Monday, February 26, 2024

Eastern Auckland transport plan moving in right direction

Transport Minister, Michael Wood says Auckland’s eastern suburbs residents can look forward to faster travel times and a more reliable bus service, with the Government confirming investment in the next phases of the Eastern Busway.

“Auckland’s eastern suburbs have one of the highest levels of journey to work trips by car and lowest use of public transport in Auckland,” said Minister Wood.

“With this investment, 24,000 more Aucklanders will now live within 1km of a rapid transit station, providing an attractive public transport service that is reliable and delivers an improved service to the city.

Auckland Mayor, Wayne Brown thanked the Minister for “listening to Aucklanders and acting fast to back the completion of the Eastern Busway”.

“The Northern Busway is probably Auckland’s most successful transport project of recent years,” Mayor Brown said.

“We need to build on its success by finishing the Eastern and get cracking on the Northwestern busway as soon as possible. Today’s announcement is a good first step.”

The Minister and Mayor said the Eastern Busway will provide better connections and sustainable travel options with a reliable high frequency service every few minutes in peak periods, providing a 40-minute bus and train trip between Botany Town Centre and Britomart, saving 20 minutes. The new Reeves Road Flyover will improve the reliability of the busway and will reduce vehicle congestion around Pakuranga Town Centre.

By 2028, the busway will carry 14,000 passengers per day, more than four times the 3,700 bus passengers per day prior to the pandemic. By 2048 it is expected to increase to 24,000 passengers per day.

The Minister and Mayor also acknowledged the Eastern busway extension is an important step towards an agreed broader plan to futureproof Auckland with one high-quality, joined-up transport system, which includes cars, buses, trains, ferries, cyclists, pedestrians, freight and passenger rail and light rail.

As well as enhancements to the existing transport system, the agreed plan will include a range of projects including maximising the return from the CRL through heavy rail improvements, the Northwestern busway, Auckland Light Rail, and the Alternative Waitemata Harbour crossing.

“The Government and Council have committed to work together to advance our priorities, provide certainty and deliver progress for Auckland,” Mayor Brown said.

“The Minister and I agree that it is important for there to be a focus on the immediate and pressing needs facing Auckland including reducing congestion, establishing a clear plan and timeline for the future of Auckland’s publicly owned waterfront land  and fixing Auckland’s current public transport crisis. Together we will ensure central and local agencies are responding to the wishes of Aucklanders.”

Minister Wood said he would work constructively with Mayor Brown on city-shaping initiatives, including work on the Mass Rapid Transit system including buses, trains, ferries, the CRL, Auckland Light Rail and the Alternative Waitemata Harbour Crossing.

“This work will be supported by the Government’s draft New Zealand freight and supply chain strategy to be published by June next year, which will inform investment decisions by central and local government and the private sector,” the Minister said.

“Today’s announcement to drive forward the Eastern Busway shows we share a commitment to deliver better transport outcomes for Auckland, securing New Zealand’s economy and providing the certainty our largest city needs to thrive.”

The Eastern Busway is a major project under Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) and is co-funded with Auckland Council through the regional fuel tax, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, and the Crown.

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