31 Oct 2016

All change on south Auckland's buses

5:52 am on 31 October 2016

Thousands of commuters in south Auckland face a big change to their travel routines today after a major overhaul of the bus network.

Auckland bus sign

Photo: 123RF

The number of bus routes in the area has been cut from 52 to 39 on the Southern New Network, with 300 new or relocated bus stops and 104 stops closing.

People who used to catch the bus into the city will have to take the train as part of an integrated system of public transport.

A new $28.7 million transport hub has been opened at Ōtāhuhu Station, linking trains and buses.

AT public transport development manager Anthony Cross said buses would run more often across south South Auckland, and fares would be simpler under the new network.

The changes were flagged in an extensive publicity campaign with brochures, timetables and flyers mailed to 119,000 properties.

Brochures were translated into four languages and sent out to libraries and other centres, posters were put up at hundreds of bus stops and a new website was launched.

Mr Cross said he expected most commuters to be signficantly affected in the first few days.

"We are under no illusions about how much that's going to affect people in the first few days of the system," he said.

"There are going to be people caught unaware but we are doing our very best to reach as many people as we possibly can - existing users of public transport - so that they know how to make their normal journey in a new way."

He said people were being prepared for the change with the introduction of the zonal fare system two months ago.

"I think most people are going to be struck by their ability to move within south Auckland with a much simpler route structure and a lot more frequency than they have currently.

"For instance, just up an down the Great South Road between Papakura, Manukau and Ōtāhuhu, there'll be a bus every 15 minutes, seven days a week.

"But there'll also be a cross-town service from Mangere, through Papatoetoe, Ōtara, East Tamaki and Botany which will also operate every 15 minutes seven days a week."

Mr Cross said he expected some "noise" from people getting used to the changes and said it would take a few weeks for the bus companies and drivers to settle into the new system.

He said hundreds more people would take the train to and from the city.