Q & A
What is the Eastern Busway?
The Eastern Busway is a significant project for Auckland and forms a key part of the region’s rapid transport network. Similar to the Northern Expressway on Auckland’s North Shore, it will create separate lanes for new high-frequency bus services to connect people from Botany, Pakūranga and the surrounding suburbs with the rail network in Panmure. The project includes cycling and walking paths, safety, environment and roading improvements, and a Reeves Road flyover, giving people a range of travel options and more reliable journey times.
The busway will increase access to jobs and education, lead to more social and community opportunities, attract investment and growth, enable urban development, and help reduce emissions. It is much more than a transport project.
What are the features and benefits of the Eastern Busway?
- Better connections and sustainable travel options for walkers, cyclists, motorists, bus and train customers
- A reliable bus and train trip between Botany Town Centre and Britomart
- 12km of safe and separated walking and cycling routes
- 5km of busway between Pakūranga and Botany fully separated from other traffic
- 5 new bus stations with quality facilities
- A flyover above Reeves Road providing a direct connection between Pakūranga Road and the South Eastern Highway, and reducing vehicle congestion around Pakūranga Town Centre
- By 2028 the busway will carry 18,000 passengers per day, more than four times the 3,700 bus passengers per day before Covid-19. By 2048 it is expected to increase to 24,000 passengers per day.
What is the Eastern Busway Alliance?
Auckland Transport is working with Fletcher Construction, ACCIONA, AECOM and Jacobs as the Eastern Busway Alliance to design, consent and build the Pakūranga to Botany section of the busway. Our mana whenua partners and specialists in safety, community engagement, design and construction are working together, sharing their skills and knowledge to deliver this large and complex infrastructure project.
How are iwi involved in the project?
Auckland Transport, mana whenua and the Eastern Busway Alliance are partnering to ensure that Māori cultural values and perspectives are integrated in all stages of the project.
How is the project being funded?
The project is jointly funded by the New Zealand Government, Auckland Council and the Regional Fuel Tax.
How can I stay updated about the project?
During the project we will communicate and engage with project neighbours, stakeholders and the community in several different ways, including; consent notifications, consultation on detailed design elements, notifications before any disruptive works, regular written and website updates, dedicated customer relations staff, regular videos and photography and monitored freephone number and email.
To receive Eastern Busway news you’ll need to sign-up for a free MyAT account where you can choose and manage any updates that interest you. Here’s how:
- Click the ‘sign-up for project news’ button, follow the prompts and log in
- Select ‘Communication preferences’ from the menu on the left
- Select ‘Eastern Busway’ and ‘save preferences’.
How will the project be built?
The project is being consented and constructed in stages with construction to follow when the consents are approved.
What is the timeframe for construction?
Early construction work started in the Pakūranga area in September 2022 with construction expected to start in 2023. Work will progress in stages towards Botany.
How will you reduce disruption caused by construction?
We have received feedback about reducing disruption as much as possible while the project is built. We will help support the community through the changes created by the project and ensure residents and businesses continue to thrive while the busway is being built.
How will I be able to access the shops, school and other key amenities during construction?
Pedestrian and vehicle access to amenities will continue to be available during trading hours. Detours may be in place and will be clearly indicated. Allow extra time for your journey and plan your travel in advance as delays will be likely during construction.
What is site investigation work?
Site investigation work is taking place at several locations in the Pakūranga and Botany areas to help the alliance understand the ground conditions and exact locations of underground services including water, electricity and gas pipes.
What support will be available to the community during construction?
The alliance understands that construction of the Eastern Busway will have an impact on the community of East Auckland. We are keen to ensure that residents and businesses continue to thrive while the project is being built, and that the community can look forward to experiencing the benefits of the busway when it is finished.
Why not just add bus lanes on Ti Rakau Drive?
Auckland Transport has previously considered bus lanes but those did not meet the project objectives, specifically the reliability and travel time improvements to provide an efficient and reliable rapid transport system. In addition, there were safety concerns due to vehicles entering and exiting the many commercial properties along Tī Rākau Drive.
What are the changes from previous busway designs?
Several innovative options have been investigated and incorporated into the design including changes to the alignment, reducing the ‘footprint’ or impact on surrounding areas while enabling future land use, reviewing the form of structures and bridges, and incorporating efficient construction methodologies to maximise safety and customer experience.
What are the features that will be delivered in each main area of the project?
1. PakūrangaTown Centre
- station close to the Pakūranga Plaza
- urban design features to enhance the environment and create a space that is welcoming, enjoyable and encourages people to spend time there
- flyover to separate through-traffic from buses, walking and cycling
- ‘super tee’ design for the flyover to reduce the impact on surrounding properties and has resulted in a design that is quicker to build
2. Tī Rākau Drive (residential)
- a central running busway with walking and cycling facilities
- two bus stations in the Edgewater Drive and Gossamer Drive areas
- construction will take place on the southern side of Tī Rākau Drive to reduce disruption and enable additional lanes to be built safely away from traffic
3. Botany Town Centre
- two lane link road for buses connects the Eastern Busway to Botany Town Centre
- preferred station location is close to the town centre
- in the long term the station will provide a central interchange between the Eastern Busway and local school bus services while future proofing for the Airport to Botany rapid transit connection
- Botany station is likely to be delivered in stages
Will there be a Park and Ride at Botany Town Centre?
Park and Ride at Botany has been considered by Auckland Transport but is not proposed as a part of the Eastern Busway project.
Auckland’s public transport network is built around a ‘hub and spoke’ model where customers can use feeder bus services to access ‘hubs’, or interchanges, to transfer to other bus, train or ferry services. Botany Town Centre is an example of a public transport hub which connects many local and frequent bus services. In the future it will provide a connection between two rapid transit corridors – the Eastern Busway and the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit corridor.
AT’s strategy is to locate park and ride facilities on the outskirts of the public transport network, for example in low density semi-rural areas, to serve people who cannot access public transport hubs or rapid transit stations using feeder bus services. This extends the catchment of the public transport network while encouraging people who can do so to walk, cycle or use a feeder bus. The strategy helps to discourage traffic from town centres that are already congested and enables available land there to be used for housing. More information on AT’s approach to park and ride can be found in the Regional Public Transport Plan (section 8.2.3).
Botany Town Centre is a key suburban hub and is not a low-density area. Feeder buses and other transportation options are possible for residents and therefore, a Park and Ride is not required here.
Providing a Park and Ride at Botany is inconsistent with the objectives of the Regional Public Transport Plan and AT’s Parking Strategy and will attract additional traffic to the already congested Botany Town Centre.
Key to the success of the Eastern Busway will be ensuring it is attractive to, and able to be accessed by a wide range of users. It will be required to connect people to the places they want to go to, and to be convenient, reliable, efficient and comfortable.
Although a Park and Ride at Botany is currently not part of the Eastern Busway Alliance’s scope, we are investigating opportunities to increase access to the busway stations via all modes, including walking, cycling, local buses and short-term drop-off facilities.
Why is the busway design going through Burswood?
Earlier designs showed the Busway running along the centre of Tī Rākau Drive through the commercial section. The project team considered several alignment options and the Burswood option was selected for 4 key reasons:
- it significantly increases access to a rapid transport network and walking and cycling connections for nearby communities
- it is safer for all modes including walking, cycling, buses and road users
- it improves bus journey efficiency and reliability
- it opens up the area for future land use in line with the government’s policies on urban development.
Disruption of the commercial section and of the Burswood community was evaluated as part of the decision-making process.
How was the route near Burswood selected?
In 2018 Auckland Transport shared a draft design for community feedback which showed the busway in the middle of Tī Rākau Drive, through the commercial section towards Botany. A number of challenges were found with that design and the project team and Auckland Transport have considered several other route options in this area. These options, and the option consulted on during 2018, went through a multi-criteria analysis process where they were assessed by a different specialists who carefully weigh up the pros and cons of each one. Based on that assessment a preferred option was selected and has been consulted on as part of the wider project. A summary of the broad options considered is available here: Design options
The impacts on Burswood property owners and the community were evaluated as part of the decision-making process to propose the Burswood route option. Further impacts will be considered as part of the landowner engagement, community consultation and consenting process.
Continuing the busway along the middle of Tī Rākau Drive through the commercial section will result in a lower quality of service for all road users. Efficiency and reliability of bus services will be impacted by busy intersections on Tī Rākau Drive resulting in longer journey times for everyone. It will require widening the road, acquisition of properties and create ongoing access issues for many businesses. The construction period will be longer and more disruptive including upgrades to several intersections, and the many commercial vehicle entrances and exits will become a safety concern for pedestrians and cyclists.
What are the benefits of the Burswood option?
- It will significantly increase access to a rapid transport network and walking and cycling connections for nearby communities
- It will be safer for all transport modes including walking, cycling, buses and road users. Placing the cycleway and walkway around the back of the commercial area removes them from Tī Rākau Drive and reduces the risk of interaction between vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and busy commercial driveways.
- It will improve bus journey efficiency and reliability by removing the need for buses to go through 5 heavily congested intersections with traffic lights, as well as reducing the impact on general traffic and loss of access to the adjoining commercial properties.
- It will reduce the impact to freight movements along Tī Rākau Drive
- It will not disrupt access into and out of commercial properties
- It will be approximately 12-18 months quicker to build, reducing impacts to road users, freight operators and businesses along Tī Rākau Drive. There will also be no impact on the Transpower high voltage cable.
- It will open up the area for future urban development
Planning, consenting and consultation
What are the next steps and will I have more opportunities to have my say?
Auckland Council continue to process consents for the area between Pakūranga and Tī Rākau Drive Bridge. The period for public submissions has now closed. A public hearing is scheduled to be held at the Uxbridge Theatre during the first two weeks of May.
How can I get information about community consultation and provide feedback?
The Eastern Busway project team is keen to engage with our partners, stakeholders, customers and community and provide opportunities for everyone to give feedback on the project design.
The project website is the main communication portal and provides the most up to date information. We also welcome you to attend any of our community information days and events. To find out when these are, please check our events page or sign up for project updates.
The project team is also working closely with Auckland Council, Auckland Transport staff, Elected Representatives, Howick Local Board, mana whenua, ministerial departments, diverse cultural and interest groups, business and residents' associations, places of worship, schools and media to share information about the project through their networks.
What happened to the feedback collected from community consultation?
Feedback conveyed to the project team during consultation in 2021 and 2022 has been carefully considered as part of the development of the project design. The key themes have been shared with iwi partners, stakeholders, and are available on our website here.
What is the consenting process for the project?
The alliance is seeking the appropriate consents for the full project from Pakūranga to Botany. For a project of this scale a number of different consents need to be obtained before significant construction work can begin. Applications to designate additional land and the required regional and national environmental consents have been grouped into location-based and logical packages, prioritising the Pakūranga Town Centre and working east towards Botany.
There are multiple pathways which the alliance is using to seek consents, including applying to Auckland Council and the Environment Court. Some of the smaller early enabling works, such as creating access or moving services and utilities, are permitted activities and do not require additional consents because they are in the existing road corridor.
What is your approach to consultation?
Establishing trust with the people of East Auckland and helping to enhance Auckland Transport's credibility and reputation are central to the alliance’s consultation approach.
We aim to achieve this by:
- providing property owners with certainty and respect
- giving partners, stakeholders, customers and the communities factual information about the project
- listening to and actioning feedback
Sustainability and community impact
What is being done to minimise the impact on locals?
The alliance is working closely with Auckland Council, Auckland Transport staff, Elected Representatives, Howick Local Board, mana whenua, ministerial departments, diverse cultural and interest groups, business and residents' associations, places of worship, schools and media to ensure the work is carried out with the least possible disruption.
You say that you’re helping to project and restore Auckland. How is sustainability being included in the project?
The project team is using the Infrastructure Sustainability Council’s tool to help ensure the environment will be protected during construction. We will support local businesses and inspire healthy communities in south and east Auckland by:
- Being a good neighbour, and supporting the community through disruption, impacts and change
- Using resources and materials efficiently
- Encouraging the use of walking, cycling and public transport
- Protecting and enhancing the natural environment, and using innovative urban design so that people feel connected to the local area
- Helping the community to thrive by providing employment and training opportunities
- Supporting the local economy by providing opportunities for local businesses
- Deconstructing (disassembly and reuse or relocation of) buildings that require removal, diverting waste from landfill