There’s been a few smaller public transport announcements over the last week or so that I thought I’d cover in a single post.


I’ve long called for Auckland Transport to offer a way to enable employer-subsidised public transport options. The need for this took on even more importance after the previous government removed Fringe Benefit Tax from doing so to effectively bring it into line with carparks. Last week they announced it was now available to almost all businesses in Auckland.

Auckland Transport (AT) is expanding its Fareshare scheme which gives employers a way of subsidising a proportion of their staff’s public transport travel costs.

Businesses are welcoming the opportunity to offer an alternative to costly city car parking to attract and retain staff, whilst also contributing to their sustainability targets.

AT has been trialing its Fareshare employer subsidy, and due to the trial’s overwhelming success with employers and employees, AT is now offering it to any Auckland-based business with five employees or more. Genesis Energy has been using the scheme since an office move from Greenlane to Wynard Quarter in 2020.

“Having historic carparks was such a big issue, so we needed to help staff transition to the new Viaduct location without using their car. [Wynyard Quarter] is an accessible office location and Fareshare has helped staff to investigate using public transport,” says George Higgins-Smith, Fleet, Transport and Travel Manager at Genesis Energy.

Genesis Energy employees using Fareshare have already travelled more than one million kms on public transport, which equates to a significant reduction in CO2 emission.

“We have calculated this milestone to equate to a reduction of close to 127 tonnes of CO2 emission; equivalent to the amount of carbon sequestered by 27,029 Titoki trees per year[1] and reducing environmental impact of GHG emissions released by 53 standard cars driven for a year in New Zealand[2],” says Cathy Bebelman, Chief Scientist at AT.

Auckland Transport is investing in ways to make it easy, safe, and reliable to get around using public transport. This will reduce road congestion and travel times for those who must drive, as well as our impact on the environment.

“It’s an attractive employee benefit scheme and affordable for any size business as you are only billed when the card is used. Subsidised public transport provided to staff via Fareshare is also exempt from fringe benefit tax[3],” says Richard Harrison, General Manager Growth and Optimisation at AT.

GoSee Travel has also been trialling the scheme which kicked-off with employees attending an information session with AT’s Travelwise advisors. They were able to learn how Fareshare works and what their best options are to get to and from work on public transport using the AT Travel Planner.

“Registering to Fareshare was simple, it took less than five minutes to verify and link my card. The discount is great; it makes getting to work much more affordable. I am more inclined to use public transport now and save more money getting the bus than driving my car into work,” said one GoSee Travel employee.

The Fareshare scheme has options for five- or seven-days travel at a subsidised rate of 25, 50 or 75 percent loaded onto an AT HOP card for use on AT bus, train, and ferry services. The employee is charged the discounted rate, and the business is billed monthly for the additional agreed percentage of the fare.

“We would like to see more businesses offering Fareshare as an employee benefit, to get more people using public transport and at the same time, making a significant impact on the environment by reducing CO2 emissions,” adds Richard.

If you would like to know more about Fareshare visit About Fareshare – public transport subsidy for employees ( or email

This is great, good job AT

Ferry Good News

Yesterday AT announced that ferry services will be back sooner than expected.

Ferry services to return early after training programme success

Auckland Transport (AT) will reinstate some ferry services sooner than expected after making good progress with Fullers360 on addressing a skilled maritime crew shortage.

In October 2023, AT temporarily reduced timetables for some ferry services to help Fullers360 undertake an accelerated training programme. The programme is designed to quickly upskill existing crew and train new crew to fill existing gaps in Auckland’s maritime workforce.

The success of the programme so far has meant AT will have some ferry services back to their regular timetables earlier than expected, says AT’s Director of Public Transport and Active Modes, Stacey van der Putten.

“We’re really pleased Fullers360 has been able to use this time to get more crew trained and ready to go out on the water.

“The temporary reduction in ferry services has not been easy for our customers, and though we still have work to do to get our ferry services back at the level they should be, we’re thrilled to be able to bring some back ahead of schedule,” Ms van der Putten says.

On 4 June, the Devonport ferry will return to a 20 minute frequency during peak times. Weekday off-peak and evening sailings for Half Moon Bay will be coming back as well, along with additional Friday night services.

Later in the year, there will also be more Gulf Harbour ferry services added during the week, and AT is aiming to resume weekend sailings to Half Moon Bay in early 2025.


Additional weekday sailings will also be added to the Bayswater, Birkenhead and Te Onewa Northcote Point ferry routes from 4 June. Working closely with Explore, who became the operator for these services in September 2023, AT is committed to having frequent ferries once again for these communities.

Despite the disruption, ferry numbers have been at or close to pre-COVID levels so hopefully these extra services will only increase that usage further.

AT are also meant to be getting the first of their electric ferries later this year – though it is not expected to carry passengers till next year.

Inner West Rail Rebuild Complete

Also yesterday, Kiwirail announced they’d completed the rebuild of the western line between New Lynn and Newmarket.

Intensive work to rebuild the foundations of the busiest section of the Western Line, allowing more reliable trains and helping prepare the network for City Rail Link, is substantially complete.

KiwiRail completed the majority of Stage 3a of the Rail Network Rebuild during an extended weekend of work following ANZAC Day, allowing trains to return to 10-minute frequencies at peak as planned on Monday 29 April. The work was carried out at more than 30 different sites between Newmarket and New Lynn.

Final upgrades at a small number of sites were finished during the weekend and essential track work, including de-stressing rails, is being completed overnight during coming weeks.

KiwiRail Chief Infrastructure Officer Andre Lovatt says completion of this stage of the rail rebuild is another important step on the path to building a network that can support faster, more frequent and reliable trains for passengers and greater capacity for freight trains.

“We know this work has been disruptive for both passengers and out.


“More than half of the Rail Network Rebuild is now complete. The sections of the Southern and Eastern lines that have been rebuilt have seen improved reliability and train speeds – they are the best performing on the Auckland rail network.

“Although there will continue to be rail closures and changes to services as other upgrades continue, Western Line passengers can expect to see some reliability improvements in the coming months as final track work is completed.”

The Rail Network Rebuild team is now upgrading drainage in the Papakura area, part of Stage 3b between Puhinui and Papakura. The next major stage of work, Stage 4 between Papakura and Pukekohe will begin on 19 May and continue until mid-January 2025.

It’s great that this has been completed but I still find it very frustating that they talk about the work enabling faster and more reliable services without backing that up with any specifics about just how much faster or more reliable they’ll be. To the public at least, there doesn’t appear improvement on either of these.

Rebuild works on the Eastern Line last year – beside Purewa Cemetery

And while this work is good, there are still parts that Kiwirail have no funding for, with them noting :

KiwiRail is in discussions with NZTA and Ministers around funding to complete RNR across the Auckland metro network (foundation replacement on the Southern Line Otahuhu – Papakura, full works on the Western Line New Lynn to Swanson, the line between Newmarket and Britomart and the Manukau Branch Line).

Why does the Manukau Branch Line need this, it is only just over a decade old while most of the line between Newmarket and Britomart was rebuilt in 2011 when it was regraded to enable the Parnell Station to be built.

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  1. “more reliable services without backing that up with any specifics” – I guess the answer to that is “surely it couldn’t get any worse”. I barely remember a single train line being closed in London when I was there, here it has been almost every weekend or especially holiday for as long as I can remember.

    1. Because London has kept up with maintenance better than NZ has, we are in catch up.

      You can’t say “our lines are closed too often” on one hand and “our infrastructure is too unreliable” on the other.

      The closures help to make it more reliable. Even if no data is released.

      The lack of data is always bemoaned on this blog. Why not OFA it?

      1. Agree. Anecdotally the places where it has been rebuilt seem a lot smoother running including literally, when you’re on train, the ride is smoother.

        1. Unless it’s happening under their nose, a lot of people in NZ seem to assume nothing is happening. At a time when it’s never been easier to do the research and find out.

      2. Jubilee has been closed on and off for best part of 10 years. I’ve regularly had to take rail replacement buses. Same applies for the Metropolitan line.

        The one big difference though is that UK’s rail network has not been asset stripped and run into the ground the way NZs has since the mid/late 1980s, leaving the whole of NZ with 30+ years of deferred maintenance.

    2. There’s always plenty going on. I think they just manage it better, which is easier because they have a network so there are multiple alternatives. And they are more up-to-date with maintenance, so they largely keep it to weekends. Here’s the latest advice:

    3. London train and tube lines are closed constantly… for short periods overnight or at worst a day or two. They rotate through regular maintenance and renewals day in day out.

      The problem in Auckland is Kiwirail spent ten years maintaining Aucklands network like one of their rural branch lines, literally, despite it having a hundred times more train traffic. So yeah, they ran the whole thing into the ground.

      Also in comparison Aucklands two lines with a loop and couple branches amounts to what you’d call one line in London. It’s about the same trackage and stations as the Northern Line for example. So while Aucklands whole network is disrupted, the equivalent on London would be fairly unremarkable.

  2. In any case, this is a development no matter what, it is important not to stand still, I try to constantly work on new experiences with, they write my essay for me and we create projects together

  3. It’s very difficult to get behind fareshare when AT won’t even offer it to their own staff?!

    1. Surely AT staff ae entitled to free transport. All rail and bus staff in the UK get that as part of their contract. Sadly it doesn’t apply to us airline staff.

      1. Remember this is the same AT which puts on private scheduled shuttles for their staff to get into the CBD, because buses and trains run by AT are too slow and unreliable.

      2. “Surely AT staff ae entitled to free transport.”

        AT staff do not receive free Public Transport. They do however have places to park their bikes or scooters.

    2. They ought to do this. It would mean that many more AT staff had first-hand experience of the public transport system. This would be likely to improve levels of service as a result.

      1. I used to commute from Coatesville back in the 80’s. Bus or car, the options probably haven’t changed much.

      2. It’s called Dogfooding. AT PT staff should have a clause in their employment contract preventing them or any members of their household from owning a motor vehicle of any kind so they can understand first hand the limitations of that approach.

      3. ” It would mean that many more AT staff had first-hand experience of the public transport system”

        Most AT staff travel to and from their place of work by using PT, as AT provides no onsite parking.

    3. Yes, it is utterly ridiculous that the public transport provider can’t even give their own employees free or half price transport.

  4. Public transport continues to be expensive. I move via Community Connect, so it is not so bad. But as the father of two children, were I to be paying a full fare, plus two child fares, it would cost a few school lunches (or maybe a dozen now).

    Public transport is the safest way to travel, sometimes, particularly on trains and ferries, it is the fastest way to travel.

    That Auckland Transport continues to charge us, the public transporters, to allow private motor vehicles to occupy bus lanes, clog up our city centre, congestionise our motorways, and generally allow our air quality to be awful; makes it hard to believe they care about us, the citizens of this great city.

    bah humbug

    1. Why is it that some people are always the complaining about not being sponsored enough? I doubt any dollar you spend on PT goes towards cars, and even ‘Full Fare’ is not even close to the full cost.

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