Airport Bus Patronage Leaps


From the “Build it and they’ll come” case studies:
Numbers of people using public transport to Auckland airport have leapt since bus services got better and more frequent.
ARTA released figures today that show the Airbus Express and the Manukau Airporter 380 services have both grown substantially in recent months; year-to-date figures show that patronage on the 380 service has increased by 78.5% and the Airbus Express has also shown significant increase in passenger numbers when compared to the previous year.
ARTA’s Mark Lambert says improving services to the airport is an important priority for ARTA.

Bus stop at Auckland domestic airport

The Manukau 380 Airporter service was introduced in June 2008 to provide a direct link to the airport from Manukau city centre.

Take buses not cars

The service was recently enhanced through acquiring a relationship with long distance coach service operators, Naked Bus, InterCity Coachlines and Magic Travellers Network allowing travellers to purchase tickets that connect them with the service to the airport from Manukau and vice versa.

It’s also possible to catch a train from anywhere along the Southern or Eastern Line and connect at Papatoetoe train Station with the 380 Airporter bus from there.  The airport bus also stops opposite the Mt Eden train station.

Airbus Express introduced 24-hour a day services in November of last year.

Services run at fifteen-minute frequencies from 6.00am until 7.15pm, and every thirty minutes during the course of the night.

Another step forward that has aided the growth of the Airbus Express and contributed to the accessibility of Auckland Airport is the introduction of the Northern Flyer, connecting the North Shore with the airport with a single ticket.

Well done.

Now all we need is a decent rail service. It’s also pleasing that both Auckland Airport, and , as recently as last week, Wellington airport companies have embraced public transport services when, for years, they seemed obsessed about collecting car parking revenue.




  1. Patrick says:

    When the Onehunga train station re-opens in July 2010, ARTA need to establish a connecting bus service to the Auckland Airport similar to the Manukau 380 Airporter.

  2. Willuknight says:

    Why? The Manukau one meets the needs of people to go from the Airport to the City, via transfering at the papatoetoe railway station.

    Seeing as the Onegunga train route would offer no time saving, what would be the point of duplicating this service?

  3. James says:

    Its actually a shorter distance from Papatoetoe. With arguably less congestion along the route.

    Might change once the SH20 widening + Manukau Harbour Crossing work is complete…

  4. rtc says:

    @Willuknight - I think for the reason that acessibility needs to be improved from all over Auckland not just from 1 or two spots.

  5. Su Yin says:

    This is great! I took the Airbus for the first time this year and loved it. Cheap and fast. Definitely doing it again (if luggage bags are walkable to the bus stop).

    Now, if only they will install some wifi action like they do on the Wellington Airport Flyer …

  6. Jon C says:

    Wi Fi on public transport would make an enormous impact. I love the Wellington Airport Flyer.

  7. James Pole says:

    @Willuknight: You’re deluded if you think the 380 service meets the need of City-Airport commuters. I did the maths when it was first introduced to see if it provided better timing than the direct AIRBUS service and concluded that pax from the City and surrounding suburbs was still better off using the direct service. Even if they juggled the timetable to ensure better connections, it wouldn’t have done much.

    So in reality the 380 only benefits pax Manukau suburbs. Last time I managed to use the 380 I was the only pax or two on the bus all the way from Papatoetoe station…

    I actually think an AIRBUS service Onehunga-Airport connecting to the Onehunga-City service would be an excellent idea. However I admit it is not feasible as the Onehunga branch won’t have the 15mins frequencies required to provide a good connecting service. Which the current 380 service doesn’t even have anyway due to poor connections between the 380 and train services.

    So, even though I prefer to train when I can, travelling to the airport is quick and somewhat reliable using the bus.

  8. curtissd says:

    Onehunga needs to be every fifteen minutes with timed bus heading to the airport and back. That would benefit Onehunga and the airport big time.

  9. JX says:

    I agree with Su Yin - this service is great. I also used it for the first time this year and it works as advertised - no fuss and your are away.

    Up until they offered 24/7 service it was useless for me as I travel Pacific Blue a lot and their flight times where always very early morning and very late at night. So the Airbus was quite frankly useless.

    Not so anymore :)

  10. Jon R says:

    Watching with interest, but the 380 is possibly the most poorly marketed service around. I have had meetings with ARTA about this….but still, have any of you seen:

    1) An advert in a train for it?
    2) An advert at a Southern or Eastern line station?
    3) An advert for it at the new Newmarket stn or Britomart?
    4) An advert for it in the train timetables?

    Such level 101 places to start the marketing for it!

    And a 78% increase on a low level to start with is precisely how many more passengers?

  11. Chris says:

    Coming back into town from fabulous Melbourne (Trams there are overcrowded and the Mayor has had Damascus moment and is proposing turning a major street into a tram/bike/pedestrian mall) we took the Airbus - BUT

    where is the signage at the airport? Coming out of the arrivals hall, there is NO signage apart from one saying Buses.

    Actually there is signage, big, bold, very clear - but stupidly, they’ve placed it so you can see it when you exit the SECONDARY MINOR exit from the arrivals hall, not the major dominant exit.

    How dumb is that? Clearly airport officials don’t take buses.

  12. Su Yin says:

    @Chris: So true! I’d forgotten about that. I had to go outside to look for a bus to figure out where the bus stop was


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