Brewer: Review All Bus Lanes


Auckland City Orakei ward candidate Cameron Brewer is calling for a complete review of the city’s entire bus lane policy - and says the new supercouncil must do so.

The Dominion Road bus lane controversy has widened since reported comments by mayor John Banks  about newer bus lanes in Remuera Rd, where he says he has waited in peak time for seven to nine minutes when not one bus passes.

Cameron Brewer, Newmarket Business Association CEO who is standing as an independent in the forthcoming election (his website here) says that with only 28 buses on average using the Remuera Road bus lanes between 7am – 9am from the Remuera shops to Newmarket, “no wonder Remuera motorists stuck in gridlock feel frustrated.”

“The incoming council should not only review the Dominion Road bus lanes but all the other ones around the Auckland City, which cost motorists dearly. At $150 a ticket, millions of dollars are being gathered fromAuckland drivers every year. Hence the finance committee is naturally reluctant to turn off the tap that’s been running for seven years.

“The current buslane policy is not about better utilisation of our roads. If it was, the council would allow the likes of taxis and cars with say four people to also utalise these largely vacant roading corridors.

“While its good news the number of tickets being issued to those crossing the likes of Grafton Bridge are falling, one crazy rule remains: That people making a left-hand turn can only drive in a buslane for up to 50-metres beforehand. That is not fair or reasonable.

“The new Auckland Council must review the city’s entire buslane policy. If elected my commitment is to not only push for a review of all buslanes, but demand the ongoing problems be sorted out once and for all. In its current state, Remuera Road is simply not working. We can do better,” says Mr Brewer.




  1. Su Yin says:

    Well, I know who I’m not voting for!

  2. jarbury says:

    Argh what a fool.

    Fortunately Cameron’s mates have created a Transport CCO that should be able to resist such stupidity.

  3. Harry says:

    Stupid Cameron Brewer

  4. Su Yin, what’s wrong with sorting out the bus lanes that cause so many complaints? I’m not calling for the buslanes to be filled up with cars - but some middle ground could be found, that doesn’t slow down the buses. What are your views?

  5. Matt L says:

    Cameron - How about putting more buses on those lanes to make it easier for those commuters to use alternative forms of transport, the money collected from the fines could go towards paying for it. The more people we have using buses the less subsidies we need to pay which is better for the city as a whole.

    50m is more than enough to turn into a road or driveway, the bus lanes are turning lanes.

    Also the finance committee will have that tap turned off anyway as I believe the collection of these fines will go Auckland Transport which means the money goes back to transport issues rather than stupid pet projects.

  6. [...] the rest of this great post here Comments (0)    Posted in Election Candidate   [...]

  7. Su Yin says:

    @Cameron: what Matt L says. Also, refer to jarbury’s blog post on this matter:

    Your intentions are good but priorities a bit misplaced.

  8. Matt L says:

    edit - the bus lanes aren’t turning lanes but you are allowed to cross them at or just before you need to turn. If you were to allow for people to have 100m then the same people will then argue that it isn’t enough, you have to draw a line somewhere and in this case NZTA have drawn the line, not the council.

    Also if turning is such an issue we should be putting the bus lanes in the middle of the road and only allowing right turns at certain locations. That way people can pull into and out of side roads or driveways without having to worry about getting a ticket. The prominence of the lanes would further encourage more people to use buses which once again improves their effectiveness and and reduces subsidies.

    If we have to allow cars with multiple passengers, I think it should be T3 and only allowed in off peak times. During peak it should be buses only

  9. Richard says:

    I don’t know what all the fuss about the 50metre rule is about. You can’t make a right angle turn into a side road or drive and the 50m is more than enough to make a safe sweeping turn, 20m would be enough. However, measuring it to the exact centimetre and photographing cars is over the top. Why don’t they do the same for cars that park less than a metre from a driveway to be consistent?

    What is annoying to me when cycling is to come up to an intersection in a cycle lane and find a car has started to cross the lane to turn left and stopped blocking the lane because they cant complete their turn. This is not crossing the lane, it is stopping in the lane and breaks the rule…these are the sort of things that should be ticketed not crossing the lane 5010mm from the intersection.

    I do not agree with T2 lanes for several reasons but many bus lanes should be T3 like Onewa Road in Northcote that has been in existence for some years. Perhaps Remuera Road and Dominion Roads should be T3.?

  10. rtc says:

    Banks shows his true colours once again, and they haven’t changed since he attempted to foist the Eastern Highway on us.

  11. Andu says:

    Cameron, Auckland needs to be finding ways to get people OUT of their cars, they have to invest in reliable ALTERNATIVES, not destroying the measly amount of bus lanes we do have. If anything Auckland needs way more bus lanes.

  12. rtc says:

    This is the same crap we’ve had from C&R for years, years of mindless bickering and reviews somehow claiming Aucklaners are different and adore their cars - end result everyone moves overseas where they have at least have a transport choice. Thanks for bringing more of the same Cameron, you just come across as another clueless politician who thinks they have any right to dictate transport policy just because you drive a car.

  13. Anthony B says:

    Cameron seems cool,

    I say that, use trams instead of having bus lanes and we could have a faster more efficient system. Perhaps this would elevate sharing with cars issue also.

  14. karl says:

    Sadly, Cameron’s views show the views of the Remuera demographic that he wants to elect him - the courageous warrior against eco-correctness, when all they want is just efficient roads.

    Roads for cars.

    “these are the sort of things that should be ticketed not crossing the lane 5010mm from the intersection.”

    And where do you get the idea from that this is what is happening?

  15. Brent C says:

    If transport alternatives are more reliable, then people will switch modes. But if we continue to believe that the car is king, developers will be forced to pay more for parking expenses. This is particulary a problem around central Auckland City locations where there is little land left for development. Investment in bus and trains will increase the potential development within these areas, as accessability will be improved.

    Bus lanes should be running down the middle of the street. By adding extra dimentions to bus lanes such as 50m, T2/3 and clearaways, this only causes confusion. When confusion occurs, people then get fined!

  16. suzie says:

    This is why there are no bus lanes along Broadway yet two lanes of parking. Rush hour is horrendous with cars trying to get in and out of parking spaces while buses struggle to make the way along the road.

  17. Nick R says:

    Again, it’s a bus lane, not a turning lane.

    I fear for anyone walking along when Mr Brewer feels entitled to mount the kerb and drive along the footpath for over 50m when turning left on a street without buslanes. Likewise I would be concerned to share the road with him when he drives over 50m in the oncoming traffic lane when turning right.

    So what if the lanes look vacant, that means they are working! Would he think a bus lane clogged with cars and taxis was somehow better?

    I wonder if he realises ‘only’ 28 buses can carry the same amount of people as 1400 cars?

  18. Sam F says:

    I believe Mr Brewer has a professional responsibility to advocate for people moving through the absolutely marvellous Newmarket shopping precinct as slowly as possible.

  19. Thanks guys. I appreciate it hearing it how it is.

    We just get constant complaints about how slow Remuera Road has become in the morning for the motorist.

    What do you think about T2, T3, T4 in the likes of North Shore City, do they work - ie if you allow cars with two or more people to use them??

    Tamaki Drive is a T2, according to council’s website, does that work?

    Now I need you to work with me on this. The choice you have in September is electing someone’s who’s at least willing to listen and learn.

  20. rtc says:

    Hi Cameron perhaps you should read the council’s own report about whether T2 lanes on Tamaki Drive work, there’s plenty of information around about bus lanes in general, the fact that you seem more willing to politick on this forum rather than research the area bodes poorly for you performance if elected.

  21. rtc says:

    The council transport themselves state that “The committee also yesterday noted that the Remuera Rd bus lanes were creating greater than expected public transport benefits, after officers reported that buses accounting for just 2 per cent of peak-time traffic carried up to 45 per cent of people travelling along the corridor.”

    Bus Lanes work and have been proven time and time again both here and overseas - why review them yet again, unless the aim is to return these lanes to cars?

  22. dj says:

    I think Mr Brewer needs to remember that the Remuera Rd bus lane runs the full length of Remuera Rd & not just from Remuera shops to Newmarket. Alot of buses, & I would say more than 28, that may run between Remuera & Newmarket would use this bus lane as part of their routes. The routes using this lane include 007,603,605,606,625,634,635,645,655,68X,69X,703,771,772 & a few school buses added to the mix and you have alot more that 28 buses.

  23. Nick R says:

    “We just get constant complaints about how slow Remuera Road has become in the morning for the motorist.”

    As a politician you’re obviously aware that people make a lot of noise complaining, and not nearly as much praising. Perhaps you should spend some time talking with the bus passengers who presumably are quite happy about how fast Remuera Rd has become for the transit user.

    I guess you have to ask what is most important: pandering to angry locals who are upset by not getting what they think they are entitled to and resent being fined for breaking the law, or affecting a longer term change in transport policy across the region to achieve the manifold benefits of not always having everyone driving everywhere for everything.

    The quote in relation to the supposedly low numbers of buses using the lanes is: “no wonder Remuera motorists stuck in gridlock feel frustrated”

    All motorists anywhere stuck in gridlock feel frustrated, it’s just those on Remuera Rd have a bus based bogey man to vent on. If the lanes were removed or made into T2, that would just allow even more cars to be stuck in gridlock at the same time. Where are those cars going to go at the intersections, where are they going to be parked? The only thing that is going to work is keeping those lanes free of car congestion so that alternatives to cars can travel unimpeded by the single-occupant masses.
    In that regard a T3 or T4 lane might be a realistic option, as long as the restriction is high enough to stop too many private vehicles from using the mass transit lane. However with T anything you run into problems regarding the high level of enforcement required. Like we have seen on Onewa Rd, without a high level of enforcement the whole lot goes to pot. If you have a bus only lane then it is quite simple to see who is breaking the rules. If you have some cars with this many people its harder.
    Because single occupant drivers feel justified to drive wherever they like (“the lane is empty”, “it’s just one car” etc) any unenforced lane is swallowed up with traffic.

  24. Harry says:

    @ Anthony B Trams might be good in some instances but we can’t have trams on every corridor that there are bus lanes on way too expensive!

  25. Hey Jon,

    You’ve got to admit - I’m good for website traffic!

    Can someone give me the low-down on the effectiveness of T2 on Tamaki Drive - or send me council’s report. I can’t see it.

    Again, I love this dialogue. More councillor candidates should put their head up. The trouble is they fear being shot down.

    I don’t care about being put in my place, because I need to learn the public’s views and quickly. So appreciate your help.



  26. jarbury says:

    Cameron, have a read of this:

    In particular:

    In terms of the sheer number of people shifting through the corridor, this has increased in the Tamaki Drive situation, by 200 people: mainly from those going along it with two people in the same car. Interestingly, 71 fewer single-person vehicles travelled along the corridor, perhaps enticed to “double-up” with other people so that they could skip the traffic (or perhaps because their partner drove them to work, which actually ends up with a vehicle occupancy of 0.5 as it takes two trips to get one person to work). Buses, in terms of their number and the average number of people on each bus, appear to have been relatively unaffected, and even their trips times have increased by only 9 seconds: relatively marginal.

    One of the more interesting things that this analysis shows, however, is the huge disbenefit experienced by those in the general lane, who are now taking almost two minutes longer each to travel along this section of road: a 54% increase. This is even though there are now fewer vehicles travelling in that lane (or in fact it might be the cause of fewer vehicles travelling in that lane). Rudman suggests in his article that it might be people chopping in and out of the T2 lane that has caused this extra congestion.

    Overall, the average time it takes for someone to traverse the Tamaki Drive corridor has increased from 189 seconds to 214 seconds as a result of changing it from a bus lane to a T2 lane. What this says to me is that even though it appears as though the roadspace is now being utilised more efficiently – previously 99% of vehicles used the main lane and only 1% of vehicles used the bus lane – in general the average person is now 25 seconds worse off in terms of their travel time along the corridor. Hardly a ringing endorsement of the change that suggests it should be rolled out everywhere else.

    While this same level of analysis hasn’t been undertaken for Dominion Road, or even modelled/estimated in any way, shape or form, I would suspect that the different characteristics of Dominion Road, compared to Tamaki Drive, would make the negative effects of such a change even more dramatic. Whereas on Tamaki Drive, prior to the change, only 22% of people shifting along the corridor used the bus lane, for Dominion Road I have heard many times that the bus lane carries around the same, if not more, people along that corridor than the general lane does. Assuming a similar proportion of general lane vehicles switch to using the T2 lane, it’s not impossible to think that around 75% of the passengers along that corridor would be using the T2 lane, but that congestion in the main lane is likely to just get worse, not better.

    With so many T2 vehicles mixing with a significantly greater number of buses, it’s hard to see that the delay to buses wouldn’t be significantly more than the 9 seconds seen in the Tamaki Drive example, while furthermore Dominion Road is a lot longer so any delays will simply add up to be greater and greater. With so many buses constantly stopping and starting again, to pick up passengers, I think that it would also be unlikely for the T2 vehicles to avoid delays to the extent that they can on Tamaki Drive at the moment, so that would push up the average travel time for the corridor as a whole once again. If T2 vehicles are looking to cut into the main lane of traffic to avoid being stuck behind a bus for three minutes while it loads up passengers, then one would expect this to lead to further delays happening in the main lane (it’s useful to note that the T2 lane along Tamaki Drive passes through an area with almost no rider catchment for buses and therefore almost no bus stops).

    All up, absolutely everything points towards changing the Dominion Road bus lanes into T2 lanes would result in huge delays for just about everyone: including bus users and those remaining in the general traffic lane. While there might be some “winners”, those car-pooling (hopefully not just being dropped at work by someone else who will then drive home) I actually doubt their gain will be as impressive as it has been on Tamaki Drive, because they will constantly get stuck behind loading buses, have to chop into the main lane, disrupt that traffic and so forth.

    Hopefully the consultation that Auckland City intends to undertake will look at these issues, and realise that it’s just an utterly stupid idea that deserves to be binned. In any respect, Auckland City can’t hope to actually achieve anything before they disappear in November, while it seems pretty damn obvious to me that a future Auckland Transport CCO would find such a change completely unacceptable (for the very same reasons that ARTA have objected to it so far). Therefore all the Council is really doing is wasting time and money pursuing something completely pointless. Bring on the Super City.

    Transport is a BIG issue, pretty pretty please get yourself well informed on the matter.


    Okay… Brian Rudman covers council’s report nicely. So T2 on Tamaki Drive since the 12-month trial started in November 2009 has contributed to slowing down the T1 traffic and slowing down the buses.

    So as your Councillor for Orakei, you want me to kill off this T2 trial come November? Is that my first job?

  28. jarbury says:

    Unfortunately I don’t live in Orakei, I’m going to be a big Mike Lee fan in Waitemata Ward :)

    The thing is that in some cases T2 will be appropriate, in other places we should probably be looking at T3 or T4 as the best outcome - and in some cases we will need a full bus lane.

    Dominion Road won’t work for T2. Dominion Road has a similar number of buses per hour to Onewa Road (or even more) and on Onewa Road the T3 lane is actually getting near the point where it might need to become a T4 lane or a bus only lane (as it carries around 40% of vehicles and 70% of people). North Shore City Council has worked out that if they turned their T3 lane into a T2 lane on Onewa Road then well over 80% of people would be using that lane, and more vehicles would actually use that lane than the normal lane - which would totally defeat the point as the transit lane would now be more congested than the normal lane.

    That’s the likely outcome of the Dominion Road T2 idea, two congested lanes instead of one. Yay.

    Regarding Remuera, perhaps a T3 lane is the answer. There are fewer buses than Onewa Road so there wouldn’t be so much risk of over-crowding the lane, while being T3 instead of T2 would ensure that the lane doesn’t become congested and impede the buses that do run along it.

    On some roads where we might want to introduce bus lanes (Mt Albert Road, Manukau Road, Pakuranga Road etc.) perhaps a good way to start would be T2 or T3, depending on the number of buses.

    Ultimately, my point is that there can’t be a “one size fits all” solution here. Whether you have T2, T3, T4 or full bus lanes depends on the number of buses, the particular characteristics of the road (widely spaced bus stops or more close together) and many other factors. A good policy would be “horses for courses” and a commitment to improve public transport by applying the best solution to the need.

  29. William Ross says:

    I’m thrilled Mr Brewer is standing. I was not aware of it.
    Especially as an independent.
    I attended a council meeting a few months ago and it depresses me how much we need new blood.
    Mr Brewer is a lively media savvy person who has put Newmarket on the map with much respect.
    I will be voting for him. I wish he was standing for mayor even if that did upset his C&R friends.

  30. George D says:

    Thanks Jarbury for your thorough replies. As always, it’s about moving the greatest number of people as efficiently as possible.

    As you note, a free flowing lane will look “empty” the difference is that a full bus will have the same as 40-50 single occupant cars - which would mean a clogged car-lane (especially as those vehicles need space between them and stop-start).

  31. joust says:

    its strange that the throughput of a motorway lane is at its highest when moving moderate-to-heavy traffic still at relatively high speeds, as soon as it starts congesting the throughput actually drops, as additional vehicles try to enter the road. When that happens we are wasting resource in terms of people’s time, fuel etc, as well as the investment in the road in the first place, its not delivering as well as it could be.

    Kind of similar to the “relatively empty free-flowing bus lanes are a good thing for the community” idea - they mightn’t be perceived as a good thing for John Doe in his car sitting in a queue trying to get to Newmarket, while the bus lane sits “empty”.

  32. Andrew says:

    Somewhere in the past year, I’m not sure if it was here, Jarbury’s blog, or the CBT forum, stats were posted showing council officers (not sure if it was ACC or ARC) recorded that Remuera Rd’s supposedly empty bus lanes actually carry more people during the AM peak than the general traffic lane.

    And that’s not a typo. I do mean Remuera Rd, not Dominion Rd.

    I’ll try to find it. If I find it, I’ll link to it. Or does anyone else know where this may be?

  33. Andrew says:

    Found it. Sorry it wasn’t more than half but it was pretty close: 45%.

    From a comment by RTC in Josh’s blog, in turn quoting The NZ Herald:

    “The committee also yesterday noted that the Remuera Rd bus lanes were creating greater than expected public transport benefits, after officers reported that buses accounting for just 2 per cent of peak-time traffic carried up to 45 per cent of people travelling along the corridor.”

    45% of all trips going down a lane that looks empty. This is a testament to the spacial inefficiency of the vehicles in the general traffic lane, not of anything wrong with vehicles legitimately in the bus lane.

    The bus lane is not the problem here. The problem is that the people who are stuck in are the traffic in the general lane see the empty-looking lane and want it, not realising that it’s their presence that is the cause of the problem in their own lane and they’d just spread, rather than solve, the problem.

  34. karl says:

    I agree - the main point here is the “empty” bus lanes give people a target for their road rage, even though by sitting (presumably on their own) in their car, THEY are the prime cause of congestion.

    However, if Cameron Brewer is willing to learn on this, we should also look at how he has to deal with this as a politician.

    As has been pointed out, people complain a lot more than they praise, and having made this (Remuera Road bus lane review) part of his plank a day or so after standing for Councillor, he will have to indeed look into how to deflect or reduce that angry feeling by car drivers that Remuera Road bus lanes are a waste of space. Otherwise, he risks losing votes.

    Suggestions? We have heard T3 being discussed, but I worry that that will just lead to calls for T2 to follow…

  35. suzie says:

    Remuera has a lot of elderly residents who will soon need to give up driving and be reliant on public transport. If the bus lanes go then these will be the same people complaining that their bus can’t get through the traffic.

  36. joust says:

    Remuera rd is a bus artery much like Dominion Rd, Manukau rd etc. Its not just the immediate suburban residents any changes affect. There are plenty of people from more southern eastern suburbs that travel along it to access Newmarket and further afield regardless of mode.

  37. Anthony says:

    Cameron Brewer has a point here:>

    I say we should go for bus lanes down the centre of the road. And use trams were possible.


  38. Mark Donnelly says:

    On the Dominion Rd T2

    Apart from the number of buses, the other key is how often they stop. I would have thought there were fewer stops on Tamaki Dr? There are a lot of stops on Dom Rd - so many T2 cars will be stuck behind them - which stops other buses….

    Also, the other issue to consider is how they might be abused. I guess the logic is you take cars off the road with T2, by getting people to car share - however, with so many local schools, it may become too tempting for people to give their kids a lift down Dom Rd towards school eg Grammar etc so you may get far more T2 cras than say Tamaki Dr.

    That may or may not happen - but to me it’s not worth the risk.

  39. karl says:

    Mark, I think you have pegged it exactly.

    Also, T2 lanes are useless without enforcement (I read that up to 70% of T2 users should not be in there, though I can’t find the quote anymore).

    Even if you enforce it strongly: Do we really want lots more of articles about people whinging in the Herald:

    “Oh, I was just dropping Tommy off at school, and then on the way back I was ticketed by that mean Council guy! Just revenue gathering, this T2 stuff, I tell you!”


    “Well, I was just on the WAY to pick up Pat so we could car-pool into town, but of course I had to get to his street first, and now I have to pay $150 - just because I drove a couple meters in the T2 lane! Why not let everyone in, that would encourage more use of the roadspace!”

  40. Kurt says:

    Cameron Brewer is right!

    Bus lanes cause more traffic problems than they cure. Trying to make this stop gap public transport mode function somewhere near efficiently by taking up road space just highlights how useless buses are. End of story. Something has to be done to sort the problem out.

    Put more money into rail!

  41. karl says:

    Kurt, such an “all or nothing” argument is really just about destroying public transport.

    Why don’t we ban CARS from Remuera Road? Contrary to your “they are useless” claims, buses are close to transporting more people than cars on Remuera Road ALREADY. If we freed the road from the car scourge totally, buses could have such a great run they would double or triple in patronage, and Remuera Road would be used much more efficiently than now.

    In short, your argument is the usual “not in my backyard, go do something somewhere else” argument. Where do you get the money from for your grandiose rail plans? Rail transports less than 10% of all PT passengers in Auckland. Are you proposing we build rail lines everywhere in town to take over from buses? Next to your house too? Sure. Happy to.


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>