Letter to Auckland Transport: Improving public advisory and guidance around bus lanes

Letter I sent off to Auckland Transport early this morning (I suffer from sleep maintenance insomnia). While I reiterate I’ve yet to personally receive a fine, I feel a strong moral objection with how Auckland Transport are going about this and have strong concerns how an agency that is supposed to be acting in the interest of the public are rolling out enforcement cameras to use against the very people they are supposed to be serving.

Good Morning,

Sorry to have to raise this issue again. I am continuing to hear and read about people getting fined on the bus lane section of Khyber Pass (East bound) between Kingdon and Broadway.

Given the obvious and ongoing confusion this is causing, It’s now at the stage where I request Auckland Transport to please provide me with at least a high level plan or overview as to how they propose to mitigate the ongoing confusion for the motoring public (by Close of Business Friday 5:00 pm NZDT, 7th October 2022, please)

I remind Auckland Transport again that since they insist that it’s not about revenue, AT in my mind have a clear obligation to the Auckland public and Auckland Residents / Ratepayers to minimize confusion and address the issue of signage and guidance surrounding bus and transit lanes. I will also further remind AT they are there to serve the public, not wage an ideological war (through setting up an ever increasing array of automated enforcement cameras to use) against the very people who AT are supposed to be serving and those who ultimately pay AT’s wages.

Given the individual financial impact each infringement incurs, Auckland Transport I firmly feel could be doing a lot more, Including but by no means limited to setting up a comprehensive and up-to-date bus and transit lane map online as a public service and running ads on the back of say buses advising motorists to please check for the latest SVL arrangements prior to heading out. (There may be an opportunity to promote public transport use such as “Avoid the stress and confusion. Let AT take you there”)

Please refer to prior case numbers CAS-521169-X3C4G3 and CAS-545044-D9D8D1 for previous correspondence on this matter.

If I could please receive an initial acknowledgement of the receipt of this request by Close of Business Friday 5:00 pm 16th September 2022, this would be appreciated, along with the an overview of what Auckland Transport are planning to do to aid motorists in these situations (be it advertising, public advisory campaign, more comprehensive guidance videos, better signage, or otherwise) by Friday 5:00 pm NZDT, 7th October 2022, please.

If I do not hear from Auckland Transport by 7th October 2022 pertaining to the above I will be proceeding to take this matter further as a civic concern.

Thank you.

Letter to Auckland Transport: Improving public advisory and guidance around bus lanes

Bus Lane Locations in Auckland (Link to map)

Was contemplating compiling a map myself of Auckland’s Bus Lane network, but it looks like Auckland Transport themselves have already created a Bus Lane and Special Vehicle lane map, albeit, one that is a bit out of date. (Will press Auckland Transport to update it,  particularly Queen Street and Mount Willington Highway).

Click here or the image below to access AT’s Bus lane / SVL Map

Given the phelora of Bus Lanes and Special Vehicle Lanes popping up in Auckland recently catching many otherwise law abiding people unaware, I feel it has come to the point where motorists in all practical intents and purposes now have to consult this prior to heading out in order to avoid running foul of the rules and ending up with a $150 NZD fine.

While I’ve never received an infringement from AT for anything I’ve done and while I do support the idea of special vehicle priority lanes where implemented appropriately to aid High Occupancy Vehicles to move more freely, I am steadfast in my view Auckland Transport could be doing considerably more than they have to aid the public to comply. These include…

  • Running advisory campaigns to advise the motoring public to please check for the latest information regarding bus lanes on the map (linked to at the top of this post)
  • Ensure that as a public service any and all Bus Lanes, Transit Lanes and Special Vehicle lanes are swiftly updated and marked on the map as soon as they are laid down.
  • Modify placement of bus lanes to aid people to easily merge into the general traffic lane. Right now, the way many bus lanes are drawn are pretty abrupt allowing drivers little chance to recognise and get out of the way of a bus lane.
  • While AT already have videos online on how to use or drive on bus lanes, there is very little practical information for drivers to navigate around bus lanes. e.g what happens if you find yourself approaching a lane that you don’t know how to safely get out of?

As a personal opinion, while the “Green team” (being environmental advocates) seem to be the one’s advocating heavy handed (Orweillien-like Camera) enforcement in the name of a climate emergency, they run the real of risk of becoming tyrants themselves. As an aside, It’s almost like they are demanding that people immediately put both their livelihoods and current living arrangements on hold and comply with their demands on issues such as climate change and the environment (as in, stop driving our Internal Combustion Engine powered vehicles right away).

The issue I have with the current level of bus lane camera enforcement is that it pits Auckland Transport (as a CCO) against the very public they are supposed to be serving fostering a rather divisive and counter productive “Us” vs “Them” sentiment along with contributing to the general public’s erosion of respect towards Authority.

I also fear that this may be a slippery slope and unless strongly challenged, will encourge other government departments to copy Auckland Transport and start rolling out a regular fines regime to use against the public they are supposed to be serving.

Furthermore, it raises an issue with so many otherwise Law abiding people getting pinged over an ever increasing array of ‘Strict Liability’ offences now suggests people who otherwise have the best intentions are now no longer able to go about their lives without worrying about the the state coming down on them for an innocent mistake.

I will admit, I feel very strongly about how Auckland Transport are currently handling this and feel their current stance is highly corrosive to their own public image and is actually causing the general public to turn against Auckland Transport and their initiatives. I am currently locked in ongoing discussions with Auckland Transport about their conduct, as a civic concern, urging them to reconisder their approach and offering suggestions as to what they could do instead to improve public guidance, and education in order to aid compliance around bus lanes.

Auckland Transport and the “Green team” (including the likes of the ‘Greater Auckland / Transport Blog‘ people) need to be “reading the room”, they need to realize they need the support and understanding of the public in order to progress with their vision of achieving a transportation modal shift in Auckland.

While I can totally understand sitting on a bus that has been impeded by cars is a frustrating and irritating experience, comments online that I’ve seen from advocates directed against general motoring members of the public that happen to unintentionally drive into a bus lane I feel is completely unhelpful, divisive and unproductive. Statements such as “Selfish Idiot” and “It’s SOOOOO simple, just stay out of the bus lane” reeks of a total lack of both consideration for others and understanding of the situation. Work with the public, not against the public.

 

Bus Lane Locations in Auckland (Link to map)