Auckland Transport

Rail buses

A rail bus is a regular bus that runs from station to station around the network instead of a train. Rail buses run to a different timetable from the trains.

When do rail buses operate?

Rail buses operate:

  • During periods of uninterrupted planned construction work carried out on the network.
  • Occasionally at short notice during unplanned service disruptions (e.g. due to a train breakdown or a track fault) when trains cannot run safely. Passengers should listen out for 'at station' announcements, and consult station information and maps for alternative transport in the area.

Auckland Transport is upgrading the stations and KiwiRail are substantially upgrading Auckland's rail network over the next couple of years. They often take advantage of long weekends or the quieter holiday period over Christmas and New Year when fewer people use the trains.

How do I know when a rail bus is running instead of a train?

Look out for posters on trains and at stations that advise of rail bus replacements. These go up a couple of weeks in advance. You can also check the Service announcements section to plan your journey or call Auckland Transport on 09 366 6400 before you travel. Newspapers are advised through media releases.

What does a rail bus look like?

A regular bus and displays a 'rail bus' sign on it.

Rail bus timetables

As rail buses travel on a different route to trains, and travel by road they operate to a different timetable to train services. Rail bus timetable information is available at the rail bus stop and at the train station (when rail bus services are operating). Timetable information is also available online under Service announcements or by calling 09 366 6400.

Some rail buses operate as an express or limited stop service between stations. On boarding a service, passengers should check with the driver or Transdev on-board staff where the bus is going, and which route it is taking.

How to pay on a rail bus

Normal train tickets and passes are accepted on rail buses. You can buy a ticket from ticket and top up machines at stations.

Using an AT HOP card:

  • Rail bus replacements accept AT HOP cards.
  • Please tag on and tag off on the rail 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: You should not tag on at a station when signs state that trains are not running. Instead, you should tag on when boarding the rail bus. 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 rail buses accessible to all passengers, unfortunately at times some services may not be accessible to wheelchair users. Mobility scooters and bikes are also unable to be carried. For pushchairs and prams on rail buses see Luggage on public transport.

Where to catch the rail bus

Rail buses pick passengers up from rail bus stops located as near as possible to train stations. Find current rail bus stops and alternative transport options.

Rail bus stops are clearly sign posted and have signage on them to help you identify them, as well as timetable information to help you plan your journey.

We would like you to know that our AT HOP terms of use have changed as of 27 November 2017. Find out about the changes and read the AT HOP card terms of use.