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Auckland Transport

Airport to Botany Rapid Transit Airport to Botany Rapid Transit

Auckland Transport is working on delivering a fast, frequent, high capacity public transport a between Auckland Airport, Manukau and Botany. The project is part of the Southwest Gateway programme.


Project status: Investigation - last updated 6 January 2021.
Project zone: South-West/East


Project overview

The Airport to Botany Rapid Transit project will deliver a new public transport route between the airport, Manukau and Botany. It will improve accessibility in the southern and eastern areas of Auckland. It will also provide an important link in the rapid transit network, with connections to the rail network at Puhinui and Manukau stations and the Eastern Busway at Botany interchange.

This project will improve transport choice and journey times making travel on public transport to social, residential and commercial centres in the area is easier and more reliable. A good public transport network helps cities evolve by providing better connections and improved accessibility. Affordable and efficient public transport has major economic, social and environmental benefits.

Airport to Botany Rapid Transit is one of three projects in the Southwest Gateway programme. Auckland Transport, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, and Auckland Airport are working together on the programme to improve access and allow for future growth in southwest and east Auckland.

Read more about the Southwest Gateway programme.

Artists impression of Airport to Botany - Te Irirangi Drive Station
Artist's impression of Airport to Botany Rapid Transit - Te Irirangi Drive Station.

Project benefits

The Airport to Botany Rapid Transit project will improve access between the southern and eastern areas of Auckland by:

  • improving travel choices and journey times for people in south and east Auckland, with a reliable 35-40 minute journey time between Auckland Airport and Botany
  • proving a 18km congestion-free rapid transit with high capacity services
  • improving access to major employment centres, including Auckland Airport and Manukau
  • provide an important connection in the rapid transit network, connecting to the rail network at Puhinui station and Manukau, the Eastern Busway at a new Botany interchange
  • supporting growth opportunities along the route - as well as for the wider south and east Auckland area
  • improving walking and cycling connections between Auckland Airport, Puhinui Station interchange, Manukau and Botany, with 12km of new facilities.

Project stages

The Airport to Botany Rapid Transit project will be delivered in stages.

Stage 1: Early improvements by 2021

The first stage is underway. Puhinui Station being upgraded to provide a high-quality interchange to allow for easy connections between bus and train.

Other early improvements include bus priority lanes, new and upgraded intersections and improved walking and cycling connections along State Highway 20B (under construction), Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive that will integrate with transport facilities in the airport precinct.

Construction on the Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive improvements is planned to start in October 2020, and more detail on these changes is provided below.

The priority lanes will allow for a new, frequent AirportLink bus service between the airport, Puhinui Station interchange and Manukau centre. This will replace the southern section of the existing 380 bus service. In addition, a new route 36 bus service will link local town centres between Onehunga and Manukau, via Papatoetoe.

We will use electric vehicles for the AirportLink service commencing in 2021, moving towards higher capacity electric vehicles over time for the future Airport to Botany Rapid Transit service.

By 2021, these early improvements will provide the following benefits:

  • A 10-12 minute bus journey between the airport and Puhinui Station interchange
  • More reliable and frequent with the AirportLink bus services that operates every 10-15 minutes, everyday
    A range of travel choices – rail, bus, walking and cycling
  • New Puhinui station facilities, providing better safety and an improved travel experience
  • Faster and easier connections to the southern and eastern train lines
  • Improved access to employment areas in Manukau and the airport
  • Progress towards long-term transport, social and economic outcomes.

Map of the early improvements planned between the airport, Puhinui Station Interchange and Manukau.
Map of the early improvements planned between the airport, Puhinui Station Interchange and Manukau.

AirportLink and 38 bus services

New electric buses used by the AirportLink service starting 24 January 2021.

From January 24th 2021 AT will implement two new bus services – an electric AirportLink service and a new Route 38 service.

Airport Link service

The new AirportLink service will be Auckland’s second fully electric bus service, following the Waiheke electric fleet. The AirportLink will initially travel from Manukau to Auckland Airport, via Papatoetoe. When the new Puhinui Station Interchange opens in late May/early June 2021, the AirportLink will travel a more direct route via Puhinui Station, along Puhinui Road, to Auckland Airport.

38 bus service

The new 38 service will travel from Onehunga to Auckland Airport, via Māngere. This service will provide a key service in connecting passengers to Auckland Airport from Onehunga and Māngere Bridge.

These two new services will replace the existing 380 Airporter bus service, which operates between Onehunga, Mangere, the Airport, Papatoetoe and Manukau.

AirportLink and 38 bus times

The AirportLink service will run every 15 minutes all day, seven days a week. From late May/June 2021,when the Puhinui Station Interchange reopens, the AirportLink will run every 10 minutes. The 38 service will run every 30 minutes before 7am, and every 15 minutes after 7am until the last trip.

Airport link map.

Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive Improvements

The improvements will make Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive a safer destination for walking and cycling, and will provide new bus lanes for the new AirportLink bus service to connect with the airport, Puhinui Station Interchange and Manukau.

Some trees will be removed from Puhinui Road and will be replaced by new trees on nearby side roads.

The proposed bus lanes and walking and cycling facilities will connect with the improvements planned along State Highway 20B to create a direct link to the airport.

Puhinui Road improvements

The Puhinui Road upgrades include:

  • Signalising existing pedestrian crossings, installing a new roundabout at the Puhinui Road/ Kenderdine Road intersection, installing new bus stops and upgrading bus shelters, as well as a new shared walking and cycling path to be provided on the north side of Puhinui Road between SH20 and Puhinui Station Interchange.
  • There will also be upgrades at the side street crossings along Puhinui Road with speed calming devices (new raised tables).
  • A 1.2km section of on-road cycle lanes will be removed east of the Puhinui Station Interchange, between Clendon Avenue and Lambie Drive. The cycle lanes will be removed to construct the new bus lanes along Puhinui Road, to support to the new AirportLink bus service. Options to improve access for cyclists on this section are under consideration, including providing a shared walking and cycling path.

Lambie Drive improvements

The Lambie Drive Improvements include upgrading existing cycle lanes along Lambie Drive to have new safe, separated cycling facilities, with clear protection from vehicles.

The four bus stops on Lambie Drive will be upgraded with new bus shelters and will become ‘floating’ bus stops to fit with the protected cycle lane design and provide space for bus passengers.

There will also be new bus lanes in both directions along Lambie Drive, to support the new AirportLink bus service.

New bus lane hours

Once construction is complete on Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive, the new bus lanes hours will be from 6am to 7pm, every day.

Parking restrictions will apply during these times and no parking in the bus lanes is permitted during these times. The new bus lane hours will not apply until May 2021.

Download the Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive improvements map (PDF 1.2MB).

Download the Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive consultation plans (PDF 4.4MB).


Map of the planned improvements along Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive.

Stage 2: from 2021 onwards

In the long term the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit project will deliver a new public transport connection between the airport, Manukau and Botany. Future stages include:

  • route protection for the new rapid transit facility
  • further public engagement around wider programme
  • staged delivery of the rapid transit facility and services between the Airport and Botany

The rapid transit route will travel from Auckland Airport, along State Highway 20B and Puhinui Road to the upgraded Puhinui Station interchange. From here, the rapid transit corridor continues along Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive and through the Manukau centre via Manukau Station Road, Davies Avenue and Ronwood Avenue. It then travels via Great South Road and Te Irirangi Drive to a new high-quality interchange at Botany, where it will connect with the Eastern Busway.

New major station interchanges will be implemented in Manukau and Botany to support the new rapid transit line, as well as rapid transit stations along the route.

Rapid transit stations

Stations along the route will provide easy transfers between Airport to Botany Rapid Transit services and local buses, heavy rail and other rapid transit facilities. They will be built in locations that are close to town centres, employment hubs and residential areas.

Manukau centre

Two new rapid transit stations in Manukau will improve access to planned town centre developments, offices, housing and schools, encouraging economic growth and urban regeneration.

Botany station

A high-quality station will provide easy transfers between local buses and rapid transit services. The design and location of the Botany Interchange is still being considered and the station will be built as part of the Eastern Busway project.

Airport to Botany Rapid Transit route
Map of the planned improvements between Auckland Airport, Manukau and Botany.


Southwest Gateway programme


The Southwest Gateway Programme will provide safer and more reliable travel choice to move around south and east Auckland including to and from the airport.

Waka Kotahi, Auckland Transport and Auckland Airport are working together to deliver the programme to connect communities and support population and economic growth in southwest, south and east Auckland, particularly around the airport.

The programme includes three connected transport projects. It will be delivered in stages with early improvements already underway to provide better public transport, walking and cycling facilities while we plan for the long-term.

Three projects of the Southwest Gateway programme

  1. Airport to Botany rapid transit will deliver a fast, frequent, high capacity public transport route between the airport, Manukau and Botany. It will improve transport choice, reliability, and journey times. It will connect with existing and planned rapid transit including the southern and eastern rail lines at an upgraded Puhinui Station interchange.
  2. 20Connect will improve journey reliability and safety along State Highways 20, 20A and 20B. It will provide priority lanes for public transport, improve access for freight and provide better walking and cycling connections.

    Find out more about 20Connect on the NZ Transport Agency website
  3. Auckland Airport precinct developments will deliver consistent, reliable journeys on the airport’s transport network and support a shift to public transport options.

Southwest Gateway project map

Southwest Gateway section of the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit map
Map of the Southwest Gateway Programme.

Southwest Gateway programme - Information boards (PDF 10MB, pages 8)


Public engagement

Auckland Transport, Waka Kotahi and Auckland Airport are dedicated to working closely with partners, stakeholders and community throughout the design and delivery of the Southwest Gateway programme.

Partner, community and stakeholder engagement for the Southwest Gateway Programme has been divided into two stages; the first from November to December 2018 and the second from November to December 2019.

This two-staged approach has allowed the project team to consider feedback from partners, key stakeholders and the community, along with a range of technical assessments, to evaluate options for the rapid transit route, mode and stations.

Round 1 – November and December 2018

The purpose of the first round of public engagement in November and December 2018 was to introduce the programme, projects and seek feedback on a number of options being considered for the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit project.

Read the engagement snapshot from the first round of engagement:

Southwest Gateway Programme one page engagement summary (PDF 434KB).

Read the full engagement summary report for the first round of engagement.

Southwest Gateway Programme Report (PDF 11.4MB, 81 pages).

Round 2 – November and December 2019

The second round of engagement was an opportunity for the project team to give an update to the community on the progress of the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit project progress and to provide more detailed information about the preferred options, rapid transit route and proposed mode. It was also an opportunity for the project team to give details to the community details about how feedback from the previous round of engagement had influenced the project.
The project teams shared the detailed designs for the early deliverables on Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive and asked for specific feedback on the bus lane operational hours.

Read the engagement snapshot from the second round of engagement (PDF 1MB)
Read the full engagement summary report for the second round of engagement (PDF 14.6MB, 76 pages)


For more information on this project

Contact Auckland Transport

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