Bus lane closure delayed

Transit New Zealand has delayed plans to close the Esmonde Rd bus lane this month after strong opposition from North Shore City Council.

North Shore city mayor Andrew Williams slammed the closure plans as a "public transport debacle".

Mr Williams warned closing the bus lanes would affect thousands of bus commuters and deprive Takapuna of speedy access to the Auckland CBD.

Transit had originally planned to remove the Esmonde Rd bus lane from December 8 to prepare for the final stage of the interchange upgrade project.

It now plans to close the lane in mid-January.

All city-bound bus services will take the Akoranga busway station access road on to the busway – bypassing the station platforms – then back under Esmonde Rd to Auckland.

Mr Williams welcomes Transit’s move but wants further talks between North Shore City Council and Transit and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority over the reasons for the closure of the lanes.

"I would like to know why it seemed so necessary to close these key access routes just weeks out from the official opening of the entire busway system, which includes our three newest bus stations – Akoranga, Smales Farm and Sunnynook," he says.

"This busway is a $300 million joint venture, and I would not like North Shore city to go down in history as the city that removed bus access lanes at the very time that we are making one of the most significant regional improvements in public transport in years.

"We are trying to encourage greater use of public transport while Transit is doing its best to put roadblocks and obstacles in the way of efficient direct bus services between Takapuna and Auckland CBD."

North Shore Times