Changes to Auckland’s Buses and Ferries. AT Local Binned (Finally)

What is in and who is out in the latest transit timetable renewal

It is that time of year where the Fares go up (groan) and the timetables get rejigged. Below is the latest from Auckland Transport on our transit services:

Improvements to ferry and bus networks will give Aucklanders more options

Moving around Auckland is getting better with new ferry sailings and changes to some bus routes next week.

Starting Monday 25 January, Auckland Transport (AT)’s Hobsonville ferry service will be getting two new AM sailings and two new PM sailings, while the West Harbour service will see new sailings in the morning, after-school and in the evening.

In addition, Northcote Point wharf will be re-opening to provide more options for customers in the area.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomes the additional ferry sailings.

“These extra services will make it easier and more convenient for people to get around Auckland by public transport,” he says.

“Increasing public transport options will help us meet our climate change goals by reducing carbon emissions and will reduce traffic congestion for people who do choose to drive.”

Stacey van der Putten, AT’s Group Manager Metro Services, agrees.

“Auckland is a region of 1.6 million people on the move, so we’re introducing more ferry sailings where they’re needed the most,” she says.

“When the Auckland Harbour Bridge was damaged last year, we saw an increase in customers using our ferry services and many of them have continued to use this option even after the bridge re-opened. By adding these services, we can provide more options for people who continue to choose to sail in and out of the CBD.”

Ferry patronage remains strong in Auckland with 4.1 million total trips in 2020. December 2020 saw the number of trips sit at 80 per cent of the previous year and it continues to increase. Pre-COVID, ferry patronage grew between three and five per cent annually.

In addition to the ferry changes, AT is making changes to a few of its bus routes to reach more people throughout the city. For example:

  • Route 355 will connect Donegal Park to Botany and Manukau every 20 to 30 minutes all day until 7pm
  • Route 171 is getting new Sunday services to connect to the New Lynn hub seven days a week
  • Route 783 will receive extra evening services to connect the Eastern Bays until 10pm instead of 7pm
  • Route 378 is being extended to connect more suburbs to Papakura Station and the town centre
  • Route 983 will run to Hibiscus coast station every 15 minutes during peak times

These additions are part of wider changes to the network that support Auckland Council’s emergency budget. Other changes include the removal of some underused peak services or routes to better serve areas of the city in need of public transport relief.

“These improvements to our bus network are being made so we can better reach developing suburbs, as well as meet the needs of customers trying to get to where they are going later in the evening,” van der Putten says.

“All of these changes create a stronger multi-modal public transport system and a better, more connected network for us all.”

These changes follow AT’s completed roll-out of integrated fares meaning customers can transfer between buses, trains and ferries and pay just once for their entire journey when they tag on and off with their AT HOP card.

Tag on and off each bus, train or ferry as usual, and AT HOP fares will be automatically calculated for the entire journey, removing the cost of connecting bus and train trips in the same zone as the ferry.

A full list of 2020/2021 bus and ferry changes and improvements, the latest of which go into effect on Monday, can be seen here:


Source: Auckland Transport

AT Local aka public subsidised Uber ends – finally

One thing being kept quiet is that with the Devonport bus services reformatted, the AT Local aka public ride-share scheme finally gets the yeet. This is after critics have long said to Auckland Transport, and North Shore Councillor Chris Darby that the scheme was constantly failing to meet any patronage figure projects, was costing us $14 per passenger in subsidy, and was diverting limited funds from other transit services.

I did note this from Stuff:

Auckland Transport cans Devonport rideshare in favour of boosted bus network

Bernadette Basagre. 15:51, Jan 21 2021

A publicly-funded rideshare service has been scrapped due to disappointing user figures.

AT LOCAL, which was launched by Auckland Transport in 2018, is a $1.3 million service aimed at boosting the number of ferry users in wealthy Devonport.

Similar to rideshare services such as Uber and Ola, the service used six electric vehicles allowing residents living within three kilometres to order a vehicle to take to the Devonport ferry terminal through a custom-built app.

Auckland Transport said on Thursday that following feedback about the service, it has decided to abolish AT LOCAL and improve the local bus network.

Devonport-Takapuna Local Board member Mike Sheehy previously said each trip carried a $14 subsidy at the $2.50 price.

Taxpayers chipped in $475,000 of the total budget through the New Zealand Transport Agency.

AT has described the service as “successful”, despite falling short of the 1200 trips a week forecast in the first week.

Source: Stuff

They can call it what it like, AT Local should have never had happened. It failed the Value for Money test set by the Mayor, never reached its patronage projections, and worst of all diverted money away from actual transit services. This should be the last we see of such a scheme from AT and that means don’t even think about it with Papakura and Pukekohe!

For the timetable changes see the AT link above.