Wellington city's new bus network

New routes and timetables are on the way. It’s been more than 20 years since Wellington city’s bus network was comprehensively reviewed. In that time, passenger numbers in the region have grown greatly – and will continue to do so. Journeys on buses, trains and ferries are expected to increase by 20 per cent between now and 2021 (from 35 million to 42 million trips a year). 

To keep our city and region moving, we need a bus network that can carry more people to more places – every day of the week.

Our new network is based on feedback from customers, research and the approaches adopted by other cities in New Zealand and overseas.

Bus cropped

Why do we need to change?

Better spread of services

Some places are easy to get to by bus, but others are not. Some suburbs are well serviced; others are not. Some areas need more peak-hour services; others need more weekend or evening services.  In other words, the city has grown, and our bus network needs to catch up with those changes.

More connections

We can’t hope to provide direct connections to every destination throughout the day and into the evening. So we’re taking another tack. The new network will have a core of high-frequency routes to which services from outer areas will connect. The result will be more choice about when, and where, to travel. 

Reduce inner-city congestion

At the moment, buses come into the city from about 40 suburbs, many travelling along similar routes through the city centre. The result is duplication of services as well as unnecessary congestion.

In the new network, the introduction of 60 double-decker buses – 10 of them fully electric – will help reduce congestion in the CBD, especially key roads such as Lambton Quay along which 230 buses an hour travel at peak times, slowing average speeds to 10km/h.

Reducing the number of duplicate routes, using alternative routes through the CBD and introducing larger buses, such as double deckers, will cut the peak-time flow of buses along Lambton Quay from 230 buses an hour to about 160 an hour. These changes will also ensure that buses coming into the CBD carry more passengers. Right now, buses average only two-thirds of their available capacity – with some buses that are regularly too full and others only half full.

From July 2018, bus users can expect: 

more choice about when to travel

  • 15 per cent more services on weekdays
  • 45 per cent more services at weekends
  • more regular off-peak services for 26 suburbs
  • new evening and weekend services for 12 suburbs

service based on demand

  • more buses for growth areas and under-serviced suburbs
  • bigger buses, including double-deckers, on busy routes

one electronic payment method

  • Snapper accepted on all buses across the region
  • free transfers between buses using Snapper 

more destinations within easy reach

  • a new, simpler network of routes
  • new feeder buses from outer suburbs to main routes
  • buses timed to connect with other buses
  • short-wait transfers at new or upgraded bus hubs  

more buses arriving on time

  • incentives for bus operators to be more punctual
  • fewer buses on similar routes through the city to reduce traffic congestion
  • new routes designed to minimise delays caused by city traffic 

More information about changes to the bus services will be available soon.

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Mid-2018 Wellington City bus network maps