The bus stop that never was

Goflands residents have been left dejected after the removal of a planned bus stop. Times photo Farida Master

Golflands residents were thrilled when a new bus stop with a modern shelter was built on Ti Rakau Drive just across from the Botany hub.

“The walk to East Park from Bunnings or the Botany Town Centre, the two nearest ‘working’ bus stops isn’t much fun in the wet,” said Graham Pilgrim, chairperson of East Park Association.

However the excitement was short-lived as commuters – including senior citizens – waited at the bus stop for a bus that never came.

There was a lot of confusion as Howick & Eastern Buses drivers zoomed right past the new shelter.

In July last year, Auckland Transport (AT) told the Times that it had encountered some unforeseen issues with the safe operation of bus stop at all times of the day.

“The bus stop couldn’t be used till the issues were resolved with the bus operator but we are working on it,” AT said at the time.

A year on and AT spokesperson Mark Hannan has come clean.

“When the outbound bus stop was planned, its purpose was to provide a missing bus stop in our network – to pair with the current inbound bus stop at 451 Ti Rakau Drive,” he says.

After the stop was constructed and scheduled to be brought into active service, Howick & Eastern Buses raised significant safety concerns with the operation of the bus stop at certain times of day, “Particularly in the afternoon peak, when traffic backs up in the left hand lane waiting to turn from Ti Rakau Dr into Te Irirangi Dr,” he says.

“The operator is of the view that it is not safe for a bus to depart this bus stop and make the necessary lane changes to get into the right turn lane to access Te Irirangi Dr and then Botany Town Centre.”

Mr Hannan says that Auckland Transport have investigated several options to address the safety concerns including the addition of an outbound bus lane which was deemed to cause too much general traffic congestion at the location.

A relocation of the bus stop was also considered which would have seen it move a considerable distance to the west and thus not serve the residential area to the north that it was specifically built to cater to.

“As a workable solution cannot be found, Auckland Transport will be removing the bus stop and shelter – with the shelter being reused elsewhere.

“We appreciate that this is not the outcome that any party wants, as we are working hard across the city to improve access to public transport services,” he says.

“Regrettably, in this
instance, a solution cannot be found and the closest bus stops will remain as current – either Stop 6142 adjacent to Burswood Dr or in Botany Town Centre.”