by Chris Darby
A vastly improved local bus network is coming soon to Devonport, to better connect locals to village shopping and the Devonport ferry.
In October 2020, Auckland Transport (AT) asked locals for their feedback on two options for the future of local bus services – enhanced bus services; or whether to convert the AT Local on-demand trial into a permanent solution with reduced bus services – on the Devonport Peninsula.
After considering local feedback and ideas, and under the financial constraints of the COVID-19 emergency budget, AT will be proceeding with Option A: Enhancing the local bus network and removing AT Local from the Devonport Peninsula.
The enhanced local bus network will see the 806 and 807 running more often at peak commuting times.
From 1 March 2021, the 806 and 807 will run every 20 minutes and connect with every Devonport ferry at peak times on weekdays. Buses will run every 30 minutes at all other times on weekdays until at least 8.45pm.
On weekends, the 806 and 807 will continue to run every 30 minutes until after 7pm, extending until almost 9pm, from Sunday 25 April 2021.
A new bus service will cover some areas that aren’t currently served by buses.A new 805 will connect the Belmont shops, Ngataringa Road, Lake Road and the Devonport village and Ferry Terminal and run hourly, Monday to Friday, from approximately 9.15am until 3.55pm.
Changes mean that most locals on the peninsula will now be within walking distance of a reliable bus service connecting to village shopping and the Devonport ferry.
As a daily Stanley Bay ferry user and regular AT Local passenger, I lament the loss of those services but acknowledge that numerous options have been thoroughly canvassed. Insurmountable cost implications in the face of COVID-19 affected budgets mean that dramatically better bus services are the answer for now.
Bus-ferry connections have previously been problematic, so it’s good to see that both the 806 and 807 will now meet every Devonport ferry at peak times. This will also minimise the impact of the removal of the Stanley Bay ferry, a service that saw declining patronage prior to COVID-19 and even more drastic reductions since.Combined with the recent introduction of integrated bus/ferry fares, bus travel to or from a connecting ferry is now free and frequent.
From Sunday 21 February: AT’s Journey Planner and AT Mobile will be updated so travellers can plan their journeys using the new bus service and timetables.
From Friday 26 February: The AT Local trial on the Devonport Peninsula will end. AT Local will not run on the Peninsula after this date.
From Monday 1 March: The 806 and 807 will start running to new weekday timetables.
From Monday 1 March: The 805 will start running.
From Sunday 25 April: The 806 and 807 will start running to new weekend timetables.