A Greypower meeting was held on November 22, with representatives from Auckland Transport.

Duncan Humphrey, director of the AMETI project spoke first spoke first regarding the eastern Busway project. He conceded east Auckland had become “car-dependent” and that “the infrastructure is not there”, and the new Busway needed to be “special, attractive, different, akin to a rail system” in order to serve the community more efficiently.

Humphrey also promised expediency with the project, and stated a relationship that collates with suppliers is the preferable model going forward, and the project would be sped up by going to market, alleviating the use of contractors.

Renata Smit, manager AT airport access program, addressed the issues surrounding transport to the “big employment hub” at Auckland airport. One issue originated from area businesses who “can’t fill jobs due to (the airport) being too difficult to get to” prompting Smit to  lay out plans for airport to Botany hub rapid transport.

The solution according to Smit,is the 18 km long new transport link, which hopes to provide a 30-40 minute travel time between Botany and the Airport.

A voice from the floor asked “why is the train line not extended to the airport?”Smit answered that the cost was “significantly more” (in real dollars extrapolating the projected 1.6billion cost by 2.5 times) to alter the existing spur line, and so was not feasible.

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AT development manager Ben Ross then held court and produced AT generated figures that showed an increase of 16% on bus journeys taken to termination at Panmure station.

The contentious issue of the T2 lane on Pakuranga highway was raised, with AT appearing comfortable with the innovation.

Another speaker expressed concern that bus stops would be in the middle of the road as part of the project on Ti rakau drive, and asked whether there would be a pedestrian crossing built to accommodate those with limited physical capabilities to reach the stop safely. This was confirmed by AT.

Following this was a comment from the floor, that the crossing would impact turning traffic and create bottle-neck situations. The idea of an underpass was mooted as a solution by a Grey power member, but was shut down as a concept due to cost.

In a release AT had this to say about the imminent works;

The Airport to Botany Rapid Transit project will deliver a new rapid public transport link between the airport, Manukau and Botany, which will improve accessibility in the southern and eastern areas of Auckland and provide an important link in the rapid transit network, with connections to the rail network at Puhinui and Manukau stations, the Eastern Busway at Botany Interchange and light rail at the Airport.

Airport to Botany will significantly improve transport choice, reliability, and journey times in the south and east of Auckland. A good public transport network helps cities evolve by providing better connections and improved accessibility. Reliable, affordable and efficient public transport has major economic, social and environmental benefits.

Airport to Botany Rapid Transit is one of three projects in the Southwest Gateway programme. Auckland Transport, the NZ Transport Agency, and Auckland Airport are working together on the Southwest Gateway programme to improve access and allow for future growth in south and east Auckland.