Wellesley Street Bus Improvements Wellesley Street Bus Improvements

Auckland’s city centre is transforming to become a world-class place that is thoughtfully designed and reflects the changing way we use our city. AT is planning a range of improvements on Wellesley Street as part of the ongoing development of the midtown area.

Project overview

In readiness for the opening of the City Rail Link (CRL), designs are being prepared that will transform the areas around the midtown Aotea Station entrances on Wellesley Street West and Victoria Street West.

These designs will make the entrances accessible and welcoming for the thousands of people who will arrive there by bus and train.

On Wellesley Street West, between Albert Street and Queen Street, Stage 1 of the Wellesley Street Bus Improvements (WSBI) project will deliver:

  • improved facilities for large volumes of bus passengers.
  • wider footpaths for the additional people expected in the area as a result of the CRL opening, bus operations or future business and residential development.
  • an improved midblock crossing between Bledisloe Lane and Elliot Street.


Artist’s render of Wellesley Street West following completion of the Wellesley Street Bus Improvements project, Stage 1, looking towards the Civic Theatre from just west of Elliott Street.

Artist’s render of Wellesley Street West following completion of the Wellesley Street Bus Improvements project, Stage 1, looking towards the Civic Theatre from just west of Elliott Street.

Artist’s render of Wellesley Street West from near the corner of Mayoral Drive.

The Wellesley Street Bus Improvement project

The WSBI project responds to the City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) by removing buses from Victoria Street to allow for Te Hā Noa Victoria Street linear park (Te Hā Noa). It is also part of the proposed City Centre Bus Plan, consultation on which closed on 24 October 2021 and included Wellesley Street becoming the east-west bus route through midtown.

Ultimately, the WSBI project will deliver significant upgrades to bus infrastructure, the streetscape, and the pedestrian environment along the full length of Wellesley Street between Victoria Park and Grafton Gully. These improvements will be delivered in stages over the next decade.

The current focus is on Stage 1, which is the section of Wellesley Street West between Albert Street and Queen Street. Here, the project will deliver wider footpaths on both sides of the street, six westbound and six eastbound bus stops, and a wider and improved pedestrian crossing between Bledisloe Lane and Elliott Street. New paving and road surfacing, street furniture and lighting will improve the look, feel and safety of the street.

Consultations carried out as part of the CCMP and the project’s Indicative Business Case, supported this central area of Wellesley Street becoming a bus-only section and we are currently investigating how we can prioritise buses here while limiting other vehicle movements to local access and essential vehicles only.

Construction is expected to start in mid 2024 and be complete in time for the Te Wai Horotiu (Aotea) Station opening. The street will remain open while the works are completed and the project team will work hard to minimise disruption in the area.

Auckland Council is delivering Te Hā Noa, which is planned to be implemented in stages.

Find out more about Te Hā Noa Victora Street linear park.

Find out more about other central city projects.

Public feedback

From 6 October to 9 November 2021, Auckland Transport and Auckland Council engaged with the public on the WSBI project and Te Hā Noa.

The relationship between both projects and how they are essential to the midtown regeneration can be seen in this video.

Engagement focused on how each project will help transform the midtown area and integrate with the space around the Aotea Station entrances. We also looked at the road layout and operational issues.

We wanted to know if there was anything we might have missed in the planning and design around Stage 1 for the WSBI project and Te Hā Noa.

Your feedback 

Overall, there was a good level of support for both projects and we appreciate the time you took to provide feedback. 

A number of themes came through in the submission which are summarised below. The full Wellesley Street Bus Improvements project and Te Hā Noa Victoria Street linear park public feedback report (PDF 1.6MB) and demographic data (PDF 640KB) are now available.

Feedback topics

Loading zones and servicing

Loading and servicing are critical elements of the day-to-day operation of the city centre.

As the city centre grows and develops, there will be changes to loading zones to ensure that goods can continue to be delivered.

Work is underway on a Midtown Loading and Servicing plan. A more comprehensive plan covering the wider city centre will be developed as part of the implementation of the CCMP’s Access for Everyone (A4E) programme.

Next steps

Both projects will deliver high-quality public spaces and street environments to support a dynamic and growing city centre to accommodate the increased numbers of people expected to travel through Aotea Station and midtown. 

There is still a bit of work ahead for both projects. Detailed plans were submitted for resource consents in early 2022.

These plans reflect changes arising from your feedback in regard to cycling and active mode facilities, places to rest, pedestrian amenity and street furniture. 

Investigative works to identify underground services within the Te Hā Noa scope area are complete.

The project teams will continue to work with City Rail Link Ltd and the Wai Horotiu Queen Street project team to ensure integration and alignment of design where the works intersect with those projects.

The WSBI project continues to work with Watercare to align an important piece of infrastructure work with the WSBI project, Stage 1. The Watercare project will increase the wastewater network capacity to accommodate for future projects and population grown in the midtown area.

Working with the city centre community

We will continue to engage with property owners, businesses and residents as the plans move towards the construction phase. You can also subscribe for project updates by emailing ATengagement@at.govt.nz. Please include in the subject line: Wellesley Street Bus Improvements and Te Hā Noa.

Project background

The way people want to spend time and move around the city is changing.

The revitalisation of downtown Auckland, the Wynyard Quarter, and Karangahape Road are examples of how Auckland Council and Auckland Transport are working together to create a city that responds to the way our communities want to live, work and play, as outlined in the CCMP.

The focus now shifts to midtown, particularly the area around the new Aotea Station, currently under construction.

Midtown is where many civic, cultural, educational and commercial activities converge with the most densely populated, and growing, residential neighbourhoods in Auckland. It is set to become a key transport hub with the opening of the Aotea Station in 2024, the many bus routes planned to use this east-west corridor, and the WSBI project enabling connections between rail and bus.

The City Centre Masterplan

The City Centre Masterplan is the Council’s unifying strategy presenting a 20-year vision that sets the direction for all the city centre and waterfront projects, ensuring our city is being shaped into a better connected, greener and more people-focussed city of which we can be proud.

A key concept within the CCMP is Access for Everyone (A4E), a new way to use our streets, so pedestrians, cyclists, and buses can move freely, while preserving access for vehicle trips needed to support the city centre, such as deliveries, construction, and emergency services. It will open up new public spaces, create pedestrian-friendly links and improve deliveries to businesses and residents.

Find out more about the CCMP.

City Centre Bus Plan

The proposed City Centre Bus Plan sets out the approach Auckland Transport aims to take in planning for buses in Auckland’s city centre to help deliver the outcomes of the CCMP.

You can find more about the City Centre Bus Plan here.