Wellington Embrace Bus Lanes


Journey time savings of around 14% and reduced variability in service times by about 11minutes during the evening peak are claimed in the key northbound direction since buses returned to Wellington’s Manners St.
A report to the Council’s Strategy Committee says early signs are promising.
The Council restored the original two- way public transport route through the Golden Mile, providing a more legible bus route closer to passenger demand and bypassing potential traffic delays by creating a largely dedicated route along Manners Street.
The report says that bus operators have reported significant reduction in congestion, no holdups northbound, more consistent trip times with better timekeeping and fewer customer complaints.
The survey results were to be viewed in the context of the new lower 30km/h speed limit, long running road works on Willis Street, and the project continuing to settle in. Public feedback has also been positive, and Colliers International has reported that pedestrian counts in the former Manners Mall have returned to 2009 levels.


Buses no longer bypass the mall where just people roamed

Meanwhile Wellington is moving towards implementation of an essentially continuous bus priority corridor between the Wellington railway station and the regional hospital at Newtown..
Refreshingly, the Council has a no nonsense attitude about bus lanes without making any apologies.
More bus lanes “deliver good benefits to public transport, with minimal if any impact on other road users or local businesses.”
One modern bus with a capacity of say 70 commuters is equivalent to roughly 50 cars. That’s the “compelling” argument put forward by the Wellington City Council for justifying more bus priority lanes.
Additionally, the Council says, if you consider the movement of people along our main bus corridors e.g. Courtenay Place, there are around 27,000 people that travel through Courtenay Place by bus on a typical weekday compared with around 8,500 people travelling in private vehicles.
Buses are highly efficient users of road space especially at peak times when passenger loadings are at their greatest,” says a report to the Council’s strategy committee which has given the go ahead for the new lanes to go:
almost the entire length of Courtenay Place on both sides of the road (these would operate all the time except for the eastbound section between Taranaki Street and Reading Cinema, which would operate 4-6pm, Monday to Friday)

  • along Kent Terrace from Majoribanks Street to Elizabeth Street, 4-6pm, Monday to Friday, which will complete the bus lane to the Basin Reserve
  • along Cambridge Terrace between the Basin Reserve and Tennyson Street, 7-9am, and between Tennyson Street and Courtenay Place, 7-9am and 4-6pm, Monday to Friday
  • along Adelaide Road, southbound between the Basin Reserve and John Street, 4-6pm, Monday to Friday.

The new bus lanes are primarily at peak times only and in most places replace existing peak-time clearways. About 31 parking spaces that are not already part of existing peak-time clearways would be affected - eight on Courtenay Place between Taranaki Street and Reading Cinema, 4-6pm; 10 on Kent Terrace between Majoribanks and Elizabeth streets, 4-6pm; and 13 on Cambridge Terrace between Buckle Street and Fifeshire Avenue, 7-9am. These would not be available Monday to Friday during the peak times listed but would operate as usual at other times. No parking changes in Adelaide Road are proposed at this stage.
Motorcyclists and cyclists would be able to use all of the proposed new bus lanes. Motorists turning into side streets would be able to enter the new bus lanes up to 50 metres ahead of their planned turn. This is the case with all bus lanes on roads shared with general traffic.

The Courtenay Place lanes are also aimed at addressing two other long standing traffic related matters. These are the traffic circulation on Blair and Allen Streets where there is the potential to improve pedestrian safety and expand the amount of space available for café/dining while retaining as much parking space as possible. Also the issue of poor taxi driver compliance during weekend evenings in particular. Part of the problem is that there is not enough parking for taxis close to the passenger demand at these busy times, and a general free for all. This requires a higher than desirable level of enforcement.
In the wake of the pedestrian injuries suffered in Manners St since buses returned there, the report said detailed work is also progressing on whether or not the two remaining zebra crossings on Courtenay Place should be converted to signalised crossings in the same manner as the crossing near the Reading cinema.




  1. KarlHansen says:

    Geez, a Council sticking to their guns on public transport. How refreshing.


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