Auckland Transport City Centre Centric and no focusing on two major areas
Last week I checked the proposed East Auckland Bus Network and made a subsequent submission on it. Overall what Auckland Transport has proposed is good with provisions for routes to be stepped up as the South Eastern Busway is built over the next 10 years between Panmure and Pakuranga Town Centre.
However, I did notice one major gap and that was linking the eastern suburbs to both Manukau City Centre and Auckland International Airport both major employment centres even for the east. Currently what is proposed by Auckland Transport is two services (35 and 355) connecting Botany Metropolitan Centre to Manukau City Centre both at 30 minute frequencies although if you are starting from Botany or Manukau the frequencies are 15 minutes.
Below is the routes and how the routes proposed are linked:
Problem with the 355 and 35?
Both those routes do their job as local connectors for residents living between Manukau and Botany but is no good for a rapid connection between the two Centres themselves.
From my feedback to Auckland Transport:
The Manukau to Botany connections while designed to service local connections between the two Metropolitan Centres they are not designed nor frequent enough to rapid and efficient direct travel between the Manukau and Metropolitan Centres themselves.
I suggest a new rapid more direct route of the following: Panmure Interchange – Pakuranga Town Centre – Botany Town Centre – Manukau City Centre via Te Irrangi Drive – Airport via Cavendish Drive and SH20B and vice versa for the return run. Frequencies are set at 20 minutes, All Day, 7 days a week.
This allows to form a Quality Transit Network route that can be later future proofed to a Rapid Transit Network as the bus ways are rolled out between the five major centre points for passengers needing more direct thus faster routes rather than detouring as the 35 and 355 proposed routes do. Also given this new route connects directly to Manukau and the Airport the Eastern Suburbs have a direct and faster access route to both the Eastern and Southern Lines in the area and the airport itself. This would at 20 minute frequencies all day at seven days a week attract more bus patronage and help remedy some of that east west congestion along Ti Rakau and Te Irirangi Drives especially again between the Metropolitan Centres and the airport.
Your bus stops would be limited for this new proposed route with (as an example) the bus stops for the Manukau – Botany leg being in these locations only:
- Botany Metropolitan Centre
- Smales Road/Te Irirangi Drive Intersection Locale
- Ormiston Road/Te Irirangi Drive Intersection Locale
- Manukau Transport Interchange
The local buses like the 35 and 355 (if applicable) would feed into this more direct QTN express route much as local buses feed into the rail network.
Subsequently some bus interchanges at the major stops would be needed to help facilitate the transfer between buses as well as allow people directly to catch the QTN express bus. I am not talking about grand stuff here either like Auckland Transport is unsuccessfully trying to pull with Manukau but rather some basic stuff that could hold six buses at a time along with an AT-HOP Top Up machine.
While this route set up is set for a Sky Train type of system the proposed QTN bus route follows the same path (apart from the airport leg which would be Manukau-Airport via Cavendish Drive and SH20B):
Have Auckland Transport missed an important “express” east-west connection here? And would you use this Quality Transport Network proposed route if Auckland Transport were to implement it?