Earlier this year, construction started on the second stage of the Eastern Busway, that will see it extended from Pakuranga to Botany. This will include the absurd Burswood deviation that was first revealed in late 2021.

That deviation was confirmed last year but the section between Burswood and Botany, also known as Stage 4, hasn’t been – though it was included in the material at the time.

Auckland Transport don’t currently have enough funding for this section however, they are now consulting on their preferred option for it, along with an interim option of just mixing buses in with all of the cars, for when the other parts of the busway open, which is expected in 2027.

We are seeking your views on Stage 4 of the Eastern Busway from Tī Rākau Drive to Botany, via Guys Reserve and Whaka Maumahara. The two routes that we are consulting on are shown below.

  • The Eastern Busway Stage 4 Link route (EB4L): the preferred, proposed design that we are submitting consents for in August 2023 and will be built when funding is approved.
  • The Eastern Busway Stage 4 Interim bus route (EB4i): an interim route that will be in place by 2027 and will be in use until the link route is funded and built.

And a bit more information.

Link route (EB4L)

  • EB4L is the final stage of the busway. It begins on Tī Rākau Drive, continues along the northern edge of Guys Reserve and Whaka Maumahara, and connects to Te Irirangi Drive where a new Botany Station will be built.
  • EB4L includes a two-lane road for buses only, which will bypass the Ti Rākau Drive / Te Irirangi Drive intersection, enabling reliable travel times.
  • A separate cycleway and footpath is proposed along the western edge of the reserve and would connect to the wider Eastern Busway cycling and walking network.
  • Planning is in progress to determine the exact location of the Botany Station and is likely to be close to the town centre. It will be an interchange for the Eastern Busway, local school bus services, and future Airport to Botany rapid bus services.
  • Auckland Transport is in the process of applying for funding through the Regional Land Transport Plan three year review and it will continue through the consenting process. Consent is being sought for EB4L because it is the preferred design to be delivered when funding is available.

Interim bus route (EB4i)

  • Auckland Transport has endorsed funding for the design and construction of an interim bus route (EB4i), that will connect the Eastern Busway in Burswood to Tī Rākau Drive. This route will be used until funding is confirmed to build EB4L and the Botany Station.
  • EB4i will connect from the east side of the Howick and Eastern bus depot to Tī Rākau Drive. There will be traffic lights near Guys Reserve where buses travelling towards Botany will leave the busway. They will continue in regular traffic lanes along Tī Rākau Drive and Te Irirangi Drive to Botany Town Centre bus shelters, which will be upgraded. Buses travelling from Botany towards Pakūranga will move onto the busway at the traffic lights near Guys Reserve.
  • EB4i would be designed and built as efficiently and cost effectively as possible to maximise benefits and it would be replaced by EB4L and Botany Station, when funding is available.

Paving over a reserve, even if it’s just part of a stormwater pond, is a terrible outcome straight out of the 1960’s and completely unnecessary in an area swimming in large roads and carparks that could easily be used instead. Furthermore, the bridge that currently exists provides easy access from the nearby housing to Botany Hub, removing this and replacing it with a path around the stormwater pond, adding potentially 200-300m to any journey and while not massive, it will add up for some.

Speaking of adding journey time to active modes, this shows the planned cycleway that is part of the project in red with a more direct route in blue.

Like with the Burswood deviation, this feels like ATs primary focus is all about having the least impact on cars. The interim route doesn’t even have bus priority.

There are also surely other, easier and cheaper options too. A couple of ideas for these are below.

  • Ti Rakau Dr through here is six lanes wide and if they were just to take two of those to provide bus priority, it would add only a minute or less to overall journey time.
  • Te Koha Rd through Botany Hub is a private road but it’s also quite wide. AT acquiring it or working with the owners to reconfigure it to provide bus priority along it should surely be possible while still being able to provide a high level of reliability.

The consultation for this is open till 10 September and is straightforward, mostly just asking if you support the proposal or not, and why.

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  1. I seem to recall that years ago there actually was a diagram that showed the busway proper ending at the intersection of Te Rakau Drive and Te Koha Rd with buses continuing down Te Koha Rd to the Town Centre on bus lanes. So at the very least it was thought about.

  2. It is impossible to take this section of Eastern Busway seriously as long as the absurd Burswood deviation remains in place.

  3. The planners seem to see any green space as an opportunity for infrastructure. Hopefully Cyclone Gabrielle has tempered their thoughts, green spaces are the city’s lungs,blocking them off with concrete,produces perverse outcomes.

    1. The frustrating part is that this stormwater “rethink” (if it happens) will probably result in them acquiring more properties to “off-set” the reserve space loss. As oppose to, like Matt says, repurposing existing road space. It’s just trying to have and eat an even larger cake. This is why “PT projects” in NZ blow out to such ridiculous costs. Or why the only large-scale cycling projects we seem to get are those tacked on to a new motorway widening.

  4. Going through the Botany Hub makes the most sense from a direct route point of view.
    Although working with the owner to use some of that space for bus lanes would be the removal of parking, which is their primary business model for attracting tenants. It would be a feat of negotiation for AT to manage to make that work. Hopefully someone at AT has at least tried to discuss with the owner(s).

  5. Completely agree.

    AT “wisdom”: Firstly, let us build a “station” in a swamp, so that when Auckland is again inundated with heavy rainfall, bus users will suffer like West and South Aucklanders, and as the NX did.
    Secondly, let us save all the concrete/tarmac and remove some more spongy areas that could potentially mitigate extreme weather events.

    The bus way must at least be imagined as a rail track, as the NX is, at least relatively straight, and only a few extra up and downs than a train might be able to handle.
    Any deviation takes away it’s right to be called Rapid, Express, or any other label that insults East Aucklanders.

    If we are to address climate change, we cannot keep boondoggling efficient mass transit!

  6. Botany is a great showcase of everything that is wrong with car-centric suburban development patterns. An absolutely disgusting, carcinogenic, anti-human wasteland.

    1. And yet AT want to pave over some of the very limited green space that’s in this area… what the hell are they smoking!?

    2. I remember when this area was all farmland.

      And I’m not even that old.

      Would have been much easier to integrate PT when they were designing the area and building the roads – now they have to be retrofitted and the solution will be far from optimal.

      But we’re making the same mistake again with new greenfields developments by not integrating PT.

      It’s bonkers.

      1. What greenfields locations are you thinking off? I am worried that we will not have the funding ANY TIME soon to build those rapid transit corridors, bus lanes etc – while roads of course will be in place from Day 1 – but at least the planning nowadays does include them.

        1. We could at least preserve a suitable right of way for rapid transit. Even if there is no money available at the time, it’s worth making the space for such time as when money becomes available.

          But it is MUCH better to provide rapid transit in advance…

        2. I guess he’s referring top Flat Bush and Ormiston – AT/Council didn’t really think about the bus network when developing the area. The frequent 35 between Botany and Manukau has to do a big deviation off Chapel Road to service Ormiston Town Centre for instance.

        3. “I guess he’s referring top Flat Bush and Ormiston – AT/Council didn’t really think about the bus network when developing the area.”

          That’s not a “new greenfield” though. The zoning and land arrangement there is 20-30 years old at minimum.

      2. At least Manukau City Council had the foresight when building Te Irirangi Drive and Hollyford Drive to keep some free roadspace for use for a rapid transit link in the future…

        1. I think they were planted as an investment as mature palms were fetching big money back then. I expect they will all be cut down rather than sold and relocated.

  7. Try marking up a plan with signal controlled intersections and add up the delays to approach and get through them. Also look at the stacking space for the cars that you can’t get the people out of and onto buses. It’s time, not distance, that you need to look at, before applying the “absurd” label.
    Then there is space – how to fit bike and bus space into a corridor full of freight and cars, with intersections and vehicle crossings all along it.
    Finding space for anything in the centre of Botany, which is mostly privately-owned car parking space, is great fun.
    There are some serious and worthwhile aspects of stormwater resilience and effects on paths that do merit a close look and meaningful feedback.

    1. I wish a elevated viaduct option was at least publicly explored through there.

      The guideway for 2 lanes is not that wide. You can have lovely urban spaces around elevated sections like that, Ti Rakau drive itself is much worse for the urban realm. Cycleway at-grade underneath.

      AT are more than happy to build an elevated section far wider just down the road for the highway flyover.

      The Tristram ave viaduct is a great example. Should have more of these around the place. https://goo.gl/maps/LfcEFwQGSiBf1UXf9

        1. Nope. Very much in vogue. Melbourne Skyrail, recent Vancouver Skytrain extensions. Montreal REM sections. Plenty of wingers prior to being built of course, now they’re opening vast majority love it. Dress them up a bit with some artsy side panels and planting underneath and pohutukawas next to them and problem solved.

          The main difference for locals when compared to elevated highways is the width. You can get a full native bush area under ones of the busway width as seen in my google maps link. There is plenty of light. The highway that cuts through sylvia park sucks because its 4 lanes wide for example. Not nice to be underneath. Cannot overstate how much of a difference for the immediate area the width of guideway makes.

          Better views for bus users. Concrete ones with a few dozen buses an hour are essentially silent. Most importantly they’re vastly cheaper than digging, while providing metro quality alignments. Which means more can be built.

          Have a read of the comments in this link: https://www.reddit.com/r/melbourne/comments/xr1qrl/ok_ill_be_the_first_to_admit_i_was_wrong_about/

    2. Inside looking out, you’re whole argument appears to be based on not taking any traffic lane capacity and not giving the busway any signal priority.

      Or to summarise, the busway goes around the back because we want to continue to prioritise cars over buses.

      1. Don’t forget the freight. And please take away as much car traffic as politicians and the public can allow – don’t think AT “wants” lots of car capacity.

        1. Any chance we could sit down and nut this out in person? This myth is what’s stopping us from fixing our city. It’s literally killing people: DSI reduction targets are being shifted because AT are wasting money on widening corridors because of this myth.

          If AT don’t want lots of car capacity, then they shouldn’t misinform the politicians and public with inaccurate calculations feeding “delay” fears. Intersections with too many lanes of general traffic have long distances for each mode to cross; this creates the delay problem.

          AT have this problem because the MSM tells them how much general traffic must be “accommodated”. But the MSM is being wrongly applied here, because it is incapable of modelling significant changes in travel behaviour. It doesn’t reflect a switch from interzone trips to intrazone trips. It’s known to be reasonably poor at public transport modelling and very poor at active mode modelling. It doesn’t reflect the trip evaporation that happens with capacity reduction.

          These are corridors in which massive mode shift could happen because the options are being provided, but need the lane capacity to be reduced in order for that to pan out.

          As for freight, reducing the number of lanes would be better for it: congestion would return to its level, delays at smaller intersections would be smaller and the lower VKT throughout the network would improve travel times for those parts of a truck’s journey that is not on the corridor itself.

          The engineer I spoke to about this corridor had not kept abreast of modern traffic planning in the slightest. He thought lane reduction would only be possible if there were parallel routes that the traffic could divert to. Whereas we know that the best arterial lane reduction projects happen where parallel routes are deliberately equipped with modal filters to create low traffic neighbourhoods. His belief in the modelling had blocked him from understanding the real world.

          AT’s projects are being led by people who are determined to keep using Predict and Provide because it’s what they’re comfortable with. Yet AT have been directed to shift away from this Predict and Provide planning. This project, Airport 2 Botany, Carrington Rd and plenty of others, will be hundreds of millions of dollars more expensive, and create worse environments, due to this. AT are stuck in the transport planning of 4 decades ago.

  8. Could they predominantly use the paved area behind the shops, so parallel with what they are proposing? Seems quite a bit of space, may have to move the VTNZ (ironically).

  9. Also the actual bus station should be where the current one is or on that side of Te Irirangi Dr at least or there is another big road to cross to the main set of shops. That’s one thing nice about this shopping ctr, the bus takes you pretty much right to the heart of the place.

  10. There have been some stories in the Howick Times about local anger regarding the removal of large trees to make way for the Eastern Busway.
    “One part of east Auckland is looking a little less green after numerous tall trees were chopped down to make way for the Eastern Busway public transport project.

    Photos taken by the Times show rows of low, thick tree stumps sitting outside Pakuranga Plaza, adjacent to Pakuranga Road and Ti Rakau Drive, with more than a dozen visible in one short stretch.

    The trees’ recent removal has sparked a strong reaction on local community Facebook pages.

    One post on the subject drew more than 60 comments, with one person saying it’s “disgusting”.

    “There was a huge number of birds who nested in those trees. It’s bad enough with the destruction of habitat along Ti Rakau Drive for the ghost buses.”

    Another person said they almost cried when they saw the trees being cut down.”
    Local politicians have said it is the price of progress.

    1. ““The Eastern Busway project team has advised us they will be planting natives to replace trees that are removed during construction.

      “The designs we’ve been provided show an increased number of trees and planting as part of the landscaping along the route.

      “We’ve seen their commitment to sustainability through the deconstruction and removal of houses along Ti Rakau Drive, which provided recycling and reuse opportunities.””

  11. I agree with the idea of running the busway through the Hub and Te Koha Road. This will surely cost way less than building a new bus road through a reserve. AT just need to chuck some money to the owner of the Hub and upgrade Te Koha Road to be suitable for buses (the roundabout in the middle of it is probably a bit small) and add some signal priority to the intersections either side and hey presto, good to go.

  12. Nice to see that the Burswood deviation is labelled absurd by so many!. Meant to be my neighbour at some future stage across my drive not even next door. AT planners did all their work on the basis of Ti Rakau being a three lane road. It was only ever to lanes all the way with some but for turning. It never needed anything more than two lanes being given over to buses and better traffic mansgement and light phasing. The space had been left on each side of the road in anticipation of this. Businesses are now using that space for car showrooms. Necessary of
    course because there are so many ghost buses and locals have to drive!!

  13. Remove a lane each side of Ti Rakau? Some of these suggestions here are so stupid, you actually couldn’t make this kinda stuff up. AT have taken the right approach here to minimise impact on road users. Bike lanes are a waste of money; get rid of it from the design and fund it towards fast tracking the new Botany bus station.

  14. Burswood diversion is
    Costing hundreds of millions and is unnecessary as Tirakau
    Can easily be made from
    Five lanes to six with kerbside lane for buses

    1. So true, and debt that is not going to be repaid by bus users, just the ratepayers who are not benefitting at all unless they work in CBD.

  15. Is there a serious intent to reduce the use of ICE on the roads?

    Do the planners see any reduction in the number of individual vehicles?

    Is it possible we will take seriously the increased use of public transport and non carbon alternatives in our transport system?

    Should the planning of infrastructure be used to try and channel the use of alternatives to the use of individual vehicles like the SUV for shopping etc?

    What is the chances of our education system being modified so that all schools produce the same standards of education and that we don’t need the mothers to undertake the school run in their SUV twice per day?

    1. The school issue comes more from social stratification rather than education, although education is generally the excuse given.

  16. If they stopped the Burswood bus bypass which will only save approx. 5 minutes in
    heavy rush hour traffic, they could probably cancel most of the the proposed rates increase.

    1. The you better speak to your National MPs, Brown and Luxon, to understand the project a bit more.

      They think the busway is critical for your electorates (though don’t seem keen on having one for people in other electorates) and want it finished yesterday.

      1. Yes I did not get any support against the busway from Brown
        or Luxton
        Which was disappointing
        Five of the nine Howick
        Local Board voted against it but the Council took no notice

        1. Its crazy any local board would vote down a proposal for an RTN line that they don’t have to pay for.

    2. The Burswood Bus Deviation removed all my remaining faith in New Zealand’s transport planning establishment.

      It’s utterly, utterly mad…and it’s even madder that no-one, at a senior level, sat up and asked “what the hell are we actually doing here?”

      1. Sceptical Bruce- how right you are, it is beyond belief. We have been hoping that the Council with current Mayor would wake up. Current bus users include local workers who are unlikely to walk another 200 m to a bus station behind shops, houses and appartments. Many are elderly people shopping at Chinatown and local shops and dont want the extra walk.

        1. Btw – it was according to info from AT, dreamed up by an Australian who evidently flew over here to see the area during NZ lockdown. Who is telling the porkies? We were all home at that time and it didnt happen.
          The local Board was told it affected 4 houses, another lie.

  17. I am 77 and just started to e-bike to work, my 10klm journey on the e-bike takes me 30 minutes, by car it is 20 minutes. The cycleway from Panmure to Pakuranga is terrific. Looking forward to the Ti-Rakau cycleway to be opened. For all of you who knock the cycleways around Auckland, get a bike and give it a go. You will be surprised.

  18. Glad you enjoy the bike ride

    also Glad you think the Burswood bus way is absurd
    All those $millions of dollars and just to run empty
    buses around most of the day.
    not to mention kicking all those people out of their homes

    1. I agree Bob Wichman. There us already a cycleway around Burswood. Have you not found it. The new one will take you on the same absurd deviation as the Propsed idiotic busway

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