A bus service is allowing commuters to sit back, relax and toast their working week in Auckland with a glass of plonk on the ride home back up north.
Described as "somewhere between an express bus and a carpool" Mahu City Express buses allow commuters to zoom from Warkworth to Auckland CBD and back on the Northern Busway, with their eyes closed - literally.
The brainchild of business consultant Julian Ostling not only offers a quicker way to get to work but also a more sociable one, as passengers welcome the week with ice cream on Magnum Mondays and finish it with bubbles on fizzy Fridays.
"It's pretty sociable because it's mostly regulars who get the bus together every day," said Ostling.
"To celebrate getting through Mondays we have an ice cream on the way home. Other days people do the quiz together...on the way home or bring some food to share, so it's a nice atmosphere.
"People like the sense of camaraderie on the bus."
Ostling, 47, moved to Warkworth from London almost six years ago. Accustomed to commuting an hour into the bustling city every day, he did not cite living in Warkworth and working in Auckland as an issue.
"When I started working in Auckland and was looking for public transport to Warkworth, I realised there wasn't any and I was going to have to drive every day," he said.
"I was like well why isn't there a bus?
"Straight away I thought there must be a way to make a bus work from Auckland to Warkworth."
In 2015, after two years of research, getting certified, gaining permission to use the Northern Busway to avoid traffic and doing a few practice runs in a van, Mahu City Express was in action with a 15-seater bus.
With the trip taking an hour or less, demand soared among professionals and university students alike, requiring Ostling to buy a second 33-seater bus, which he drives himself.
About 25 people now use the service daily.
It used to take Carmen Bailey, the director of a recruitment company, almost two hours to drive from Warkworth to her office in Auckland, before she discovered the Mahu City Express.
"I drove myself insane.
"The bus makes what would normally be quite a dreary part of your day quite fun," said Bailey who is usually the quiz master on the bus.
Ostling said the bus service is better than commuting by car in three ways.
"Firstly it's cheaper for most people. The other one is that it's quicker and the third way is even if it's not quicker you're still spending that time so much better because you can just relax and do something constructive."
"People get off the bus with a spring in their step and they are quite energised at the start of the day instead of exhausted."
"It's a nicer way to get into the city and the social side is just the icing on the cake."
Mahu City Express has two buses that travel to Auckland and back, every week day for a flat rate of $15 each way.
Bookings are essential.