Fewer stops the price of untangled bus network

By Mathew Dearnaley

US transport consultant Jarrett Walker expects complaints when commuters are asked to walk further to their nearest bus stop. Photo / Natalie Slade
US transport consultant Jarrett Walker expects complaints when commuters are asked to walk further to their nearest bus stop. Photo / Natalie Slade

Auckland bus passengers should expect some inconvenience in return for a simpler network.

United States consultant Jarrett Walker, leader of a team which has prescribed the radical network redesign adopted by Auckland Transport, says a two-thirds reduction in the region's existing jumble of 400 bus services will prove controversial in some cases.

A network of fewer but higher-frequency services relying on more passenger transfers between buses cannot sacrifice simplicity, he says.

He expects some to complain when asked to walk further to their nearest bus stop.

"Frequency is very expensive, so a high-frequency network has to be a very efficient deployment of services," he said during a return visit to Auckland, where his strategy should start unfolding in 18 months, subject to public consultation.

"Simplicity is so crucial, legibility, being able to keep [route] patterns in your head and that necessarily means we have to follow some fairly simple paths that won't be what some people are used to."

Auckland Transport expects to operate the redesigned network for about the same cost as existing services, although it faces some extra capital spending on bus transfer stations such as at Otahuhu, Te Atatu and Lincoln Rd in Henderson.

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- NZ Herald

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