Govt backs Eastern Busway extension, delivering progress on vital transport projects


Faster travel times and a more reliable bus service is coming to more of Auckland’s eastern suburbs, with the Government confirming investment in the next phases of the Eastern Busway.

Alongside this important step, Auckland Council and the Government have confirmed a path ahead  for crucial futureproofing projects such as getting the best return out of the City Rail Link, Auckland Light Rail and the Alternative Waitemata Harbour crossing, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown have announced today.

“The Government is upgrading New Zealand’s transport system to make it safer, greener, and more efficient for now and future generations to come,” Michael Wood said.

“Auckland’s eastern suburbs have one of the highest levels of journey to work trips by car and lowest use of public transport in Auckland. With this investment, 24,000 more Aucklanders will now live within 1 km of a rapid transit station, providing an attractive public transport service that is reliable and delivers an improved service to the city.

“The Government is investing an additional $200 million into the project, reallocated from the Northern Pathway, to support Auckland Transport in the delivery of the busway. This brings the total Crown contribution to the Eastern Busway project to over $600 million,” Michael Wood said.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown thanked the Minister for listening to Aucklanders and acting fast to back the completion of the Eastern Busway.

“The Northern Busway is probably Auckland’s most successful transport project of recent years,” Mayor Brown said. “We need to build on its success by finishing the Eastern and get cracking on the Northwestern busway as soon as possible. Today’s announcement is a good first step.”

The Minister and Mayor said the Eastern Busway will provide better connections and sustainable travel options with a reliable high frequency service every few minutes in peak periods, providing a 40-minute bus and train trip between Botany Town Centre and Britomart, saving 20 minutes. The new Reeves Road Flyover will improve the reliability of the busway and will reduce vehicle congestion around Pakuranga Town Centre.

By 2028, the busway will carry 14,000 passengers per day, more than four times the 3,700 bus passengers per day prior to Covid-19. By 2048 it is expected to increase to 24,000 passengers per day. The busway will increase access to jobs and education, connect people to social and community opportunities, attract investment and growth, enable urban development, and help reduce emissions.

The Minister and Mayor also acknowledged the Eastern busway extension is an important step towards an agreed broader plan to futureproof Auckland with one high-quality, joined-up transport system, which includes cars, buses, trains, ferries, cyclists, pedestrians, freight and passenger rail and light rail. As well as enhancements to the existing transport system, the agreed plan will include a range of projects including maximising the return from the CRL through heavy rail improvements, the Northwestern busway, Auckland Light Rail, and the Alternative Waitemata Harbour crossing.  The agreed joined-up plan will require clear decisions and timelines to be made about the future use of Auckland’s publicly owned waterfront land, currently being used by Ports of Auckland Ltd.

“The Government and Council have committed to work together to advance our priorities, provide certainty and deliver progress for Auckland,” Mayor Brown said.

“The Minister and I agree that it is important for there to be a focus on the immediate and pressing needs facing Auckland including reducing congestion, establishing a clear plan and timeline for the future of Auckland’s publicly owned waterfront land  and fixing Auckland’s current public transport crisis. Together we will ensure central and local agencies are responding to the wishes of Aucklanders,” the Mayor said.

“Alongside this,” said Michael Wood, “the Mayor and I will work together constructively on city-shaping initiatives that we are strongly committed to and have mandates to advance including work on the Mass Rapid Transit system including buses, trains, ferries, the CRL, Auckland Light Rail and the Alternative Waitemata Harbour Crossing. This work will be supported by the Government’s draft New Zealand freight and supply chain strategy to be published by June next year, which will inform investment decisions by central and local government and the private sector.”

“Today’s announcement to drive forward the Eastern Busway shows we share a commitment to deliver better transport outcomes for Auckland, securing New Zealand’s economy and providing the certainty our largest city needs to thrive.”

The Eastern Busway is a major project under Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) and is co-funded with Auckland Council through the regional fuel tax, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, and the Crown.