Motorists confused about bridge bus lane
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.