Monday, December 4, 2023

Proposed bus and cycleway development Te Irirangi Drive

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I read your article [Times, May 31] headlining the work proposed for Te Irirangi Drive with some dismay.

There is no financial justification to spend on adding separate bus only lanes and cycle ways in this area. This is driven by an organisation which believes it has a right to force citizens to adopt a different way of life.

Firstly, bus stops could easily be fitted into the grass berms or moved into the slip roads where they exist for a lot less cost. This will allow the traffic to flow as normal and also allow the buses a safe point to pick up and drop off passengers. If we look at the average passenger loads of the buses, it makes no commercial sense to invest large amounts of capital in the faint hope that all commuters will suddenly take public transport.

The commercial areas in Auckland are far too spread out to make mass transport really viable and we should look at providing backstop services only.

On my many trips around this area, I have rarely seen buses especially outside peak hours, with a decent number on board. Before any further work is done on this, a table of all bus trips and passenger loading needs to be provided to see how large a loss the buses are making now and what forecast in loading increases have been proposed. I am reasonably certain running large buses on a number of routes has never been economic. It probably would be better to extend the Hop Card to Uber or some other organisation at non-peak times.

Secondly, cycle ways are great but, as a cyclist myself, there are a number of lower traffic density routes available and run parallel to this route. Again, there are a few hardy people who cycle to work daily but it is unlikely to become the main transport choice in this area.

Finally, if we are really remotely sincere about carbon neutrality, we need to leave as many large trees standing as possible. We cannot cut them down to make space for diesel buses.

I could agree to an electric rail service down the middle of the road but Auckland Transport does not demonstrate any affection for trains or ferries.

As a good start we should do a head count on the new Panmure Bridge and see if the buses are carrying a decent proportion of the travellers whilst occupying half the road space and have special traffic light phasing at the disadvantage of other members of the public. Half the space should equate to half the passengers.

It is time that Auckland Transport justified its spending to the ratepayers as their stakeholders.

Bill Taylor
Cockle Bay

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