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Ask Phoebe: Out of town pupils want to avoid being kept in the slow lanes

By Phoebe Falconer

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Motat. Photo / Supplied
Motat. Photo / Supplied

Schools in the Warkworth area use local buses to travel to the museum or Motat in Auckland, but are not allowed to use the bus lanes in busy times (mornings and afternoons). This makes us late to our destinations, especially when we are stuck on the Northern Motorway and can see very few bus movements on the bus lanes. And yes, the bus drivers are trained to use the bus lanes and know the procedures involved. Can you please tell me why this nonsense exists? Neil Hatfull, Warkworth.

As you are coming from Warkworth I am assuming you would like your drivers to use the Northern Busway, where it exists. The most recent information I have is that the Northern Busway is reserved for certain vehicle types, but before operators can use it they have to be authorised. The New Zealand Transport Agency and Auckland Transport bylaws reserve the busway for these vehicle types:

* Authorised operators who operate a heavy omnibus (gross mass greater than five tonnes).

Authorised operators of shuttle vans to and from Auckland Airport (and only the airport, no other destination).

* Emergency services vehicles.

* Maintenance and service vehicles.

* "One-off" vehicles for a special event, such as sport matches at North Shore Stadium.

It seems to me that your local buses carrying students on a school trip could apply for permission to use the busway. I have also read that the busway may be opened up for use of high-occupancy vehicles once the Victoria Park tunnel is completely finished and open for use.

Sometimes I am confronted with cyclists and skateboarders riding straight off the footpath and straight on to the pedestrian crossing. I would imagine they must by law dismount and walk to the other side. Am I correct? I have often got the two-finger salute when I have pointed this out to them. Thomas Gough, Auckland.

The road code for cyclists states clearly that cyclists using pedestrian crossings usually have to get off their cycles and walk across.

However, some crossings are designed for pedestrians and cyclists. These crossings have a set of red, yellow and green signals that display bicycle symbols in addition to the normal pedestrian signals. You are allowed to cycle across when the bicycle symbol is green, which may or may not be when pedestrians cross.

I travel through the Victoria Park tunnel each day and am puzzled by the rotation of the fans. It doesn't seem to matter what the traffic flow is - heavy or light - the fans sometimes are rotating with great speed and at other times not moving at all. What controls these fans? Hilary Jackson, Glenfield.

The eight roof-mounted jet fans were installed as a safety feature in the tunnel, to remove smoke and gases if there is an emergency. They are not generally required on a day-to-day basis, as gases move through the tunnel naturally in the same direction as the traffic, ie, northbound. However, if there is a build-up of fumes from idling cars, two of the fans will be activated, and this is probably what you are seeing.

- NZ Herald

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