Auckland will soon have three Link bus services as part of an expanded and simplified network in the central city and inner-city western suburbs.
From August 21, most bus services will be banished from Queen St to make the city's premier street more pedestrian-friendly.
The only buses using Queen St will be the airport bus and a new city Link running every seven to eight minutes to Karangahape Rd and back, with every second bus going in the other direction to Wynyard Quarter.
The city Link will replace the free City Circuit bus, which carries 2200 passengers a day. The new service will be free until Christmas and then free for Hop card users and 50c for others.
Auckland Transport public transport planning manager Anthony Cross said yesterday the current city and Western Bays bus network was confusing, especially for new bus users.
The inner Link simplified the existing Link route by running it more directly through the city, Ponsonby, Karangahape Rd, Newmarket and Parnell, while the new outer Link would run in a circle that included Mt Albert, St Lukes, Mt Eden, Epsom and Newmarket.
In response to public feedback - the proposed changes in March attracted 1200 submissions - Auckland Transport changed the city routes around so the inner-city Link service now goes via Britomart and the outer Link service via Wellesley St.
Mr Cross said Western Bays areas not served by the Link buses would have two routes to the city via Albert St - one service would go to Westmere, Richmond Rd and Freemans Bay and the other to Pt Chevalier and Williamson Ave.
Auckland councillor Wayne Walker predicted there would be a quantum leap in bus patronage.
"People like to use circular routes. They are incredibly easy to understand," he said.
New Zealand Bus is spending $66 million on 158 new buses for the Link services. The vehicles are 90 per cent cleaner than diesel buses and will be painted red, amber and green.