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Auckland Transport

The CityLink bus route is changing to electric buses

Auckland's red CityLink buses are going electric.

As part of Auckland's Low Emission Bus Roadmap, Auckland Transport and its operator NZ Bus have agreed the CityLink bus services will only use electric buses from the end of the year.

Mayor Phil Goff says the 12 new electric buses will help reduce carbon emissions and help Auckland towards meeting meet its climate change goals.

Group shot of Barry Hinkley NZ Bus, Mayor Phil Goff,  Adrienne Young-Cooper AT chairperson and Shane Ellison AT chief executive
Image from left to right: Barry Hinkley NZ Bus, Mayor Phil Goff, Adrienne Young-Cooper AT chairperson and Shane Ellison AT chief executive.

"Electrifying Auckland's CityLink buses will help improve air quality by reducing pollution from black carbon and nitrogen oxide emitted by the current diesel vehicles," he says.

"Black carbon is associated with health problems and has been found in Queen Street at levels higher than in some major European and US cities, so it's a priority for us to address this issue.

"The introduction of these new fully electric buses is also a step toward electrifying the rest of Auckland's bus fleet, which when completed will stop around 93,000 tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere every year.

"Two years ago, I committed Auckland to ensuring that all replacement buses purchased from 2025 are non-carbon emitting. With an incentive scheme from central government similar to their feebate to include electric cars, we could bring forward the transition to a fully electric bus fleet, which would be a significant indicator of our commitment to a carbon-free city."

Councillor Richard Hills, Auckland Council's Environment and Climate Change Committee Chair, welcomes the announcement. "Climate change is the most urgent challenge facing Auckland and the world. Moving towards a fully electric bus fleet is critical if we are to meet our emissions reduction targets. This announcement is a small but crucial step forward as we lead Auckland’s response to climate change," he says.

Planning Committee Chair Chris Darby agrees, and highlights the benefits of an electric bus fleet for pedestrians in central Auckland. "This is one of the first steps in council's giant leap to achieving fossil fuel-free streets. It's not just about hitting our emissions targets—Aucklanders will soon enjoy a much more breathable downtown area."

Adrienne Young-Cooper, Auckland Transport chairperson says an electric bus was tried on the CityLink route in 2018. "We worked with NZ Bus to see how an e-bus would cope with the stop-and-go nature of this route around the city and it came through with flying colours".

"The CityLink buses carry more than 1.6 million customers each year and provide an essential link within city centre and with a growing business and entertainment hub in Wynyard Quarter".

Barry Hinkley, Chief Executive at NZ Bus says they're getting the 12 buses from Zhejiang CRRC Electric Vehicle Co Ltd (China Rail). "These are the first of a large number of state-of-the-art electric buses that NZ Bus will bring to New Zealand in the next few years as our diesel replacement programme accelerates.

"The new buses will be air conditioned and feature 2 plus 1 seat configuration in the front section of the bus and wide rear doors to improve customer experience with faster boarding and alighting, allowing more passengers and faster trips on typically short journeys."

Viv Beck, Chief Executive of Heart of the City welcomes the changes, which will make a difference to air quality in the city centre. "People are at the heart of our city and initiatives like this are needed to improve the overall environment for them."

Introducing 12 electric buses would reduce 686 tCO2e of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions per year in the Citylink route.

This GHG emissions value is equivalent to:

  • 915 number of typical NZ homes' electricity use for one year. (Typical NZ residential electricity use 7133 kWh/yearà0.75 tonne of CO2e per house per year).
  • 299 number of average petrol car (1600< Car cc <2000 cc) driven for one year. (Average VKT/capita of light passenger vehicle is 9265 km/year @2017 MOT; GHG emissions of passenger petrol car travel 0.248 kgCO2e/km @2019 MOE) à 2.30 tonne of CO2e per car per year).