In a completely unsurprising revelation, it’s really expensive to get a taxi from the airport.

Catching a cab downtown from Auckland Airport has been labelled one of the most expensive taxi fares in the world by an international travel company.

According to a CheapFlights comparison of prices in 24 cities, New Zealand has the third most expensive per-kilometre taxi fares.

And a Herald investigation has found some Auckland taxi companies quoting price tags up to $86 for a trip — more than the price of some domestic flights — that other companies can deliver for just $35.

The report, released last month but based on data from March 2013, found the average price of travelling the 21.4km route from Auckland Airport to the city’s CBD was $77.41 — or $3.50/km.

The New Zealand price was surpassed only by fares in Berlin that were $4.06/km, and San Jose in Costa Rica that were $3.59/km.

Auckland cabs were 10 times more expensive than in the cheapest city, Buenos Aires, and twice the $1.75/km people using Australian taxis were paying.

Consumer NZ chief executive Suzanne Chetwin said the survey results confirmed anecdotes about the ever-increasing cost of Auckland’s airport journey. “[The survey] just confirms that it is very expensive to get to or from Auckland Airport and it just seems to have got dramatically more expensive over the last few years.”

The herald then goes on to do its own brief survey finding prices varying from between $35 to $86 followed by quotes from the companies involved each trying to throw dirt at each other.

The Herald did check out the cost of the Airbus though which compares extremely well at $16 compared to the taxis. What isn’t mentioned (but that’s important) is that in peak times those buses also get to use the bus lanes where  they exist which has the potential to make the journey not just cheaper but faster too.

For getting to the CBD what the Herald didn’t mention is that there’s an even cheaper option than this though. The CBD can be reached through a combination of the 380 Airporter bus and a train from Papatoetoe for a total of $7.60 if HOP is used – $3.06 for the 380 to Papatoetoe followed by $5.04 for the trip to town on the train along minus a 50c transfer discount. Oddly this option while advertised on this page, doesn’t show up as an option on AT’s journey planner (which is probably why they didn’t look at it). The big problem with the 380 Airporter service though is its frequency which is a lousy 30 minutes at peak times and hourly off peak or on weekends.

In the next few years the bus and train option is likely to become more attractive with the new network delivering higher bus frequencies between the Airport and Papatoetoe along with electric trains providing and faster and better quality trains from Papatoetoe to the CBD. Integrated fares *should* also bring down the price by removing the penalty for taking multiple trips.

Of course longer term the ultimate goal is to have rail directly to the airport which would give a quick one seat ride all the way from the heart of the CBD (via the CRL) to the airport. Once that’s in place the trip will faster than a taxi at any time of the day and considerably cheaper too (assuming it’s priced the same as normal PT and not with added terminal fees on top). Add in features like WiFi and I think even business travellers would consider using it over taxis. It would require the Airport to stop pretending it likes the idea of a rail connection though.

CFN Airport connection

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  1. Wouldn’t it make more sense for those travelling to the CBD, for an Airport bus to stop at Onehunga train station (other than the problem with the low frequencies from Onehunga).

    1. The problem with that is the crappy frequencies of both the bus and train plus the bus doesn’t go directly to Onehunga instead winding around local roads

      1. Nonetheless it’s a good idea. Why not a shuttle bus to Otahuhu Train Station? (Or, how much is a taxi to Otahuhu?) There’s two or three routes that should take only 15 mins from the airport, and from Otahuhu you can get 9 trains an hour at peak times, 29 mins to Britomart. Compared to 25 mins from Onehunga.. and maybe the Eastern Line will be faster with the new trains given there are fewer stops and some nice long straights..

        1. 9 Trains an hour to/from Britomart from Otahuhu? Don’t think so.

          Using the currrent Southern and Eastern Line Schedule best I ever see on the Southern line is 7 trains an hour from Otahuhu to Britomart (some via Newmarket, some via GI) in the AM Peak.

          I think you counted trains that terminated at Otahuhu in your estimate, as that comes to 9 an hour pass through or terminate at Otahuhu, but because 3 of those trains an hour terminate at Otahuhu, so you have to transfer to another train those terminating services don’t count for Britomart bound passengers.

          To eliminate the terminating services count the trains per hour through Westfield, the next station up the line per hour.

          6 at best and hour is all I can count, 5 more likely during peaks and 3 an hour off peak.

          1. Hmmm.. the AT timetable shows 9 an hour through Otahuhu and Westfield Mon-Fri at peak times.. that’s an average wait of ~3 mins and unless Massey Road was stuffed you’d get to Britomart in 45 mins once the EMUs are whizzing around

          2. well by the end of next year should be 12 trains an hour between Otahuhu and Puhinui.
            Do wonder if the Otahuhu – Mangere bus could be extended to airport as well. Especially if this bus ends up coming from Panmure like some new network maps suggest.

          3. You’re right – the timetable I had showed Eastern Line services only, if you include Southern Line you do get 9 an hour peak.

            Agree once the EMUs are in operation Otahuhu would be the way to get to/from the airport.
            I hadn’t thought of that option before, as the only other option for me is to go into Britomart and get the Airporter (or Papatoe and get the 380 bus).

            Not very frequent/good option right now though, hopefully its better under the New Network.

  2. Auckland airport transport has long been a joke, resulting in friends and relatives making numerous, time-consuming trips for pick up and drop off when I and other family members visit. Last time I was in town (a few weeks ago) I used took the Airporter to Britomart using HOP which was convenient but the fare is obviously still expensive by PT standards.

    I’ve been to Berlin (but not its airport) and given the excellent public transport network there I suspect the comparison of its taxi fares with Auckland is largely academic given most would take a speedy and reasonably priced PT option in Berlin. I can’t comment on Costa Rica.

    Bring on the rail to the airport to bust this economically inefficient taxi price gouging / private vehicle reliance bubble.

  3. What I used to do when in Auckland and needed to get myself to the airport in a timely way, was to take the train to Middlemore and get a cab from there (the station being near the hospital, there are plenty). This was both fast and frequent and the cost was quite reasonable. What I’ve done in the last few years to get from the airport to the city or vice versa is use the Airbus – because there are no stops along the way, it is actually quite fast as well (offpeak, 35m from the airport to the top of Queen St). Blow the taxis (unless you can negotiate a price beforehand – might be worth your while to try).

    1. $29! Luxury.

      Last September I was quoted $74.50 one way from Glenfield by two of the shuttle companies I made enquiries with. This was to catch a flight that had cost me $49. Unsurprisingly, I got a mate to run me down to the airport instead.

      $51 is being quoted by Supershuttle today. Much better but even at that price I think I would still take the extra time and use Birkenhead bus + AirBus to make that trip.

      1. Yes the North Shore is even worse. Not sure if this would be economic, but after hours when the NEX stops running I wonder if they could extend the airbus up the busway to Albany?

        I got caught out by this not long ago with a late night arrival, option of a $100+ direct taxi, the airbus to town then a $70+ taxi, or a shuttle at $59. Took the shuttle obviously.

        Oh and not especially relevant to this discussion, but we need taxis at the busway stations late at night. Can’t understand why they don’t serve it, they could make a killing shuttling people home from the NEX on short high value trips.

        1. Even extending it up there during the day would be a good way to not have Queens Wharf filled up by parked buses, it could simply go through Britomart and then head off North. Would be one less reason for Queens Wharf to be more or less a parking garage along most of its length.

  4. Airbus Express also has a workers 10 trip ticket which works out to $4.00 per trip. This is not shown on their website and does come with some conditions (id required). It seems that the current fare structure is set to return a profit on the current service and not to increase patronage which could damage the returns of other operators.

    1. Don – really? Only $4 per trip? Tell me more! Is there a time limit on the 10 trip ticket, or will it last ok in my pocket?
      Incidentally, one time I had to land in Auckland, and was told to get a taxi to the North Shore, and put it on expenses. On a Friday afternoon, about 7 years ago, that cost $110. Would hate to think how much it would be now. A 10 trip ticket becomes so much better value when you have to pay for it yourself…

      1. The thing to note: Workers. AFIK this for airport workers only. The real problem is the apparent protectionist pricing that ensures any access to the airport gives the greatest return to the airport company which is effectively a monopoly operator. As one of the larger shareholders is Auckland Council maybe it is long overdue for some influence to be exerted.

    2. How are they allowed to call the “Airport Express” with the word “Express” in the name? Seriously? It is so slow stopping all the way into the CBD. Someone should complain to the Advertising Standards Authority. They need a bus that goes non-stop to the CBD, then I would use it.

      1. Compare to the 380 Airporter which winds through every street it can, at least the ‘Express’ uses the motorway and bus lanes! I do agree though that express should mean no stops in this context, NEX style stopping (i.e. at village centres only) would also be OK.

      2. I catch the Airport Express approximately 50 times per year. In fact I caught it last night, twice tomorrow, and then again on Tuesday.

        In general I find it takes circa 30 minutes from stop to airport. Pretty “express” if you ask me, and much better than most rail connections, which operate less frequently and with shorter spans.


    3. it is $5 for 1 trip or $45 for multi-ride 10 trip ticket. Info is on Airbus website (in the pricing section) but not the T&C/limitations.
      * Press release from AIAL states it is for any employee of AIAL or an Auckland Airport based business. If you don’t have an Airport Photo ID, you need to get an Airbus express staff iD. (see ID requirements of press release)
      * 10 rides bust be used within a month of 1st ride used.$5.aspx
      * see “Airbus Auckland Special” in It means there’s probably more than just employees of an airport based business or AIAL

  5. I think we need to pressure AT to justify why the popular Airbus isn’t a public transport route in itself; It should cost the same to catch that bus as any other.
    It’s become obvious that the sheer profitability of transport to and from the airport is the reason we wont be seeing any improvement on that front for some time.
    A single airport can easily service Auckland’s needs, but it looks like we’re seeing some monopolisation tactics going on, at least with the transport options.

  6. Auckland Airport is a tyrannical monopoly and the taxi fares are as high as they are because they are benchmarked of the monopoly priced airport parking. This is exactly why Auckland Airport is only paying lip service to the idea of a rail link. Put in properly priced rail and the monopolistic house of cards collapses. Bring it on I say, despite what it will do to my Auckland Airport shares.

  7. There is no way taxis in New Zealand are more expensive than in Australia. Where do they get these figures from?

    1. Its sloppy journalism – they’re only comparing price per km in local $, and you’re right a Sydney cab from the Sydney CBD to the Airport will you cost more $ for the trip, but per km it will be less than Auckland as the airport here is reasonably close to the CBD (by comparison with Sydneys). And I think they’re only looking at the price in local currency.

      What they should do is do the comparison using Big Macs – how many Big Macs could you buy in each country for the cost of the Airpoprt trip in that country – thats a more meaningful comparison.

      And of course the time of day matters too. Most Cabs I’ve caught in Sydney rack up more meter charges on the “time” element of the fare than the “distance” element of the journey as they’re stuck in traffic jams the whole way.

        1. For a like for like comparison.

          Google Maps says 6km difference (Circular Quay Sydney to International Terminal – the sort of trip many folks would take 15.6km using M1, Domestic terminal is closer than International).
          Auckland Airport is 21.5km from Ferry Terminal to the Airport (doesn’t matter which one International or Domestic – distance is the same).

          Not that much of a difference overall, accepted we’re 33% further from the CBD than Sydney is in a per-km basis, but not 33% further on a “time needed to get there basis”
          – which is what most taxis end up charging you for.

          And depending on time of day in each city your journey time could double the time taken in “free flow” traffic. Which would make the taxi fare a lot higher again.

  8. “The big problem with the 380 Airporter service though is its frequency which is a lousy 30 minutes at peak times and hourly off peak or on weekends.”

    In defense of the 380, the lousy off-peak frequencies are only from the airport heading north to Mangere and Onehunga.

    Between the airport, Papatoetoe Station and Manukau it’s half-hourly from first bus to last – and the operating hours are pretty good.

    I’ve used it in both directions, and prefer transferring to train at Papatoetoe – more direct, less mucking around.

    1. I have used the 380 Airporter service a number of times from the airport and would always use it in preference to the Airport Express (all that stopping in the CBD is a nightmare) if the wait for the 380 is not too long. Every 30 minutes it is to Papatoetoe where there is a decent train frequency. Really the 380 should go direct to the nearest station which is Puhinui and then on to Manukau City. AT are very remiss not including this service on their journey planner as the first option as it is by far the cheapest way to get to the CBD. Rather than the meandering service to Onehunga the service to the south should be increased and it be promoted. Come on AT, you have your logo on the 380 buses but prefer to promote the Airport Express which doesn’t give a discount for use of the AT HOP card.

  9. In Berlin you wouldn’t use a taxi as the trains and transport system in general is much superior to ours. Maybe the price is so high due to the abundance of drivers that sit at the airport (especially the domestic terminal), in lines, reading their newspapers for hours on end. Gotta feed the kids some how I guess!

  10. Two more thoughts:

    * The $16 fare one-way for the Airporter is not unrealistic for a bus service which:

    * is unsubsidised

    * has a twelve-mile running journey

    * pretty good frequency, even at times of relatively low demand.

    * doesn’t (and can’t – luggage space) carry nearly as many people as a standard city bus.

    Where I live the airport bus costs $8 equivalent for a journey of roughly half the length of the Auckland one, runs eight times a hour, and has no shortage of business.
    Also – airports can only charge what they do for parking because the demand for parking is so strong to start with.

    1. Your last point- which is why AIAL actively works to limit the availability and efficacy of all alternatives to driving.

      1. And we can unfortunately expect no let-up in the near future – the airport has said that parking and retail are the main drivers of revenue growth, and that is where they will be putting their effort into.

        All the more reason to push ahead with high-frequency buses under the New Network (now) and airport rail (soon) – we can expect no relief from the airport’s relentless revenue-wringing.

  11. By far the best way to the airport is drive your own car then leave it at the park and ride and get their bus to the terminal. The parking rates are cheap and your car is waiting for you when you get back at whatever hour that might be. Rail to the airport will work fine for people who live in the CBD but for everyone else you will have to get a bus into town with your bags then drag them to the station (if you live on the shore that isnt going to be very convenient), then rely on a public run service to get you to the airport on time. I suggest you leave early!

    1. Anyone who lives in the CBD, Newmarket, Remuera, Greenlane, Ellerslie, Penrose, Te Papapa, Onehunga, Mangere Bridge, Mangere etc could get it directly, anyone on any of the lines could get it with a transfer. Anyone living within a few km’s of the line (which is most of Auckland) could get dropped off, or get a cheap short taxi to the station, or indeed their local bus. Yes those on the north shore might have to catch a bus to the rail network, or maybe they take a taxi to town and same themselves $60 or $70 on the other half of the leg.

      If we are talking about an airport line with the likely future rail network, then it will be a fully electric network with new fleet of trains running every ten minutes all day. Given the option of relying on that, or relying on driving across Auckland on the motorway, I know which I’d rather rely on to give a reliable travel time.

      All our trains, buses and ferries are privately run FYI.

      1. All of our trains and buses are privately run for a public body. Their customer is Auckland Transport, the passengers are just the raw material they are required to shift. As for saving money on the trip to the airport I dont think most people are that price sensitive. They have shelled out hundreds or thousands on a trip and dont want to risk that for a few bucks. Yes the motorways can get congested but mostly that is predictable, when it isnt there are other roads you can use. When PT goes bad it is absolutely useless. Cant we just honestly own up to the fact that buses and trains are fine for people who dont much care what time they arrive? Everyone else needs a car or taxi.

        1. I disagree entirely. The motorway is fine for people who don’t much care what time they arrive, it has huge variability day to day, and goes worse than useless when there is an incident. Our soon to be entirely brand new rail system is precisely what is needed for people who are time sensitive and need to know exactly when they will arrive. You have a lot more faith that I if you’re happy to rely on a taxi across Auckland for timely arrival! Maybe you are happy to allow an extra hour when you travel to cover that variability, but my time is a bit more important than that 😉

          For most domestic flights, and even a few Australia ones, taxis to and from the airport can cost as much as the flight does. Not everyone if flying intercontinental, in fact most regular and business travellers aren’t going that far.

          1. “The motorway is fine for people who don’t much care what time they arrive, it has huge variability day to day, and goes worse than useless when there is an incident”.

            Plus: average speed on Auckland’s arterial roads predicted to be down to 7 km/h by 2020!

          2. And yet so many of us choose to use the motorway system when we have to make trips that have real value to us. The bus is fine if you are not going to get sacked for being late or if you are just meeting friends or you work for the Council. Need to catch a plane, be at a hearing, job interview, medical appointment then maybe you will choose a mode where there are multiple routes to choose, where it leaves when you want and where you can make some choices. Then again maybe you guys won’t but look at the numbers, most people don’t make your choice..

          3. Good response Nick but entirely wrong. I have been back in Auckland for 21 years and fly regularly and have not yet missed a flight due to traffic. If there is an accident you can use another road except perhaps for Mangere Bridge itself. The only time I have missed a flight was when the Picadilly line to Heathrow let me down. (even when it worked it was miserable having to move bags between commuters- in fact it was little more than a cockup having travellers and commuters sharing a train.) As for your point about the taxi costing more than the airfare – that is irrelevant as the cheap air fare is a sunk cost. The opportunity cost is the price you have to pay for a new airfare on that day because you missed your flight. Usually full economy rates.

          4. I can tell you my family had exactly the opposite of what you claim on Friday evening. My wife left Devonport and gave herself 1 hour (from 5pm) to get to Onehunga to meet me at the train station at 6pm and then to the airport.

            I left Britomart on the 5.41pm Onehunga train.

            My wife called and said the motorway was at a standstill (plus she had a vomiting, car sick baby – nightmare). We agreed she would go direct to the airport and not stop for me at Onehunga.

            Meanwhile I got to Onehunga exactly on time (whizzing past stationary traffic), jumped on the 380 Airporter and arrived at the airport 1 hour 15mins after I left Britomart. My wife finally arrived at the airport 1 hour 50 minutes after she left home.

            If there had been a direct train to the airport, I would have arrived there 30mins before her. She would also have been on the train with me and not had to deal with a vomiting baby.

            I have never missed a plane anywhere in the world because of public transport, only traffic delays.

          5. mfwic, you seem to be ignoring the opportunity cost of your time.

            I’ve never missed a flight in my life, simply because I allow an appropriate amount of time to minimise travel time variability risk on the way to the airport. That changes a lot depending on the access mode. For example in Singapore I allow about ten minutes leeway just in case the metro is crowded. In Auckland I add an extra hour on top of the normal travel time in case there is a disruption on the road and I have to use another road (like all the other drivers who also need to use another road). That makes the effective travel time allowance over an hour and a half.

            For me that’s a very real cost, for a work trip I can often book that time against the contract, but sometimes it just eats into our profit margin. Even so in the long run it makes us slightly less competitive as we have to factor those extra costs into our bids, and quite frankly the billable rate for an hour of my time is more than a flight to Australia.

            If we had the sort of rail system proposed, trains every ten minutes all day taking 35 mins from downtown to the airport, I’d have to allow perhaps 45 minutes for the worst case scenario of just missing the train and having to wait ten minutes (and once on the train I could work for half an hour, can’t do that behind the wheel).

            There is no point describing a local flight as a sunk cost, only if you assume people will take the flight regardless of how much it costs to get to the airport. But humans actually tend to make fairly rational decisions about how they spend their money. One question might be “do I fly to Wellington for the weekend to see that show?”, and the answer might be “I can afford the flight but the extra $150 of taxi fares to the airport doesn’t make it worthwhile, so I won’t”. It’s only sunk once you’ve bought it, and can’t get a refund.

            And please, the “free choice” argument? How can people chose to take the train to the airport when we don’t have one? Not surprising when everyone ‘chooses’ the only thing that is available to them. I’ll remember that when the topic of converting SH20A and B to a motoway comes up. Because every single person driving to the airport already chooses to take the non-motorway roads. They’ll have to look at the numbers, because not a single person chooses to drive on a motorway to the airport terminals, 100% of them choose an expressway or local road.

          6. Goosoid I understand your pain but I had a silver lining. My wife would only live in Devonport until I drove her to an exam at Massey 16 years ago. We left with heaps of time spare but Lake road was completely stuffed and you guessed it no route choice available. We got her there 15 minutes after the exam started, pregnant and on crutches with a broken ankle she convinced the old ladies to let her in, and she then agreed we could leave Devonport (see a silver lining). Nick yes spend millions and then subsidise with millions more and people will get a shorter travel time regardless of what mode you tip the money into. But even with airport rail I would still drive when I can park for 3 days for $39. No worrying about PT, not getting to the station and certainty that my car is there waiting for me when I get back at 8pm. Even in London once I had a car I preferred driving to Heathrow or Gatwick for one day trips for the added convenience (even while working in London on the Crossrail project!)

            My point on sunk costs is once you have decided to go and shelled out for the flight, you are not getting it back if it is a cheap fare. Why risk the cost of emergency replacement tickets on a bus ride where you save a few bucks.

          7. mfwic – so you are saying that the car is a fabulous option for moving around the majority of people in Auckland, but that you were basically forced to leave a beautiful suburb of Auckland because of the traffic problems? Only a baby boomer traffic engineer could be so attached to cars as to see that as logical. Like the people who tell me “I dont like public transport and the commute isnt so bad. Of course, I have to leave at 5am”.

            The best thing about Devonport is not having to travel by car for 90% of trips. I go everywhere by bicycle or ferry. But of course that approach involves thinking outside the 1950s transport box.

          8. And mfwic – just to clarify, the section from Devonport wasnt the problem and so is irrelevant. The problem was that the motorway was a car park after the Cook Street off ramp.

          9. Not sure I agree. We’ve spend billions and subsidised millions more building the motorway system and that doesn’t give fast or reliable travel times. But yes maybe we should try something else.

          10. Goosoid you are smart enough to follow the logic, many ways to travel, routes and modes, are better than few. I am sure even a lawyer can put aside advocacy long enough to figure that out. Having said that my commute from Devonport to Auckland got better once we got a 2nd car and I could drive across the bridge and not go walk, wait, bus, wait, ferry, wait, bus and walk. And life got even better once we finished subdividing our Devonport place and left. Now we can go to shops and not be limited to Victoria Rd or even worse the Auckland CBD. Also leaving Devonport meant our kids could grow up in a more diverse community not Devonpoort aka “Grey Lynn for racists”. Next I am a bit younger than the baby boomers but not by much. Finally yes the car is a good option for lots of people in Auckland. Life can be pretty tough for those who can’t or dont have at least one.

          11. mfwic – Devonport is only a problem transport wise if you are stuck in an auto dependent paradigm. If you open your mind and try other modes of transport, you will find Devonport is great to get around. It is a 10min cycle to the Devonport ferry (always the same) and then I am in the city within 12mins. Best commute of my life, no competition.

            And you lament the fact you might have to go shopping in the CBD? Why do you live in a city at all? It sounds like one of NZ’s many lovely small towns would suit you better.

            I do agree that Devonport is not the most diverse or open minded place, but mostly because it is full of people who can only comprehend travelling in their own private transport pod. Who fight any kind of development or growth and then demand money to improve Lake Road, as again they cant comprehend any other way of travelling.

            In saying that, it did have a high (5%) commute to work by cycle percentage (for Auckland).I note from your comments that you basically believe that Auckland has somehow evolved organically to the best and most efficient transport system. You must know that this is not true and that Auckland could be a very different city if different political decisions have been made. The people of Auckland have never been asked what they want but on the few occasions when they have (Robbie’s rail), have resoundingly asked for better public transport. Politics (and in particular the National party) have stopped that happening.

          12. OK Goosoid those are reasonable comments deserving a reasonable rebuttal. When you say politics stopped other outcomes, I say that is how things are supposed to be decided. Robbie’s rail was killed because no one wanted to pay for it. It was a great rail scheme but the country had other priorities at the time and money matters. If the people truly wanted it they would have voted for people who supported it. The fact is they voted for people who stopped it. I am the first to say those leaders were pricks and the main reason I voted Labour 7or 8? times but enough other people supported them. CRL is a damned good idea but the key is getting it funded. It could go the same way particularly if times get tough. One disappointing part about leaving Devonport was we went to a little village community that has steadily changed into yet another Auckland suburb of wealthy people. (yes yes I know I was also part of the cause). Thanks for your advice but rather than living in a small town I have a much better lifestyle where I can drive to Albany, Wairau valley, Takapuna, Westgate, the beach, the observatory at One Tree Hill, sport matches etc. Oh and from time to time I have to go into the CBD for a meeting but luckily most of the people I work for have moved to offices elsewhere. The only advantage to me of the CBD is to see a few shows and the art gallery from time to time. If I was 18 and wanted to drink to oblivion then maybe I would go to the CBD more often.

          13. I really urge you to read the new biography of Dove-Meyer Robinson and you will see why everything you just wrote about rapid rail is not true.

            It is clear from that book that the vast majority of people in Auckland desperately wanted the rapid rail. That is why Robbie kept getting voted in (our longest serving mayor) and why Len got voted in now. It was very little to do with money – more that the National party didnt like Robbie (or Len now) and that a rural based National party didnt get it (like now).

            Yes, it may have been opposed by a nationally elected central government (voted in from mainly rural electorates) but that is why PT shouldnt be decided by central government. The city should be given the money to decide for itself.

            It is really sad that you dont see any value or attraction in the central city. Again, I question why live in a big city at all since youi obviously dont value any of the advantages that offers. And you have to live with disadvantages.

            I go with my wife and daughter into the city very often (by ferry from Devonport) and we love it. There is lots to do and see. If you think it is just for drinking then you cant spend much time there. Though that is typical of the rural attitude of NZers in general.

          14. It was always about the money. It is the easiest thing in the world to stand up and promise people a fancy rail system. It is another thing entirely to figure out how to pay for it. Robbie’s success was in convincing his own Council, many of whom were sceptics. Hell even one of the Council’s own transport planners self published a leaflet opposing it on the grounds of cost. He argued you could pay for parking buildings, road widening and even purchase a cheap car for each potential passenger cheaper than the full rapid rail. I found a copy of the pamphlet when I started work there in my first job. It struck me as odd that a staff member would be that disloyal but the calculations were kind of amusing. Robbie didnt even get close to getting it funded. Labour indicated support during the election campaign but Norm Kirk also claimed he would “ban the bikies” despite as Mike Moore noted in one of his books having no intention of it. As for the CBD Auckland offers me a wealth of things to do but the vast majority of the reasons I live here are not in the CBD. I love living in Auckland but for me the CBD is not much more than an office park that I drive into sometimes. I go to Newmarket more often than the CBD. Dont be sad, you are viewing my life through your lens. Auckland is an awesome city but in my view house prices are the biggest risk to its success.

          15. I have been trying to remember the order of what happened to Robbies rail. I recall as a kid watching an election meeting on TV where it was the big issue. I thought he got Labour to support it in 1972 but it was the Labour government that first pulled the pin basically because of cost.

        2. “Cant we just honestly own up to the fact that buses and trains are fine for people who dont much care what time they arrive? Everyone else needs a car or taxi.”

          No because it’s quite frankly a ridiculous claim and clearly incorrect. Having lived for over a decade in various European countries with suburb PT I can tell you people chose the train hands down because they knew down to the second when they’d arrive at the airport. The same cannot be said for motorways, cars or taxis. In fact, US airports, which much like Auckland generally have poor PT are the ones where you waste hours of your day getting to the airport in plenty of time in case of traffic.

          Furthermore, if you are able to predict traffic and accidents as you claim then I’m wondering why you don’t have a very well paid job working for the emergency services. There’d be a lot of lives saved if an ambulance was waiting on the spot prior to an accident happening.

          1. This is why I have developed a love of social media. You can say one thing and someone then claims you have said something else and starts arguing with it. It is priceless!

  12. I took public transport from Ellerslie to the airport on Friday morning. Train to Papatoetoe, then the 380. Including bus waiting it was 45 minutes door-to-door and cost me a grand total of $5.62 using HOP.

  13. Matt, that’s pretty good time-wise. I usually allow 30-35 minutes from Ellerslie to the airport off-peak, and 45-60 minutes at peak times. If you have to park at the airport then it’s definitely cheaper to take PT.

    Roll on airport rail to make the trip overwhelmingly faster on PT.

    1. Yeah, I was very pleasantly surprised. Less pleasantly surprised that the 7:27 I’d intended to catch was cancelled, meaning a long wait on a chilly train platform, but shit happens and the electrics will make that less likely (hopefully). That wasted time really pissed me off, to be honest, all the more so when if I’d known it (I was 8 minutes early, and there wasn’t a single platform announcement. I had to ask one of the ambassadors who was there for the EMUs) I could have hopped on an Onehunga-bound service and got to the airport quicker.

  14. NZ Herald article also forgets that the transport using taxi in the area close to the airport is expensive too. There’s been articles in the past about charges for short rides taken from the airport.
    2011 article: $42.30… the price of a 900m taxi ride. NZ Herald News
    2009 article: Taxi drivers charge $30 for 1.5km trip
    Also a commenter talks of a $25 fare for a trip from a hotel (near airport) to the airport

    Transport to Airport is expensive. There’s a few catches unless one is on the up, it pays to check things out every time you travel if you’re an infrequent user.

    Sometimes cheaper to drive + park than using Airbus.
    If I were travelling alone and going away for up to 5 days, it would be cheaper to drive + park. If it were 2 adults, it is still cheaper to drive + parking for trips of up to 11 days.

    * Airbus Express
    What I didn’t realise until today (luckily the last few trips were for duration of less than 1 month) is the validity of the return ticket is for a calendar month. It used to be for a calendar year (about 3 or 4 yr ago). So if you are going away for more than a calendar month, you buy the single way ticket.

    There’s a Adult 10 ride ticket for $140 1 way and $256 return. However you need to use all 10 within a calendar month of 1st ride on the ticket. (See airbus website under pricing )

    If you pay with you AT HOP card, you are charged $16 per trip. That adds up to $32 return. Doesn’t look like you can buy a return ticket with your AT HOP card.

    There’s no fare variations. Many years ago there used to be. I used to get off along Mt Eden Rd and it was cheaper than paying full price. Now it is just a flat rate for using the bus. I’d hoped the ability to use AT HOP card on Airbus would bring back the fare variations.

  15. I thought my experience of trains from airports in more ‘advanced’ economies would be relevant. In Brisbane there is a train direct from the airport to Brisbane and the Gold Coast. But it is hidden on the first floor. You would never know it existed when you arrive if you are a tourist. Even the information booth will sell you a taxi or bus ticket instead of telling you to go up the stairs to get on the train! Why? Because you buy the ticket on the platform and they don’t get a commission I suppose. The train is faster and cheaper of course.

    Similarly in Sydney it is very hard to find the train and it is a very long walk which includes a lot of stairs. No elevators or moving stairs for rail passengers. You have to buy your ticket from a machine and know where you are going.

    Do the other cities in Australia have trains to their airports?

    1. You sure about Sydney? I used the lifts and escalators to get to a clearly signposted staion at christmas.

    2. I have recently travelled to both Sydney and Brisbane and I had no problems finding the trains at either airport. I had looked it up on the internet before arriving but still it was pretty painless I found. And that was while carrying around a 7 month old baby.

      Although Sydney’ train was expensive (because of PPP arrangement) it was well worth it and rail to the airport is just a no brainer. Auckland should have had it decades ago if the National government didn’t keep killing rail in this city.

    3. I was just in Sydney over Anzac weekend, and found the signs to the trains to be displayed very prominently.

    4. Big sign a Sydney pointing to the trains the second you exit customs. Station has elevators and a manned ticket booth (as well as machines), use them myself.

    5. Yep, train in Sydney airport very clear with a very straight forward pathway to/from the train station, good to know when laden down with baggage, young family members during peak times. The bigger problem for me was access at the other end in Sydney Central; my impressions were of long meandering walkways and corridors but there were construction works going on at the time.

  16. Thank you greatly for this post, your help to tourists is considerably appreciated. It’s absolutely correct that all people need always to choose available price of transportation. If cost is no issue, and you are quite fatigued after a long flight, a taxi might be the best way for you to travel into the city to your hotel, instead of using Airport Express. However, when I was in Auckland at that time to travel from an airport to lodge I took a help of ttshuttle transportation service. Really, they provided a value based, cost effective transport service and I feel comfortable with their friendly trained.

  17. There seem to be a few good suggestions on here, but it’s a bit hard to follow with all those options with “-Air-” in their name! A follow-up summary article would be great. 🙂

  18. Hi Guys I recently came across a fixed price service from auckland airport to city I think I got a good deal for the quality of service provided by this company , I was referred by a friend who has been using this company for more than a year they charged me only $65 for a ride from Auckland airport to Queen street, and this was at the peak time traffic. The driver was uniformed and well behaved, he took me from different route and made me reach quite quickly. and the car was a Mercedes Benz , The driver told me that they have all luxury cars in the fleet and they are a private hire company their website is . I would recommend them . Cheers

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