Could Drury to Manukau/Puhinui get Light Rail in the Future?
When one asks questions one will usually find the answers. When one asks specific questions to help with their submission on transport investment for Southern Auckland you get a rather pleasant surprise:
6. What issues and opportunities do you see in providing a new Rapid Transport Network (RTN – e.g. buses or light rail) between Drury and either Manukau or Puhinui?
That was Question Six to the Supporting Growth Alliance – South submission page (Feedback form for transport options(external link) )in relation to future transit south of Manukau. The question ties in with this exchange between myself and the Alliance:
“In regards to the bus lanes on State Highway 1
What is the methodology for providing bus lanes down State Highway 1 from Drury to Manukau when:
- No Auckland Transport commuter service would use this as AT works on the priority of feeding into rail stations and the 33 Great South Road service
- No AT commuter service would use SH1 in the future given the above
It seems it would duplicating and waste resource for little gain when a Rapid Transit Network already exists (the Southern (rail) Line), a Frequent Service Network already exists (the 33 which can be extended to Drury) and future RTN (running a service down the upgraded Mill Road is prudent to build resilience if the 33 bus and Southern Line are impaired).”
The vast majority of people who live in the south need to travel north for work and at present, less than 10% of people in the south currently use public transport to get to work. We are considering upgrades to the rail network in the south to enable rail to play a much greater role in meeting the current and future travel needs of the south.
However, given the scale of growth anticipated in the south over the next 30 years, relying solely on the rail network may not be enough to support growth in the long term. We are therefore considering additional options for the Rapid Transit Network (RTN) to continue to provide access and mode choice from the South in the long term.
That is the first time I have ever seen Public Authorities mention that Southern Auckland growth is not only higher than they ever anticipated (I have long written on this) but the Southern Line even with FOUR Mains backed up by the Great South Road 33 Bus will not be enough (a surprise to me).
While I have mentioned in the past the Mill Road corridor should have busses running along it connecting Papakura to Manukau to give us resilience it was not anticipated it would be for because the Southern Line could not cope.
None-the-less what I do appreciate is some deep forward thinking from the Supporting Growth Alliance. If they (like NZTA honestly does with Airport to Botany (A2B)) Light Rail could or would be useful and thus should be approached with the public then respect from me and let’s have this conversation.
In order to do this though I have some questions given A2B is also on the cards as part of the South Western Gateway Programe:
- Why Light Rail between Drury and Manukau or Puhinui?
- What would warrant Light Rail between Drury and Manukau or Puhinui?
- Given this potential LRT route terminates at either one of the two A2B (Airport to Botany) Stations that is also being advocated for as Light Rail how would the two systems integrate?
Given Light Rail south of Manukau is now sitting on the cards I wonder if A2B (Airport to Botany) as Light Rail is now a mere formality?
In any case more questions!
In the meantime I hope the Alliance has their maps out for best route optimisation of this new Rapid Transit – Light Rail Route. I know I do when placing down a new Line: