Proposed Bus Interchange For City Centre Unis Has Funding Deferred in AT Plan
By Justin Hu (he/him)
A proposed bus interchange for city centre universities has suffered a funding deferral in a new Auckland Transport (AT) plan, despite growing bus congestion.
As part of a $131 million package of improvements, the long-planned-for improvements have been funded as part of the organisation’s new 10-year Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP).
The deferral came to light when the plan was finalised, alongside delays to other projects, including the Eastern Busway and interim Northwest Busway.
A recent external report, commissioned by AT, found that the capacity of existing facilities in the universities precinct would be exceeded by 2028. Despite this, the proposed interchange and terminal facility is not expected to be available until 2028 at the earliest.
The project is also included as part of the organisation’s new ‘city centre bus plan’ which aims to respond to anticipated bus congestion along key road corridors, by re-organising bus routes.
AT spokesperson John Nottage said that the interchange would be a key part of the plan.
“We know that, even with the addition of the City Rail Link and the proposed light rail project, the majority of Aucklanders on public transport will still come in and out of the city by bus, and we need to make sure to be prepared for that,” Nottage said.
Some bus route changes have already been implemented as part of City Rail Link mitigation work, including the 75 bus route, which sees them using existing on-street facilities.
The off-street universities bus interchange would be similar to existing facilities in Auckland, like the Manukau Bus Station, according to AT. Located around Grafton Gully, the facility would also have spaces for e-scooter and bicycle storage.
Nottage continued: “[The facility] is to provide that interchange between routes and people from Wellesley Street to Symonds Street, whether that's via a service through the same bus stop or if people might have to move to a different bus stop, similar to what passengers might experience with feeder services on the Northern Busway.”
Originally proposed in 2013, the bus interchange’s location and design has been the subject of years of political wrangling between AT and Auckland’s universities.
AUT and UOA had jointly lobbied against the original proposal of the interchange which would have been located under the Symonds Street and Wellesley Street intersection.
Consultation on AT’s city centre bus plan is currently open until September 19th.