ALL ABOARD – the new E-Buses that will form the Airport Line (A2B) Fleet

E-buses mark new era

Even with the Phil Goff Retrenchment Budget (see: Goff Retrenchment Budget sees Vision Zero Slashed. Consequences = 90 Extra Deaths or Serious Injuries on our Roads per year! ) it seems one of our major transport projects will see its way to fruition in 2021.

Great news from Friday that Airport to Botany Rapid Transit Stage 1 (A2B) will be delivered and operational by 2021. Even better new is that the Airport Link buses that will serve A2B Stage 1 will be ALL ELECTRIC.

From Auckland Transport:

AirportLink jump starts with electric buses


Auckland Transport’s new bus route providing better connections between Manukau, an upgraded Puhinui Interchange and Auckland Airport will launch in the first half of 2021, operated by Go Bus with a full fleet of electric buses.

The nine buses for the new Airport Link service will be built by Yutong with supply and support from JW Group, they will be provided by Go Bus. These buses are of similar design to a demonstration bus AT has previously trialled. Designed specifically for those connecting to and from Auckland Airport, there will be dedicated luggage space for travellers and modified priority seating areas, improving customer safety.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says, “These new electric buses will improve transport connections and reliability between Manukau, Puhinui and Auckland Airport, including for workers accessing its employment precinct as well as the airport itself.

“They will also help reduce carbon emissions from Auckland’s transport network, helping us to achieve our climate change goals.”

Mark Lambert, AT’s Executive General Manager of Integrated Networks, says the trials that AT have conducted in partnership with bus operator Go Bus and other operators over the past two years means are enabling more electric bus routes to be rolled out across the wider Auckland region. “We’re committed to doing our part in reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change. Our trials have proven that these buses can operate for a full shift on a single charge, while providing an improved customer experience”.

The Airport Link route will travel from Manukau Bus Station to the new upgraded Puhinui train to bus Station Interchange, and then on to Auckland Airport. The frequency of 10 minute services will ensure seamless transition between bus and train modes at Puhinui and Manukau Stations and travel time between Puhinui Station and the airport will only be 10-12 minutes when new priority bus lanes are installed as part of the Southwest Gateway programme.

The Airport Link will replace the southern section of the 380 Airporter bus route, which services the airport. At the same time, a new frequent bus route, the 38 will launch on the northern section of the previous 380 route between Onehunga and the airport district.

Calum Haslop, Go Bus CEO says “We are really excited about the opportunity to lead the move to zero-emission buses in Auckland. Having trialled two full battery electric buses over a 12-month period and completed thorough due diligence on a number of electric and Hydrogen bus deployments worldwide, we are now ready to move to a zero-emission future”

“We are also rolling out electric buses in other cities in New Zealand and continue to work on Hydrogen solutions as a complimentary zero-emission option. I’d like to congratulate AT for this investment with us and look forward to getting these new services underway in 2021.”

Jo Crickett, JW Group GM says “Over 120,000 Yutong full electric buses have proven to be reliable, quiet and energy efficient throughout the world, and now in New Zealand through a robust Auckland Transport trial. Our companies are proud to work beside Go Bus to serve the Auckland community and advance electrification of their fleet.”

Fast Facts:

  • The 374kWh Lithium battery pack in the buses provides a proven range of 380-400Km on single charge. This is required for this new service which has long daily operating hours from 4am to 1am.
  • The buses will be supported by plug-in opportunity fast charging at Manukau Bus Station as part of wider AT electric bus and infrastructure trial project.

For more information

Source: Auckland Transport

Stage 1 of A2B was a transit link between the Airport, Puhinui Station (allowing connections to the rail network) and Manukau (allowing connections with commuter and inter city buses) ready by 2021. Stage 2 was the full completion to Botany where it would join up to the Eastern Busway from 2026.

Great to see e-buses being used, even better A2B Stage 1 is not far from completion.

A2B Route Source: Auckland Transport