19 Aug 2014

Call to use bus lanes in bad weather

6:21 pm on 19 August 2014

Auckland's lines company has asked the city's council to let it use bus lanes during weather emergencies to cut down delays in restoring power.

Vector staff briefed an Auckland Council committee this morning about four severe storms that caused widespread power cuts in the region so far this year.

Vector chief executive Simon McKenzie told the committee a storm in June cut power to 90,000 people, with crews taking two days to repair the damage.

Mr McKenzie defended the length of time it took to restore power, saying crews can not work if weather conditions are not safe.

He said traffic delays during bad weather add to the time it can take for crews to repair lines and he asked the committee to consider letting staff use bus and transit lanes.

Mr McKenzie also asked the committee to consider cutting red tape during major power cuts.

"That does cause quite lengthy time delays and in some of our instances where guys are replacing poles you know around 60 percent of the timeframe and costs relate to these compliance issues, as opposed to around 40 percent just being the actual job itself."

The committee agreed to recommend that the Transport Agency and the council start working on an agreement with Vector.

A traffic and bus lane on Quay Street, Auckland.

A traffic and bus lane on Quay Street, Auckland. Photo: PHOTO NZ