Last week we mentioned about how Auckland Transport was launching a new PT brand. That occurred yesterday and as well as new look buses, they have also launched a new brand for their public transport operations – AT Metro.

Auckland Transport has unveiled its new look for public transport in the city.

At a ceremony in Auckland the Deputy Mayor, Penny Hulse and Auckland Transport Chairman Dr Lester Levy launched the AT Metro brand which will be phased in over three years, starting with LINK services and the Northern Express.

The single brand identity will be differentiated by colour for different types of services and will gradually be applied to buses, trains and ferries.

Auckland Transport’s General Manager Marketing and Customer Experience Mike Loftus says a single identity will give Aucklanders and visitors a clearer understanding of what public transport is on offer, and how buses, trains and ferries serve different areas.

“Most metropolitan cities have a single brand network that is easy to recognise and enables clear, consistent communication with customers.”

“Currently in Auckland there is no single identity, we have a variety of brands and looks. Customers relate to buses by the operator name rather than the wider public transport network”.

Auckland Transport’s Group Manager Public Transport Mark Lambert says having a single public transport network will ultimately build public confidence in the developing and improving PT system. “Knowing that all the services are integrated and part of the same system will help grow patronage”.

The implementation of the livery is already underway and budgeted for the electric trains.

Costs for the bus fleet will be kept to a minimum through:

  • retention of ocean blue for Rapid Network services (Northern Express is already this colour).
  • retention of red, green, orange and light blue for existing targeted services of the City LINK, Inner LINK, Outer LINK and Airbus.
  • the rest of the bus fleet to be transitioned as part of new contracts and costs incurred through new contract rates.

Mr Lambert says Auckland’s bus operators are aware of the changes and are working with Auckland Transport.

The Auckland Plan looks to double public transport trips from 70 million in 2012 to 140 million in 2022. The Auckland Plan’s priorities for Auckland’s transport system include “a single system transport network approach that manages current congestion problems and accommodates future business population growth to encourage a shift toward public transport.”

I was at the launch and here are some photos of the new look buses. It is definitely a much simpler and less busy looking livery. My favourite thing about the look is that the windows are not obscured like they are on some buses now. I’m also not quite sure I like the bright yellow on the front of the Northern Express buses.

The Double Decker Northern Express

Double Decker

As a comparison this is what it looked like previously.

NEX Double Decker 7

A single deck Northern Express bus. The standard non RTN buses look the same but with grey and blue on the front rather than yellow.

Single Deck NEX

The Link Buses

Inner Link

Outer Link

City Link

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66 comments

    1. 1) Auckland is not running out of money. Not even vaguely close. Or, if it is, the Auditor-General has failed to notice and raise a flag in her annual report on the state of the Council’s books.

      2) Cost to the ratepayer should be pretty minimal – there’s an explicit statement above that it’s being phased in to minimise costs – and there are intangible benefits from a consistent brand that, if they could be quantified, will doubtless exceed any direct ratepayer cost. Most of the cost will be being borne by the operators as part of their ordinary fleet management costs.

        1. It makes the brand more ‘simple’, and current non-public transport users will slowly perceive all the buses, regardless of the area in which they are operated, weld together into this holistic and ‘unified’ brand.

          I suppose that would make PT more attractive because people feel as if the system is less daunting.

        2. As an old joker, I find identifying buses approaching on Mt Eden Road difficult and sometimes step to the kerb for the wrong type of bus as I mistakenly think that the Airporter is the one I should be stopping. It will be much easier if the colours are different and less hassle for both passengers and drivers.

      1. there’s an explicit statement above that it’s being phased in to minimise costs

        Which means that the new livery will be done on the usual maintenance schedule. Buses get painted every so often due to the damage from being used extensively everyday and without which they wouldn’t last as long as they do and they’d look terrible. Neither of which we want to happen.

    2. According to https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/about-at-metro/:

      Who is paying for this?

      The LINK, AirBus and Northern Express services will retain their same base colours, with the remainder of the fleet to be repainted in the new AT Metro livery over the next three years as each bus comes up for its programmed maintenance. Over the same three year period driver’s will be provided with new AT Metro uniforms as their existing operator uniforms are due for replacement. The cost of the repaint and uniforms is already budgeted in existing programmed maintenance budgets, and the cost of the new livery and uniforms is no more than would have been the case should existing operator liveries and uniforms been retained.

      1. True but they factor it in over the ilfetime of the bus/paint job. By phasing it in over 3 years, the standard repainting program will have to be accelerated significantly. I dont know how often you completely repaint a bus but I can assure you it isn’t every three years.

        1. NZ Bus seems to be every 3-5 years at the current rate of their livery changes. It’ll be Ritchies/H&E/Birkenhead etc that this may throw out of sync with budgets/paint renewal plans.

          1. lol,true,as for birkenhead transport,it’d be the first time in 65years the livery changh

    3. “How muck is this costing the Rate payer .here we all are thinking Auckland is running out of money then we see this totaly out there spending why”

      Sheesh relax, it’s just a paint job. The way you want the Auckland Council run, there will be nothing here except an empty wasteland.

        1. One thing about your comment about painted roads I think this aspect should be held off for a few years maybe forever as it is a wasted cost.The reason for that is that we are about to turn on a network tap that was always there with about 5 times the capacity and probably more with a speed advantage when has its own lane. I think mode change will be astronomical and it creates opportunities for other modes like walking and cycling.If this bus network does have full priority the benefits to all Aucklanders will be record setting. I’m actually more concerned we don’t have enough trains or buses to cope when this goes vertical at 5gs.

          1. If the RTN leading to panmure is the current priority. Panmure interchange ready, why don’t they hire 50 buses and wind up this catchment to see what they are in for. It probably will make a massive impact on the southern motorway just on it’s own. It might change their thinking and highlight what is really important right now in the scheme of things. I don’t live there by the way but know it is a good one to break the ice as could probably achieve a lot with a few symbols and bus stop signs.

          2. I know you PT guys are doing your best and at the moment you have no control over 1000 buses, can’t change routes, can’t prioritise the car network yet? But do we have at least one bus going to panmure station yet? That would at least make me feel better that most of east Auckland has one bus going in the right direction.

          3. Sorry to dwell on this but apart from CRL and obviously the fantastic investment on rapid transit so far having buses under full control and them having their own lane on frequent routes , and prioritised as much as possible and the whole PT network working together is going to create a massive spike in patronage and keep going maximising return on all modes. Benefits will be massive and even government will not be able to deny that is where spending should go? With the equivalent of a brand new auckland bus fleet being $300m latest diesel or $600m hybrid or 3 months/6 months congestion cost shouldn’t this be phased in. I just hope we have learned this public asset needs to be public and to have a team really focussed on maximum benefits being flexible to move resources anywhere at anytime and not retendering for every change.If we have tied ourselves up again are we shooting ourselves in the head.

      1. 5.6% average residential rates increase, massive increases in borrowings. $1 million per day in interest payments. How much more evidence do you need that the current fiscal plan is unsustainable?

        Your bury the head in the sand approach to the financial issues plaguing this council is worrying.

        Every bit of council spending should be scrutinised for value and the bus rebranding should be no exception.

        1. Just to be clear the council doesn’t get all of that 5.6% increase, the council gets a 3.5% increase. The remainder of your residential rates increase goes to give businesses a lower than 3.5% rates increase.

    4. Pennies compared to the amount wasted on roads. If it gets people more enthused about PT and makes it more recognizable I am all in. Hope they come up with a standard for seat upholstery also, some of it is very old and uncomfortable.

        1. It’s always hard to tell with nonsense but I suspect the comment was a joke.

          The idea that renter’s don’t pay rates certainly is.

          1. yep it was a joke but not completely. At the end of the day, I can only pay as much rent as my income allows, so for me if the council wants to spend money and that decreases the amount of my income my landlord is keeping for himself, I’m more than happy.

  1. Never thought I’d say it, but it’s a livery I think we can be proud of, at long last, and a distinct improvement on the over-logod NEX design. Don’t mind the yellow trim on the RTN buses. As others have observed, it connects with the new EMU livery, so hopefully AT will depict different RTN modes as a single service on maps, etc. as well as introducing more bus lanes to ensure that all modes are indeed rapid.

    1. I spotted the single decker today, actually I thought it looked messy with the yellow nose and tail looking like an afterthought and not part of the overall scheme

  2. So, the don’t have the tech for their new fancy displays/info boards, fair enough but if they are going to force de-(operator) branding and retrofitting of equipment, wouldn’t it make sense to do it all at once?

    Yellow… meh, I like it.

  3. I guess a positive step. Now let’s focus on them able to do the speed limit, do 20 loops instead of 3 and firing as much passengers to rail or wherever they want to go super fast so the majority leave their cars at home.

  4. This is absolutely excellent move. Consistent branding of a high-value product is important – in this case showing that these are reliable and fast services with comparable experiences across modes (train, bus). The yellow front is a bold advertisement of that statement.

    (Sometimes AT seems like an organisation of split personalities, but that’s a

  5. I assume the listing of destinations on the top of the bus is limited to Links and NEX? It would be really useful on other services, but it would also mean that buses couldn’t be shared across routes.

  6. Wow.nice! The yellow front however reminds me of the adelaide metro bus I suspect that the current metrolink buses woujldnot need to be repainted.

      1. Wrong. They are AT Metro blue – much darker and duller. the NZ Bus blue is brighter and, frankly, nicer. This all looks like it was designed on a gloomy, cloudy day.

  7. I am however not sure why drivers have to wear the same uniform . An integrated network does not require bus drivers to have the same identity. Perhaps Auckland transport could take over the bus operations like the old ARA and hire their own drivers.

    1. Yeah i dont know why the police do it too. I think the police should all wear mufti to show us their individual identity. Or at least each station could have a different uniform?

  8. Well one positive thing I wont have to deal with is when I tell someone who doesnt know PT; to catch a metrolink bus e.g. the 020 and then a northstar branded bus shows up… I will just say get the AT Metro branded 020… well in 3 years anyway…

      1. “Catch the 020”. You make it sound easy! I’m looking forward to not having to say

        “catch any 04-something, 07-something, 11-something, 13-something, or 15-something bus, or the 085, 087, or 097 but NOT any other bus starting in 08 or 09, and don’t take any that end in X or even doesn’t end in X but still says it’s an express.”

        In order to tell someone how to get a bus to, say, Arch Hill. (And frankly I’m not even slightly confident I just got that right).

        1. Heck, how does catch the 020 sound difficult? You know what bus you are catching then wait at the bus stop until that bus turns up.

          1. You mean stand on the kerb and wave down every bus that comes flying around the corner so they slow down enough that you can read the desto in time?

        2. If coming from Henderson to Arch Hill, catching a 11-something, 13-something, or 15-something may get you there, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend it unless you like meandering rides. 11-something or 15-something would be even worse. Also, I don’t think there’s any reason not to take the 080 or 090. They have some different stops on the city direction, but AFAIK nothing that significant, and from what I can tell, there’s nothing that would mean they aren’t good for getting to Arch Hill. You will probably want to avoid any Express buses. Actually outside Express buses, I’m not sure there’s any reason to avoid the either 09-something or 08-something buses. If you get on the 092 or 093, I think you may have to transfer to 090 in some cases but I think that’s usually without problem. Is there some other reason to avoid some 09-something or 08-something?

  9. Can’t say I’m a fan of the dark blue colours – especially with the odd-shaped yellow on the front. This could have been their chance to make them all yellow again – sure it was boring with most routes being yellow but they stood out easily in most traffic and light conditions, and vehicles (lots of blue trucks around for instance which is a similar size vehicle) vs almost no large yellow trucks. And yellow buses have a history in Auckland back to the 1970’s.
    However I can see why they were chosen, for a single corporate look.

  10. As an occasional visitor to Auckland, I really don’t care what colour they are, all I ask for is two things:
    A huge number and destination on the front. So I can figure out in time if I need to wave it down.
    Information about the route on the INSIDE. So many times as a non-frequent traveller, you get on a bus, and then try and figure out if you are going in the right direction after. Either an illuminated display, or even a large route map. Please! It’s ok for you regular users – not so good for the thousands of migrants.

    1. Yeah let’s hope they all are, I personally miss rear windows also, but I suppose stupid kids would abuse them by annoying drivers behind.

  11. So does this mean the current practice of ads down the side of NZBus run inner link et al buses will come to an end? A very welcome end as ove lost count of the number of times I’ve felt sick riding them when it’s raining and the ad webbing combined with water completely blocks the view out the windows.

  12. It’s actually look really beautiful especially at the front of the northern expresses buses… Hmm funny that during this launch, there should be each bus operator to come for this launch, howick and birkenhead should have paint 1 of their bus to come for this launch..

    One more question which is off topic, are we going to see more double decker buses in Auckland?

  13. Generally, ok, if pretty blah – not sure why the Link liveries had to change, they were pretty damn good.

    What is a shame is that they’ve adopted the darker, duller navy blue for the wider fleet, instead of the existing NZ Bus blue, which is more vivid and brighter. It all looks pretty drab now. And the yellow on the front – isn’t that for safety? Shouldn’t they all have this feature then? No idea what the red bus is for. Seems an unnecessary addition, maybe just to round out the primary colours.

    1. The yellow front denotes Rapid Transit Network services – it matches the EMUs. Standard services are silver. The red bus is the City Link, which has been in service in the CBD since 2011.

  14. Old branded Citylink I was on yesterday hit a car on the way down queen st, will that mean we will have a second Citylink AT Metro branded bus already? :p

    Also the bus that replaced it was the newly branded one, the interior had a bit of a sticker upgrade, there is a big new bus number sticker in the front of the bus and new citylink map stickers, I believe there was also new types of stickers on the doors.

  15. When are you going to realise that people need to use trains during the holiday period ? Every time we visit Auckland the trains are not running for some reason. In any other international city this would not be acceptable !

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