The Waikato Council has announced that the Te Huia train service will take passengers direct to The Strand Station in central Auckland on weekdays.
The Hamilton to Auckland train service had been finishing at Papakura Station, with passengers switching to Auckland Transport services.
But with the new announcement of the direct service to The Strand Station - which is a 20-minute or 1.5km walk to Britomart station, passengers won't have to connect to another service.
“It’s a breakthrough for passengers. It means they won’t have to connect to another service or pay using a different card to get to central Auckland," rail governance group chair and Waikato regional councillor Hugh Vercoe says. "And it’s an extra hour of uninterrupted and productive time for commuters."
The train service has been paused since August as a result of Auckland border restrictions but will begin running into central Auckland immediately once services resume.
Trips will continue to stop at Papakura.
“Our train hasn’t been operating but we’ve not been idle. We’ve used this time to look closely at the improvements we can roll out based on feedback we’ve had from a survey of passengers,” Vercoe said.
“The survey has helped us to understand what people like about the service and what changes they’d like to see.
"Overall, people have told us they want Te Huia to travel further into Auckland for every trip, and a review of the current timetable.
“We’ve done that and come up with a service that we believe people in the Waikato and Auckland are really going to get on board with."
The next stage of improvements will include stops at the new Puhinui Station, enabling access to Auckland Airport, before stopping at The Strand Station