Auckland’s city to airport bus has new owners bringing with them a new name, a new livery and promising a higher quality service. The Airbus Express service has been bought by SkyBus who operate Melbourne’s airport bus service.

Free on-board Wi-Fi and ground hosts to welcome intrepid travellers to Auckland are just the beginning of big plans by new owners to expand – and smarten – the 24-hour airport bus service.

The former Airbus fleet has already had its name changed to that of Melbourne’s 38-year-old SkyBus, which is taking it under its wing.

It will be repainted from light blue to red as more buses are added between the fast-growing airport precinct and downtown Auckland to widen the span of departures, which already run every 10 minutes during week days.

That follows a change of ownership from Johnston’s Coachlines to a consortium majority-owned by Canada’s Ontario Pension Trust, in a deal worth about $20 million.

Melbourne-based directors Michael Sewards and Adam Begg have hit the ground running in Auckland, adding two buses in their first couple of weeks here and installing free Wi-Fi across what is now a 15-strong shuttle fleet – with seven more due by May.

The service has long been popular, running 24/7 and with great frequency. On weekdays they run every  10 minutes between 7:30am and 8:10pm and on weekends they run every 15 minutes during the day. In the middle of the route the frequency splits in two with services alternating between Dominion Rd and Mt Eden Rd. The addition of more buses suggests frequency will improve even further making the service even more useful.

AirBus Timetable

One aspect that is interesting is the move to a red livery like is used on their buses in Melbourne. Queen St already has the red City Link buses so users will have to pay more attention if catching either one. Once they change I wonder how long it will be till someone accidentally gets on a red SkyBus to a short distance up Queen St only to be charged $16 (the one way fare).

SkyBus and CityLink
The old livery with the new name. Photo by Luke C

One of the reasons the cost for SkyBus is $16 is that the service is and has always been fully commercial meaning it isn’t subsided by Auckland Transport, siting to the side of the normal public transport system. As such the company can charge whatever they like. As such there is also no discount for using HOP and there is no indication that would change with the new operators and it seems they will continue to retain a separate ticketing system

Telecommunications company Spark is meanwhile developing a sophisticated ticket-buying app which it hopes to roll out in Auckland before Christmas and then back-load to Melbourne.

Mr Sewards said during a tag-team visit by the pair to Auckland this week that technological solutions encountered here had been “incredible.”

He is similarly impressed by Auckland Transport’s $100 million integrated Hop ticketing system, into which his fleet was plugged by its former owners, although SkyBus will remain fully commercial with none of the subsidies received by most other city bus operators.

The owners also talk about improving journey times. I imagine the biggest improvements would likely come from having more bus lanes and with better operating hours however the new owners also single out Waterview as helping. Unless they’re planning on running buses all the way to the city via the motorway then I can’t see how that will make a lot of difference.

Mr Sewards acknowledged room for improvement in journey times, now varying from about 45 minutes to an hour for the 12km trip between downtown Auckland and the airport.

That compares with about 20 minutes over the 23km between Melbourne’s CBD and its airport.

But he said Melbourne’s route was far more direct, along a single motorway, and is looking forward to faster bus trips in Auckland once the Waterview tunnels open in early 2017.

Lastly it’s an interesting time for the change in ownership as there are a number of interesting developments on the horizon.

From a PT perspective the competition to SkyBus is a combination of a train and what is currently the 380 bus (will be called the 30 in the new network). Next year Auckland Transport will roll out integrated fares which will make transferring between bus and train services cheaper and easier for most journeys. From the city it would be only three zones for which AT have indicated the cost would be $4.80-$5.00. The trade-off though is likely a longer journey time. Trains between Britomart and Papatoetoe every 5 minutes during the day and from there the 30 bus runs fairly direct to the airport however it only runs half hourly during the day and based on the current timetable even with an almost perfect connection it would take around an hour.

Longer term there is also the prospect of rail the airport. If Auckland Transport build it as an extension of the existing rail system like they should (either between Onehunga or from Otahuhu like suggested here) then travel times could be slashed quite substantially. If instead they go for the option of extending one of the proposed light rail routes travel times aren’t likely to be significantly different to what exists today.

Rail to Airport - July 15 - LRT vs HRT Travel times

Either rail implementation would have significant impacts on the SkyBus service who I can’t see just lying down and letting it happen. Given SkyBus is already successful and not subsidised they are able to put forward a strong case not to build rail – especially in the current political climate. Yet the service is only really successful on a commercial basis which may not be the best outcome for the city/country due to the higher cost meaning many will still prefer to drive. Based on the current airport arrivals and departures of around 15.5 million people annually the reported SkyBus figures of around 650,000 trips represents just over 4% of travellers. I can’t help but wonder just how much higher patronage would be if you combined both the much faster journeys of heavy rail with the proposed HOP pricing and that’s before you add in making PT more viable for many airport workers.

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89 comments

    1. They’re getting rid of the airbus and the 380 route about the same time further reducing the potential confusion with companies and models.

  1. The Airport rail system in both Sydney and Brisbane are also fully commercial, with no subsidy from the government, and therefore fares in the double digit figures. Both airports also have bus services to the city. The advantage of buses is more stops (usually door to door), where there is only one train station in the central city.

  2. RE the Waterview comment, the Melbourne bus runs direct to the city without stops on the way. SkyBus may be looking at doing something similar via Waterview and SH16 once available.

    1. I know plenty of people who join the Airbus in Mt Eden… are they really going to cut out all intermediate customers in order to use the m’way direct to the city?

      I guess they have the data where current demand is…

      1. Personally I would much prefer express via Motorway, but yes that would impact on a number of intermediate passengers.

        Auckland is one of the few large cities I’ve been to that requires driving through suburbs on arterial roads for a large portion of the city to airport journey.

        I think it will make sense to eventually have both an express motorway service and all stops Mt Eden Rd service. Or just get on with rail to the airport and make this discussion irrellevant

          1. Well outside of peak an express via the motorway may be faster, but for many hours of the day the buses on local roads are likely to be faster due to their ability to use bus lanes…..this would be different of course if NZTA had actually built a busway rather than just 10 extra lanes for cars on the Northwestern.

    2. Makes sense to keep current services through the city streets to pick up/drop people along the way, but introduce a SkyBus Express service; straight to/from the airport to/from Britomart hub.

      I certainly would be more likely to consider using the bus to airport if there was an express option; last time I came back from a flight on the bus (on a wet Friday evening with traffic snarled up everywhere), it took so long that I hopped off near the top of Queen street and walked down to Britomart faster than the bus. 🙁

      Express services work so much better; on Sunday after running over the bridge to Vic park, I jumped on the NEX to the shore and found it took a long slow route through Northcote and Sunnynook. Makes sense (on later reflection) with the north shore bus lanes still partially closed, but made me appreciate how good the normal NEX and northshore bus lane system normally is. That and HOP cards now; bunch of runners using the bus for the first time without hop cards or knowing which bus to take, made loading very time consuming.

  3. All for some form of rail to/from the airport. Not sure what form it would take to be the quickest to build/run. Some creativity required. Above ground on pylons?

      1. Or more accurately, Heavy rail fast but $$$. Light rail slower but $$. The difference in price is quite small compared to the potential benefits, especially the ones which are hard to measure such as customer perception.

  4. A problem with integrating the airport into public transport is that the airport runs 20 to 24 hours per day and our public transport system doesn’t. For instance we do have a public bus service to the airport (380), it runs 13 to 18 hours per day.

  5. Skybus ran a decent service in Melbourne in my one-off experience a few years back. I completely agree about painting red will mean confusion. It’s a different city, so why not keep the light blue – to fit with the rest of the Public Transport infrastructure? huh?… knee-jerk reaction? And my biggest pet peeve is that it’s cheaper to buy a ticket from the driver than tag your AT Hop card for a return journey. The least they could do is to charge $14 on AT Hop card for single journeys to match their cash return fare. Seems there’s little vision up there to better integrate with the rest of Public Transport infrastructure we already have. ;-(

    1. It’s nonsense that it costs more to use the AT Hop card on the Airport Bus rather than paper tickets. The journey is also the same price no matter how many stops you travel, in my opinion it should be slightly cheaper to travel to Mt Eden Station and change to the Western Line

  6. “45 minutes to an hour for the 12km trip between downtown Auckland and the airport”

    A large chunk of that is spent getting through the actual CBD. Catch it from the top of Queen or Symonds and the trip is as little as 25 mins.

    Also, 12km to airport? More like 19 or 20.

  7. There were a couple of red bendy buses that arrived on the wharves about a month ago all painted up with the sky bus livery – I was trying to work out if they were for here or not, but it looks like they probably are. They were decidedly second hand looking so guess they have come from Melbourne and will be used to increase capacity.

  8. Funnily enough, me and a mate is actually travelling to Auckland soon…

    Would it be quicker/easier if we took the bus to Papatoetoe then the train to Britomart? Or take just the Skybus instead?

    1. Just take the skybus. Or order a taxi to pick you up on a fixed fare, eg discount taxis 09 529 1000 who charge $40 (maybe $45) to cbd.

      1. The trains are running at record on time running and reliability lately? The train service frequency to Papetoetoe from Britomart is top notch.

      2. The trains are running better than they have in a long time. The problem is the connecting 380 bus which is infrequent and doesn’t run to schedule

    2. Bus to Papatoetoe works well if your timing is ok at the airport, ie if you haven’t just missed one, as the half hour frequency is way too long. But at the station there’s a lovely new ‘lecky train every 5 mins; sweet!

        1. Bus you can buy the ticket from the bus driver. Train you need to buy it from the machine. Never enter a train without a ticket or you wont be able to exit Britomart and you will get penalise.

          1. Yep, legal tender refers only to the settling of monetary debts. It has nothing to do with purchasing goods or services which are “invitations to negotiate”. People can set whatever terms they like to sell something, but they must accept legal tender to close a debt.

          2. Except I don’t think there is any negotiation at that point. The company has offered to carry you, you have accepted by boarding the bus, now all you have to do is settle your debt to them.

          3. UntIl you’ve undertaken the journey there’s no debt because no service has been supplied; and no service will be supplied if the driver, quite reasonably and legally, declines your $50 dollar note (unless you’re paying for three adults, of course).

          4. Only a minority of people pay on boarding: most have paid in advance. But for cash payments pay-as-board is easy and simple, simpler (and cheaper to operate) than the pay-as-you-alight and roving conductor systems used in some parts of the world; and if you pay by credit card you are creating a debt to be settled later.

            Whatever, trying to pay a bus fare with a $50 note is hardly a reasonable thing to do. There are better options!

          5. Because like most goods and services you pay first then consume the product, debt doesn’t come into it. So not quite, actually its:

            The company offers to carry you if you pay them according to how they chose to accept payment, and if you abide by their conditions of carriage, and if the driver likes the look of you (basically, they can exclude anyone they don’t like the look, sound or smell of). Thats the period of negotiation according to the lawyers. See here for all the things you negotiate and accept every time you buy a bus fare: http://www.nzbus.co.nz/terms-and-conditions-metrolink

            You accept by paying the fare in the way that they are willing to accept. If you don’t accept the ‘negotiation’ then you don’t pay and there is no deal, Once paid you are fully settled and off the bus goes to let you consume your transport offering.

            There is never any debt as the terms and payment are done in advance, so never any reason to accept legal tender as there is never any debt to settle.

            The exception to this is if you stayed on the bus longer than you paid for and they made you pay the difference. Then you would be in debt and they would be obliged to accept legal tender to clear that debt.

          6. “Where any Customer offers cash in payment of the fare to the Operator which is in excess of the amount of the fare and for which the Operator is unable to give the correct change, the Customer shall be regarded as a Customer unable to pay their fare. The Customer shall give their name and address to the Operator and shall pay the correct fare to the Company at its office within seven days. If the Customer fails within the seven days to pay the fare to the Company, the Company shall be entitled to charge such reasonable further sum by way of administrative fee as it shall from time to time determine and take such steps as it thinks reasonable to recover payment of fare and charge.”

            I am going to use this every single time that an Nz bus driver has inadequate change.

          7. Except that publishing a list of conditions on your website doesn’t mean that all passengers have accepted them. They stop and offer you a ride. You get on and accept the offer. The fine print is a kind of ex-post “let’s squeeze this in” by the companies shyster lawyer.

          8. I am happy to accept those terms and conditions, employees (drivers) have agreed to uphold them, I can force the driver to accept those conditions, I will board the bus with a 50.

        1. At most times of day its much faster on bus. As noted above average 45min journey but 15mins of this is spent getting througg city. 30mins from airport to grafton etc.

    3. Only do the 380 bus to Papatoetoe train station if you arrive during PT times i.e. 7am through to 7pm. Otherwise use the Skybus service. The bus/train combo is miles cheaper (using Hop card) and only takes 10m longer than current Skybus.

  9. Why doesn’t AT run a 24 hour Britomart-Onehunga rail service, connecting with a 24 hour Onehunga-Airport bus service, and charge normal HOP fares? Re-issue the Onehunga Line timetable brochure to show all services running to the airport (but shade the times south of Onehunga to indicate mode change).

    Don’t need to wait until the railway is extended to start such a service. It can be done now, and with normal HOP fares, everyone will use it, patronage will grow, and the business case for extending rail of one form or another to the airport, will strengthen.

    It’s just so simple, but apparently no interest in doing it despite the long term desire for rail to the airport, so am I missing something in the equation?

    1. Because Onehunga rail service is too infrequent to work well for connections, and will remain so until there is a non-trivial investment on the line to double track and grade separate at least parts of it. No the real question is why don’t AT run a decent bus frequency between Papatoetoe and the terminals? There are already 5 min frequencies on the rail line, totally turn-up-and-go, but the half hour between buses is a killer. The bus route is also more direct than the one to Onehunga.

      1. I was most disappointed to discover that AT, after proposing the new 30 service from the airport to Papatoetoe be every 15 minutes in the consultation round, decided to retain a 30 minute service in the new network rollout next year. Melbourne increased their 901 from 30 minute to 10-15 minute a year ago to connect at Broadmeadows station. This is an OK service but the trains from Broadmeadows are every 20 minutes. With our excellent train frequencies from Papatoetoe the new 30 service would be great if it was 10-15 minute frequency as it gives access to a much greater part of Auckland than the Skybus does. Most of us don’t want to go to Queen Street from the airport. As I have said on this site previously I use both the 380/train service and when in Melbourne the 901/train service despite the poor connections. Come on AT, give us a chance to try a decent public transport connection to the airport!

        1. Papatoetoe gets a high level of service by most standards, higher than Melbourne’s Broadmeadows. It gets let down by the bus service on the other end.

        2. The 380 (or 30) bus is great to connect to Papatoetoe and the train station … when you don’t have to wait. But it runs every half hour which is just not frequent enough. The only time I’ve ever taken it it arrived 15 minutes later at Papatoetoe station. Luckily I had allowed plenty of time to get to the airport.

      2. There was a need to create a bus link from the local suburbs to the airport/business park areas of employment and there was a need to link the airport to the rail network. We got the 380 that is an infrequent suburban commuter whose route avoids most commuters and is a direct express bus that requires you wait long times. They combined two roles into a service that does neither thing very well at all.

        1. Yeah but hasn’t happened, and is unlikely to without extension of the line…. so won’t be trivial, and likely to involve trying to sort the many level crossings, so even more expensive… Near term solution; up the frequency on the Airport to Papatoetoe bus route to at least 15mins, especially in time for fare integration when the cost advantage will be even greater. Done.

        2. Unfortunately, no changes to track or (especially) signalling are “minor” in terms of cost or time, and there would be many other projects that had higher priority for scarce resources.

    2. I agree, step one to getting the airport line built is to establish a service by running connecting buses to/from Onehunga.
      The half our services are too infrequent thou, need to be at least 1/4 hour. That must still be achievable with single track as Onehunga-Penrose only takes 6 minutes.
      Buses can run on motorway shoulder to avoid traffic, so fair assumption that travel time would be the same as google says for a car off peak.
      Airport to Onehunga is 10.5km and 12mins by car, with CBD a further 27mins, total 39mins.
      Airport to Papatoetoe is 8.3km and also 12mins by car, with CBD a further 36mins, total 48mins.
      Connection time would be the same for either service as bus would be scheduled to connect.
      No sense in establishing a route that should always be slower.

      The latest NZTA plans for the east-west link now show the extension of heavy rail to the airport. Airport rail was one of the projects Len was first voted in on. Its a fairly well supported project, I’d like to see construction timed with the CRL opening.

  10. And all of this doesn’t matter a single bit until we have proper bus lanes on Queen Street. Currently there’s a good chance that if you go waiting for that bus, none will show up in the next 30 minutes or so. That’s also why you can’t buy the ticket online—if you end up taking a cab then that money will be wasted.

    I tried that once, track-my-bus showed how that bus took more than 20 minutes to get from the wharf to Civic centre.

    We will get a first piece north of Victoria Street, let’s see how much that will help.

    1. I waited over 45 min for a bus in Queen Street earlier in the year, I called AT and got message one due now, but had not seen an air bus going down Queen street for some time. Later 4 came down the street one after the other. I got to the airport an hours late and if I had been flying could have missed my flight but thankfully was just picking up an arriving passenger.

  11. Can imagine you could miss your flight if the express was motorway all the way and there was a snarl up on the motorway, less forgiving than local streets in that regard.

  12. Interesting. As someone who lives in Melbourne, I think it would be a better service for Auckland if they can replicate what is done here. A few things however that are wrong on the article, the CBD to Auckland airport is around 20km, not 12km. It is almost identical in distance from Melbourne CBD to Melbourne Airport. Comparing the run times is also not fair, for one thing Auckland’s service goes right through the CBD and spends a lot of the overall journey time going thru city streets. Southern Cross on the other hand is on the edge of the city and almost right by the motorway. In Melbourne, they have smaller shuttle buses which pick passengers up from Southern Cross and take them around the CBD. An Auckland equivalent would be to end the service at K Rd/Upper Queen St (or similar) with shuttle buses doing the remainder, and taking the motorway the whole way (rather than going thru Mt Eden – a good thing in my view). A ticket office in the city would be great to see also (like the one inside Southern Cross). They’ve recently introduced double decker buses for the SkyBus here, that would be nice to see in Auckland.

  13. Melbourne also has a bus service like Auckland’s 380, which provides a much cheaper way to the airport. But it doesn’t seem to get much use, and I believe the authorities are considering reducing its frequency. It is the 901, which connects to Broadmeadows station at a 10-minute daytime frequency. The journey to the CBD takes an extra half hour over Skybus, and would be “free” for anyone who is already travelling by PT to zone 2 anywhere else in the city.

    But how does the market behave? When arriving at the airport, you just want to get on your way rather then trying so save $18.

    1. I would imagine very very few people would do that. It’s poorly advertised (if at all) and the buses aren’t timed to connect with the train. For myself personally, it would be ‘free’ as I have a yearly pass which covers all of Melbourne but as someone who lives in the South-East anyway, I would rather pay for the superior direct bus from Southern Cross. Broadmeadows also has a bad reputation, and many people certainly would not want to be stuck around there, let alone tourists. The train to Broadmeadows alone takes about 30mins, and that doesn’t factor in the transfer and travel from Broadmeadows to the Airport.

      1. Well, you might not use it but I did twice a couple of months ago with my wife. (second time this year). Broadmeadows station is fine. Yes the connection isn’t great but I got from the airport to Hawthorn Station in an hour for AU$3.80 rather than $19 plus $3.80 for the train from Southern Cross to Hawthorn. It was at a busy time and the Skybus would have taken far longer than 20 minutes to reach Southern Cross because of the congestion on the Tullamarine freeway.

        1. Yes, that 20min time is extremely optimistic, even for off-peak. They could at least quote realistic comparison times. I may have to try that next time, I live in Richmond (next suburb to Hawthorn) so could be worth a try. I personally would have no issue going thru Broadmeadows, I think it’s the people who have lived here their whole lives that wouldn’t. Many of the suburbs here that are considered ‘bad’, I don’t find particularly ‘bad’ myself.

    2. I caught a bus from melbourne airport to the airport west tram recently and it worked well, my hotel was on the tram route. Was a trivial amount of myki money compared to the red bus.

      1. Apparently there have been a few cases of tourists getting on the Airport West tram thinking it goes to Melbourne airport. Can’t really blame them as the name is confusing and on a map it looks like it’s by Melbourne airport. It’s named Airport West as it’s the suburb west of Essendon Airport, quite some distance away from Tullamarine (ie not a walkable distance)

    1. Most bus services running at peak times are unsubsidised and commercial. Ergo most buses using bus lanes (which mostly only run at peak times) anywhere are unsubisdised public-teat-sucking businesses, if that is your bent.

      Local roads are publicly subsidised, being about half paid for by rates. So it’s getting hard to find anywhere to run them where they don’t benefit from the public purse!

  14. I have got the train/380 combination several times, and will do so again. It takes around 60 minutes versus 40 at best and up to 60 on the Skybus. It is not worth the exorbitant Skybus fare imo to save (maybe) 15 minutes.
    The only problem is getting to and from the airport very early or very late.
    Incidentally, the airport bus in Wellington is fully integrated into the public system.

    1. integrated but with higher fares. if you want a cheaper trip the #11 is a short stroll away (15 min freq), or the #2 a slightly longer walk but direct trip into town.

      1. Like Air/SkyBus, Wellington’s 91 Airport Flyer is a stand-alone fully commercial operation. It is not integrated into the public network except that it’s marketed by Metlink (GWRC). Premium fares are charged: CBD-Airport is $9.00 cash/$7.20 Snapper, compared with $5.00 cash/$3.63 Snapper by bus 2 or 11.

        1. Yeah but one rather significant difference! It is free in Wellington if one has a Supergold card; not so the skybus to Mangere airport. So it is obviously more ‘integrated’ than the Auckland skybus service.

          1. If SuperGold acceptance is your criterion for integration, then all urban buses and trains throughout the country are integrated with each other!

  15. I think they should put all airport buses down either Mt Eden or Dominion (instead of the current split). That combined with the local buses should build a reasonable case for 24×7 bus lanes down that road and through the city.

    1. That case is already made; it’s just AT’s move into LRT on the route that has delayed the investment. Pretty sure we’ll see buslanes near term as they work towards LRT. Quite a few customers along Mt Eden Road too.

  16. Great to see some innovation coming to the airport service.

    I think AT should publicise the rail/Airporter 380 route between the airport and city, and streamline the train/bus transfer. Putting this connection all on one timetable would be a good start. Many air travelers would appreciate the option of a cheaper but slower alternative if it was a bit easier to use, and wasn’t such a ‘travel hack’ as it is now.

  17. There’s nothing new under the sun. Some of us can remember a time when every national and international flight had its own bus to take people between the city and airport. The cost was part of your air fare and there was no need for acres (this was before hectares!!) of parking at the airport. Same thing occurred at your destination at whatever town throughout the country.

  18. With an airport the size of Auckland’s there is generally room for most modes of transport as each suits the needs of different users. Some people will always want to drive to the airport and leave their car. Some relatives will always want to drop their loved ones off. Taking children and heavy luggage on public transport can be a trial. Some people will prefer to have their own taxi, regardless of expense. Airport express buses can often serve locations not easily served by rail. City buses are appreciated by workers and travellers on a budget, likewise light rail, which has the added advantage of being more accessible to disabled travellers and easier to take luggage onto.

    Heavy rail has the huge advantage that it interfaces with the rest of the rail network (and the broader public transport network too), connecting the rest of the city to the airport in a manner that is seen as highly reliable and predictable. To a certain extent this is of most use, if not more so, to the armies of air-side and land-side airport workers, and those in the office parks that seem to flourish around most airports, particularly as they tend to work shifts.

    Also, as we know from experience, changes in the mode of transport discourage public transport usage. There’s nothing worse than getting off a nice warm train then having to wait in the drizzle for a shuttle bus in a bleak suburb.

  19. The last few times I’ve caught the Airbus (Friday being the last) I waited 45minutes for the bus to arrive (then 2 arrived at once).
    It doesn’t really matter how many buses are put on if they don’t have a system to reduce these delays.
    I would have a couple of buses in standby in the CBD so that in peak rush hour, you can slot an extra one in when the delay gets past 20 mins.
    Luckily each time this has happened to me, I left lots of time to get to the airport so I made my flights (although last Friday was particularly bad as I arrived 8 minutes before the plane departed – nervous sweaty times on the Airbus!!!)

    1. “8 minutes before the plane departed” → Wow, that would require some steel nerves to not jump into a taxi. I caved in after about 25 minutes.

      And then, instead of following the usual route via Manukau Road, the taxi driver followed the Airbus route via Dominion Road to pick up a few more stranded passengers. They are well aware that catching the Airbus frequently involves falling back to a taxi when the bus doesn’t show.

  20. A few comments from an Aucklander, having just caught this service a week ago:
    1. Nowhere (timetable or website) does it say how long the service takes. I need to arrive at a given time, so approx when should I plan to get to bus stop?
    2. Bus is clearly not designed to travel long distance on motorway. The vibrations were insane on both (different) busses I caught. Get some better suspension.
    3. Good luggage racks
    4. When trying to flag down the bus from the domestic airport back to CBD there was confusion as to why the bus was letting people off but not on.
    5. Price ($16 at hop) is good, and not having to deal with cash (auto-topup) means no stress.
    6. Didn’t appear to be too much slower than driving
    7. Its greatest competition would be the distant (cheaper) airport carparks which involve a shuttle bus. Compared to them the skybus was less fuss and cheaper, albeit this would depend on if you lived near the skybus route.
    8. The name is not ideal. I expect an airport bus to have “Airport” on it, not “Sky”. Perhaps this will change with marketing, but i suspect this a lawyer-driven decision (trademarks, etc).

  21. Saw one of the new buses; Skybus is using red lettering on a white background that will stand out quite a bit (especially once all the Riches buses change over to the new at design).

    Good to know that they considered the clash between them and the city link colours.

  22. Hello,
    I know I am not the only person frustrated by the recent “innovation” of making passengers wishing to travel down Queen Street change buses, including their luggage onto a smaller bus. I was travelling with one large backpack, one small day pack, a cabin bag and a large suitcase. I was beside myself with anger at having to manhandle such objects and additional time both on the way to the airport and upon my return when I was already tired.
    I spoke with fellow passengers who had already made enquiries themselves and been told it was because of the train tunnel work and that bigger buses were no longer allowed down Lower Queen Street.
    What was the first thing I noticed? That both the MetroLink and InnerLink services were still operating large buses up and down Lower Queen Street.
    As usual such a decision was no doubt by a person who does not use the service and does not give a damn for the ratepayers who do not forgetting of course our poor tourist visitors – what must they think of us, 1st world nation, Pah!
    No thought has gone into the decision-making process, at least no thought of what impact there might be for the PAYING passengers. This is not a charity service. We are paying for this service and it needs to be MUCH BETTER.
    SORT IT OUT and quickly before the tourist season really starts.
    Yours sincerely,
    Michael Grant.

  23. It must be the worst airport transport in the world. Not just you have to change the bus if you going from Downtown but on top of that will take sometime up to 1.5h to get to the airport or back. It use to be good transport but not anymore!

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