Bus replacements Bus replacements

There are times when trains will not operate to enable the maintenance and upgrade of the Auckland rail network.

During these rail network closures replacement bus services are provided.  These Rail Buses run from station to station along the train routes instead of trains.

Rail Buses run to a different timetable to trains, due their road-based route.

Frequently asked questions about replacement buses

How will I know if my train is being replaced by a bus?

Look out for posters on trains and in station information boards that advise in advance of planned closures of the network. You can also check the Service Announcements section of this website or call Auckland Transport on 09 366 6400 before you travel. On the day there will be signs at the stations advising buses are replacing trains that day.

How do I identify a replacement bus?

Replacement buses are usually regular blue AT Metro buses which are displaying a 'Rail Bus’ and their destination on the front of the bus.

Some replacement buses will not have the blue AT Metro branding. These buses will still display 'Rail Bus' on the front of the bus.

Do replacement buses run to the same timetable as trains?

No, as buses travel on a different route to trains, and are affected by road traffic and access to stations, they operate to a different timetable to trains.

Rail bus times show in Journey Planner and AT Mobile to help you plan your trip.  They are shown as Rail Bus routes with the route codes RBW, RBO, RBS, and RBE for Rail Bus Western, Rail Bus Onehunga, Rail Bus Southern and Rail Bus Eastern.  The stop details will show the Bus Stops used by Rail Buses rather than the train station.

Replacement timetable information is available at the bus stop and train station when replacement bus services are operating. Timetable information is also available online under Service Announcements or by calling 09 366 6400.

Do replacement buses stop at all stations?

Replacement buses do not stop at Parnell or Meadowbank due to difficulties in buses accessing these stations. Both of these stations are near regular bus routes that can be used to travel to nearby stations to connect with replacement buses. See maps of station bus stops here. 

Some replacement buses operate as an express or limited stop service between stations. This will be shown on the timetable, or by ‘x’ on the route code e.g. RBWx.

Will how I pay change?

You can pay for your travel on a Rail Bus in the same way as regular train and bus services. Tag on and off with your AT HOP card inside the bus, pay cash on board the bus, or use a cash ticket purchased from the Ticket and Top Up machine at the train station. 

  • Please tag on and off on the replacement bus as per a normal bus trip
  • If transferring to a train for part of the journey, please tag on and tag off at the first and last train station

Please note: If you tag on at the station, then fail to tag off at the station, it will result in a 'failed tag off' charge being applied to your AT HOP card. If this occurs, you will need to request a refund.

Accessibility on rail buses.

We endeavour to make replacement buses accessible to all passengers, unfortunately at times some services may not be accessible to wheelchair users. Mobility scooters and bikes are unable to be carried. For pushchairs and prams on Rail Buses, see Luggage on public transport.

Where to catch the replacement bus

Rail Buses pick passengers up from bus stops located as near to the train station as possible. You can see details of each station bus stop locations here and the bus stop number and address are shown in Journey Planner and AT Mobile.  

The bus stops used have this sign clearly posted on them to help you identify them, as well as timetable information to help you plan your journey. 


Do not enter your credit card number, bank account number, or any other personal financial information.

Terms of use of the AT HOP cards are available here.