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Auckland Transport

Midtown bus route Midtown bus route

We are proposing three route options out of the city centre for buses that use Sandringham Road, New North Road and Remuera Road.

Consultation status: closed 24 April 2017

Project status: Design
Project zone: Central

Project overview

Wellesley Street

Image: Wellesley Street - Bledisloe Lane, looking east towards Auckland Art Gallery. Indicative concept only

Auckland's city centre is changing rapidly, and we are working with Auckland Council to create a thriving city centre, supported by frequent, efficient transport for people walking, cycling and travelling by bus. 

Under our New Network, Wellesley Street is a key route for buses travelling to the city centre from Sandringham Road, New North Road and Remuera Road. We are seeking your feedback on the best route for buses travelling via Symonds Street and Wellesley Street to access Wynyard Quarter.

The inbound route is straightforward, as the left turn from Symonds Street to Wellesley Street is already part of most current bus routes. We have also considered 3 options for outbound buses and are seeking your feedback on these options. 

Project details

Overview map

Midtown bus routes - Overview map

This map shows the proposed inbound route through Symonds Street and Wellesley Street, along three proposed outbound route options; Victoria Street, Wellesley Street and Wakefield Street. 

Option 1: Outbound on Victoria Street (preferred option)

Option 1 map - outbound on Victoria Street

This option involves buses travelling from Sandringham Road, New North Road and Remuera Road entering the city centre via Wellesley Street and returning via Victoria Street. This is our preferred option.


  • Many buses already follow this route, so much of the bus infrastructure is already in place. This means minimal disruption for those in surrounding areas.
  • This route provides excellent access to most of the city centre as well as Auckland University and AUT.


  • Being less direct, this is a slightly longer route, with some parts of the route (such as Bowen Avenue) will be challenging to install bus lanes on.
  • This route will make it difficult to reduce the number of lanes on Victoria Street, as part of a planned future upgrade of Victoria Street.

Option 2: Outbound on Wellesley Street

Option 2 map - outbound on Wellesley Street

This option involves buses travelling from Sandringham Road, New North Road and Remuera Road, both entering and leaving the city centre via Wellesley Street.


  • Of the three options, this routine is the simplest and most direct.
  • This route provides good access to most of the city centre and both universities. 


  • This route would require buses to use an uphill slip lane to reach Symonds Street, and introducing more buses to this narrow, pedestrian-filled area would be challenging. 
  • This route would require new traffic lights to enable buses to turn right out of the slip lane into Symonds Street, which would delay other buses using Symonds Street.
  • This route does not serve the northern parts of the University of Auckland campus well, meaning staff and students would have to walk further to get to and from buses.
  • Buses will need to turn and layover near Victoria Park. This is an area with limited space available and may cause delays for passengers. 

Option 3: Outbound on Wakefield Street

Option 3 map - outbound on Wakefield Street

This option involves buses travelling from Sandringham Road, New North Road and Remuera Road entering the city centre via Wellesley Street and returning via Wakefield Street.


  • Of the 3 options, this route is the shortest.
  • This route could make use of existing bus stops on Mayoral Drive, reducing the construction work required, and disruption in the area.


  • This route does not serve the northern parts of the University of Auckland campus well, meaning staff students would have to walk further to get to and from buses.
  • Buses will need to turn and layover near Victoria Park. This is an area with limited space available, and may cause delays for passengers.
  • This route would require a new right turn into Mayoral Drive, which would delay buses travelling in the other direction. 

North Shore route - Northern Express 2 (NX2)

NX2 map

The future NX2 route will allow people travelling from the North Shore to the city centre, University of Auckland and AUT quickly and efficiently. 

The NX2 route will supplement the existing Northern Express route to Britomart. Buses will travel in and out of the city through Wellesley Street, making use of the space in Symonds Street underpass for a new major bus stop. 

The route, which runs along Fanshawe Street, Halsey Street and Wellesley Street to the unversities, was previously determined following a 2015 consultation. We expect to introduce this service in mid-2018.

Find out more about changes to North Shore buses under the New Network.

Public consultation

From 31 March to 24 April 2017, we asked for feedback on which of the 3 routes out of the city people preferred, as well as suggestions on how Wakefield, Wellesley, and Victoria Streets could be made into inviting public spaces.

We received over 2,200 submissions, with overwhelming support for a city centre that allowed for more green areas and cycle- and pedestrian-friendly spaces.

A common theme was a preference for buses not to use Victoria Street, to prevent impact on the proposed Victoria Street Linear Park, which is identified in the City Centre Master Plan (CCMP).


Based on your feedback, we have revisited the outbound route option and are developing designs for Wellesley Street to make it more fit for purpose as a bus route.

  • Wellesley Street will be the primary east-west link for buses through the city centre. In the future we will be consulting on improvements to the Wellesley Street streetscape to enable more buses to move people reliably along this route. This will reduce bus volumes on Victoria Street so that the City Centre Masterplan vision of a linear park can be achieved.
  • In the longer term, the city centre bus network will require the development of a new bus interchange in Grafton Gully to serve North Shore services. It’s expected that the NX2 and other North Shore services that currently finish at Mayoral Drive will start and finish from this interchange. This is in feasibility stage and further investigation is required.
  • The majority of existing bus routes on Victoria Street will be reallocated once infrastructure in the City Centre is improved. Remuera Road services will operate in both directions on Wellesley Street, while New North and Sandringham Road services will instead travel to Britomart. Ellerslie-Panmure Highway services will switch from Britomart to using Wellesley Street, in both directions. These route changes wouldn’t take place until approximately 2021.

Read the Midtown bus route public feedback report (1.9MB)

Next steps

We will come back to those who submitted feedback and to the wider community next year to request feedback on more detailed plans for Wellesley Street to help ensure the best outcome. 

Wellesley Street is earmarked to be the primary east-west link for buses through the city centre and the future upgrade will need to account for long term plans, including integration with future Light Rail and the planned Victoria Street linear park.

Another key consideration is the Aotea station which is expected to be the busiest train station in Auckland and will have a home on Wellesley Street. These factors mean the Wellesley Street bus upgrade design needs to account for heavy pedestrian usage and ensure footpaths are fit for purpose, alongside integrated cycle provision as well as ensuring reliable bus provision.

The project team are now busy refining the emerging designs and business case to determine the best balance of costs and benefits to achieve the desired city centre outcomes. Improved urban realm along Wellesley Street is an important consideration in this.

The draft designs that emerge from this process will go to a public consultation for feedback prior to any decisions made.

For more information

Contact Auckland Transport

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