New Auckland Rail Timetable Disaster for Western Line Commuters? UPDATED

First fare hikes, now possible loss of services?


I had mentioned earlier in the month on the fact Auckland Transport Refuse in Improve Rail Frequencies.


In March a new rail timetable will be released and brought into operation by Auckland Transport for all four lines.

With a new timetable right on top of March Madness (when our transit system faces the highest patronage levels of the year with businesses, schools and universities all back in operation) we hope the new frequencies would be in line with the operative Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) 2015 as seen below:


rail-frequencies-per-rptp-2015 Source: Auckland Transport
rail-frequencies-per-rptp-2015 Source: Auckland Transport


Notice I used the word ‘hope?’ That is because Auckland Transport from what I have learned have refused to increase the frequencies especially in the off-peak, evenings and weekends from the current 20 minutes (30 minutes on the weekend) on the Western, Eastern and Southern Line and 30 minutes on the Onehunga Line. All Auckland Transport have done is reduced total run time from 53 to 51 minutes for the Southern Line, deleted Westfield Station and added Parnell Station. There is no changes to frequencies or extension of evening services which need to be extended until 12:30am Sunday to Wednesday and 2am Thursday to Saturday.


This is unacceptable behaviour from Auckland Transport on what seems to be a continued trend of not only silo thinking (the AT rail team refusing to work with the AT Bus team who created the very useful New South Auckland Bus Network) but due to that silo thinking the trains do not marry up with feeder busses at Papakura, Manurewa, Manukau and Otahuhu Stations which all have bus stations or interchanges attached.


Source: Auckland Transport Refuse in Improve Rail Frequencies


More information has come to light since then and before the new timetable goes into effect on March 12.


This includes the possibilities of:

  • Reason for not increasing frequencies is lack of OPEX funding (yet the Regional Public Transport Plan was written the same time as the 2015 Long Term Plan) and needing Kiwi Rail to present more windows (on the Southern Line (so does not affect the Western at all)) to allow increased frequencies while there is an increase of freighters running as well. Auckland Transport to try increased frequencies next year….
  • Outbound services from Britomart to Swanson are an hour later in the morning. This means if you use the Western Line going west to connect with Henderson to Westgate to North Shore busses (so Albany and surrounds for your work) rather than getting there at 6am at the earliest you won’t be getting there until 7am (places like hospitality and call centres often have their major shifts starting at 7am). UPDATE: The error mentioned here has been fixed. First outbound train from Britomart on the Western Line has reverted back to current running (5:20am departure arriving at Henderson at 6:03am). 
  • At the moment with the Western Line the first service in the morning starts from Henderson at 5:11am then the rest from Swanson. The proposed timetable will have the first, second and fourth THREE Western Line trains starting from Henderson before the fourth starts at Swanson (the third will leave from Swanson). To complicated it the first train from Henderson moves from 5:11am to 5:20am meaning the earliest you can get into Britomart becomes 6:07am not 5:58am as current


So if you live out West or travel out West to go to the North Shore this new proposed timetable is not very friendly to you at all. I haven’t seen the Southern or Eastern Line proposals yet so not sure how bad they get.


Finally: Auckland to Hike Public Transport Fares 5% and 14% Respectively. Still Equity Issues. This includes $10 more on the Monthly Pass.


Time to contact your local Councillors and ask them to bring Auckland Transport before the Governing Body and remind AT of our expectations of a decent and reliable rail transit system per the RPTP. The contact details for Councillors can be seen here:

To contact Mayor Phil Goff refer to here:



What we want is decent rail frequencies that not only match up with the New Bus Network but also extension of services into the evenings to cater for our more 24/7 economy.



Auckland Transport seem to be going out of their way to make transit rather unattractive…..


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