Mo­torists con­fused about bridge bus lane

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

Ex­actly who can drive down the re­cently re­opened Grafton Bridge ap­pears to be caus­ing con­fu­sion for mo­torists.

Pri­vate ve­hi­cles are for­bid­den from driv­ing on the bridge on Mon­day to Fri­day be­tween 7am and 7pm, be­cause it’s a des­ig­nated bus lane dur­ing those times.

But on a visit to the bridge on Tues­day morn­ing, the Cen­tral Leader counted 23 pri­vate ve­hi­cles driv­ing over the bridge, com­pared with 19 cy­clists, in a 30 minute pe­riod.

Cy­clists, pedes­tri­ans and emer­gency ve­hi­cles are per­mit­ted to use the bridge along with buses. One car de­cided to do a u-turn in the mid­dle of the bridge af­ter re­al­is­ing their mis­take, even­tu­ally head­ing down Sy­monds St.

Auck­land City Coun­cil park­ing man­ager Rick Bid­good says the con­fu­sion is a re­sult of the bus strike.

Af­ter the bridge re­opened last Mon­day he says the num­ber of pri­vate ve­hi­cles us­ing the bridge dropped by 70 per­cent two days later.

How­ever, with all New Zealand Bus ve­hi­cles off the road, he says peo­ple may think they can drive on it.

“It’s cer­tainly added an­other di­men­sion for every­one, but it’s un­avoid­able. We have to keep Auck­land mov­ing.”

Dur­ing the in­dus­trial action Mr Bid­good says any­one caught driv­ing in the bus lanes will be is­sued with a warn­ing. This fol­lows a grace pe­riod in the first week of op­er­a­tion, where warn­ings are is­sued rather than a $150 fine.

“Peo­ple are just get­ting used to it be­ing a bus lane.

“With any in­tro­duc­tion of new bus lanes there is a com­pli­ance pe­riod.”

The coun­cil has marked the en­trance to each lane with per­ma­nent signs on the road and elec­tronic signs at both ends of the bridge and have been us­ing the me­dia to up­date peo­ple on the sit­u­a­tion.

Coun­cil park­ing staff are posted at the bridge dur­ing the day to help mo­torists, though Mr Bid­good wouldn’t con­firm ex­actly when they’re present on site.

He ex­pects Auck­lan­ders will get used to the new rules even­tu­ally, with more than 99 per­cent of mo­torists stay­ing out of bus lanes around the city in the morn­ing and about 98 per­cent com­ply­ing at night.

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