April’s PT patronage report is out and there are some positive things to report after a disappointing March. Here are the highlights according to AT

  • Auckland public transport patronage totalled 70,558,521 passengers for the 12 months to April 2012 an increase of 5,795,446 boardings or +8.9%.
  • April monthly patronage was 5,579,153, an increase of 270,590 boardings or +5.1% on Apr 2011. There was one less business day in April 2012 compared to April 2011, which would account for approximately 5% less patronage between months.
  • Rail monthly patronage for April was 947,571, an increase of 126,208 boardings or 15.4% on Apr 2011.
  • Northern Express bus service carried 2,276,554 passenger trips for the 12-months with a growth in Apr 2012 compared to Apr 2011 of +13.5%

Its great to see that we are back to strong growth on the rail network after a few quieter months. One thing I do notice is that for the busway they are using the 12 month growth not a comparison to April 2011 which saw an increase of only 0.6%.

The few things that I think are most interesting is that the western line has continued its impressive recent growth and is up over 20% on the same 12 months the year before (although it does include the RWC). Ferry patronage is also up 19% in April compared to April 2011 and this continues on its recent good form which seems to be largely the result of an increased number of sailings.

One thing I do wonder though is how much impact the rail fare increase had, my understanding is that patronage numbers are a mix of ticket sales and head counts and it is quite likely there was a rush of ticket sales in late April as people brought new multi passes and monthlies to delay the fare increase.

The report also contains a small bit of news around the new bus network currently being designed, it has this to say:

The review of the service network structure for the Auckland public transport system is progressing with consultation with key stakeholders to be undertaken in the next three months. Broader public consultation will be undertaken later in 2012. The new network is intended to form a connected grid of frequent services, so that customers are able to transfer between services at interchange points opening a greater range of destination opportunities for public transport travel in the region. More customers will be required to transfer between services than currently, but the inconvenience of this will generally be offset by shorter wait times due to improved frequencies. Figure 19 illustrates an extract from the draft ‘Metro’ map of frequent services. The new service network implementation is being planned but is expected to be rolled out over up to three years across the region from early 2013.

And they have even included a network diagram showing what things would look like on the isthmus, remember these routes are a mix of rail and bus and would run at frequencies of at least every 15 minutes, for about 15 hours each day 7 days a week. There would also be a lot of secondary routes that run at frequencies of at least 30 minutes each day.

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  1. Network map looks good, but if we are expecting more transfers with that network, we better hope they are working on integrated fares quick smart

    1. That is a very good looking map, big ups to whoever designed it. Can’t wait to see the whole thing.

      If they are talking about implementation over three years from 2013 then integrated fares should be in place, or at the very least the first stage of integrated ticketing with the transfer discount thingy they were talking about not long ago.

      1. Yes fantastic map Nick, well done that designer! Bring it on, Auckland. Real integrated fares and a real network of feeder buses to the RTN network and this will be a whole new city…

  2. Agree with everyone- that network map is beautiful.

    Looks kind of like a city that uses their PT resources very efficiently.

    Mr Arbury- are you behind this somewhere?

  3. While rail patronage in March was disappointing let’s not forget total ridership was the highest month in decades.

    That said, yes definitely good to see double digit rail growth back.

    1. My experience on the Western Line would support the continued growth, rather than bulk buying of tickets. The 7:21 is now regularly standing room only into Britomart (even when it gets 5 carriages), whereas a year ago there were spare seats.

  4. Interesting map. Does it reflect AT’s future intentions re trains?

    1) No train services to Greenlane and Westfield. I think that would be for the best.

    2) No Onehunga line? Or is that the yellow line that also goes to Point Chev and Sylvia Park?

    1. I presume the missing Greenlane is a typo rather than a sign the station will be closed.

      But as for Westfield, the sooner that pointless station is closed the better!

    2. Sean, as Matt says above that map only shows the bus and rail services that run at least every 15 minutes all day. So It sounds like the onehunga line doesn’t cut the mustard and counts as one of the secondary routes.

      Also doesn’t look like every station and stop is on it, probably just the major ones.

      1. Fair point with the Onehunga line. About Greenlane, perhaps it is indeed a case of not displaying minor stations… I’ve just noticed that there are some smaller stations on the Western Line (which I’m not so familiar with) also not present, such as Baldwin Ave.

        I wouldn’t mind if they did close Greenlane, though, given that they’re opening Parnell. More stations mean longer trips.

        I’ve also adjusted my name on this to differentiate myself from the other Sean who seems to post here!

  5. See how the Manukau Line is nearly as busy as the Onehunga line is.
    Despite it being open for business for only the second half of April.

    Councillor Quax, time to eat your words (and perhaps a side order of something else as well).

    1. Blown away by the Manukau Line number: That’s only two weeks, and the service frequency is rubbish! Build it and they will come… Quax is from another century; his thinking is stuck at about 1962.

    2. Might want to check where the numbers are counted for Manukau – you might find those numbers are reflecting Papatoetoe and the inner-circuit from Sylvia Park to Orakei seeming the Manukau services replaced the Otahuhu shuttles rather than Manukau station itself…

  6. I realise the CBD area is pretty busy on the map but there is no noticeable CBD rail link on it or am I missing it? Other than that, looks great.

    Do you think each line might get a more creative name than the western line, southern line ect? Thinking we could get some iconic Kiwi names on the map. The Hilary line along Remuera road for instance rather than the 625?

    1. This network will be rolled out before the CRL is built. I believe there will be a post CRL version as well.

      As for the names of routes, I think it is best to keep it simple to make it easy to understand.

  7. Re the comment above asking why they didn’t include the CRL in this map – ummm why would they? It’s not even something that is certain to go ahead, and is likely almost 10years away anyway. I’m a huge supporter of the CRL, but including it now is a bit premature even for us die hard fans.

    1. I’m sure we could build it in 6 years. Grab a shovel and I’ll meet you down at Britomart tomorrow morning – we’ll dig through the back walls from platforms 1 & 5. It’ll be fun!

  8. The continued growth on the Western Line is nothing short of inspiring.

    If anyone has too much spare time, i’d like to see a graph of the different train lines over time to see their historical growth.

    1. Such a graph is already in the patronage report Publius, except that the southern and south-eastern are lumped together from memory.

  9. Perhaps now AT might consider revising their ridiculous weekend hourly services on the Western Line. It’s obvious that the patronage is there for the taking.

    1. They should be improving weekend rail frequencies right across the network, no just on the Western Line. Hourly services are a joke anywhere, and it’s not just the west that has patronage gagging for better services.

  10. Does anyone think the green line should continue past Ellerslie and turn northwards to connect with Remuera/St Johns? There are no cross town routes from the inner east. Otherwise, it looks great.

  11. One thing that does concern me is the “15 hours a day” bit. I presume that’d be 06:00-21:00, but 21:00 is hardly late and dropping back to even half-hourly services after that would be quite an inconvenience. I would like to see 15-minute frequencies until at least 22:00 every day, which makes it feasible to go to a mid-evening movie or a long dinner after finishing work, and I would say that 15-minute services until at least midnight, maybe even 01:00, for Thursday (Thursday’s the new Friday, after all), Friday and Saturday nights is essential. Right now the Night Rider buses are so infrequent as to be largely worthless to many people.

    That network map is really good, though, and the general concept of high-ish-frequency routes is a good one. I’m just worried about Auckland’s traditional half-arse, cheap-arse, not-quite-totally-useful history when it comes to doing public transport.

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