A step forward for Auckland's public transport

The next step in much-needed funding improvements for Auckland's public transport system has been given the go-ahead.

Plans for a south eastern busway between Panmure and Pakuranga have been approved for development. 

The plans will cost more than $20m with the New Zealand Transport Agency subsidising $11m of that. 

The project is part of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) which has a total cost of $1.3b.Construction could begin in 2017 subject to a raft of approvals and consents going through.

Auckland Transport Chairman Lester Levy said Panmure Station and a new road, due to open soon, were just the start of major transport improvements for the area.

"With the first stage in Panmure almost complete and delivering benefits already, we're looking forward to the next stage. This funding will allow us to further develop the design of the busway and other major transport projects."

Levy admitted public transport in Auckland was currently a "poor option" with buses getting caught up in the same congestion as cars.

"Large numbers of passengers are expected to be attracted by quicker, frequent and more reliable buses on lanes separate to traffic."

He said with the new project finished, buses could take about 27 minutes between Pakuranga and Britomart and would run every five to 10 minutes. 

NZTA regional manager of planning and investment Peter Casey said Auckland projects were a high priority for the agency. 

Mr Casey said the NZTA would contribute just over a 50 per cent share of the total cost of AMETI - funding which comes from the excise duty on fuel, road user charges and vehicle registration fees. 

The busway will be the next stage after the current work in Panmure, which included the new Panmure Station and a new link road between Mt Wellington Highway and Morrin Rd.

The Panmure to Pakuranga projects include replacing Panmure roundabout with traffic lights, a Panmure to Pakuranga busway on lanes separate to traffic congestion, Panmure to Pakuranga shared cycle/foot path separate to traffic and a direct connection from Pakuranga Rd to Pakuranga Highway via Reeves Rd.