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Old July 21st, 2009, 02:46 AM   #1
SYDNEY
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AUCKLAND | BRT

AUCKLAND [NORTHERN BUSWAY]

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AKORANGA BUS STATION







































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Old July 21st, 2009, 07:41 AM   #2
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SMALES FARM BUS STATION

































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Old July 21st, 2009, 08:25 AM   #3
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Looks like quite decent stations - would be good to see some of Auckland's (& Wellington's) rail stations done to this standard.

Great photography (as always). Thanks for posting.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 08:26 AM   #4
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When was this built?
How far does it extend?

Any proposals to convert to light or heavy rail in the future?
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Old July 21st, 2009, 08:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelbourneCity View Post
When was this built?
How far does it extend?

Any proposals to convert to light or heavy rail in the future?





Major construction began in 2005. Albany and Constellation stations opened in November 2005. The busway and three remaining stations opened in February 2008.

Currently the new 8.7 km road on the eastern side of the Northern Motorway runs from Constellation Drive to the Auckland Harbour Bridge. It consists of:

A 6.24 km two-way road for buses running between Constellation Drive and Esmonde Road with bus stations at Constellation, Sunnynook, Smales Farm and Akoranga. A fifth station with Park and Ride facilities has been established north of the busway at Albany. (Constellation drive - Albany is on the highway and is not included in the distance.)

A single 2.5 km bus lane will run southbound from Akoranga Station to the Auckland Harbour Bridge, with the capacity to extend to a two-way system in the future.

The busway has been designed so that it can be converted to light rail if this proves viable in the future, and Transit New Zealand and the other busway partners are investigating the possibility of extending the busway further north. It has also been designed to accommodate car pools (vehicles with three or more people) in the future.

The Northern Buswayproject partners will look at this once the capacity at Victoria Park Viaduct has been improved.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 08:58 AM   #6
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I have to say we were very impressed with the Northern Bus way. Having used it a few times to get around the North Shore it is amazing how convenient and fast it is with the dedicated bus lane.

image hosted on flickr


The stations are all very clean and have CCTV surveillance with a loudspeaker. One occasion a traveler happened to walk across the bus lane and he was warned over the loudspeaker system to please get off. There are plenty of simple conveniences at each station.

Bike parks and bike lockers for those wishing to cycle to the stations

image hosted on flickr


$2 deposit allows you to lock up your bike for the day which you get back when you return the key!

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Safety points

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Elevators to upper levels

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Clean public toilets (including piped elevator music which stops when you unlock the door)

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Vending machines including ones selling the NZ Herald newspaper

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A great feature is the automatic ticketing booth

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In addition to the normal GPS information boards outside next to the actual stop, the waiting area has live LCD timetable information

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For the early risers both Constellation Drive and Albany Stations have a coffee bar and coffee is allowed on the bus

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Next Smales Farm station.........
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Old July 21st, 2009, 09:00 AM   #7
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The Northern Busway will also form part of the [CENTRAL CONNECTOR] project which is currently under construction and will link downtown Auckland with Newmarket. Also under investigation is the 2nd [HARBOUR CROSSING] which is more than likely going to be a tunnel under the harbour from the new waterfront [SEA+CITY] to North Shore and this will entail light rail. Lots happening but not soon enough
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Old July 21st, 2009, 09:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kegan View Post
Looks like quite decent stations - would be good to see some of Auckland's (& Wellington's) rail stations done to this standard.

Great photography (as always). Thanks for posting.
They are fab and what a pleasure ! Many of Auckland's new train stations will make these look like crap ... Newmarket, New Lynn, Henderson (completed and is apparently lovely), Manukau, Park, Panmure (completed and looks good) ... lots to look forward to

Thanks for the compliments.
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 02:19 AM   #9
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SUNNYNOOK BUS STATION













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Old July 24th, 2009, 03:58 AM   #10
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CONSTELLATION BUS STATION

















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Old July 24th, 2009, 08:33 PM   #11
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Thanks SYDNEY for posting. I always enjoy your photos and narratives. And you probably know already I'm rather fond of Auckland.

However, I simply can't understand the point of these stations. This is normal bus line right? Ok, maybe an express on it, but we are not talking an O-bahn system here, just run of the mill buses?

What I can't understand is that buses, in an urban environment are really the poor man's tram or metro. The only saving grace of a bus is that it can pass through many urban streets, dropping or picking up it's passengers very close to their destination.

These stations defeat that very, and only advantage. Considering this part of Auckland is ultra low density, each station seems to be too far from any concentration of people to warrent such large stops. In effect, they look like white elephants built to appease a populace who really wanted a rail network, but couldn't justify it because there is not the density in that part of town.

I used to work on the North Shore and travelled every day over the Harbour Bridge by bus. This was the only public transport option I had. Sure, the bus would have more stops, windy roads and traffic than this service would, but it dropped me off 2 and a half minutes from where I worked. With this system it would take me much longer. I would just use the normal buses.

This does seem to be the problem other people face as in nearly every photo these stops are deserted. There are no people!

We have similar stops here and in many other cities and countries I have been to, but usually they are built in suburban town centers or around suburban shopping malls, not over a motorway.

Anyway, just my two cents.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 02:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Thanks SYDNEY for posting. I always enjoy your photos and narratives. And you probably know already I'm rather fond of Auckland.
Thank you very much, I know that you are fond of Auckland but that doesn't mean that you can't criticise. I am one of Auckland's biggest critics, that is how things improve - right ?

Quote:
However, I simply can't understand the point of these stations. This is normal bus line right? Ok, maybe an express on it, but we are not talking an O-bahn system here, just run of the mill buses?
It is a busway that is a very expensive busway and much needed to help traffic crossing over the harbour - a two lane road has been built soley for the use of buses along the SH1 motorway. It is very fast and very efficient. The idea is to future proof it for light rail which can only be introduced once there is a new harbour crossing. Currently plans are being drawn up to squeeze in another bus stop and to extend the busway from Albany via Silverdale to Orewa. Once that is complete then the busway will be even more worth the while. Orewa is miles away and travelling to Auckland takes travellers ages during peak times.

Quote:
What I can't understand is that buses, in an urban environment are really the poor man's tram or metro. The only saving grace of a bus is that it can pass through many urban streets, dropping or picking up it's passengers very close to their destination.
Like I said before, light rail can't be introduced until there is a new harbour crossing (plans are being finalised as I type this) and something had to be done to help the traffic congestion. The bus connections from each of these stations is brilliant. We watched as a Northern Express loaded people off and a few minutes later (sometimes instantly) there was another bus linking the suburbs. You can see that it is well planned from the map that I posted in post #1. There is at the moment no other alternative for the North Shore but buses and the buses are luxurious indeed - I won't have it any other way .

Quote:
These stations defeat that very, and only advantage. Considering this part of Auckland is ultra low density, each station seems to be too far from any concentration of people to warrent such large stops. In effect, they look like white elephants built to appease a populace who really wanted a rail network, but couldn't justify it because there is not the density in that part of town.
Not at all, Auckland is changing faster than we can keep track of - you can't go anywhere without encountering some sort of construction site. Areas around these bus stations are developing rapidly and I think that they had a look at future plans and built these bus stations where they are just for those reasons, also, making room for a future light rail system. For example:

Akoranga:
Takapuna is growing in the direction of this bus station with quite a few new apartments very close by. There is also a tertiary institution across the motorway (hence the pedestrian bridge crossing over the motorway) ... plans are afoot to expand this institution.

Smales Farm:
A massive new office park (and growing), a big school right there and many new apartments close by with a huge retirement complex. Smales Farm is still growing and attracts quite a few people to the area.

Sunnynook:
Major suburb with a huge light industrial area there - Wairau Park, we always use this bus station once we drop our car off to get back to the city. This is the smallest bus station along the line.

Constellation:
A huge growth node as well, many new offices have popped up there and residential areas are very close by. Many use this station to get to the new Albany town centre which has grown to within a few hundred metres of this bus station. Across the motorway is another massive light industrial area.

Albany:
This will definitely be the busiest bus station of them all. Albany is planned to be larger and denser than Takapuna town centre. Westfield Albany is one of Auckland's largest shopping centres and it will also be expanding, this is just a few hundred metres from the bus station. Eventually apartments and offices will envelope this bus station.

Quote:
I used to work on the North Shore and travelled every day over the Harbour Bridge by bus. This was the only public transport option I had. Sure, the bus would have more stops, windy roads and traffic than this service would, but it dropped me off 2 and a half minutes from where I worked. With this system it would take me much longer. I would just use the normal buses.
It all depends where you want to go. Some people that I have spoken to say that it is way quicker for them. Other say that it takes them longer and therefore they don't use it but stick to their original routine. You don't have to use the Northern busway. There are alternative bus routes that you can use.

Quote:
This does seem to be the problem other people face as in nearly every photo these stops are deserted. There are no people! We have similar stops here and in many other cities and countries I have been to, but usually they are built in suburban town centers or around suburban shopping malls, not over a motorway. Anyway, just my two cents.
These photos were taken on a Saturday and in most cases I tried to not get people in the pics so that I can showcase the bus stations only. In some of the pics you will see reflections of people in the glass ... I had to be inventive with the angles or wait for the right moment (Albany was a little more difficult). Photographs are a second or two in time By the time that we got to Constellation station tens upon tens of people were arriving to take the bus to Eden Park Stadium for the All Blacks vs Wallabies game. That is when we left. The stations are busy during the week and Albany station has just had a rather large expansion of the parking area because people were parking down the side streets (I wish that they will build an underground parking area there - it is too big now).

I don't know when last you were in Auckland but it doesn't stop growing. In the 4 years that I have been here it has changed hugely. I received a message on my photo gallery page from a woman who lived here 7 years ago and she said that she is totally amazed at the changes and can't recognise much but she enjoyed the pics I think that they have planned this very well and taken into account future growth plans. The only bus stop that isn't close to a town centre/commercial area is Sunnynook but it is within walking distance to a hub of activity. It is a job well done and I take my hat off to them
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Last edited by SYDNEY; July 25th, 2009 at 02:38 AM.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 02:37 AM   #13
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ALBANY BUS STATION













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Old July 25th, 2009, 02:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justme View Post
What I can't understand is that buses, in an urban environment are really the poor man's tram or metro. The only saving grace of a bus is that it can pass through many urban streets, dropping or picking up it's passengers very close to their destination.

These stations defeat that very, and only advantage. Considering this part of Auckland is ultra low density, each station seems to be too far from any concentration of people to warrent such large stops.
My experience is the busway itself is a very fast way into or out of the CBD due to the dedicated lane, but that is just the cherry on top. The busway forms the backbone for all the other buses that feed into each station from the surrounding areas. Granted taking a bus that uses the busway may not be the quickest route in all cases, but it does allow one to literally get to any destination.

In terms of "busy-ness", we have been planning to photographically document the Northern Busway for ages, and every time we went mid-week it was just way way to busy to get images that could show the infrastructure without getting too many people in the pics. Hence the choice of a Saturday afternoon when it is much quieter.


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Old July 25th, 2009, 03:29 AM   #15
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Does this mean they cancelled the light rail project?
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Old July 25th, 2009, 03:41 AM   #16
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Far be it for me to dispute what Mr KF and Sydney have said about connecting buses, but I don't believe that connecting buses to the suburbs are frequent enough at the moment from most of the stops. Most of the connecting buses to the suburbs run at 30 minute to hourly frequencies, less frequent than the Northern Express which boasts much more impressive 10 minute frequencies.

Examples:
Albany Busway station to Browns bay = 30 minute frequencies (route 880).
Akoranga Busway Station to Takapuna = 30 minute frequencies (route 945).
Smales Farm Busway Station to Milford Shopping Centre = Hourly frequencies (route 858)

For many of the suburbs it is actually quicker to take the local bus straight from the city, however, for park and ride purposes (which is what a large majority of the stations are there for), it is absolutely ideal. The busway itself is very fast, uses comfortable buses and avoids traffic in peak hours. For those who can cycle or drive to the bus stations it is a fantastic service, hence the usage at the moment which is on target for well over 2.5million trips per year at current estimates - and for Auckland, this is impressive especially when one considers what public transport patronage used to be like on the North Shore.

Hopefully, once integrated ticketing is launched in Auckland the buses that connect to the Northern Busway can be reformed to a more useful "hub and spoke" model of passenger distribution.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 03:54 AM   #17
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Some busway station locations:

Akoranga





Smales Farm





Sunnynook





Constellation Station





Albany Station



As you can see, there are very distinct plans to upgrade the area around Albany station. It will become a reasonable density suburb full of midrise and lowrise apartments and townhouses with the busway station at its centre - though I do wish they'd built the busway station closer to the shopping centre to fully realise its potential.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 04:00 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Does this mean they cancelled the light rail project?
No not at all ... A tunnel is proposed for under the harbour that will include light rail to North Shore .... they are frantically busy trying to get this done but it will cost billions. Auckland Harbour Bridge is pushed to the limit and Auckland definitely needs a second harbour crossing. I will try to find more info for you
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Old July 25th, 2009, 08:15 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Far be it for me to dispute what Mr KF and Sydney have said about connecting buses, but I don't believe that connecting buses to the suburbs are frequent enough at the moment from most of the stops. Most of the connecting buses to the suburbs run at 30 minute to hourly frequencies, less frequent than the Northern Express which boasts much more impressive 10 minute frequencies.

Examples:
Albany Busway station to Browns bay = 30 minute frequencies (route 880).
Akoranga Busway Station to Takapuna = 30 minute frequencies (route 945).
Smales Farm Busway Station to Milford Shopping Centre = Hourly frequencies (route 858)

For many of the suburbs it is actually quicker to take the local bus straight from the city, however, for park and ride purposes (which is what a large majority of the stations are there for), it is absolutely ideal. The busway itself is very fast, uses comfortable buses and avoids traffic in peak hours. For those who can cycle or drive to the bus stations it is a fantastic service, hence the usage at the moment which is on target for well over 2.5million trips per year at current estimates - and for Auckland, this is impressive especially when one considers what public transport patronage used to be like on the North Shore.

Hopefully, once integrated ticketing is launched in Auckland the buses that connect to the Northern Busway can be reformed to a more useful "hub and spoke" model of passenger distribution.
Thanks for that Svarty, the aerials are already out-dated but they give a good idea of what is happening in each area. Like I said, if the busway doesn't work for you there are alternatives
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Old July 25th, 2009, 08:33 AM   #20
Svartmetall
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Thanks for that Svarty, the aerials are already out-dated but they give a good idea of what is happening in each area. Like I said, if the busway doesn't work for you there are alternatives
Thankfully not hugely outdated as they only put up new images of the North Shore earlier this year! The North Shore really does have impressive Google Earth coverage these days, the resolution is fantastic so those who wish to investigate Auckland I recommend taking a look.

PS: we also have Google Street view of the area too - these images were taken last year so might be a little out of date, but not too out of date. Take a look around.
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