Mahurangi’s city express bus is expanding beyond its core commuter service with new Friday shopping and Saturday ‘date night’ runs to Auckland.
Owner/operator Julian Ostling, who started Mahu City Express in October 2015, says the new services are in response to local demand for extra trips to Auckland outside normal commuting hours.
“I’ve always been toying with ideas of what else we could do with the bus,” he says. “I guess the idea started really when we did a run to the Adele concert. That was really popular. Plus there’s been feedback that some people would love to have a shopping day in the city that leaves later.”
The shopping service will run on Fridays, leaving Warkworth around 9.30 or 10am, allowing passengers to spend the day in Auckland and catch the regular commuter service home.
The Saturday ‘date nights’ will leave Warkworth early evening, giving people the chance to go out for dinner, or see a concert, show or sporting event without having to worry about parking and a long drive home late at night.
The new services will begin on Saturday June 24 – the night of the British and Irish Lions Test at Eden Park.
“We were going to put a bus on for the rugby anyway, so it seems a good time to start,” says Julian.
One-way day tickets currently cost $15 each way, and the Saturday night service will be $20 each way. Bookings for all services are essential.
Mahu City Express was originally set up to counter locals’ frustration at driving into Auckland through heavy traffic on the North Shore every day, and in the face of an Auckland Transport (AT) survey in 2014 that found there was “not enough community demand” for such a service. The biggest initial hurdle was getting permission from AT to use the dedicated bus lanes into the city, without which there would have been little or no point in providing the service.
However, since that was granted, the service has steadily grown in popularity, with a core of regular passengers who say it takes the stress out of their daily commute.
AT is planning to run a trial public park-and-ride service between Warkworth and Silverdale, but this won’t start before July next year.
Info: mahucityexpress.co.nz or Mahu City Express on Facebook