Cyclists and taxis push for busway access

By Edward Gay

Taxi drivers want the use of Auckland's new Northern Busway while cyclists, also shut out of the $300 million development, want bike racks fitted to buses.

Cycle Action Auckland chairperson Bevan Woodward said early on there were plans to include cyclists in the development but they were scrapped.

Putting a cycle rack on buses travelling on the Northern Busway would help cyclists and increase the use of the busway, he said.

Mr Woodward said cyclists would take about 15 to 20 seconds putting a bike on the rack and this could happen while other people were getting on the bus.

"We'd be advocating for it to be free. It's free on the ferry but it's not free on the train but if push came to shove, we'd be prepared to pay $1," Mr Woodward said.

He said Cycle Action Auckland has been in discussions with the Auckland Regional Transport Authority and a pilot of the scheme, on the Remuera Rider and the Northern Busway, would cost about $58,000.

ARTA was contacted for comment this morning but has so far not returned phone calls.

Taxi Federation executive director Tim Reddish said including taxis on the busway would be a more efficient use of the roadway.

"Taxis are defined as public transport and taxi passengers should have the same access as bus passengers," Mr Reddish said.

He said disabled people, who find it hard to use a bus, use taxis as their main form of transport.

Mr Reddish said at the very least, taxis transporting disabled children to school - which can spend up to an hour and a half in traffic - should be allowed to use the busway.

But Transit regional project manager Mark Johnson said although taxis may be classed as public transport, they do not reduce congestion on the harbour bridge.

"The idea is that the busway is there for the benefit of buses and mass transport. The last thing we want is other vehicles getting in the way of large public transport," Mr Johnson said.

He said Transit is constantly reviewing the use of the busway.

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