Auckland Transport says it has identified a number of possible future city centre light rail routes, including Queen Street, Symonds Street, Sandringham Road, Manukau Road, and Mount Eden Road, and that any scheme will complement the NZD2.86bn (EUR1.89bn) City Rail Link by improving capacity in areas where buses alone will not be sufficient to meet future demand. Its board has now called for further studies to be carried out.
The announcement on 23 January coincided with the opening of a two-month public consultation on Auckland Transport’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan, which sets out investment priorities for the next decade. Chairman Dr Lester Levy said: “It is perhaps unsurprising that routes that have been identified are similar to those which operated in the 1930s and 40s when trams moved large numbers of Aucklanders around.
“They would service a large part of urban Auckland which currently has limited access to and from the city centre, while the City Rail Link will significantly increase the capacity on the existing rail network across the region. Population growth and the challenges that brings cannot be met by simply adding more buses to already congested arterial roads. There is very little that we can do in terms of widening those roads so we have to be smarter about how we use that limited space.”