Central crosstown bus changes Central crosstown bus changes

Auckland Transport proposed some changes to crosstown bus services that affect the OuterLink and 650 routes.

Project status: Consultation - closed 23 December 2019, last updated 31 August 2020
Project zone: Central

Project Update

The Central Crosstown project, including changes to the OuterLink, is being reassessed in light of changes since the 2019 consultation.

This reassessment will include:

  • observing changes to travel patterns from the closure of Mt Eden Station and the introduction of bus route 64 in July 2020
  • studying the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated changes in travel patterns
  • assessing the effects of better bus stop interchanges being constructed on Balmoral Rd and Green Lane West in mid-2022. AT will be undertaking focus groups with OuterLink customers this year, to test possible solutions, before providing a more comprehensive update later in the year.

Project overview

We’ve heard from you that the OuterLink isn’t working as well as it should; it’s not reliable and buses are catching up to each other along the route meaning you sometimes wait a long time for a bus and then two turn up at once. It’s not meeting its frequent promise of a bus every 12 to 15 minutes.

Circular routes such as the OuterLink are problematic as they are required to wait in order to adhere to the timetable; this often happens while passengers are on board which offers a poor journey experience.

And we know that people can’t make some crosstown journeys as easily as they would like because there is a gap in the frequent bus network along Balmoral Road and Greenlane.

We proposed changes to some of the buses that cross Auckland’s central area to address these problems.


  • Improving the reliability of the OuterLink will create an improved service for most people.
  • Increasing the frequency of the 650 to every 15 minutes allowing more people to get to more destinations, more often.


  • 18 November 2019 - feedback on crosstown bus proposals opened
  • 23 December 2019 - feedback on crosstown bus proposals closed
  • December 2019 - January 2020 - feedback considered
  • 31 August 2020 - report on public feedback released. No decision made
  • Early 2022 - further proposals considered.

Project details

Changes to the OuterLink route

  • Removing the section of the OuterLink route between St Lukes and Newmarket via Balmoral/Mt Eden where there is duplication with other routes to provide better reliability of the remaining section of the route.

Removing the need for buses to wait at Victoria Park.Increasing the frequency of route 650

  • Route 650 will be renamed as route 65 and its frequency will increase to every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm, seven days a week it will also operate later in the evening.There will be no change to the current route.

More buses on Manukau Road route 30

  • Adding more bus trips to Manukau Road at peak times.

New school bus service

New route 640

  • Route 640 will be introduced in May 2020 to assist with journeys when Mt Eden Station temporarily closes to enable construction on the City Rail Link.
  • It will operate between Valley Road shops and Newmarket via Mt Eden Station.
  • We propose to extend route 640 to Kingsland Station via Walters Road, subject to the necessary infrastructure being in place.
  • Download the crosstown bus route 640 map (PDF 296KB).

Proposed bus routes

Map of proposed crosstown bus changes

Download a map of the proposed bus routes (PDF 256KB).

Download a map of the current bus routes (PDF 248KB).

Download a simplified map of the proposed bus routes (PDF 140KB).

What these changes mean

  • Most people will see no change to the way they travel.
  • Some existing customers might need to transfer between buses and/or trains to complete the journeys that they are currently doing.
  • No bus stops will lose bus services and all existing journeys can continue to be made. Even if the changes mean that you need to transfer between two buses, or a bus and train, your journey might be quicker.
  • We are currently exploring options to make transferring between buses on Green Lane East and Manukau Road more convenient.

How these proposed changes would affect your current journey

St Lukes to Mt Eden Village

  • Take the new frequent route 65 from St Lukes to Mt Eden Road and transfer there to any 27 bus that travels along Mt Eden Road.

Mt Eden Village to Manukau Road

  • Take new route 640 to Newmarket and transfer there to the 30 or 309 for Manukau Road
    Use new school bus if you are a student travelling to school.

Epsom to Parnell

  • Take the frequent route 30 or route 309 along Manukau Road and transfer at 277 Broadway to an InnerLink or OuterLink travelling to Parnell.

St Lukes to Newmarket

  • Take new frequent route 65 to Manukau Road and transfer there to the frequent route 30 or route 309 to Newmarket and city.
  • From Morningside Drive take a 22 bus to Morningside Station and transfer to the train to Newmarket.

Mt Eden Village to Dominion Road

  • Take route 640 from Valley Road near Mt Eden Village.

Newmarket to College Hill

  • No change but with a more reliable OuterLink service.

Newmarket to Wellesley Street

  • No change but with a more reliable OuterLink service.

St Lukes to City Centre

  • Take route 22 from Morningside Drive

Westmere or Herne Bay to Wellesley Street and City Universities

  • No change but with a more reliable OuterLink service with faster journey times.

Accessible Resources

Public consultation

Feedback closed 23 December 2019

What you told us

The consultation ran from 18 November to 23 December 2019 and Auckland Transport received 1,186 feedback responses. These responses provided us with a range of different views and themes, the key messages we received were:

  • 39% told us they didn’t want to take more than one bus to complete their journey
  • 5% stated they would need to walk further if the proposed changes were made
  • 20% told us they liked the promise of a more reliable OuterLink service
  • 10% told us they liked the increased frequency on the 650 route.

How we’re moving forward

No decision has yet been made on the proposed bus route changes.

Whilst the purpose of the proposal remains; to complete the network of bus routes in the area that we began in 2018, and to address the unreliability of the OuterLink, we do not believe that now is the appropriate time to make bus route changes in this area. Our rationale is based on:

  • Auckland Transport needs more time to further understand the impacts of the closure and construction of Mt Eden Station, and monitor the effect of the temporary 64 bus service on your travel
  • We also need to consider what adjustments are required to bus stop infrastructure and services at key locations in your neighbourhood to enable easier transfer options
  • We are very aware that there is already a lot going on in the area. We don’t wish to overwhelm the Mt Eden area with too many changes to public transport services in such a short space of time.

Next steps 

We will continue to consider the responses we have received from this consultation as we explore other options that would:

  • Improve reliability of the OuterLink whilst still maintaining crosstown option(s) for the southern section of the route
  • Take the usage of the new 64 bus service into consideration
  • Continue to allow for the safe operation of buses.

Once we identify these options, in early 2021 we will present them to the community to hear your views.

Download the Central Crosstown bus changes consultation report (PDF 1.9MB, 32 pages).

For more information on this project

Contact Auckland Transport