Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Bus lanes at a standstill under Len Brown

A spokesman for Mr Brown's mayoral campaign confirmed a lot of work had gone into sorting the bus-lane problems. Photo / Sarah Ivey
A spokesman for Mr Brown's mayoral campaign confirmed a lot of work had gone into sorting the bus-lane problems. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Len Brown has not built a single metre of bus lane in his first term as mayor of the Super City.

Mr Brown, who says fixing public transport, including better bus services, is his top priority, has splurged $770 million on public transport and $1.2 billion on roads and footpaths in the past three years.

But not a cent has gone on new lanes to improve bus services, which have drawn criticism and seen a fall of 2.9 per cent in patronage over the past year, from 55.1 million bus trips to 53.5 million.

Auckland Transport yesterday confirmed a tweet on the Auckland Transport Blog that after the "stupid" 2010 election distraction of bus-lane enforcement, not one had been built.

An Auckland Transport spokesman said the main change on bus lanes was allowing cars with three or more passengers to use the 5km Remuera Rd bus lane.

He said a lot of work had been done on signage and marking of bus lanes to make things clearer for motorists after the 2010 issues.

Bus priority work continued on major projects such as Dominion Rd and Ameti in southeast Auckland and a major revamp of bus services, the spokesman said.

A spokesman for Mr Brown's mayoral campaign confirmed a lot of work had gone into sorting the bus-lane problems, saying to focus on a single aspect was a bit simplistic.

He said significant work was under way on a new public transport network for Auckland, including bus and cycleways. There were more bus services on several routes, double-decker buses running on the northern expressway and plans for buses to run every 15 minutes from 7am to 7pm on major routes.

There were plans for a busway from Westgate to the city centre, he said, which is in the Auckland Plan to be built between 2030 and 2040.

The pro-public transport blog said it was not good enough that no bus lanes had been built when more were needed. It said bus lanes carried more people than general traffic lanes, made buses faster, more reliable, roads more efficient and reduced operating subsidies.

Mr Brown does not have a strong record of building bus lanes. Manukau City, where he was a councillor and mayor, has just 3km of them, compared with 31km in the Auckland City area. North Shore has 9km. Waitakere - the so-called Eco City - has no bus lanes, only short bus "advance" lanes at some big intersections.

Mr Brown pulled out of a mayoral debate with his main rival, John Palino, in Takapuna last night because of a bad cold.

- NZ Herald

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