How to wreck a busway

Written By: - Date published: 1:30 pm, July 19th, 2016 - 20 comments
Categories: john key, local government, national, public transport, same old national, supercity, transport - Tags:

John Key City Rail Link

The Northern Busway has been an outstanding success.  The project started in the late 1990s and was officially opened in 2008.  It was credited with initially removing 500 cars per rush hour.  The parks around the stations were full shortly after the opening and drastic improvements in congestion around the Harbour Bridge were observed.

The busway works because it is for the exclusive use of busses.  The increased effectiveness and frequency of services means that catching a bus saves time as well as the stress of having to navigate rush hour traffic.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has come up with an unusual idea, that busses should share busways with electric cars so that the uptake of electric cars can be increased.  It is good that he is thinking about how to incentivise vehicles with no greenhouse gas emissions but to let them use bus lanes will completely undermine the reason that bus lanes work.

Transportblog described the proposal as completely nuts.  From the post:

This is madness. The whole point of busways, bus lanes and to a lesser extend transit lanes is to make buses, which are much more spatially efficient, more viable and work better. They can make buses:

  • faster, making them more attractive to use and can also make them time competitive with driving.
  • more efficient, because buses are faster they can run more services can be run for the same cost or alternatively fewer vehicles and drivers may be needed
  • more convenient as if they allow more services to be run it means higher frequencies so less time waiting at bus stops.
  • more reliable as they’re more likely to arrive at stops and the final destination on time.

The introduction of bus lanes meant that far more people have been able to be moved along many key corridors than they would have otherwise. For example, the Northern Busway carries about 40% of all traffic crossing the Harbour Bridge during the morning peak – five lanes of traffic and 40% of the people are in fewer than 200 vehicles. On other corridors like Dominion Rd more than 50% of people are on the bus yet in both situations the lanes can look empty. But a bus lane that looks empty normally means it’s actually doing its job and allowing buses to flow, uninterrupted by congestion.

Adding electric vehicles to this, which will mostly be carrying only a single occupant, will undo some of the benefits and make buses less efficient. That’s because there’s a greater chance that buses will be held up or miss lights etc. It means a double decker carrying 100 people have the same level of priority as a single person in an electric car. And this isn’t just theoretical, back in 2010 the old Auckland City Council trialled changing the then Tamaki Dr bus lanes to T2. As the results of that showed, it actually had the effect of slowing other road users, especially the general traffic. One of the reasons for this is the T2/3 drivers would push back in to the general traffic queue to get around buses at bus stops.

But it appears that not only is the idea crazy but Bridges did not even consult with local authorities before announcing the policy and ignored advice to do so.  From the Herald:

Transport Minister Simon Bridges ignored official advice to consult with councils before announcing he would allow electric cars to use bus lanes.

He now faces a backlash with one council indicating it won’t implement the policy and another considering whether to enforce it.

Documents from the Ministry show he was told it would be “important to discuss” the measure before making any form of announcement on the Government’s high-profile, multimillion-dollar bid to get more New Zealanders into electric cars.

The advice said councils would likely be uninterested in allowing electric vehicles [EVs] in bus lanes because of the impact on public transport.

But the Herald checked with the nation’s three biggest councils, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and none say they were consulted with before the announcement.

Bridges claimed the proposal was necessary to improve the uptake of hybrid vehicles but the experience in Norway was that it impacted negatively on the operation of PT.

The proposal trespasses over areas where local authorities have primary responsibility.  In the future before doing so it is hoped that Bridges and the Government will at least talk to local authorities about what effects proposed policy changes may have.  And listen to that advice.

Reprinted from gregpresland.com.

20 comments on “How to wreck a busway”

  1. alwyn 1

    According to this story the Minister wasn’t going to allow the vehicles to use bus lanes willy-nilly.
    http://www.newshub.co.nz/politics/electric-cars-in-bus-lanes-silent-killers-2016050608#axzz4Ep58saXN

    He claimed, back in May, that it would give councils the option of allowing it. It doesn’t say they must allow it. Has something changed in the proposal, was Bridges wrong in his statement in May, or is this post following the Green Party in misinterpreting what the Minister proposed?

    From the story it says
    “But Mr Bridges says it’ll be up to councils and local transport agencies to decide whether to let electric vehicles use bus lanes.
    “What we’re doing — and the Green Party’s got this wrong — is simply allowing this rule change,” he told Paul Henry on Friday.
    “Clearly the councils and the transport agencies are going to consult with communities, and let’s see where we get to.”

    Incidentally are cycles allowed to use the bus lanes in Auckland, or do they just do so because they can’t be identified?

    • Keith 1.1

      Push bikes and motorcycles are allowed to use “bus lanes” but not “Bus only” lanes such as lanes exclusively for buses on motorways and on ramps!

      • alwyn 1.1.1

        Thank you. I didn’t realise they had two kinds. In Wellington cycles can use all the bus lanes. Of course there aren’t any bus lanes on the motorways. Can be a real pain when the lane is winding up a hill, and the cyclist is doing about 5 kph with the bus unable to pass.

  2. Keith 2

    Am I being too cynical to think somewhere in the National Party business there are generous donors and or people who are making money out of selling new and used Hybrids and full electric vehicles, both of which are expensive and largely non attractive to buyers (Taxi’s excluded) unless substantial incentives are made available?

    Why else would you illogically degrade the operation of bus lanes, obviously getting worse over time especially when overseas experience tells you this will happen? And how will authorities tell the difference between the hybrid model and its petrol only clone without substantial resources being used to study footage of transit lanes? None of this makes sense unless someone is making a quick buck out of it!

  3. TC 3

    Wtf is that lying toady still a minister anyway after the northland by election bridges issue amongst other lies hes been caught out on.

    Hes clearly destined for a much larger bus to be thrown under when it suits them.

  4. Richard Christie 4

    When did the plural of a bus become busses rather than buses?

    Is “busses” US usage?

  5. Macro 5

    But! Nats are not interested in efficient public transport and saving the Planet! That sort of stuff is for the looney Greenies. This is about Simon and his mates being able to get about the city quicker in their Tesla’s. Now that is a priority – F**K the plebs…

  6. weka 6

    Transport Minister Simon Bridges ignored official advice to consult with councils before announcing he would allow electric cars to use bus lanes.

    He now faces a backlash with one council indicating it won’t implement the policy and another considering whether to enforce it.

    Does that mean that it’s not a government issue, it’s local body? i.e. the government can’t enforce it anyway.

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      Parliament is sovereign, it can do what it likes.

      • weka 6.1.1

        Yeah, that’s not what I meant though. I meant that roads managed by councils probably can’t be managed by government (as opposed to state highwways).

        • ropata 6.1.1.1

          Bloody great, the councils get to pay for all the development and expense of building busways, then some tosspot in wellington decides to fuck it up on behalf of his rich mates driving hybrids

        • Lanthanide 6.1.1.2

          Sure they can, the government just has to pass a particular act saying that their EV bus-lane rule overrides anything that a council does.

          Yes, it might be the case that the current proposal by the minister would not legally work. But the minister is fully able to draft a new proposal that does.

          • weka 6.1.1.2.1

            Yes, but again, that’s not what I am asking (how the govt can rule). I’m asking about within existing systems and whether the govt can even tell councils what to do in this regard. I’m guessing they can’t and that’s part of the fuck up with the announcement.

            • Lanthanide 6.1.1.2.1.1

              Well that’s already answered in the original article anyway:

              The proposal trespasses over areas where local authorities have primary responsibility.

  7. mac1 7

    Watch the Ministerial limos move to electricity.

    The cynic in me also says that this will apply to hybrids, to cars with a tiny electric motor fitted to circumvent the regulation, and to people who can get another opinion that their petrol engine is ekshully electric.

    Some wise spark will then postulate that his engine is electric because it uses high voltage current passed through an air-fuel mix for propulsion.

    The diesel fraternity will demand equality based on their low demand for free electrons, and anyway their engines are started electrically.

    Add-on electrical accessories will then become a trendy thing with solar panels and wind turbine generators being mounted on bonnets and roofs to attest to their electrifricity. However, special wardens issued with volt meters will be appointed to check that such vehicles meet the current standard.

  8. Macro 8

    There is a difference between hybrids and EV’s (Electric Vehicles).

    Hybrids still rely on an internal combustion engine (fossil fuels) for their primary energy source. They are more efficient than conventional cars because the ic engine runs for the majority of its time at its most efficient speed charging a battery as well as providing motive force to drive the vehicle. An EV’s primary source of energy is electricity stored in a battery and charged externally from a power source.
    Hybrids such as the Toyota Prius achieve economies of around 4.5 L of petrol for 100 km compared to cars of a similar size averaging around 7 – 9 L ( or more) per 100 km.
    EV’s are currently rather expensive and the cheapest the Nissan Leaf is around $30,000 for a good second hand car. They have a range of around 250 km.
    The Tesla is in a class of its own – but is expensive and well out of the reach of the average buyer. It has an impressive performance for a car buff (0 – 100kph in around 6 secs!) and the most up to day battery technology gives it a 365 km range. Still not enough to drive from Auckland to Wellington though.
    I gather that it is only the EV’s that Simon is considering from the post above. Peasant own hybrids and so they would have to travel in the car lanes like every one else. This is an elite society we live in now folks – get used to it. (don’t forget on Air NZ their elite customers get on and off first- the peasants wait.)

    • James 8.1

      It’s the model s that you want not the one you linked. 0-100 in as little as 2.8 sec it’s the mutts mutts. Sadly still a bit expensive but still sharper than a lot of cars with the same spec.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
    Introduction As the Minister for ACC I thank you all for the work that you do supporting New Zealanders in their literally most vulnerable moments. From those who hold people’s lives in their hands, to the people who research technique, technology and trends, your work is highly valued. A special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape – notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch
    Notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch – Wednesday 9 October 2019 Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
    Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important. “This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
    The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service has resolved 608 insurance and EQC claims in its first year in operation, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The government service, which celebrates its first birthday today, provides a one stop shop to help Cantabrians still battling to get their homes repaired or rebuilt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape
    Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the outlook ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZTA to refocus on safety following review
    The Government is acting swiftly to strengthen NZTA’s regulatory role following a review into the Transport Agency, and Ministry of Transport’s performance as its monitor, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. An independent review by Martin Jenkins has found NZTA failed to properly regulate the transport sector under the previous ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Joint Cooperation Statement on Climate Change between the Netherlands and New Zealand
    The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long-standing and close relationship based on many shared interests and values. We value the rule of law, our democracies, and multilateralism.  And we value our environment – at home and globally. Right now there are major global challenges in all of these areas – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
    The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.  Initial sampling of District Health Boards payroll records has found that around $550-$650 million is owed to DHB staff to comply with the Holidays Act. It’s expected ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government accounts show strong economy
    A strong surplus and low debt show the economy is performing well, and means the Government is in a good position to meet the challenges of global economic uncertainty. “The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
    New applications from mining company OceanaGold to purchase land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines have been approved. Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker considered the applications under the Overseas Investment Act. Earlier this year, applications from OceanaGold to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute to tangata whenua
    New Zealanders in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay will witness Māori, Pākehā and Pacific voyaging traditions come together today as the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla assembles for the first time, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says. “Tuia 250 is a national commemoration and an opportunity for honest conversations ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More cancer drugs confirmed – even more on horizon
    Confirmation that PHARMAC will fund two new cancer drugs is further evidence of the good progress the Government is making to improve the treatment of New Zealand’s leading cause of death, Health Minister David Clark says. From 1 December PHARMAC will fund alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boost for women in high performance sport
    An additional $2.7 million has been announced for the Government Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation on the first anniversary of the strategy’s launch. Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson gave the opening address to the first Sport NZ Women + Girls Summit in Wellington today, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Parent support to help retain skilled migrants
    As part of its work to ensure businesses can get the skilled workers they need, the Coalition Government is re-opening and re-setting the Parent Category visa programme, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. The move will: support skilled migrants who help fill New Zealand’s skills gaps by providing a pathway for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Senior NZDF Officer to lead Peacekeeping Mission in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has today announced Major General Evan Williams of the New Zealand Defence Force has been selected as the commander of a significant, longstanding peacekeeping mission in the Middle East. In December, Major General Williams takes over as Force Commander for the Multinational Force and Observers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nurses star as Govt rebuilds health workforces
    A record number of nurses are now working to deliver health services to New Zealanders as the Government’s increased funding and new initiatives rebuild key workforces start to show results, Health Minister Dr David Clark says. •    1458 more DHB nurses since the Government took office •    106 more midwives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New agricultural trade envoy appointed
    Farmer and former Nuffield scholar Mel Poulton has been appointed New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, announced today. The position supports key Government objectives, including raising the value of New Zealand agricultural goods and services. Mel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage celebrated for Tuia 250
    New Zealand’s Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage is acknowledged and celebrated today as waka of the Tuia 250 voyage flotilla arrive in Tūranga / Gisborne. “Today we celebrate Tangata Whenua, the first people of Aotearoa, and the triumphs of the voyaging tradition that brought our ancestors here from Polynesia 1000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific languages are a root from which prosperity will grow
    “Fijian Language Week starts on Sunday and the theme reminds us how important it is that we each have something to anchor ourselves to, something that can help us pause and feel in control in a rapidly changing world,” says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. “Family, culture, faith, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ Government establishes innovative, industry-focused Airspace Integration Trials Programme
    The Government is establishing an Airspace Integration Trials Programme to support the safe testing and development of advanced unmanned aircraft and accelerate their integration into the aviation system, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods announced today. The Government will work with leading, innovative aviation industry partners to test and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Safety upgrades and certainty for Ōtaki highway
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today welcomed the NZ Transport Agency’s decision to fund urgent safety improvements and confirm the designation of the Ōtaki to North of Levin highway. Safety upgrades will be made along 23.4km of the existing state highway, running along SH1 from the end of the Peka Peka ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Playing our part to support refugees in our region and the world
    New Zealand playing its part in Asia-Pacific and globally are behind changes announced today to the Coalition Government’s three year refugee quota policy, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “We are proud to be a welcoming and inclusive nation committed to supporting some of the world’s most vulnerable people to rebuild ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting thriving inclusive communities
    Creating thriving regions and inclusive local communities is the aim of the Welcoming Communities programme being rolled out across the country, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway today. A successful pilot of the scheme ran over the last 2 years led by Immigration New Zealand and involved ten councils across five regions ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Takahē population flying high
    Takahē may be flightless but their population is flying high with the official count reaching 418 after a record breeding season that produced an estimated 65 juveniles, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. “The population reaching a high of 418 is great news for takahē which were considered ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand makes further climate commitments
    New Zealand is today taking action to reduce the potent global warming hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) gases, Climate Minister James Shaw and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. “The global agreement to reduce these potent greenhouse gases is another step in New Zealand’s commitment to reduce global warming. It is estimated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago