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Commuters celebrate traffic-free travel as Northern Busway extension opens

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The Northern Busway extension opens this Sunday, offering commuters to and from Te Whenua roa o Kahu (North Shore) traffic-free travel from the Auckland Harbour Bridge all the way to Albany.

Hon Michael Wood, Minister for Transport and Mayor Phil Goff joined iwi and representatives from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport today, to celebrate the completion of the Northern Busway extension along with upgrades to Constellation Station.

Steve Mutton, Director Regional Relationships, Te Tai Tokerau me Tāmaki Makaurau at Waka Kotahi, says the five-kilometre extension will provide commuters with a timesaving every trip they take.

“As we’ve seen in the past, Aucklanders will leave their cars at home if there’s a better, reliable, faster option that will improve their commute. Traffic-free travel and around half an hour back per week, that would otherwise be spent in rush hour traffic, is incentive for change,” said Steve Mutton.

Mayor Phil Goff says, “Since the busway opened in 2008, more than half of all commuters travelling over the Harbour Bridge into the city at peak times have come by bus instead of by car. As a result, the number of cars travelling on the bridge has remained relatively stable, despite Auckland’s population growing by around 30 per cent.”

“Thanks to this extension and station upgrade, tens of thousands more Aucklanders will enjoy access to congestion-free rapid public transport services. Not only will this save Aucklanders’ time previously spent stuck in traffic, it will also boost productivity and reduce carbon emissions which is essential if we are to meet our climate obligations.”

Waka Kotahi has worked in partnership with Auckland Transport to deliver the $313 million package of works to extend the Northern Busway to Albany and Constellation Station upgrades as part of the Northern Corridor Improvements (NCI) project.

“The Northern Busway is the main arterial of the public transport network to and from the North Shore. At its pre-Covid peak it transported on average over 36,000 people to and from work, study and play every day, representing 12 per cent of all bus trips for the Auckland region,” says Shane Ellison, Auckland Transport Chief Executive. 

“Investment in fast and efficient public transport infrastructure is the only way to keep our growing city moving. It is the only way to reduce emissions to protect this planet for future generations of Aucklanders and New Zealanders. And it is what Aucklanders and visitors expect from a world class city.”

Prior to the event, Cultural Advisor Carmen Hetaraka of the Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust led a whakawātea for the busway and upgraded station with representatives from iwi, Waka Kotahi and Auckland Transport in attendance. Whakawātea are traditional Māori incantations and prayers, used to invoke spiritual guidance and protection such as the blessing of a house and for safe travel.

A new busway bridge connects the Northern Busway on the eastern side of SH1 with Albany Station on the western side. Upgrades to Constellation Station include a new northbound platform connected to the southbound platform by an overbridge as well as lifts, additional toilets, driver facilities and a kiosk area.

When complete, NCI will provide a suite of transport upgrades on the North Shore. In addition to an improved public transport network, 7km of walking and cycling connections will help locals have more options for how they travel around their community while SH1 and SH18 upgrades will complete the Western Ring Route and provide a more reliable journey time for the movement of people and goods around the Auckland region.

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