Use of car pooling better, but...

By Mathew Dearnaley

Survey finds more in busy road's transit lane, although not all there legally

Many legally using the lane were carrying children to school. Photo / Greg Bowker
Many legally using the lane were carrying children to school. Photo / Greg Bowker

Car-pooling remains a largely untapped transport solution in Auckland, judging by lacklustre use of a priority lane on a main commuter route.

But a Herald survey yesterday morning on Remuera Rd, along which a lane reserved for vehicles with three or more occupants runs for almost 5km, showed a marked improvement since dismal findings from an Auckland Transport count in March.

Reporters found 14 per cent of 1285 cars, vans, trucks and buses using the "T3" lane in the rush-hour from 7.40am, towards the Newmarket end of the road, which starts in Meadowbank.

Although only 10.5 per cent were doing so legally with a driver and at least two passengers, even that was an increase from a 7 per cent usage rate three months ago, so should be welcomed by organisers of the first national Kiwi Car-Pool Week, which ends today.

Some cars without the required payload veered into the road's main lane to avoid capture by Auckland Transport video cameras between Bassett Rd and St Marks Rd, but at least one driver could not find space at the last minute in a relentless queue of single-occupant vehicles crawling towards Newmarket, so could be fined $150.

Many legally using the lane were carrying children to school, so may not fall under the definition of car-pooling.

Although the lane was also used by 27 motorbikes and 21 bicycles, there remained plenty of room for high-occupancy vehicles to whiz past the rest on the inside track without slowing down buses, whose sovereignty Auckland Transport has been keen to protect.

The numbers

Mainstream lane:

1107 vehicles

T3 lane:

Cars, vans and trucks 153 (43 illegally)

Buses 25

Motorbikes 27

Bicycles 21

- NZ Herald

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