Finally Auckland Transport have officially released patronage data, showing that PT use is now at its highest level in the city since the 1950s. Here’s the press release:
Auckland Public Transport Figures Highest in 60 Years
Almost five million extra journeys were made on public transport during the last calendar year, with big increases in passengers pushing numbers to the highs of the 1950s.
Auckland Transport released a patronage report today that shows total passenger numbers reached 64.07 million in the 12 months to the end of February, an increase of 8.3 per cent on last year.
Northern Express bus passenger numbers for February increased 20.7 per cent on February 2010. Total Northern Express for the past 12 months reached 1.97 million passengers
Total bus patronage exceeded 50 million. An increase of 3.36 million boardings or 7.5 per cent growth
Rail patronage reached 9.2 million for the past 12 months with passenger numbers for the month of February up 17.9 per cent on February 2010. For the first time one million journeys were reached on rail in one month.
Rail patronage on the Western Line for the month of February increased 25.6 per cent on February 2010 to reach 305,208.
Ferry patronage totalled 4.6 million for the 12 months to February, with passenger numbers for the month up 12.6 per cent on February 2010
Of the 30,002 attending the Super Rugby Blues vs. Crusaders at Eden Park on 19 February 31.9 per cent took special event public transport services.
Wow, so we must have cracked 1 million rail trips in February? That’s something I wasn’t expecting until March.
Auckland Transport Chief Executive David Warburton says the increase in patronage shows investment by both central government and the Auckland region, in better public transport services and infrastructure is paying dividends.
“Greater use of public transport frees up our roads for more efficient use by carriers of freight and commercial vehicles.
“The last year has seen a number of improvements, particularly for rail. For example seven new or upgraded stations have opened and the Onehunga Line reopened after 37 years. There has also been a 25 per cent increase in services and some trains have been extended from four to six carriages.
“Public transport use has seen significant increases during the last five years. Passenger numbers have increased from around 50 million to 64 million during that time.
“Continuing investment in public transport will deliver further increases in passenger numbers, with the electrification of the rail network, the arrival of electric trains and further upgrades of stations.
“Auckland Transport will also be rolling out improvements to buses to offer services that work better for more people. For example, the proposed improvements aimed at making buses in the CBD and surrounding suburbs more frequent and easier to use”.
As I noted the other day, PT use has gone up by over 20% in the last three years alone. That’s even more impressive.
The Mayor, Len Brown, said, “Public transport usage in Auckland is now back at the levels of the early 1950s before they started ripping up tramlines and replacing them with motorways. These figures are proof that what is already being done to improve public transport is working.
“Imagine what it will be like when integrated ticketing and rail electrification is in place, never mind projects like the Auckland Rail Tunnel, the Airport Link and Rail to the Shore.
“Auckland deserves a decent public transport system and I have already made it one of my priorities to double PT usage within 20 years. But if we are to stop the gridlock we have to press ahead with those public transport projects that are so necessary for the future of the new Auckland and New Zealand.”
I thought he wanted 150 million trips by 2021? While that’s a very optimistic target, when you break it down it’s only an 8% growth rate a year over each of the next 10 years – something that we actually achieved last year. I hope Len keeps to his initial target – it is possible.
Overall this is, of course, excellent news. It is absolutely clear that PT patronage is booming – due to a combination of higher petrol prices and a slowly improving public transport system. As Len Brown notes, imagine what projects like electrification and integrated ticketing will achieve – let alone future large rail projects?