More Northern Express Buses


After recent overcrowding issues, Auckland Transport moved last week especially on the Northern Express route peak capacity issues by promising they will be dealt with by increasing frequency and sourcing extra buses.

They have delivered.
Today comes details of those extra Ritchie buses and services.

More buses will run during peak hours and night time services have been extended.

From May 2, buses will leave Albany Station every five minutes between 6.30am to 9.30am and from Britomart every five minutes between 3pm and 6.30pm.  Additional services will operate at peak times.

Friday and Saturday night time schedules have also been extended to give late night workers and revellers more options to get home.

Auckland Transport’s Manager Transport Public Operations Mark Lambert says increasing bus patronage and rising petrol prices have taken passenger numbers to record levels.

“Customers are happy with the service and we are pleased more people are taking the bus, however patronage has grown faster than we anticipated, putting pressure on existing bus services.”

Passenger numbers on the Northern Express bus service on the North Shore were 20.7% up in just one year, with 1.99 million passenger trips for the year.

“The improvements and increased frequency of buses will alleviate overcrowding allowing people to get to their destination faster, easier and in more comfort.

“This is a great response from Ritchies in a short amount of time arranging more buses and we expect our customers to be very pleased with the good news,” said Mr Lambert.

Changes to the bus schedule:

Monday to Friday:

  • Service commences 5.30am ex Albany (currently 5.45am).
  • Service commences 6.00am ex Britomart (currently 6.30am).
  • Service frequency increase ex Albany to 3 minutes 7.00am to 8.00am School term only (currently 4-5 minutes).
  • Service frequency increase ex Albany to 5 minutes from 6.30am to 7.00am (currently 10 minutes).
  • Service frequency increase ex Britomart to 5 minutes 3.00pm to 4.00pm (currently 10 minutes).
  • Service frequency increase ex Britomart to 3 minutes 5.00pm to 5.45pm School term only (currently 4-5 minutes).
  • Service span increase Monday to Thursday - last service 12.00am ex Britomart. Service will operate every 15 minutes with last service 12 midnight from Britomart (1130 Albany).

Friday and Saturday evenings:

  • Increase in service span – last service 3.00 am ex Britomart (2.30am ex Albany).
  • Friday night – 15 minute frequency until 12.00am midnight ex Britomart then every 30 minutes until 3.00am (2.30am ex Albany).
  • Saturday night – 30 minute frequency until 3.00am ex Britomart (currently ends 11.00pm) (2.30am ex Albany).
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  1. richard says:

    And how many more would use the service if there were adequate car parks at the stations? It’s one thing having frequent express buses but feeder buses are too infrequent to catch

  2. Jamee says:

    I remember when the 886/887 routes back in 2004/2005 were pretty much empty all day everyday. The 880 loop service was no better. I can’t say that their frequency has improved since then.

  3. Matt L says:

    Richard considering there are issues with crowding causing them to put more buses on I don’t think the amount of parking is really the problem.

  4. Jon Reeves says:

    Excellent to see the improvements.

    Joyce will be hating Aucklanders desire for public transport.

  5. richard says:

    What I am getting at is there is a potential for many more users than the present crowded state of affairs.
    This would require double the buses at least and justify light rail or heavy rail which can carry many more passengers at a time and thus make a PT tunnel high priority.

    The small number of car parks is effectively keeping many , like myself , on the motorway in cars. We have car poolers and the like calling for access to the “empty” busway, and that is when the buses are crowded. To them the busway appears under used and at present they have a point……..get tracks down and the tunnel borers in now.!!

  6. Auckland says:

    When I’m not thinking of Wellington’s new Matangis The Northern Busway is perhaps the best massive public transport project or service so far in New Zealand. I don’t say it’s not useful to have a rail to Albany in the future, but now I would rather see the rail to the airport instead North Shore as the service is perfect now, still

  7. Scott says:

    Wow, This is a huge number of extra services. congrats to AT and Ritchie’s for sorting it out. Even if some of the buses are older and In Ritchie’s colors im sure users will be very appreciative.

    “adequate car parks at the stations?” I think providing adequate car parking is an un-realistic goal if the parking is free. How many would you need? 1000? 5000? sounds incredibly expensive, plus the walk through the car park will be long. Plus it will undermine the economics of the feeder routes.

    I support using a daily fee to manage utilization, with a target peak capacity of 80-90%, ensuring that people who need can feel secure about being able to get a car park. This would also give AT economic incentive to build more car parks. In addition removing the heavy subsidies from the official Park in Ride would allow unofficial ones to compete. Im sure some of the owners of the empty grassland near Albany would allow people to park there if it brought in some revenue.

  8. Jacky says:

    Great to see, the Christchurch Red Bus turning up at Auckland City this evening…. they have been fully setup with the current metrolink ticketing equipment (of course the new hop card system is not there) they have also the electronic board and also they are using the current Auckland bus walkie talkie system too

  9. Takuya says:

    Should extendet to Hibiscus Coast too!
    Every week ends or even on daytime on weekdays route 895 is almost packed up by full of people! before departing from first stop at Wellesley St!!

    I woulds say increase the number of bus to every harlf hour or use lager bus. Looks MAN 2400 is not big enough…


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