Wellington Scoop

Metlink changes its bus timetables, after customer feedback

News from Metlink
Improvements to bus services are coming into effect on Sunday. These changes are a direct result of customer feedback and the 2019 Bus Network Review (BNR) and aim to better match the bus network with the needs of local communities.

Improved bus services in Wellington’s Eastern, Western and Southern Suburbs include: Miramar, Seatoun, Strathmore Park and (along the east-west corridor) to the city and Karori, Lyall Bay, Houghton Bay, Island Bay, Owhiro Bay, Kingston, Vogeltown and Brooklyn.

The changes are the implementation of Bus Network Review Medium Term recommendations.

These changes will be advertised to customers in these areas and along routes – Metlink staff will be at key bus stops to help when the changes come into effect.

Timetables and maps will be available to view online closer to the change date.


Route 2 services will split at Miramar Shops with one branch continuing to Miramar (Darlington Rd) and the other branch continuing to Seatoun (7 days a week).

This will provide:
Direct services from Karori / Wellington city to Miramar (Darlington Rd): No longer transfers required at Miramar Shops
Earlier weekday services: Seatoun, Strathmore and South Miramar
Higher frequency and capacity into the city: Kilbirnie, Hataitai and Karori

The route 2 ‘split’ at Miramar Shops means that services will alternate between Miramar (Darlington Rd) and Seatoun. Miramar (Darlington Rd) route 2 services will travel via Park Rd, Rotherham Terrace and Darlington Rd to bus turnaround. Seatoun route 2 services continue to use the existing route via Hobart St and Broadway.

Bus fronts will say ‘Route 2 – Miramar’ and ‘Route 2 – Seatoun’.

All Miramar (Darlington Rd) and Seatoun services will operate through to Karori with a weekday daytime frequency of every 15 minutes on both the Miramar (Darlington Rd), and Seatoun sectors, combining to provide a 7-8 minute frequency between Miramar Shops and Karori.

Route 18 – This service is being replaced by the route 2 branch to Miramar (Darlington Rd).

Route 18e – Three extra services added to meet school and university student demand.

Route 31x – Will no longer stop at Hataitai.

Seatoun & Strathmore

Route 2 services will split at Miramar Shops with one branch going to Miramar (Darlington Rd) and the other branch continuing onto Seatoun (7 days a week).

Seatoun, Strathmore and South Miramar: Earlier weekday services
Kilbirnie, Hataitai, Mt Victoria and Karori: Higher frequency and capacity into the city
Direct services to Miramar (Darlington Rd): No transfer required at Miramar Shops

The Route 2 ‘split’ at Miramar Shops means that services from the city will alternate between Miramar (Darlington Rd) and Seatoun. Miramar (Darlington Rd) route 2 services will travel via Park Rd, Rotherham Terrace and Darlington Rd to bus turnaround. Seatoun route 2 services continue to use the existing route via Hobart St and Broadway.

Bus fronts will say ‘Route 2 – Miramar’ and ‘Route 2 – Seatoun’.

All Miramar (Darlington Rd) and Seatoun services will operate through to Karori with a weekday daytime frequency of every 15 minutes on both the Miramar (Darlington Rd) and Seatoun sectors, combining to provide a 7-8 minute frequency between Miramar Shops and Karori.

General daytime frequency reduces from 10 minutes to 15 minutes from Seatoun to Miramar Shops allowing for the increase in capacity and other improvements from Miramar Shops to the city.

Route 30x – No longer stops at Hataitai.

Route 12 – Improved access between Strathmore Park and the city (9am-3pm).

The route 12 inter-peak weekday services that currently run between Strathmore Park and Hutchison Terminus (Newtown) will now run between Strathmore Park and Wellington Station via Newtown / Courtenay Place.

This gives Strathmore Park a direct route to Newtown, the hospital, Accident & Urgent Medical Centre, Golden Mile, and Wellington Station.

Route 12e is unchanged.

Kilbirnie, Lyall Bay, Hataitai, Mt Victoria, Thorndon & Karori

Route 2: Miramar and Seatoun
Higher frequency and capacity to the city
No transfer required at Miramar Shops for Miramar (Darlington Rd), and Seatoun

Route 37: Karori (Wrights Hill) – Kelburn – Brandon Street
An extra trip at 5.40pm from Brandon Street

Route 36: Lyall Bay – Kilbirnie – Hataitai – Wellington
Three extra services in both the AM and PM peaks on weekdays

Southern suburbs
Kowhai Park, Brooklyn, Houghton Bay, Newtown, Kingston, Vogeltown, Owhiro Bay, Island Bay, Southgate, Mt Cook

These changes are being made in response to feedback received as part of the BNR. Most respondents in these areas preferred a direct service to the city every hour over a connecting service every half hour. Making this possible will result in lower off peak (hourly) frequency for these services.

Route 17: Kowhai Park – Brooklyn
Will extend all the way to Wellington Station
Will no longer use the Brooklyn Hub (except for the 8.20 from Kowhai Park and 2.53pm from Wellington Station)
First bus in the morning will be at 6.50am
Hourly off-peak frequency

Route 23 / 23e / 23z: Houghton Bay
Will extend route 23 through Courtenay Place to Wellington Station
Route 23e will be incorporated into the route 23, retaining the same peak frequency
23z will be incorporated into the 23 (there is no change to service for Zoo customers)
Hourly off-peak frequency

Route 23: Kingston, Vogeltown
Will be replaced by the route 27 (Kingston, Vogeltown to Wellington Station)
Route 27 will be a 7 day service
For hospital and Newtown access – walk from the Hutchison Rd stop, or transfer to the route 3 heading to Newtown
Hourly off-peak frequency

(Route 23 will run from Houghton Bay, through Riddiford Street, then extend to Wellington Station via Adelaide Road, and Courtenay Place and will no longer service Vogeltown and Kingston.)

Route 29: Newtown – Southgate – Owhiro Bay – Brooklyn
The branch that previously ended at Hutchison Rd now will extend through Courtenay Place to Wellington Station

Route 29e
Route 29e services for Southgate and Newtown will be replaced by route 29 to Wellington central
Route 29e services for Owhiro Bay/Happy Valley will be replaced by the new peak only route 39 Island Bay – Owhiro Bay – Brooklyn – Wellington (peak only)


  1. Rosamund Averton, 15. October 2020, 10:34

    Great news though there has been an omission or two.
    The No.20 could resume its regular service through the City and then to Highbury. Incidentally drivers of the No.25 are unaware that the “down bus” used to use Disley Road, reducing congestion on the bendy part of Highbury Road!
    The No.22 should be redirected to Courtenay Place and then on its return to Newlands, Pembroke and Mairangi. It should also be alternating with the No.14 instead of “running” minutes apart from Izard Park.
    The No.22 needs another formal bus stop along Churchill Drive by Silverstream Road. It’s more than a kilometre from the bus stop at Chartwell Drive to Ngaio. A weekend service would be welcome too.
    For those of us no longer able to drive, public transport is part of our healthy sustenance. Buses and trains take us to the many walking places around our city. Something I am very grateful for.

  2. Kara Lipski, 15. October 2020, 10:42

    I am very happy for the Strathmore Park residents now that Metlink has seen the light and restored the day time off peak service between Strathmore Park and the CBD via the Basin. Now all Metlink has to achieve is to make this service a 7 day per week and cover until midnight.

  3. Julia, 20. October 2020, 1:35

    They should never have brought in that overseas consultant and changed the bus services to hubs. Now they’re having to fix the mess that was made of what was one of the country’s best bus services.

  4. Keith Flinders, 20. October 2020, 9:28

    Ermm, Julia. The American consultant Jarrett Walker is a convenient scapegoat for all that ails the Wellington City bus mayhem. But not quite as it seems, because his plans were altered well beyond his initial design by Metlink and Regional Council councillors who thought they knew better, and obviously didn’t. The sooner public transport gets taken out of the hands of councils, the better the system might get for all.

  5. Mike Mellor, 21. October 2020, 9:56

    There are also major improvements happening that Metlink doesn’t mention – I’ve no idea why not.

    On route 2, Metlink’s second-busiest route, in addition to the restoration of through services to northern Miramar and the daytime frequency increase on the core Karori-city centre-Miramar shops section of the route from every 10 minutes to every 7/8 minutes, on Saturdays and Sundays the core route frequency goes from every 15 minutes to every 10 minutes, and every evening from half-hourly to every 15 minutes.

    This means that Wellington is getting its first full high-frequency route – a bus at least every 15 minutes every day, from first thing in the morning to last thing at night. (There is a smaller downside, the frequency to/from Seatoun reduces from every 15 minutes to every 20 minutes during the day at weekends.)

    This is really good news for people in the eastern and western suburbs, well worth celebrating!

  6. Dave B, 21. October 2020, 11:26

    Now all we need is to increase the late evening Johnsonville train service from something better than hourly and ending at 11pm. Prior to 2004 the Johnsonville Line weekday evening service ran every half-hour right up until midnight. The “temporary service-cut due to driver shortage” still remains in place, 16 years later!

  7. Julienz, 21. October 2020, 13:01

    @Dave B – There are the number 1 or 24 buses

  8. Wellington Commuter, 21. October 2020, 16:23

    @Keith Flinders: Yes, it is clear that the GWRC did a poor implementation with many faults, especially literally not having enough buses or drivers, but Jarrett Walker’s original hub & interchange approach for Wellington bus services has to take some blame for the Bustastrophe.

    Firstly for those still interested, here are three links to the 2011 Wellington City Bus Review by MRCagney:
    (And no I don’t know why this one report is in three separate pdfs on the GWRC website).
    And here is a link to the 2012 Wellington City Bus Review public consultation Public Feedback Report (esp note section 3.2):
    We must remember the major design improvement made by the GWRC to the 2011 Walker Bus Review design was to REMOVE the largest bus hub which was to be Johnsonville (largely due to the thousands of public submissions against it) and direct bus routes to North Wellington suburbs were retained in the 2018 bus changes. Since 2018, the GWRC (and bus commuters from Wellington West/South/East) have learned the hard way that hub based PT only works if vehicles can travel reliably between hubs and this can’t happen in Wellington City because most routes are on congested roads without continuous bus lanes.

    That the GWRC is now undoing much of the hub & interchange approach proposed in 2011 is not only a reflection on the failure of hub & interchange approach but also the comparative success of direct bus services from North Wellington … more residents from Johnsonville now take the bus to the CBD than take the train!

    That Jarret Walker denied responsibility for the Bustastrophe is no surprise because to admit his design was flawed would reflect on his professional reputation. Jarret is a very smart and knowledgeable transport planner with a good record of success. But even the best planners still make mistakes and perhaps the Wellington City Bus Review is one of them.

  9. James S, 21. October 2020, 16:59

    Fascinating to look at that 2012 public feedback report.
    One of the core concerns was: “Concern that it appears trolley buses are being targeted for gradual removal.”
    The response was: “The proposal is not a tool for gradually removing the trolley buses. The intention is to utilise all the trolley fleet and consolidate them onto particular routes. A clear message to the community will be put forward.”

  10. Kara, 21. October 2020, 17:16

    and I thought that my days of presenting to the Regional Sustainable Transport Committee were over . . . .

  11. Mike Mellor, 21. October 2020, 18:01

    Wellington Commuter: don’t blame the consultant for doing what he’s been told to do, or for assuming that his client was capable of satisfactory implementation.

    James S: consolidating the trolleys onto particular routes was what the consultant’s proposal did. Of the core network, lines A and B followed trolley wires for the whole route, as did line D with extension D1, so the trolleys could continue to be used – it was only line C and extension D2 that were unwired (see p39 of the MRCagney report WC linked to – it’s in the second file).

  12. Wellington Commuter, 22. October 2020, 23:27

    @Mike Mellor: Sorry but Jarret Walker did NOT stick to the scope of the Wellington Bus Review. As outlined in the 2009 “Wellington Public Transport Review Terms of Reference” Scope Section:
    The review will consider all public transport services in the study area. Its particular focus will be those services provided by regular and purpose-specific bus services, including trolley bus, diesel bus and school bus. It will also consider how these integrate and interconnect with rail services (particularly the Johnsonville railway line), harbour ferry services within Wellington, and the cable car. It will concentrate on operational improvements to the existing network and will look to achieve these within existing public transport expenditure.
    Instead of sticking to the brief of a limited operational bus route review, the consultant proposed a radical new bus network redesign based on the hub & interchange approach. Jarret claimed this could be achieved without any major investments in dedicate bus lanes and interchange hubs. It is not surprising that GWRC senior managers believed their internationally renowned PT expert who promised more bus services for less cost. But Jarret was in error in his belief his design could work and so, as the bus network design expert, should take his share of the responsibility for the bustastrophe.

  13. Mike Mellor, 23. October 2020, 20:40

    WC: it looks to me as if what was delivered was consistent with the terms of reference, with the only significant non-conformance being that it didn’t specifically interconnect with ferries and the cable car. GWRC got what they asked for.

    “But Jarret was in error in his belief his design could work” – how can we possibly know that, since his design was never implemented? Is is true that the design that was implemented shared some of its features and, as we have seen, has had to be modified quite significantly, but that was because of inadequate operational planning; poor, inconsistent and late implementation; and unrealistic communications that over-promised – all things over which a network designer has no control.

  14. Wellington Commuter, 24. October 2020, 18:04

    MM: What do you mean Jarrett’s design was never implemented ? Before Jarret turned up, there was no talk about hub and interchange for our bus network and, until recently, the GWRC has defended this approach. I should know as I was on the Bus Review Reference Group and I still remember the workshop where Jarret presented his new “improve” network design.

    Just compare today’s bus network design with the one Jarret Walker proposed in 2011. What Jarrett proposed is best shown in the “Proposed Secondary Network” Map is on page 22 of Part 2 of his Bus Review document . The current bus network map is here. Now compare the bus network hubs Jarret proposed in 2011 with the current bus hubs
    – Kilbirnie (In Jarret’s Design)
    – Wellington Station (In Jarret’s Design)
    – Brooklyn (In Jarret’s Design)
    – Miramar Shops (In Jarret’s Design)
    – Wellington Hospital (In Jarret’s Design)
    – Johnsonville (In Jarret’s Design)
    – Karori Tunnel/Zealandia (In Jarret’s Design)
    – Courtney Place (In Jarret’s Design)

    Jarret’s proposal is still very similar today except that he wanted even more hubs and even more feeder bus routes! Also, in North Wellington he proposed even more radical changes by eliminating direct bus services from Johnsonville to Wellington stating in Section 6.2:
    “… all-day express buses … connect Johnsonville and Wellington stations almost nonstop. These buses are six minutes faster than the rail line, and also extend further into the CBD, but it is not clear that this is sufficient justification to run both. Since the decision to retain the Johnsonville line has been made, this proposal suggests DELETING THE COMPETING EXPRESS [bus] SERVICES except during the peak commute period. Instead, Route H is proposed linking Johnsonville and the City VIA NEWLANDS, so that all-day express service focuses on the area not served by rail.” (CAPS added for emphasis)

    The huge community backlash against this made even the then thick-skinned GWRC remove feeder buses to the Johnsonville Hub. This meant North Wellington did not suffer this element of the bus service failures in 2018 like the rest of the city.

    We obviously have a different opinion as to who was to blame for the Bustatrophe. But let’s both celebrate that, in October 2020, the GRWC has finally rejected the bus hub & interchange approach and hopefully finally given the whole city a workable bus network. Now if we could just find a way to get them to invest some money in bus lanes …

  15. Mike Mellor, 25. October 2020, 12:32

    WC: yes, I remember that presentation, too.

    I fully agree with everything that you say in your last paragraph. History is there to be learned from, and now is a time to celebrate that that is happening, as I pointed out.

    And agreed that for the health and vitality of the city there must be progress on bus priority. There are draft proposals for the Golden Mile at https://lgwm.nz/our-plan/our-projects/golden-mile/ and for the rest of the city at https://wellington.govt.nz/~/media/services/parking-and-roads/bus-priority/files/wellington-bus-priority-action-plan-draft.pdf?la=en: these need to be finalised and implemented asap.