The Case for the Northwestern Busway

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Jeremy Greenbrook-Held

I was interested to read Josh Arbury’s update on the Northwestern Busway. ARTA have up until recently been reluctant to entertain the idea of a second public transport spine in West Auckland, claiming that it will take patronage away from the Western Rail Line, but seem to be warming to the idea.

A North Shore-style dedicated bus way on the Northwestern Motorway is exactly what the people of Te Atatu and Massey need to get out of their cars and on to public transport. With over 60% of West Aucklanders commuting to other parts of Auckland on a daily basis, the public transport services offered to those westies who don’t live near the Western Rail Line is abysmal. For example, if you catch a bus from Westgate to Britomart, it will most likely take just over an hour – even in rush hour, it’s only a 30 minute drive. Not only do the buses have to travel at the same speed as the traffic (the bus shoulders are useless on this front, as buses have to merge back into the traffic at almost every bridge or off-ramp), but they have to take in loops through all the surrounding suburbs, making the journey painfully slow.

With up to five lanes of motorway planned for the not too distant future, there is more than enough room. If bus ‘stations’ were located at every on-ramp, these could connect with local bus services to and from Henderson, Te Atatu Peninsula or New Lynn, or park-and-ride facilities. It would stand a excellent chance of moving faster than the traffic, which would be the key to increasing patronage.

Public transport is not going to be for everyone (I hardly expect trades workers with ladders on top of their vans to jump on a bus) but if more CBD workers were motivated to get out of their cars and catch public transport, it would free up the motorway for those commuters who don’t the a choice.

With planned expansion of the Northwestern Motorway and the completion of the Hobsonville Deviation, there has never been a better time to build dedicated bus lanes out west. I just hope that the Transport CCO (which will be based at Waitakere Central) will see sense in a Western Busway too.

Welcome to Future West

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Future West has formed to make sure West Aucklanders get the best possible outcome from the ‘Super’ city mess. The coalition’s goal is to get strong, progressive local people elected, so the Waitakere way is kept alive in the new, amalgamated structure. The coalition backs community-power and keeping community assets like libraries, pools and water in community control. It wants safer streets, local jobs, better public transport and to see the Eco-City values spread across the region. It also supports Maori representation on Council.

Future West will co-ordinate, support and fundraise for a group of candidates that share these values and invites applications from people interested in standing in the Waitakere and Whau wards for Council, the Local Boards, Health Board and Licensing Trust seats this year. The coalition will be working with the City Vision team to select the best possible candidates for the Whau Ward.

Future West is also asking for volunteers to fundraise, deliver leaflets or display signs. People from all walks of life, all ages and all ethnicities are warmly invited to seek support as candidates or to get involved in the campaign.

The coalition includes independent West Auckland community groups and is supported by both the Green Party and the Labour Party. The first ‘Super’ City elections will be held in October this year and will be crucial in determining the future West Aucklanders enjoy.

For more information, to lodge a nomination or to volunteer contact:

Mels Barton on 021 213 7779 or
Tony Dunn on 021 812 840 or
Or Greg Presland on 021 998 411 or