Where One South Eastern Bus-way Should be Light Rail From Get-Go #MovingAuckland

AMETI short-changing again?


With Auckland Transport to begin lodging the Notice of Requirements for the Panmure-Pakuranga Bus-way I wonder if we are again short-changing ourselves and should just go straight to rail.

From Our Auckland:

Busway for east Auckland a step closer

Published: 7 April 2016

Busway for east Auckland a step closer

Plans for New Zealand’s first urban busway from Panmure to Pakuranga in east Auckland are a step closer.

Auckland Transport has lodged a Notice of Requirement (NoR) application with Auckland Council to designate the route for the proposed Panmure to Pakuranga busway and other transport improvements.

The busway is a key part of major improvements to transform east Auckland’s public transport network to provide quicker, frequent and more reliable bus services. As part of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI), the busway will be extended to Botany in the future.

AMETI is a programme of transport improvements aimed at improving transport choices and better connecting people within east Auckland and to the rest of Auckland. The new Panmure Station and Te Horeta Road opened in 2014 as part of AMETI – Stage 1.


The Panmure to Pakuranga (Stage 2a) projects include:

  • Panmure to Pakuranga busway on lanes separate to traffic congestion
  • Replacing Panmure roundabout with an intersection with traffic lights, bus priority and more direct pedestrian crossings
  • Panmure to Pakuranga cycle and foot paths separate to traffic
  • Second Panmure Bridge for busway and cycle and footpaths.

Based on current funding, construction is likely to start in 2021, if the designation is approved.

Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board Chair, Simon Randall, welcomed the progress on the project.

“I look forward to it being publicly notified which will give the chance for the community to have their say. The next stage of AMETI promises real benefits to the Panmure area with proposed improvements to walking, cycling, and public transport.”

Howick Local Board Chair, David Collings, said, “Our growing population in the south-eastern suburbs is pretty limited with public transport options, with buses currently ending up stuck in the same congestion as private vehicles. So speeding up the bus journey and better connecting us to our closest rail link in Panmure is a very welcome project.”

Boost to quality of public transport

Auckland Transport AMETI Programme Director, Peter King, says the quality of public transport in the area will be significantly improved by the busway and the new network.

“Large numbers of new passengers, who would otherwise be adding to traffic congestion, are expected to be attracted by buses travelling on congestion free lanes every 5 to 10 minutes between Panmure and Pakuranga.

“The busway is expected to account for about 35 per cent of all journeys across Panmure Bridge in 2026, about 22,000 bus passengers a day. Extending the busway to Botany is expected to increase time savings and the numbers using public transport.

“Safety improvements for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are also an important part of the project.

“For example, Panmure roundabout is currently a safety blackspot. Upgrading it with a signalised intersection will reduce vehicle crashes, provide more direct crossings for pedestrians and improve cycle safety.

“It will also be possible to cycle or walk on safe, separated paths between Panmure, Pakuranga, and on to Farm Cove and Pigeon Mountain by connecting with the Rotary Walkway along the coast.”

Panmure to Pakuranga (Stage 2a) benefits

  • Shorter and safer walking routes around Panmure town centre and station
  • Safer new walking and cycling connections between Panmure and Pakuranga
  • The Panmure intersection will prioritise movement of vehicles along Lagoon Drive and Ellerslie Panmure Highway
  • Improvements to water quality through increased stormwater treatment.

The new public transport network, which was consulted upon in October 2015, and the busway will provide significant improvements to the quality of public transport in the area and to the rest of Auckland.

  • Making public transport, walking and cycling realistic and safe choices
  • More frequent bus services – every 5 to 10 minutes between Panmure and Pakuranga
  • Providing a frequent and reliable connection between east Auckland and the train network
  • Making bus journey times reliable at any time of the day
  • The busway will carry 35 per cent of all journeys across Panmure Bridge in 2026 – about 22,000 bus passengers a day.



Given a double decker bus holds about 144 passengers and a Light Rail Unit would be about 450ish (heavy rail with a six car set is 750) and the large population out in Botany, Pakuranga and Howick that is not served by public transport very well now I do wonder if we should whole-hog it right off the bat and go for Light Rail straight away.


The Light Rail option (Botany Line) was floated in 2004 as part of the Easter Transport (Highway) Corridor project that would defeat then Auckland City Mayor John Banks. While the Eastern Highway is pretty much dead the option for Light Rail – Botany Line is still there.


The Botany Line Sky Train Route. Also serves as a Bus QTN in the interim
The Botany Line Sky Train Route. Also serves as a Bus QTN in the interim


For full details on the Botany Line see here: The Botany Line Sky Train


Remembering Auckland Transport is looking at Rapid Transit between the Airport, Manukau and Botany:

Potential Projects Source: Auckland Transport and NZ Government
Potential Projects
Source: Auckland Transport and NZ Government


5 thoughts on “Where One South Eastern Bus-way Should be Light Rail From Get-Go #MovingAuckland

  1. You can do it surely, really not even if you TBM it.

    If not just do my elevated idea through Manukau if we going to spend 1-2 billion dollars anyway, at the end of the day we are only writing off a 50 million dollar branch line so stuff it, we waste that on every flyover built. We could terminate a future Southwest/Airport Line, have Hamilton trains terminate there since probs wont be enough space at Brit without Level 3 ETCS or grade separation of Quay Park if we don’t want to fully write it off.

    I just don’t see LRT working unless it was a big network that extended to Ellerslie & Howick also.

  2. Not sure on LRT for the Southeast.

    Central – Yes
    NS & NW could work.

    My problem with LRT for the Southeast is you would basically catch a bus to an LRT stop, catch LRT to Panmure & then transfer to a HR train.

    I think the best thing to do is to extend the Manukau line up T Drive all the way to Botany. redevelop Botany huge potential car parks are great places for offices & apartments.

    This connects the Southeast better to Manukau, which using your Super Centres would be a second CBD as well. Completing this part would then push for a drive to complete the line connecting to GI.

    The traffic engineers are smart do a chunk at a time call it a different project and no one questioned the price & when they finish the section people go when is the next one coming.

    1. The MIT/Manukau Station foundations prevent Heavy Rail being extended. Thank the former Council for that one.

      So the SE is left with LRT which would also be extended up Pakuranga Road to Highland Park connecting back to the main Botany Line.

      That means you have two if not three major interchange points (Highland Park, Pakuranga Town Centre and Botany Metropolitan Centre where you can place large park and ride facilities so you should only transfer once to heavy rail either at Panmure or Manukau,

      If we are really bold the Botany Line would extend to Ellersile connecting with the Onehunga Line there to give even further reach.

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