Covid Budget alters non-rail transit services
With the recent Emergency Covid Budget from Auckland Council, there have been changes to some bus and ferry services. If one is wondering the South is not negatively affected but rather picks up improvements.
From Auckland Transport:
Changes to public transport services
Auckland Transport (AT) is regrettably changing some public transport services across Auckland in response to Auckland Council’s emergency budget and customer demand.
The reworked budget requires a $10m cost reduction in public transport operating expenditure compared to the pre-COVID budget.
Mark Lambert, AT’s Executive General Manager of Integrated Networks, says by making changes to existing services and unfortunately deferring some improvements, AT will achieve the necessary savings and support Council’s budget reductions.
This will mean being able to make much-needed improvements to areas where there is increased customer demand for services, without the need for additional public funding.
Mr Lambert says AT looked at services which have been in place for some time but where patronage was low – in some cases as few as three customers per day.
In other areas, such as the rural north and south, patronage is low on some bus routes – but communities have limited other public transport options so these have been kept.
Across the network, less than 0.5 per cent of passengers will be affected by the changes, with the vast majority having good alternatives.This is not taking into account the people who will benefit from service improvements.
“AT is seeking to deliver a public transport system that meets the needs of our customers, within the constraints of the emergency budget,” Mr Lambert says.
“We acknowledge that some customers will unfortunately be inconvenienced by the required changes, but we are focusing on removing or reducing services where good alternatives exist for those affected.”
Changes include the removal of some peak time bus services where they duplicate other all-day services, and poorly patronised routes or sections of routes where there are alternative options for customers.
Planned expenditure on additional train service capacity will unfortunately be deferred, while customer demand is reduced due to COVID-19.
Ferry service resources will be reallocated from the Stanley Bay service, which will cease on Christmas Eve, to the Hobsonville Point service from late January 2021. This will allow much-needed investment in the ferry service network, while recognising that Stanley Bay has low patronage and Hobsonville demand is growing significantly, often leaving customers behind.
AT understands this will be disappointing for Stanley Bay ferry users, but recognises that alternative options exist. With limited availability of vessels and budget constraints, it allows AT to meet growing demand at Hobsonville Point. This will increase overall use of the ferry network, without increasing Council and central government public subsidy expenditure.
Two new additional services each morning and afternoon will be added to the Hobsonville ferry.
Other planned improvements will continue – with increased frequency on some bus routes and changes to existing bus routes to serve new housing developments. A Sunday bus service is also being added for the first time in the Laingholm community.
The first changes come into effect in December 2020, with the peak-only 728 and 729 bus services ceasing operation, and the Stanley Bay ferry service ending on Christmas Eve.
Most changes will come into effect in late January 2021.
For a full summary of the changes, visit: AT.govt.nz/metrochanges
As I said at the top of the post the South did not take any cuts this time around. In fact the South took improvements with two route modifications (allowing increased frequencies), one Route extension in Karaka Lakes, and the most exciting part the Airport Link going on line!
From Auckland Transport:
Changes to 313 and 380 bus services from Sunday 24 January 2021
- Route 380 will be split into two separate bus routes:
- Route 38: will run between Onehunga and Auckland International Airport via Mangere Town Centre. The route will be similar to the 380 route over this section but amended to serve Mountain Road which is currently served by the 313 route. It will operate every 15 minutes from 7am until late and every 30 minutes before 7am.
- Airport Link: will run between Manukau and Auckland International Airport. See below for details.
- Route 313 bus service will no longer travel between Onehunga and Mangere Town Centre
- has an average of 35 boardings per day on the affected section of the route.
- Other bus services are available for most of the removed section of the 313 route.
- There is no change to the 313 route between Manukau and Mangere Town Centre.
Introduction of new Airport Link bus service with fleet of electric buses from Sunday 24 January 2021
- A new bus service, the Airport Link, will begin operating between Manukau Bus Station and Auckland International Airport with a full fleet of electric buses.
- Will run via Papatoetoe, until Puhinui station is open in May 2021 every 15 minutes from 4:35am to 12:15am, 7 days a week.
- From May 2021, the Airport Link will run between the Airport and Manukau via Puhinui every 10 minutes from 4:30am to 12:40am, 7 days a week.
New bus service for Karaka Lakes from Sunday 24 January 2021
- The existing 378 bus service will extend its route into Karaka Lakes to provide a service to the growing residential area.
- New timetables. Connections with trains will remain.
Source: Auckland Transport
The introduction of the Airport Link and its fleet of E-buses marks the next first of Airport to Botany Rapid Transit coming online with the full Stage 1 going operational in May next year. Stage 2 (to Botany) is due for completion hopefully around 2028. For more see: ALL ABOARD – the new E-Buses that will form the Airport Line (A2B) Fleet
As a final note, Auckland Transport did good with the transit rationalisation given the reluctance from Council and NZTA to stump the cash to allow continuation of the expansion of more services.