The Auckland Transport (AT) Board has today endorsed work to improve the way people get around on Wellesley Street when the City Rail Link (CRL) opens in 2026.
The CRL will deliver a significant increase in the number of people using the city’s public transport system, AT Chief Executive Dean Kimpton says.
“A key part of this is the new Te Waihorotiu Station at Wellesley Street, which will have the capacity to handle 54,000 passengers an hour, making it New Zealand’s busiest train station.
“It is crucial we are prepared for the increase in foot traffic and bus usage in the area, so we have put together the Wellesley Street Bus Improvements (WSBI) programme, which aims to maximise the value we get out of both the CRL and our wider transport network.”
Funding for Stage One of the WSBI was approved at today’s AT Board meeting. This will deliver $26.7 million of improvements on the section of Wellesley Street between Queen Street and Albert Street/Mayoral Drive, outside the new Te Waihorotiu Station.
“These improvements will provide the infrastructure to support increased bus frequency and foot traffic,” Mr Kimpton says.
“Stage One will be delivered in conjunction with the CRL Te Waihorotiu Station to minimise disruption and cost. Work is set to start in early 2024 and will be completed by late 2025, in time for the opening of Te Waihorotiu Station.”
For the full benefits of the WSBI to be realised, other sections of Wellesley Street are also being looked at in future stages of the programme. Stage Two is proposed to connect Victoria Park to Albert Street with high-quality bus lanes, and Stage Three would extend eastwards from Queen Street to Princes Street with plans to include cycling/micro-mobility improvements.
“Like Stage One, our intention would be to deliver these improvements alongside other works in the area, including Te Hā Noa linear park on Victoria Street, significant Watercare and Vector upgrades, as well as the private sector development The Symphony Centre,” Mr Kimpton says.
“Transport projects like the CRL are going to be transformative for our city. By 2026, Wellesley Street is forecast to have 154,000 more pedestrians each day. Demand for bus services there will increase by a third in just a few years.
“We’re making sure we get ahead of this growth by putting in the work now to get our transport network fit-for-purpose and ready for the future,” Mr Kimpton says.
Key benefits of the Wellesley Street Bus Improvements (Stages 1-3):
- Total of 1.1km of two-way bus priority lanes proposed, alongside new infrastructure and passenger facilities, to service up to 200 buses during peak times by 2028 – predicted to reduce travel times between 14-23 per cent.
- Allows buses to run directly through the city centre, freeing up kerb space and creating a more frequent and reliable service.
- Improve sense of place and arrival into the mid-town from Te Waihorotiu station, which is projected to see pedestrians increase to over 70,000 per day near the station.
- Future-proofing Wellesley Street through pavement upgrades to accommodate a higher volume of electric buses.
- Corridors for 30 km/h safer speeds, prioritising vulnerable road users and connecting to low-traffic neighbourhood streets through cycle paths and pedestrian crossings.
- Proposed for Stage Three is a 320m separated bi-directional cycleway/micro-mobility connection between Queen Street and Princes Street, connecting to Grafton Gully via a new proposed Waka Kotahi-led shared path.