One of the big unknowns with any potential new harbour crossing is what to do about the Northern Busway.

The first busway services first started in late 2005, before there was a busway, when the Albany and Constellation Stations opened and buses just used shoulder lanes to get to the city. The busway itself opened in February 2008 and usage took off, reaching over 8 million trips annually before COVID struck. At peak times as many 40% of the people crossing the Harbour Bridge did so on a bus. That makes it one of the busiest and most successful PT routes in the country and that success is further amplified by the fact it delayed by decades the need to build another harbour crossing costing tens of billions of dollars. Last year the busway was extended to Albany making it even more useful as services are now faster and more reliable.

While a lot of the focus is on what happens with the harbour crossing itself, just as important is what we do once some form of rail reaches the North Shore. There has been some thinking on this in the consultation released last week and also in previous business case work. This has boiled down to two options, do we convert the busway to rail or build an entirely new route.

A new route

The key justification for talking about a new route is the concern over level of disruption that it would cause while during the conversion process as buses would not be able to have such a direct and easy route. AT officials even describes those concerns as “extreme” in their recent paper to the board about the harbour crossing.

AT specialists have raised extreme concerns about the busway conversion options, given the difficulty of continuing to operate a busy busway whilst relocating significant underground services and laying a new slab with tracks and power supply for light rail. This issue has similarities to the challenges and difficulties currently being experienced with the Rail Network Rebuild.

While I do understand AT’s concern, the two main issues with the mitigation for the Rail Network Rebuild is the current driver shortage and AT’s inability/refusal to add any kind of bus priority to mitigation routes (even when they said they would). But the bus driver shortage won’t last forever and they would have many years to plan for mitigation infrastructure – I’ll cover some options later in this post.

I have heard of concerns from other agencies too but I do find it somewhat ironic that officials are so worried about changes to the busway, especially after many of them argued for decades against rail projects because buses are meant to be so flexible.

One issue that’s not often mentioned is that the busway is also often used by emergency services, especially ambulances accessing North Shore hospital. These would need to move back to the motorway or local roads.

There are some benefits to a new route though. The main thinking is that it would travel to the west of the motorway, likely serving Glenfield and North Harbour as well as potentially a few other local stations. This would provide greater overall capacity as the busway would still be operating and expand the coverage of the Rapid Transit Network, which combined with planning changes in the additional areas served, should see greater ridership.

But this option has problems too, the main one being the cost, back to that AT paper again, they note:

Alignments away from the busway corridor are challenging in terms of the North Shore’s topography and dispersed centres, making it harder to identify a sufficiently populous route to justify the expense of a new tunnel.

Even in a straight line, a corridor from Smales Farm to Albany is over 7.5km and diverting to go via Glenfield would increase that to likely over 9.5km. There are no obvious corridors that such a route could use and combined with the topography it means any such line would likely need to be mostly tunnelled. Based on what we’re seeing with other projects, such as the City Rail Link, Auckland Light Rail and this harbour crossing, that could easily be $10 billion or more. Is that cost and the benefits of a new corridor really worth more than perhaps a year of disruption to the busway?

Converting the Busway

It seems bizarre to me that we would want to choose to run two closely parallel rapid transit lines/services from the North Shore to the city, especially if it’s just to save a bit of disruption. A better use of that money is likely to be using it to supercharge feeder services and other buses serving the western North Shore through both more service provision and better priority.

There’s also the issue of demand. Modelling recently for the Auckland’s Rapid Transit Plan – which seems to largely be being ignored by the likes of the Light Rail project, suggests that in the peak hour in the peak direction, there is about demand for about 13,000 trips across the harbour via PT, a level of demand that is within the capacity of a single light rail line

Interestingly, and perhaps highlighting the absurdity of modelling, it suggested that even if the corridors were mostly parallel, that over 8,000 people would stay on buses with fewer than 5,000 being on Light Rail.

The busway was originally designed geometrically with a conversion to light rail in mind, however that doesn’t mean we can simply slap down some tracks. On the original section between Constellation and Akoranga, Transpower paid for ducts to be laid underneath it to carry 220 kV cables and some of you may recall them disrupting the busway in 2012/13 when they pulled the cables through those ducts. My understanding is this cable would need to be moved if there was ever a project to convert the busway to light rail – but it isn’t an issue on the newer section of busway from Constellation to Albany.

So how could a conversion of the busway work? Here’s my thoughts.

  1. One of ATs potential enhancements for the busway includes changing stations to fully separate out local bus movements busway services, instead of the current situation where some local buses use the section of busway through the station as a large roundabout. This would be needed for any rail conversion anyway so should be done in advance of that work.

    AT’s plan to upgrade the Smales Farm Station by separating out local buses from the busway with a new turnaround facility and additional local bus platforms.
  2. Do as much preparatory work as possible. The comments above from AT and others we’ve heard from officials over the years pretend like nothing can be done in advance. Yet there is no good reason why most of the underground services couldn’t be moved in advance of disrupting the busway. Work done in advance could also include things such as setting up any required power substations, getting catenary poles installed and other works that don’t require digging up the busway itself.
  3. Have Waka Kotahi prepare in advance by having ready either motorway shoulder bus lanes or even just temporarily converting general lanes.
  4. When the time comes, we close the busway and in its place run a ‘mitigation’ network buses – by then we shouldn’t still have bus driver shortages which is the main constraint on the mitigation for the Rail Network Rebuild. This mitigation network would include running express buses from the main interchange stations to the city using those shoulder bus lanes, and a local North Shore replacement for the NX services (e.g. to get from Constellation to Smales Farm) using local roads with bus priority and/or the motorway bus shoulder lanes. Both of these would add a little bit of travel time, but it shouldn’t be significant.
  5. A mitigation network would require more buses to operate but one option we could look at for this is simply by simply delaying the retirement some buses by a year or so.

While this would be frustrating, it’s hard to see it being worth billions of dollars to avoid.

Another aspect that could impact how and when the busway is converted is where the harbour crossing goes. One of the reasons we’ve long supported a spur to Takapuna, apart from serving a major town centre, is that provides some stageability. That is, the harbour crossing could be built and up and running before starting on the busway conversion. It means the busway conversion is limited to construction and commissioning of the rail line itself and not any harbour crossing or city centre side infrastructure. That would make the busway section quicker and faster to deliver.

Overall I just can’t see the justification for building an entirely new but largely parallel route through the North Shore over managing a year or so of disruption, especially as the process for doing that could give some good long-term benefits – such as adding bus priority to some arterial routes.

If we’ve got billions to throw around, I’d much rather we focused on other parts of the long planed and often neglected parts of our rapid transit network, like the Northwest, Upper Harbour and the Airport to Botany corridor.

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  1. You just cannot convince me that there is no way to stage a conversion of the Buswya to rail, would be insane to duplicate the whole corridor

    1. This may be rank ignorance, but is there any reason you can’t run buses along a segment of completed surface light rail route with flush rails? like, use the motorway for whatever section is currently getting steel in the ground, and use the busway for the sections that have yet to break ground or have been completed.

    2. You can stage anything. They could have staged the work for CRL and buggered up one block of Albert Street at a time but they couldn’t be bothered. It costs less money to open the whole job at once and leave large parts with nothing going on. That appears cheaper so long as you don’t include the cost to the users and cost to people affected by the project.

    3. I’d imagine sections of track slab grouted on top of the existing surface that buses could drive over. Relocatable steel ramps could bridge the transition step as nightly installation progressed. Cables in ducts could be left alone. I can’t see any reason why the busway couldn’t be kept in operation while the conversation was undertaken, or even after it was finished. The route could be shared between LRT and buses, and emergency vehicles.

    4. I can’t believe that you guys are seriously advocating for the existing bus way to be kept going while they are building a new rail line in the same location. Are you completely mad? There is no way that would ever happen. One is a work site with trucks, heavy machinery, diggers, concrete trucks, and thousands of workers; while the other is a smooth piece of concrete or tarmac with high speed projectiles full of people. The two are incompatible.

      1. They widened the Northwestern motorway, rebuilt the bridges and raised it all a couple metres into the air, as well as built the Waterview interchange over the top at the same time… all while keeping it open to traffic.

        The busway would be a doddle in comparison to the sorts of things Auckland does daily on the motorway network.

    5. Why convert the busway to rail.The busway works. Think about what happens if the train on the track breaks down the whole closes down. If a bus breaks down we get around it.

  2. WTF? So is someone going to let Transpower pull cables through the new CRL tunnels and then pay millions to move them again so trains can use them?

  3. I’d prefer the Northern Busway was replaced with a heavy rail line, with trenching/tunnelling/elevation in sections where the grade is too steep at present. Someone with relevant expertise please reassure me that light rail could match or exceed the speed and capacity of heavy rail on this route?

    1. Heavy rail is unnecessary. There’s simply no need for it. Freight can’t pass through the CRL and the NAL already serves any future port movements. This line will be just for moving people and Light Rail can do it for far less than heavy rail without the gradient constraints.

      1. I’m asking about performance, not cost. Would journey time from the CBD to Albany (or vice versa) be shorter on heavy rail vs light rail? In the future, as the population grows, would a light rail line reach passenger capacity sooner than a heavy rail line?

        1. Metro would be better performing than heavy rail, lighter vehicles, higher frequency and acceleration.

          Heavy rail is only needed if freight or intercity services would share the track which they never will

        2. “I’m asking about performance, not cost”

          Cost IS performance. Because when you can put the extra money (COST) into other improvements that provide a better return, that is BETTER performance.

          Well, unless one really just wants heavy rail rather than good PT.

          Heavy rail for passenger transport is almost exclusively that. Heavy. The differences in speed and capacity for PEOPLE transport are so marginal in our context (we aren’t talking about high speed rail!) that the extra costs just ain’t worth it.

        3. Regional passenger trains to Whangerei would be more likely via a more direct heavy rail route.

        4. Luke, I don’t think making the route HR could ever be justified on the outside chance it might eventually be extended to Wellsford to connect up with the existing line.

        5. Depending on the type of light rail, it could be faster and have more capacity. Auckland’s heavy rail configuration is relatively small and low capacity, and it’s got a lot of compromises to be interoperable on the mainlines.

          A purpose designed and built urban rail system is a better outcome, and cheaper.

      2. Can someone explain why is there an aversion to heavy rail (RT) in preference to light rail (LT) in transportation discourse ie planning & traffic engineering? My understanding the pro’s for LT over HR is two-fold, lower cost & flexibility of routes, are there any others?

    2. depending on the light rail vehicles we select, but they can operate between 110-130km/hr, for example if we build a line to sirvedale it would be faster than driving.

        1. The extension to Silverdale – about the only section where distance between stations would make speeds higher than 80 kph have any “real” difference – is about 12km from Albany. Super-simplifying, you will maybe save two or three minutes. Woot. But now you have to build a heavy rail line all the way just for that.

      1. The distinction between “heavy rail” and “metro” become blurred if heavy-freight is taken out of the equation. Gradients on passenger-only main-line railways up to 4% can be found in many parts of the world. In some countries – notably Switzerland and Norway, gradients over 5% exist.
        The climbing capacity of the CAF units with their 2:1 ratio of powered to unpowered axles would be substantial, and significantly more than the 3.2% max of the CRL. The climbing capacity of these units was specified to enable a rescue-set to be able to push a failed set up through the tunnel. This requirement may well not apply to gradients above-ground such as on North Shore Rail, meaning that steeper gradients could likely be handled by the existing EMUs.

    3. I don’t think you will ever need heavy rail freight through the north shore, I would like to see driverless light rail, our current max capacity of the caf am class emu trains is 370 people at 74m long 3 car set, but the average max capacity for the average 60m long low floor LRT is closer to 200,
      Light metro max capacity is 300 with a 40m long 2 car train, this is partly due to the lack of a driver cabin.
      But just 40 metres long, this could save us billions in underground station costs.
      Not to mention the reduced running costs.

  4. Completely agree that a staged conversion is possible. You just have to say that is what is required and then work out a solution. Rather than saying it is not possible.

  5. What world decides to give an area with density like the North Shore x2 separate rapid transit lines?

    Convert to light rail, actually build some TODs at Smales and Albany at a minimum. Sort out 25×7 bus lanes on the likes of Onewa Road and other arterials to ensure feeder buses can drop people easily at stations and build a cheap PT and light rail bridge. It’s not hard…

  6. If they want to keep the Northern busway, just think about building a Central busway to connect the Northern and Eastern busways and build a massive busway system like the Brisbane one

  7. I would of thought converting the Busway to rail was the whole idea of building this thing.
    I guess the main advantage of converting the Busway is that bus drivers can be diverted to running more frequent local feeder routes.
    I also don’t agree that this rail line needs to run straight into Takapuna, a frequent feeder bus would better service this area and this could one day be changed to a street running LR that could potentially also service Milford And the Devonport Peninsula.

  8. In the past couple of weeks I have used a bus at 9 and 10 pm.
    There were only one or two passengers.
    It must feel a pointless job for bus drivers driving around in near empty busses and getting home at midnight
    With such a shortage of bus drivers the low use routes should be canceled.
    Providing a poorly used service is at great cost to drivers, emissions, and council accounts.

    1. What?? The point is to have regular frequent services so people have an option. Highly doubt the drivers care if the bus is full or not
      So if those services had been cut what would you have done?

    1. I agree that bus drivers are going to get harder and harder to obtain and retain, I have a hard time dealing with all the traffic and idiot drivers out there, add a 10m long plus vehicle and some idiot passengers you need to pick up, I wouldn’t do it no matter how much they pay me.

  9. Above all else, the need to replace the busway is surely many years (potentially 2 decades) away. There remain solid options to expand its capacity:
    Longer station platforms, on-platform fare gates, more bus priority where its still lacking (downtown).
    And of course the peak / off-peak / counter-peak fare structures as they stand mean there is essentially no incentive for people that can to shift their trip time at the moment.

  10. More urgent than what the future holds for the busway is the shambles it is in at peak time at the moment. AT cancelled more than 1000 buses last year and removed them from the timetable. Currently they are letting Ritchies cancel huge numbers of the peak NX1 services each day as well as allowing NX2 services to be cut. Just try getting a bus at Sunnynook or Smales Farm towards the city between 0800 and 0900. The destination boards show more than half the reduced number of services cancelled and those that turn up are overfull. Pre-covid there were NX1 and NX2 buses every 2-5 minutes which had room on them. At the moment people regularly wait 20+ minutes at Sunnynook if they haven’t already given up using the buses. In desperation some take the 120 or 83 local buses one stop to Smales Farm and then find the same shambles there! The busway is no longer our flagship public transport service. It has been reduced to a shambles by the operators being given too much leeway by AT. Would love to see Wayne and his mates try and take a bus from Sunnynook to the city in morning peak – no chance. We need the frequent services back at 2019 levels now.

  11. Errr, like all major existing bus routes, put down some light rail tracks and take advantage of existing corridors. The motorway has disconnected the city but efficient public transport routes will reconnect it, while allowing local communities to reestablish their independence from the greater suburban area. Thus pushing Auckland in the direction of a modern city, adapting for climate and ensuring that communities return to a semblance of 200 years ago, without forgetting that decolonisation of our own minds is very important at this 7 years until we tip over the abyss point in the humanoid timeline. The talk and consultation is important but while ignorance is so blissfully encouraged, what hope have we the engaged, open minded, lovers of trains, trams, bikes and pedestrian boulevards?

    1. Not only that but there is hardly any densification around the stations on the busway, including a huge golf course and massive park and rides. It’s wild to suggest we’ve gone as far as we can on the busway side of things and its time to start whacking tunnels through single dwelling suburbs.

  12. Seems to me the busway works better than our railway. I would imagine a light rail would be more reliable but would it be worth the cost or the disruption or politicking. So let’s not do this concentrate on expanding and extending and the busway. A question do Intercity buses use it are there other bus users like tour operators using it. There could be a list of bus operators who are qualified to use it. And do we need to relook at forcing a transfer at bus stations especially at peak times. And think of passengers for futhur north they could have an express service. Light rail must end somewhere. A bus on a busway can just morph into a bus on a road. Having said that a transfer to rail at Wellsford would be still be possible if rail services are ever returned to the NAL. A connection to the busway would significantly increase user number for an interegional service.

    1. Yeah lmao. The rail network has essentially been in a state of constant repair / disrepair since the early 2000s. Closures every time anyone who wasn’t a commuter wanted to use it. Closures now for months for commuters.

      Who would want to replicate that across any other rail lines in the city? The current degraded busway service is better than the rail lines likely ever will be.

      1. The current state of the railways is not indicative of the future state. And in other countries, rail is by far and away the more reliable and patronised service.

  13. There is a glaring problem in the calculations that I can’t believe no one has picked up on. On the visual on Population Growth, there are notes about the massive proposed growth – and the very much smaller rise in PT Demand. For instance, under the green badge NorthWest, it is estimated that population will grow from 125,000 to 218,000 over the 30 year period. That’s another 93,000 extra people.

    How much have they projected will need extra PT for, in the same area? Well, a massive boost from 6,000 up to 7,000 – just one thousand more PT places. That’s pathetic, and disgraceful. Every single one of those new people should be going by Public Transport, and that means they need to cater for a massively increased PT system. Plan for 93,000 people, or just continue to suffocate to death in congestion.

    1. Probably more of a giveaway of the future level of real investment planned in the NW, and a tacit acknowledgement the N/S corridor is going to suck up almost all the available project spend for the next few decades.

    2. Average Human, if you read the caption at the bottom the PT figure is over one hour, at peak times in the peak direction only, presumably just on the one NW corridor.

      …which is a pretty weird thing to compare to population growth.

      In that context the NW line would be about as busy as the northern busway today, maybe 80,000 trips per weekday.

  14. Does this whole plan anticipate success of the emissions reduction plan and pathway (8 billion fewer VKT in Auckland)? My gut feel is if the ERP succeeds, an additional crossing would not really be needed. If it does not anticipate success, why not?

  15. I like the idea of a tunnel running to Birkenhead, disclaimer I live in the area and a station in Birkenhead would increase my property value, but getting real, I would rather see a rail line on the existing busway then not see any rail at all, it’s just too expensive to build tunnels and underground stations.
    But I do think northcote could be better served, potentially moving akoranga station closer to northcote, as there is more potential for development around northcote,

    1. Same here (Birkenhead)

      One thing that jumps out at me was this:
      “a sufficiently populous route to justify the expense of a new tunnel”

      Was must there be expensive tunnels?

      With some planning, surely at least some main arterial roads could be mainly surface running?

      1. “With some planning, surely at least some main arterial roads could be mainly surface running?”

        But that’s not “cars first” planning. Any big ticket transport project in New Zealand must be cars first, at least in effect, if not in name.

  16. Is the consultation just fishing for divided opinions? Conversion of busway to light metro appears the only sensible and affordable choice and respects all the original busway planning. Smales is ready for TOD, with Smales Farm employment already built and residential on the dry half of the golf course feasible. Constellation has a nice big P’n’R ready for TOD, as does Albany. They can bury some parking, if still needed. Rather dumb putting in 220kV cables incompatible with steel rail conversion, but maybe motorway shoulder would be the place for those.
    Other options demand too much tunneling on option 3 to be worth thinking about, and 4 and 5 are dead-end runs.

      1. Transit Orientated Development, basically what other countries around the world do whereas we build swathes of surface level park and rides.

  17. I’m sure they can upgrade the busway without too much trouble. Assuming NW busway/rail and isthmus/Mangere rail is already done & some upgrading of the Northern Busway I’m wondering if a different route could be of benefit.
    Like option 3 of the AWHC (bridge or tunnel) to west of current bridge (for light rail) then through Chatswood, Birkenhead, Northcote, Takapuna. From there continue long Hurtmere Rd up through all the bays using a more costal route but through the town centres. Kitchener Rd, East Coast Rd, right at Aberdeen Rd to follow Beach Rd at Campbells Bay. Follow the 83 bus route from Murray’s Bay eventually back to Albany.
    Wouldn’t be all that straight but would be through the town ctrs & maybe where some urban uplift could be planned complete with sea views.

    1. “I’m sure they can upgrade the busway without too much trouble.”

      Hey, we can close *whole rail lines* to upgrade them (do basic maintenance on)!

      Think of what we could do if we actually planned properly for the disruption, 1-2 years before the works occur!

  18. Six years since Labour promised to build light rail on the isthmus and they haven’t built a single metre.

    What the hell makes you think they’ll ever build it on the shore? You’re dreaming if you think we’ll see this in our lifetime.

    1. This govt will not build it, no. Still very much matters what the heck our agencies plan/futureproof for in the absence of real action from Labour.

  19. The Metropolitano is a single Bus Rapid Transit line in Lima Peru that has two lanes in each direction in places, and in other places has one lane in each direction including at stations. The Metropolitano carries around 700,000 passengers per week day, more than any light rail line in the world.

    High capacity BRT on the Nothern Busway through the Central City to the Northwest seem the right horse for that course.

  20. “Interestingly, and perhaps highlighting the absurdity of modelling, it suggested that even if the corridors were mostly parallel, that over 8,000 people would stay on buses with fewer than 5,000 being on Light Rail.”

    They must have used the same modelling when planning the light rail alongside the heavy rail on the isthmus as well.

  21. Convert the whole network to electric and diesel (heavy )rail as is on the Southern network as this network is presently doing,the advantages of transporting more freight with less pollution from trucks would minimize CO2 emissions.

    1. There is no freight route at the other end to connect to, no space for stabling on the Shore and there’s a huge cost premium in building heavy rail over Light Rail that can’t be justified.

      The only box Heavy ticks is for absolutists who think we should have heavy rail everywhere. It’s unsuitable in every way that actually matters.

      1. Freight has no need to get over to the shore other than save a bit of time going to Whangarei . It wouldn’t get through a tunnel anyway.

        First choice should be light rail on a bridge to the western North shore. But I dislike the idea of a tunnel for light rail as it’s too expensive/complicated for that mode. A bridge is sufficient.

        1. A bridge would be great. I’m fully onboard with a bridge. Bonus if we can make it a platform that people can walk across, big enough to fit both transport and a decent sized promenade/linear park.

          There is also the savings of tens of billions of dollars, with which you could buy better transport for places that aren’t the North Shore which should be taken into account.

  22. while the geometry of the busway was future proofed for light rail, none of the structures were built to take the weight of rail, at the time funding for the busway was tenuous enough without the then blue sky option of light rail

    1. That’s an interesting point. It’s a shame we haven’t had any serious plan to upgrade the busway (usually deferred to enable agonising over how to get tunnels over the line for the Harbour). Pre-Covid there it was looking like that was going to become a pressing concern sooner than anyone had planned. Unfortunately for the good people of the Shore, that discussion seemed to be one that no one wanted to have.

      I wonder at what stage of the exercise the actual engineering issues of such an upgrade would be considered. Ideally we’d already know that for sure already, along with a proper indicative cost of conversion, tunnels or not.

  23. Why bother with rail when buses will do the job . With the money they have spent on infrastructure for rail and continue to spend. They could have completed a whole net work for buses . Paid drivers more money to operate multi bendy buses ie trains with out tracks .Electrified all buses . Have bus ways south , east and west. And when we say have 5 million plus people then perhaps convert.

  24. What to do with the busway? We keep it as way it is! Bus will be needed forever siding along SH1 in the long term future since likes of bus 83 as prime example. For a long time now contributing factors to why residents in the Bay Area of the North Shore don’t want to change to PT, is the journey time, indirect route for work, terrain if walking to nearest station (especially if it’s summer) and accessibility. A rail line running through Bay Area of the North Shore would solve all these problems! Along with it is the roading issue which as been issue for decades! It is very much needed instead of ‘second feeder mode’ of transport running along side the current busway which would create a bottleneck more plaguing issues in future, its needs thought through right, having a A rail line running through Bay Area of the North Shore would be more beneficial economically and community stand-point.

    That is why we need to have a line running through the Bay Area of the North Shore and call it the ‘Bay line’ and Minister of Transport should pick Option 3 ,along with it, have stage one run towards Milford. The line would be set in stages, stage one, stage two, stage three and finally stage four.

        1. You’ve missed the point there completely. The walk up catchment is tiny as it’s surrounded on one side by the sea and the other side by Lake Pupuke.

  25. Think Jezza means the passenger catchment around the station would end up lacking due to the water nearby. Also the housing is low density.

    1. No sure what you mean by water, if you mean need supply for drinking?

      Takapuna and Milford will become a highly densely populated places in-future due to intensification around the area filled with apartment blocks which we are seeing happen right now!

      1. I would just build some bus priority from those suburbs to the busway. Far cheaper and much quicker implementation. On most, you could jump on a bus from the beach that would get you to the busway in 5-7mins, for a transfer to the busway (now) and LRT/LM (later).

        That would have just a few stops along the way to better cover the wider suburbs than one stop stuck out east.

        The above would push back a need or a line like this by decades. Though I do think a line like this is more immediately necessary up through Birkenhead/Northcote, Glenfield etc and connect with an eventual RTN on UHH, as someone proposed earlier.

        1. “you could jump on a bus from the beach”
          No one goes to the the be a beach anymore like the old days where you swim, eat ice cream and hang out, those days are gone! Should come by Browns Bay every now and then, looking more dead every year. Once a film set for Shorty Street, now looking more dead ever year. All what makes the situation worse is no direct way of getting to CBD from Browns Bay, where a rail line would solve this issue.

          Glenfield etc and connect with an eventual RTN on UHH, as someone proposed earlier”
          Glenfield doesn’t need a line going through them due to already existing bus service heading towards the CBD whereas as the Bay Areas of the North Shore don’t have that!

        2. The reference to the beach was really just geographical. I was using your idea for stations and instead running 24/7 buslanes from there to the northern busway.

          You want stations on the coast in the beach villages where its single homes or ocean. So a lack of density. Bus priority from those same stations to the busway provides far more access to more people.

          I see the merits of your line, I just think there are others with more pressing needs and without the quick fix. I will also admit a grudge against putting any line through the Devonport peninsula given this group has fought intensification and bus/clysle lanes. How about they commit to those first and then show us they are serious about an RTN solution.

        3. “….Glenfield doesn’t need a line going through them due to already existing bus service heading towards the CBD whereas as the Bay Areas of the North Shore don’t have that!”

          My idea gives the Bay Areas exactly that, only better. And that trip for Glenfield etc is a pretty tortuous one for some, with that area getting far more intensification than the east – so it will get worse without an RTN. So it seems more logical to disperse that traffic south (new line/bridge) and free up capacity on the current busway.

          I think a line between the UHH and (say) SH20 allows a whole swathe of people (e.g. those going to airport) to bypass the CBD altogether, but its still an easier transfer and quick trip if that is still their destination.

        4. To be fair, there is density on the east where an RTN station is already. It goes both ways, you could plan for an RTN along more along the bays and allow density there with it. In any case the Unitary plan change 78 map viewer shows a lot of allowed density for & around Takapuna & along Killarney St & Hustmere Rd where you could run an RTN line.
          I suggested the option going across the harbour and then through Birkenhead & Northcote then on to Takapuna. These 3 town centres have density planned for them and rightly so. Once at Takapuna you could decide to have the end of line there or route it back to the busway line or a new bays line. A bays line would tend to be a slower but higher capacity flavour than the busway I would think.

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