A $1.5 million project to modify verandas along Dominion Rd for double-decker buses is a waste of money when modern trams may be only a few years away, says the local business association.

Auckland Transport is planning modification work on 25 verandas to cater for double-decker buses, which are being rolled out on services from Lynfield, Blockhouse Bay and the Mt Roskill shops to the city via Dominion Rd.

The double-deckers will provide capacity for 300,000 extra passengers a year along Dominion Rd, the busiest bus route in Auckland after the Northern Express, an AT spokesman said.

"We need more capacity on this route and double-decker buses allow us to increase passenger numbers without adding to congestion.

Advertisement

"Clearance work is required along Dominion Rd in order to provide a safe passage for these buses," he said.

The plan to remove and shorten verandas is not supported by the Dominion Road Business Association, says chairman Chris Hammonds.

He said AT canned an earlier project to realign bus stops and add pedestrians crossings because light rail - a modern version of trams - is planned down Dominion Rd as part of the city centre to airport route.

Now it appears AT appears to be wasting a lot of money modifying verandas on 25 buildings, some of which are heritage buildings and earthquake prone, which could cause some damage and liability for ratepayers, Hammonds said.

Association manager Gary Holmes said he understood the rationale for modifying the verandas "but why go to all the expense if you are going to change it all again in a very short timeframe".

AT is about to go out to the market for the work, which is expected to cost about $1.5m, the spokesman said.

The New Zealand Transport Agency, which is overseeing Auckland's $6 billion light rail programme for two lines from the CBD to the airport and the CBD to West Auckland, supports the introduction of double-decker buses and veranda modifications, said its general manager system design and delivery Brett Gliddon.