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Transport in Auckland under Alert Level 2

Updated 3/9/2020

Published: 31 August 2020

Auckland moved to Alert Level 2 at 11.59pm on Sunday 30 August.

The Government is advising that the general rule for Alert Level 2 is to play it safe. This means that if you are feeling sick you should stay home. Do not go to work or school feeling unwell. Do not socialise, and if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 you should avoid using public transport when travelling to a medical appointment.

Public transport will continue to operate with strict health and safety requirements in place. Per Government requirements, you must now wear a face covering while on public transport while under Alert Level 2.

Read this story for an update on 15 September about physical distancing rules.

Get more information on the Auckland Transport website.

Public transport services and schedules will move to normal levels while we are at Alert Level 2 so people can travel to where they need to go, except for after-midnight services not running Friday and Saturday nights. Trains will be operating at a 20-minute frequency while KiwiRail carries out urgent track maintenance to the Auckland rail network.

This also sees a temporary closure of the eastern line (Britomart to Otahuhu), with buses replacing trains for two weeks.

Please also note that passenger capacity on buses, trains and ferries will be significantly lower than usual. This is because of the need to maintain physical distancing onboard public transport vehicles as required by the Government for Alert Level 2.

We therefore ask our customers to ensure that they plan their journey ahead with the AT Mobile app, which now also displays how many people are on a bus or train service at any given time, or the journey planner on our website.

Auckland Transport (AT) encourages Aucklanders to continue considering travelling outside of usual peak hours (7-9am and 3-7pm) where possible. This not only supports physical distancing requirements, but also helps reduce peak congestion and the strain on public transport to make sure everyone can get to where they need to go quickly and safely.

Businesses and organisations with large numbers of employees may need to look at a wide variety of transport options and actively plan to accommodate their employee’s needs. For travel planning resources and advice for businesses please visit the AT website.

For more information of where and when you are permitted to travel under Alert Level 2 go to covid19.govt.nz

Public transport

Public transport will be operating normal schedules under Alert Level 2, except for the cancelled after-midnight services on Friday and Saturday nights. Cash is still not being accepted.

QR Codes

From 4 September, QR codes will be displayed on public transport. To help things go smoothly for everyone, please have the Ministry of Health’s NZ COVID Tracer app open and ready to scan during boarding.

QR codes will be displayed at the door during boarding and/or at individual seats for easy scanning. AT recommends customers scan this QR code to help with contract tracing efforts if needed.

To help things go smoothly for everyone, please have the Ministry of Health’s NZ COVID Tracer app open and ready to scan during boarding.

Face coverings

Face coverings are now mandatory on public transport, as per Government’s advice. AT is pleased to see a high level of face coverings use by customers, sitting at about 95 per cent of people so far.

It is recommended customers be already wearing these face coverings around other people on platforms and at bus stops while waiting and keeping safe physical distance.

Drivers may remind customers to wear a face covering while on public transport but are not responsible for enforcing the new regulation as some customers will have legitimate exemptions.

Children under the age of 12 are exempted from wearing face coverings. People with a disability or physical or mental health condition that makes covering their face unsuitable do not have to wear face coverings also. There will be other times when it is not required – such as in an emergency, if unsafe, if people need to prove their identity or to communicate with someone who is deaf, or if required by law.


Physical distancing must be observed on all bus, train and ferry services. Though we will be operating back at normal schedules for the most part, we will be running at about 43 per cent of normal passenger capacity while under Alert Level 2 to make sure safe physical distancing can be achieved. Please note that standing on buses, trains or ferries will not be allowed while we are at Alert Level 2.

There will be signage on board buses and trains to advise customers of physical distancing requirements and where they should sit. For example, on a bus it might be that customers can only sit in window seats, and signage will direct them. Customers should not sit next to an occupied seat unless travelling with someone they know, then they can sit together.

Physical distancing must still be observed at all of our facilities such as stations, platforms and stops.

Customers may not be able to get on the bus, train or ferry that they want to because of available space to maintain safe physical distancing. To help with this, our AT Mobile app now displays how many people are on a bus or train service at any given time, so physical distancing will be achievable before they board.

In addition, all buses will display the number of people it can take with physical distancing restrictions in place. The AT Mobile app and journey planner on our website will also tell you when the next service is.

For the majority of buses, customers must use the rear door to get on and off the bus. This is to help ensure everyone is kept as safe as possible by minimising the physical contact between customers and bus drivers. In some rare cases, boarding will be necessary though the front door on small buses.

Customers who use a wheelchair or other mobility devices, or otherwise require driver assistance, will still be able to use the front door. This also applies to vision-impaired customers. Whenever contact with a customer occurs during these circumstances, we’re asking drivers to use hand sanitiser afterwards.

We’re ensuring that all public transport is being cleaned regularly and we have enhanced our cleaning regime to include antimicrobial protection fogging of facilities and our fleet. See a video of some of our cleaning here.

Cash is still not being accepted under Alert Level 2. We strongly recommend that you register your AT HOP card to help with contact tracing. This will also allow us to monitor passenger numbers and make fast adjustments to services if required due to changes in demand. We will be working to make those changes as quickly as possible and again advise customers to plan their journey ahead.

If you’ve already registered your AT HOP card, we also ask that you ensure that your contact details are up to date.

Those who do not already have an AT HOP card can find a retailer here.

We anticipate that public transport will be a lot busier under Alert Level 2 due to limited capacity so, if people can, they should consider walking or riding a bike as it may be a good option for some returning to work or school.

School buses

AT-contracted school bus services will operate again during Alert Level 2. Following the Government’s guidelines, face coverings and physical distancing are not required on dedicated school transport services and there are essentially no capacity restrictions due to the records being held on all passengers that use them.

In order to operate this way, it is important that up-to-date records of passengers are maintained to facilitate contact tracing. For AT-contracted school transport services, schools have been asked by the Government to maintain lists of students who use those services and will work closely with AT.

Hand sanitiser will be made available to students boarding and departing the bus, plus buses will be cleaned after each school run as per Government guidance.

Customer service centres

Some customer service centres will remain open with physical distancing rules applying to both customers and staff. Cash will not be accepted by staff under Alert Level 2.

During this time, we recommend customers use self-service options such as ordering an AT HOP card online. Journey planning can also be done via the AT website or AT Mobile app.

Our call centres remain open and customers can speak to us between 6am and 9pm by calling 09 366 4467.

If customers are unable to access self-service options, the following customer service centres will be open:

  • Britomart
  • Manukau Bus Station
  • New Lynn
  • Panmure
  • Smales Farm
  • Newmarket
  • Albany
  • Constellation
  • Papakura
  • Downtown ferry terminal

The following customer service centres will be closed while at Alert Level 2:

  • Manukau Train Station
  • AUT
  • Botany

Parking and outdoor activities

Paid parking will continue for both on and off-street parking under Alert Level 2. Enforcement of parking restrictions, bus lanes and other special vehicle lanes will also continue.

Parking and transport compliance staff will also be assisting authorities by monitoring physical distancing behaviour across our network and assisting essential healthcare and community testing facilities with any transport-related issues.

Leisure boating and all water activities are still allowed under Alert Level 2.

If you’re walking and cycling for essential trips or exercise, make sure you continue to maintain a two-metre distance from people you don’t know. As per Government advice, it is highly recommended that people wear face coverings when out in public to help stop the spread of the virus.

For information on cycling and walking, including maps, how to videos and guidance on how to stay safe while walking or cycling, check out our website.

Pedestrian crossing signals across the Auckland region and city centre will be returning to normal operation at Alert Level 2.

Construction sites

AT’s work across construction sites will continue to operate, but under strict Health and Safety protocols based on Ministry of Health Guidance and industry best practice. 

These measures include physical distancing, compulsory PPE, hygiene practices, recording site entry and exit and separating teams into zones on our larger sites. 

Inductions for new project staff and compulsory COVID-19 education and training will be part of ongoing site protocols while in Alert Level 2, plus any new work will require contractors to submit COVID-19 Health and Safety plans and protocols to demonstrate a safe working environment.

Public engagement

Engagement (both informing and consulting communities on upcoming projects) will continue under Alert Level 2 except for the following channels:

  1. No drop-in sessions or public meetings;
  2. No, or very limited, face-to-face meetings with members of the public, stakeholders or elected members.

Instead of face-to-face communication, AT will engage via channels such as telephone calls, conference calls, email, Facebook live and webcasts.

AT offices

All AT offices will open at Alert Level 2 but with only up to 50 per cent of staff allowed in the building at any one time to maintain effective physical distancing measures.

During Alert Level 2 external visitors are not encouraged to come into our offices unless absolutely essential. Any visitor that does enter an AT office will be asked to register their full contact details at reception areas and will be expected to comply with physical distancing measures that will be in place.

We know this has been a challenging time for us all. We ask that people continue to be understanding and patient of everyone else who is in the same situation during the changes in Alert Levels over the last couple of weeks.

Again, please try to avoid travelling during peak hours of the day to help make sure everyone can get to where they need to go safely.

The best place to find the latest information about the COVID-19 situation in New Zealand is on the Government’s COVID-19 website.

Auckland Transport’s COVID-19 page, which includes up to date public transport timetables, is available here.

For any other queries the Auckland Transport call centre is available 24 hours / 7 days a week on 09 355 3553.   

Read more: COVID-19 Transport

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