Wellington Scoop

Auckland introducing electric buses to improve air quality in CBD

News from Auckland Transport
Auckland’s red CityLink buses are going electric. As part of Auckland’s Low Emission Bus Roadmap, Auckland Transport and its operator NZ Bus have agreed the CityLink bus services will only use electric buses from the end of the year.

Mayor Phil Goff says the 12 new electric buses will help reduce carbon emissions and help Auckland towards meeting meet its climate change goals.

“Electrifying Auckland’s CityLink buses will help improve air quality by reducing pollution from black carbon and nitrogen oxide emitted by the current diesel vehicles,” he says. “Black carbon is associated with health problems and has been found in Queen Street at levels higher than in some major European and US cities, so it’s a priority for us to address this issue.

“The introduction of these new fully electric buses is also a step toward electrifying the rest of Auckland’s bus fleet, which when completed will stop around 93,000 tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere every year.

“Two years ago, I committed Auckland to ensuring that all replacement buses purchased from 2025 are non-carbon emitting. With an incentive scheme from central government similar to their feebate to include electric cars, we could bring forward the transition to a fully electric bus fleet, which would be a significant indicator of our commitment to a carbon-free city.”

Councillor Richard Hills, Auckland Council’s Environment and Climate Change Committee Chair, welcomes the announcement. “Climate change is the most urgent challenge facing Auckland and the world. Moving towards a fully electric bus fleet is critical if we are to meet our emissions reduction targets. This announcement is a small but crucial step forward as we lead Auckland’s response to climate change,” he says.

Planning Committee Chair Chris Darby agrees, and highlights the benefits of an electric bus fleet for pedestrians in central Auckland. “This is one of the first steps in council’s giant leap to achieving fossil fuel-free streets. It’s not just about hitting our emissions targets — Aucklanders will soon enjoy a much more breathable downtown area.”

Adrienne Young-Cooper, Auckland Transport chairperson, says an electric bus was tried on the CityLink route in 2018. “We worked with NZ Bus to see how an e-bus would cope with the stop-and-go nature of this route around the city and it came through with flying colours”.

“The CityLink buses carry more than 1.6 million customers each year and provide an essential link within city centre and with a growing business and entertainment hub in Wynyard Quarter”.

Barry Hinkley, Chief Executive at NZ Bus, says they’re getting the 12 buses from Zhejiang CRRC Electric Vehicle Co Ltd (China Rail). “These are the first of a large number of state-of-the-art electric buses that NZ Bus will bring to New Zealand in the next few years as our diesel replacement programme accelerates.

“The new buses will be air conditioned and feature 2 plus 1 seat configuration in the front section of the bus and wide rear doors to improve customer experience with faster boarding and alighting, allowing more passengers and faster trips on typically short journeys.”

Viv Beck, Chief Executive of Heart of the City, welcomes the changes, which will make a difference to air quality in the city centre. “People are at the heart of our city and initiatives like this are needed to improve the overall environment for them.”

Introducing 12 electric buses would reduce 686 tCO2e of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions per year in the Citylink route.

This GHG emissions value is equivalent to:

915 number of typical NZ homes’ electricity use for one year. (Typical NZ residential electricity use 7133 kWh/yearà0.75 tonne of CO2e per house per year).
299 number of average petrol car (1600< Car cc <2000 cc) driven for one year. (Average VKT/capita of light passenger vehicle is 9265 km/year @2017 MOT; GHG emissions of passenger petrol car travel 0.248 kgCO2e/km @2019 MOE) à 2.30 tonne of CO2e per car per year).


  1. Marion Leader, 15. February 2020, 13:11

    There has been a great improvement in Auckland as a result of getting rid of their old diesels by foisting them on Wellington.
    Thanks to the way in which GWRC drew up the bus contracts.

  2. michael, 15. February 2020, 15:38

    Makes my blood boil to think that GWRC saddled Wellington City with old Auckland buses which emit dangerous levels of black carbon and nitrogen oxide causing health problems. And then has the gall to claim they are “building a world standard, low emission public transport network to make greater Wellington even greater”. Yeah right!!

  3. lindsay, 16. February 2020, 9:09

    Yet again, Auckland trump Wgtn. So disappointing.

  4. Keith Flinders, 16. February 2020, 12:19

    Wellington currently has 10 electric buses and we have been promised by the Regional Council to have 80 total by the end of 2020. Auckland will add to their small number of trial electric buses another 12 by the end of this year. It will be up to Wellington.Scoop readers, and Wellingtonians in general, to ensure that our regional council does as it has promised.

    In the 1960s and 1970s Wellington had 119 electric trolley buses, so we have a long way to go to equal that number.

  5. BHS, 16. February 2020, 12:57

    Well said Keith. Wellington is in reverse due to accountants and analysts taking over our Councils. We need engineers with passion like you.

  6. michael, 16. February 2020, 14:02

    What we need alongside experts who know what they are doing, are councils that put the well-being of people first. If this had been the case, Wellingtonians would never had been exposed to the pollution we are now facing. For those of us living and working in the city there is no doubt our quality of life has suffered with the huge increase in noise from diesel buses and dirty black soot coming into our buildings. What I cannot understand is the complete lack of concern shown, not only by the council, but also our well-being focussed government.

  7. Roy Kutel, 16. February 2020, 15:22

    It’s because top councillors live in nice places where diesel buses don’t go Michael.

  8. Tony Jansen, 16. February 2020, 17:03

    I have black particles around my windows from dirty NZ Bus #14’s – mainly ex Auckland or even older – which very noisily go up to Wadestown. The pollution and niose has increased tenfold. Many of these buses are unfit for use with mechanical issues, parts falling off, doors not opening or closing. Some are spewing out so much black smoke it is impossible to breathe. We are woken up late at night and early morning by the noise, even with airtight windows shut. Many of these buses are still only 23% downloaded too, after all this time. NZ Bus and GWRC seem to think that this stae of affairs is acceptable. I do not. No one cares so we all just wait and hope for the best. That’s unfettered market capitalsim for you eh?

  9. michael, 16. February 2020, 17:26

    Roy, no doubt many councillors are not affected by the mess they have created, but they are still responsible for it. In the guise of saving money and increasing efficiency, the council abdicated the management of their core responsibilities by outsourcing them and getting rid of their inhouse expertise. This made it easier for them to avoid issues even though, over the years, the council has been repeatedly warned the infrastructure was aging and needed replacement.

  10. BHS, 16. February 2020, 22:04

    My white fence that I got repainted is soot marked by diesel buses. And the buses don’t even provide me with a service on Tinakori Road! I guess it’s the new depot on old Hutt Rd they are going to and from. I keep my windows and doors shut to avoid the pollution and noise. My well-being rating is declining.

  11. Concerned Wellingtonian, 17. February 2020, 8:02

    BHS, do ask GWRC what their contract with the bus company says about the standards required in the buses used on our roads. Also when they must be replaced. Others have tried to find out and have failed.

  12. Keith Flinders, 17. February 2020, 9:01

    Tony: It’s bad enough for you with two old buses each way every hour. Residents of Seatoun – Karori on the 2 route have 98 of these polluters each way from 06:00 – 23:15 each day. An average of 5.6 each way every hour.

    Part of Hector Street has been turned into a bus terminus, greatly affecting property values and the ability of their owners to sell up.

    Three of the regional councillors who voted for the 2018 bus changes are still adding cost to the rate payers. If it was up to me I would strap them to the outside front of a No 2 bus for a day, so they can experience the pollution.