Bus passengers on the Hibiscus Coast will be make transport history this weekend, on October 18, when they become the first to ride on the new bus network for Auckland.
Auckland Transport Metro general manager Mark Lambert says it is a bold step to re-design a bus network from the ground up.
Mr Lambert says that for the Hibiscus Coast, the new service will deliver improvements to frequency and access, promising to cut up to 30 minutes off a journey from Silverdale to the city centre or North Shore in off-peak times.
Local buses will run twice as often between Whangaparaoa and Orewa. There will be a new service for Millwater, and new trial services for Arkles Bay and to the Gulf Harbour ferry and Shakespear Regional Park.
Local buses will connect with the Northern Express at the Hibiscus Coast Bus Station and Park and Ride.
Transfers will be timed to connect through a ‘pulse’ network, where buses are scheduled to arrive together and then all depart at the same time. This will allow passengers to transfer between services with a short waiting time.
The building of the station and a final 274 carparks is due to begin next Spring.
Until the new station is built, the pulse network will operate from the interim bus stops at the Hibiscus Coast Station on Painton Rd.
Information about the new service will be available at a series of local events. These will be held at the Orewa Library on Tuesday October 13, from 10am to 1pm; at the Whangaparaoa Library and The Plaza on Thursday October 15, 10am to 1pm; and Silverdale Village and Silverdale Centre on Friday October 16, from 10am to 1pm.
The AmBUSador (the New Network bus) will be parked outside the Silverdale Centre.
On October 18, as well as the days following, AT Ambassadors will be around the Hibiscus Coast to assist people with navigating the new services. The new bus timetables have been mailed to all households, and information posters are up at key bus stops.
Detailed information about the new routes and timetables are available atAT.govt.nz/better.
Bus services manager Brendon Main says the New Network has been designed to provide attractive transport options for a wide range of people, and a large variety of activities.
“As well as running frequent buses at peak times for commuters, we’re improving services throughout the day and on weekends, to cater for shopping, personal or social trips. We encourage people to find out about how the New Network could work for them and give it a go,” Mr Main says.
Until Simplified Zone Fares are introduced next year, some trips will incur an additional cost, unless travelling with a monthly pass. AT says, once implemented, Simplified Zone Fares will remove any additional cost of transferring and reduce the price for longer trips.
Is it working?
Making substantial changes to local bus timetables has involved a lot of work for AT, including public consultation and protracted negotiations with bus companies.
It is only worth it if this makes life easier for the travelling public.
Once this new service is underway, bus users are welcome to comment on how it’s working via Hibiscus Matters’ website or Facebook page.