Warkworth’s only dedicated commuter bus service to Auckland, the Mahu City Express, is being so well supported that expansion is on the horizon.
Driver/organiser Julian Ostling set up the service last October after securing Auckland Transport permission to use the motorway bus lanes.
He bought a 16-seater bus, developed an online booking service and hit the road.
The service is now so well patronised that there is talk of upgrading to a 30-seater.
“The bus is full most days and most passengers are regulars,” Julian says. “Eventually we could be running both a big bus and a little bus, which would allow some flexibility with the timetable.”
Passengers say the service takes the stress out of commuting and is fast, reliable and not expensive.
When Angela Peterson was driving herself, she would leave Warkworth at 6.45am and get home around 6.30pm. Using the bus gives her an extra 45 minutes in the morning, which she can use to do things like go to the gym.
Laura Melville-Evans says she loves the friendly atmosphere on the bus, especially the ice cream Mondays and bubbly Fridays.
Sidney Markowitz believes the service saves him money, as well as time.
“When you add up the cost of fuel, the toll and the fare on the Northern Express bus from Albany, it’s cheaper plus its more environmentally friendly than being the sole passenger in a car,” he says.
The bus starts and terminates at Snells Beach, and a one-way ticket costs $15. Bookings are essential.