effects are felt right across the route, as it destroys the frequency, reliability and convenience that inner-city services should offer.
Breaking the Circle
So how to fix this issue?
The Inner Link brand is very strong, and probably Auckland’s most well known route after the Northern Express. Therefore trust in the route is stronger than other bus routes, encouraging patronage.
There have been suggestions of splitting the Inner Link into Crosstown 1 and Crosstown 2. However, having seen the backlash from suggesting breaking the Outer Link up into Crosstown routes, there may not be political will to posit the same with the Inner Link.
In mid-2018, Auckland Transport announced the timetables would be scrapped, although this solution doesn’t allow commuters to plan, and with buses every 15 minutes, the frequency is not turn-up-and-go. It also has not fixed the Victoria Park Pause.
I am advocating for a solution which would retain the tried and tested current route, but would start and end the service at Newmarket.
The Inner Link deviates from its loop at the south-eastern corner, where it takes a turn at Mahuru Street, heads around the block and retraces its steps along Broadway. In traffic, this can be a 10 minute diversion from the original route between Grafton and Parnell.
It passes by the Newmarket Flyover, a permanent hindrance to development whose underside is a collection of surface carparks. Much of the land is owned by the Crown, and under the control of NZTA
In this proposal, the space underneath the flyover becomes the terminus for the Inner Link, where services can halt, drivers can refresh, and buses can recharge.
The route changes marginally: instead of turning down Mahuru, buses carry up to St Marks Road before heading around the block.
The capital required for initial implementation is surprisingly low: prefabricated offices and facilities for staff can be utilised, and street parking can be allocated for buses to save sealing the gravelled area. It also avoids the issue of the Victoria Park Pause being caused by a replacement driver failing to find a place to park the changeover car on busy Victoria Street.
In the long term, the bus terminal can be improved to include permanent facilities, bus storage, and even a bus connection between Broadway and Mahuru Street.
- Decrease journey times – Buses currently pause to allow buses ahead to get away. This will no longer be required, meaning journeys are quicker. No more Victoria Park Pause.
- Increase frequency – With buses moving more efficiently, frequency can be increased with the same number of vehicles. Alternatively, less vehicles are required for the same service frequency.
- Increased reliability – The Inner Link can go back to a timetable, giving travellers certainty in their journeys. Passengers travelling between Grafton and Parnell would need to change services, but they can do this at the northern end of Broadway, at no cost, and the increased frequency would mean faster journeys.
- Clear Victoria Street – Using a busy thoroughfare as bus storage is a poor and inefficient use of public land, and with the cycleways that have been promised, Victoria Street is going to get a lot more efficient.
- Driver welfare – While public facilities exist at Victoria Park, giving bus drivers a dedicated space is important for their health and wellbeing, especially considering the legal requirement to rest). Poor pay, tough conditions and split shifts for peak drivers make recruitment difficult, so AT / NZBus should jump at opportunities to make the job more appealing.
- Riders between K Rd / Grafton and Parnell are disadvantaged, as they may need to change bus to complete their journey. AT have (anecdotally) advised that part of the route has the lowest patronage. For those that do travel that route, the increased reliability and the opportunity for a free transfer at the northern end of Broadway may mitigate the issue.
- The operator NZBus is resistant to change as their depot in Wynyard is close by the current Victoria Park Pause and it makes driver changes easier (although instead of walking, their drivers bring a small car the 400m around the park and leave it in the bus lane, thus slowing buses further).
It’s not rocket science, but this small change could reduce delays and frustrations for thousands of people.
Follow for more updates www.facebook.com/pg/EndTheVictoriaParkPause
From the title I assumed this was going to be an article calling for some progress on the Victoria St linear park. Obviously I was wrong but this is good too. I particularly like the idea of doing something productive with the land under the Newmarket viaduct.
Sounds like additional bus priority measures are also needed on this route. These would also benefit other bus routes where they overlap.
Genius! Let’s do this!
It’s a very good idea, a terminating/departure point with infrastructure appears logical and would certainly go some way to at least removing a major irritant, the god awful pause. Sadly this being but one of many on other routes that just simply pisses off passengers to suit the operators and or timetabling.
But this is far from the only issue. Buses though just get lost in the traffic ebbs and flows worse then most. And before anyone suggests priority lanes, of which some areas badly need them, it’s the road works, double parking, traffic incidents, raised pedestrian crossings, oversized roundabouts, erratic random traffic light phasing and construction, all of which are a permanent or worsening feature of Auckland that all conspire to slow buses worse than most any other form. Hence we as a city are only ever a little bit serious about reducing car dependency whilst PT’s most base form, the bus, remains the basis of our entire PT system.
It is time for the glacial light rail project truly lost in Phil’s (not Goff) bureaucratic twighlight zone to see the real light of day.
I use the inner link most days and it is infuriating. I’d love to see this change.
I am not a big fan of circular bus routes and have always thought that point to point routes work the best. I also agree with this opinion piece that the Inner Link (and subsequently the Outer Link) are both incredible unreliable routes and suffer terribly from bunching. Both routes should be split into two to encompass the sections of streets not covered by other frequent routes. The Outer Link could have been superseded with an effective crosstown route if it weren’t for a silly campaign to keep it for the sole purpose of retaining journeys not requiring an interchange.
The “circle” inner link route already has the leg at Newmarket. Did it originally operate with pause there? Appears strange to operate any other way.
Great solution for the Inner Link. That area in Newmarket is such an eyesore it’s an embarrassment to the Council. Such bad land use and transport planning.
As for the Outer Link, AT did say they were going to revisit it this year. I sorely hope they do as its lack of reliability is infamous, and puts people off using buses. Direct routes will serve us so much better. By providing the 101 at peak times, the Pt Chevalier and Westmere commuters are given a stop-gap measure – a reliably timed bus that does the same route and doesn’t have to wait anywhere. But the Western Springs College zone goes all the way to Queen St, so the students travel in the opposite direction to the main flow, and they’ve been given no stop-gap measure to make up for the terrible Outer Link.
The campaign to keep the Outer Link served these kids very poorly.
grammar boys making auckland lame for everyone else since 1850
They were actually MAGS, not AGS. And hopefully they’ll be open to some information on the subject?
It only takes a minor delay to create the bunching but the simulation shows you then have to inflict an amazing amount of delay on the second bus to improve the headways. Cool demonstration.
It really is cool. And even if you manage to get them spaced apart again, the number of people waiting at the bus stops by this stage then mucks things up again.
Really cool web app there showing how loops create the bunching problems.
This proposal is great …I seem to recall buses used to be parked around the viaduct there a lot.
Another factor is a nice ped environment at the transfer spot.
Nice idea. I’m not convinced, however, that the Inner Link needs to run a full circle in any event, at least not when the 866 is brought up to frequent status as the NX3, as foreshadowed by AT in the RPTP. Let me explain.
Currently the 866 and the Inner Link duplicate each other’s routes for around 4 km between Three Lamps and Newmarket. Lots of people use the 866 (me included) as an alternative to the Link if one comes along. I think this duplication is wasteful and, with a bit of realignment, resources could be reorganised to solve this AND deal to the Link’s circularity problem.
One of the main purposes of the Link is to provide service along Ponsonby Road and into the city. This could still be achieved by commencing the Link at Great North Road, running the normal route to Newmarket via Three Lamps and the city. The resources saved by shortening the route by about 2.5 km could be applied to making the 866 frequent and a seven-day service as the NX3. Bingo – the Link becomes non-circular (and therefore easier to manage) and Ponsonby joins the “rapid” transit network. No one is disadvantaged except those who currently enjoy a “super-frequent” service between Newmarket and Ponsonby – that service will still be “frequent” so no great loss there. And, as the poster suggests, those travelling between Grafton and Parnell, who would have to change buses.
And North Shore residents get a direct, frequent, “rapid” service to Ponsonby, K Rd, the hospital and Newmarket at all normal bus operating hours. I’ve been seriously impressed with the growth in patronage I’ve personally observed using the current 866 since it began, and I think that it will be even more marketable (and popular amongst North Shore residents) when it is made frequent and given the “NX” prefix as AT anticipates. Giving the route ALL the Ponsonby- Newmarket traffic in addition would only enhance its viability and justify an increase in frequency to “frequent” status.
When I’ve floated this before the only serious objection was that the duplication is just a normal consequence of the intensification of routes in the central city, and I shouldn’t stress about it. However, I don’t buy this as a reason not to look at this idea. Win-win for AT and the passenger, I’d say; what’s not to like?
Wouldn’t the optimum place be where the bus has the least number of people on board on average? AT should be able to easily work out where that is via HOP numbers.
Yes, and I’ve discussed it with AT engineers – they have (unofficially) confirmed the Newmarket section has the lowest load.
Hmmmm, but that may not be the case in future as we ramp up modal shift efforts for our Primary Trade Area. We anticipate a surge in visitors in the coming months, and beyond – and hopefully primarily via PT.
NZTA are going through a disposals process for this land so it will be better utilised in future, and very possibly with an AT terminus on part of it.
A surge in visitors primarily via PT would have to have been planned for. Indeed, had the are been well-planned, there could have been a surge in visitors with fewer coming by car than before, and a vastly safer and more attractive environment for walking from PT and for cycling.
Unfortunately, I understand 1400 carparks are being added at 309 Broadway, to add to the 1121 carparks at 277 Broadway. Doing this is committing the area to even more entrenched car dependency. Such a lost opportunity.
With the pause (and traffic along Victoria in peak periods) I find its usually faster to walk the 3km between Queen Street and Ponsonby Road (or vice cersa) than catch the Link.
Living near Vic Park, I agree that this is annoying because almost any trip starts with a seemingly pointless long wait. The Outer Link used to do this in the CBD too for some reason. It would be good to find a solution to this problem.
Sadly there isn’t really a solution. Using a depot and making circles into lines doesn’t avoid the problem it just shifts it to where people don’t notice it occurring. So instead of sitting on a warm dry bus the passengers wait out in the cold and rain while the bus waits in an empty yard. But hey at least passengers don’t realise its happening.
Interesting thought. Hmmmm not quite correct if you consider and increase in frequency all things being equal?
But they don’t increase frequency. They simply timetable expecting each run to have a small delay, then if a bus (or train) ends its run with a bigger delay they cancel one service. The issue with loops is that the delay occurs where the public see the waiting vehicle. You have to remember they don’t build a timetable on the basis of having a spare vehicle and driver waiting to close a gap.
The outcome is the passengers don’t actually get a better service.
Loops are actually very efficient but the problem is that cumulative delays build with each cycle and people notice that. Breaking a loop doesn’t add any more services or shorten average travel times.
I don’t think you have that quite right. The problem with loops is you must schedule the timekeeping stops in revenue service when there are passengers on board. It’s not noticing it that’s the problem, it’s the fact it occurs in the middle of your trip.
Indeed a linear route is nothing more than a kind of loop with two very clearly defined and understood ends where no passenger would ever want to stay on and it make sense to undertake the recover time.
Andy, the CBD makes some sense as the timing point for the Inner Link because it would be the highest, or one of the highest, points of passenger turnover. I.e. most people catching the OL to the CBD get off there, and most people catching it away from the CBD get on there.
Victoria Park is about the worst place possible for the timing point, because outbound practically everybody onboard has just got on to go somewhere beyond Victoria Park, and likewise coming in, practically everyone onboard arriving at Victoria Park from Ponsonby ways wants to go a little bit further to the CBD.
I think I just convinced myself the best approach for the Inner Link is to break it to have each end at Newmarket, and to make it’s intermediate timing point on Queen Street.
A direct route is much shorter than an endless loop. A timetabled service on a direct route might require a little slack to account for traffic variability, but once it reaches an endpoint, a timetabled pause there will allow it to start again on time. In contrast, bad traffic conditions in a loop will create cumulative delays, meaning a lot more slack has to be built into the timetable.
A direct route is shorter than a circuitous route but only for people going that way. With a loop you get cumulative delays if you don’t pause each cycle and the pause will be the same as the delay would be if you break the loop, there should be no difference.
Where a loop wins out is the delayed bus/train can depart straight away for the next cycle so it is going continuously which makes it efficient. A broken loop has to have a delay timetabled. The problem is any pause on a loop is done in a very public manner and that irritates people. So in an age where people don’t want to know or understand things a broken loop is better so the delay is hidden from them.
“A direct route is shorter than a circuitous route but only for people going that way.” No-one generally takes a loop for more than half of its length, and most people would be taking it only a part of that. In a good network, an approximation of an arc wouldn’t be the best route for most people for anything longer than maybe a third or quarter of a loop.
So if you have one pause along a loop, you are needing at that location to have a time buffer for a length of route that is say, 3 times the length that it is actually useful to anyone. On a direct route, the time buffer required at the end points is for a length of route that is potentially useful for its whole length. To the passenger, this is apparent.
For the buses I use, the reliability of the 66, 650, 101, 134, 18, 24R, 195 and many others is far higher than the reliability of the Outer Link or Inner Link. I’ve never had to wait at a stop for any of these buses, while the bus gets back to its timetable.
What’s your experience? Which buses do you take that have shown themselves to be less reliable than these loop buses?
In response to your message above:
The bus and train network both have capacity for the expected increase – this has been assessed and indeed planned for by AT. However 60% of consumers visiting Newmarket currently travel by private vehicle. Westfield will have 2,800 car parks once complete, bringing the precinct’s car parking capacity to around 7,800. AT Travel Demand team are working with Newmarket’s corporates to accelerate modal shifts, this, coupled with an ongoing consumer PT campaign will go SOME way to help, but is not a panacea. To my original point, we expect Link Bus patronage to increase markedly in the vicinity. Over next 2-3 years further upgrades will improve pedestrian experiences.
Wow, so not 2521 at Westfield, but 2800. That’s even more traffic that will be induced.
Unfortunately the bus and train capacity is irrelevant, if walking from the bus or train is fumey, noisy and unsafe and if the buses are held up by all these cars.
Other cities are taking carparks out by the 10,000’s. Auckland’s stuck in yesteryear.
There’s actually no way to design a cycling network when this much traffic is being induced. The first thing a cycling network requires is low traffic volumes, because at every point of conflict – driveways, intersections – the danger needs to be minimised. Westfield is kissing sweet goodbye to children’s independent mobility and our population’s ability to have physical activity as part of their transport. Both in Newmarket and in St Lukes.
But they’re not alone. There are many culprits.
Heidi your first sentence is right but loops are used when it is difficult to provide 3 or 4 direct services. They are efficient as the vehicle is always immediately available for the next bit. Replacing a loop with 1 direct service isn’t going to work and for the inner loop replacing it with two services isn’t going to replace every trip either.
My point is that the delays that occur to a bus will happen on a loop service or a direct service. Cumulative delays only happen when the vehicle doesn’t pause each full cycle. But replacing a loop with a direct service doesn’t remove the delays on-route and nor does it eliminate the need for a pause, it just builds that in at the end. You can easily turn a loop into 2 or more ‘direct services’ by stopping somewhere and calling it a different service. But they are no more direct, no faster and don’t eliminate the need to wait. We break loops so that people don’t see the actual pause.
That said the original poster is also right, a wait at the Newmarket viaduct would make more sense because fewer people would notice it.
They wouldn’t replace a loop with three or four short services, though. The services would be just one segment in a longer route, providing far better connectivity. Some of the direct routes that would replace these loops are already in place, and just need the investment to turn them into frequent routes.
For example, the 650 is a fantastic route. It serves Selwyn Village, Pt Chev, the Zoo, Motat, TAPAC and all the Western Springs Precinct before it goes along St Lukes Rd, past Greenlane Hospital, Greenlane train station and Ascot, eventually ending up in GI. The original plan had this route as a frequent route, but because of the Outer Link, it only has a limited service. And that means it can’t serve the teachers at Western Springs College, the students of Waiorea, nor the visitors to the zoo, TAPAC, etc. And that’s just one of the routes. A half-arsed unreliable loop doesn’t make up for this lack of quality route.
Yes and the predictability of the timetable of two different routes instead of an unreliable loop is important.
Yes it is Grant even though the efficiency drops and the average delay increases. But most importantly the number of complaints goes down. People see the delay when they are on the bus, they don’t see the inefficiency or the extra delay they face when the bus isn’t there. they just figure the wait for the bus is the wait for the bus.
No, miffy. You’re missing this critical ingredient: while turn up and go frequencies would be nice, on frequent (15 minute) routes, the bus keeping to the timetable makes a difference to how users plan their travel. Does it make a difference to me if the bus does that waiting time before it starts its scheduled run, or does that waiting time at a bus stop in the middle of my journey? Hell yeah. If it has already done the waiting at one end, and then keeps to timetable better, I can use the time at a transfer point to get some money out at the ATM or drop the book at the library, or whatever. If it comes at a random time like the Outer Link does, and then catches up with me sitting on the bus, I can’t do those things there.
I don’t think anyone is going to use a timetable for the inner loop, nor for the Circle line in London. Most are going to show up and wait longer. They just won’t know the reason for the longer wait.
If the pause is just to give the driver a break they could instead have another driver waiting there to take over.
If the pause is to stop bunching wouldn’t it be better to have multiple small pauses whenever bunching occurs. I used to catch a very frequent bus in London that had that feature (the 207 from Acton) . It would occasionally play over the speaker that it was pausing to prevent bunching, it would normally only be a minute or so. In addition that bus was articulated, had all door boarding, large double doors, train style seating arrangement, and no cash sales – it was as much of a train as a bus can be. This was 13 years ago!
Re: your point about multiple small pauses to prevent bunching – That’s actually what the Outer Link does, complete with a similar announcement.
I got on the Outer Link a few years ago on Wellesley Street, near Hobson Street. That bus then crossed Queen Street and waited about 15 minutes at the library. That made it a very slow way to go to Newmarket. That exercise was not to be repeated.
(n.b. if you start from that point, as long as your car is parked less than a 5 minute walk away, the fastest way to go to Newmarket is to walk to your car, drive to Khyber Pass Road, claim your council-sponsored car park, and walk to Broadway. It took a bit of trial & error to figure that out.)
That works for linear services, but unfortunately not loop services – as if one gets caught in traffic, the ripple effect heads backwards along the service, slowing every bus down even further.
Good idea this post. Yes that area under the flyover is pretty underused & ugly.
Another thing (caught this bus the other week) is that it’s unclear at that Newmarket first leg which bus you are catching, asked to make sure it wasn’t the other direction. Are the destinations displayed on the bus different?
I have seen other loop services where the destination board ends in either A anticlockwise, or C clockwise..
The destinations on the front are not clear, and it is a tricky thing to work out in Newmarket. You have to know which bus stop to go to, as the buses going to Parnell will not stop at the bus stop on Broadway near Khyber Pass, whereas the Inner Link turning up Khyber Pass will.
Sorry, this is in reply to Grant.
Tried the tool mentioned in the post to illustrate the bunching phenomenon. It was interesting to me that even the slightest delay to one bus has a cumulative effect that will eventually lead to bunching, absent a delay to the second bus.
It’s also been suggested that bunching is a function of the circularity of the route but I’m not convinced. Linear routes also experience bunching, but the effect is mitigated to some extent by having a termination point. Isn’t the Link already in effect a linear route that also just happens to double back on itself? There always seem to be one or two Links on a layover at Newmarket; for the casual observer it almost seems as if it operates as a Newmarket to Newmarket service already.
Bunching is actually the natural state of all transit lines, all else being equal. A lot of service and scheduling design is required to avoid it.
Functionally there is no difference between a circular and a linear route, the practical difference is that a linear route has to clear and obvious end points where there are no passengers on board, where it makes sense to stop for the timetable recovery period.
With a circular route, you have to introduce one or more ‘end points’ somewhere along the loop, like Victoria Park and Newmarket. It’s just that passengers notice it when it’s in the middle of their trip… and with a loop it will always be in the middle of someones trip.
Bus Drivers are not going to walk the 400m from the depot – and neither should they have to. Drivers operate at all hours and in all weathers – and they carry a cashbox. It is unsafe and unreasonable to expect them to walk. The reason the car stops in the bus lane right in front of the bus is to effect the transfer safely.
Completely off topic: Did anyone see in the (paywalled) herald there is supposedly a new bidder for the light rail project saying they can do the airport route for $700 million? What’s that about?
Yes… I looked them up. They seem to do Monorail. 🙂 Oh boy.
Act Two of the Comedy commences.
Did they do North Haverbrook, Ogdenville and Brockway?
Ha ha. They may be legit and I may have been unfair. How about you do some research and let us know, Jimbo?
I did a bit of googling and it seems they haven’t actually built a full scale operational system yet. Also their system still relies on steel rails set in a concrete right of way. This is very similar to normal light rail so where do they think they can make a 90% cost saving?
It appears to be all the same costs, impacts and consenting risks of elevated light rail, but with a fraction of the capacity.
Auckland has no business being the test case for anything. If it hasn’t been in revenue service for a decade already it shouldn’t even be considered.
Orphan technologies are really risky with ongoing risks that having a single supplier entails. What happens if the supplier fails but the system is subject to intellectual property rights?
There are considerable long term advantages in just selecting a widely used proven standard configuration with multiple potential suppliers.
Fully agree both Nick and Don.
AT already have some big plans in place for Victoria Street, adjacent Victoria Park. Aside from wider footpaths, cycle lanes, and bus lanes they’ve also included (on one plan I saw) a dedicated parking space (on the street) for the car that ferries drivers from the Wynyard Bus park.
Given the cost of land in that area I don’t imagine NZBus will be there much longer so the author makes a great case for moving the bus park to Newmarket, under the viaduct. If, as the author suggests, the land under the Newmarket viaduct is already owned by the crown, why not convert it into a properly designed bus park/station ie not just buses parked on Mahuru Street?
I like the authors new green-arrowed loop route on Broadway/St Marks Rd, but rather than have buses rejoin Broadway via Nuffield Street I’d rather see them continue around Mahuru Street and crossing back onto Broadway there. That of course means a traffic light but so be it. That small section of Mahuru Street could be buses only, meaning all other vehicles would be directed into Nuffield St ie the traffic light is there for the buses only and could be ‘on demand’ to ensure bus schedules aren’t delayed.
Overall I think ‘bunching’ can never be avoided (not until we have dedicated bus lanes, with traffic lights at intersections going green in their favour) but there needs to be a better ‘pause’ point than Victoria Park (and c’mon, if its more than 4 minutes it’s a ‘wait zone’). With many users having just got on at the Queen & Vic stops it is deeply frustrating to have to then stop for 5+ minutes a few stops later at Victoria Park. Maybe have them wait at 3 Lamps – if another Link bus arrives then its time for the one waiting to move forward, surely?
If we are going to keep the link then this is a smart way to do it. But, we shouldn’t be keeping the loop. Inner and outer links should both be broken. The branding was useful coming from where Auckland’s PT was in 2000, but now people who try it thinking it’s the marquee route will probably ever catch a bus again: ‘I had to sit on a stopped bus for 15 minutes, and that’s the *best* route’.
Looking at the simulation I see that one of the things that cause compounding delays is the first bus allowing passengers on when the second bus is not far behind. Whilst not saying that this is the complete solution if the ‘lead’ bus only allowed exiting passengers it could regain some balance. This then shows up another thing with Auckland’s buses – front door entry/exit. London buses allow entry only at the front and exit only at the rear. This results in more efficient transition at stops and the ability to refuse passengers on.
Bunching is a problem. Even terminating services suffer it. The 18 is a great example. What’s supposed to be an every 4-6 min service at peak results in 3 at once and nothing for 15 minutes. If you’re almost at the top of your street and see these three go by this is discouraging and frustrating, knowing that those were your “frequent” services delivered all at once.
Another key reason to ditch the Pause is that it clearly isn’t effective at spacing. From Grafton there are regularly 2-3 IL’s at once or quick succession and then nothing for 15 minutes. If the Pause is supposed to do something, it doesn’t.
So, what’s my point? I’m unsure. But terminating services also seem to suffer significant bunching and so I’m not sure this resolves the issue unless other measures are put in place around continuous priority and that run times are consistent.
I think that the best way to deal with bunching would be to address the factors that cause bunching – mainly buses getting held up in traffic. This suggests that the best thing we could do (and at relatively minor cost) would be to ensure much more bus priority on the routes that are prone to bunching.
“.. knowing that those were your “frequent” services delivered all at once.”
lol yes like getting your flat white delivered with your breakfast, when you want it beforehand, either the coffee or the food gets cold.
Another idea is to just run the Inner Link to Newmarket without going on to Parnell at all, up the frequency. Let an increased frequency OuterLink handle Parnell & Customs St, Queen St & Victoria St rather than go through Wellesley St etc. There is so much green and orange double up.
Increase frequency or at least coverage of the 101 & 321 to cover Grafton & Wellesley cross services a bit more but there is a multitude of 70 or 75 buses from Newmarket to cover from Newmarket to more central or downtown city areas.
As a regular user of OUTER LINK since it replaced 006 in August 2011, my observation is that the built-in pauses that were required at its introduction (Victoria Park, Queen
Street and Saint Lukes) DID largely maintain the service’s frequency to 15 min regularity. However am also agreeing that the stop outside Victoria Park [on occasions i would be on my way to an intercity bus at SkyCity with a check-in deadline] is a source of annoyance, especially for Link patrons on the clockwise service.