Patronage for January is out and there’s (mostly) positive news.

Auckland public transport patronage totalled 70,391,404 passengers for the 12-months to Jan-2014, an increase of +0.2% on the 12-months to Dec-2013. January monthly patronage was 4,653,153, an increase of 157,453 boardings or +3.5% on Jan-2013, normalised to ~ +3.3% accounting for one additional weekday and two less weekend days for rail in Jan-2014 compared to Jan-2013 (due to track closures). No normalisation required due to equivalent business days for bus and ferry.

Rail patronage totalled 10,661,048 passengers for the 12-months to Jan-2014, an increase of + 0.5% on the 12-months to Dec-2013. Patronage for Jan-2014 was 588,574, an increase of 50,087 boardings or +9.3% on Jan-2013, normalised to ~ +7.6% accounting for one less rail operational day in Jan-2014 compared to Jan-2013.

The Northern Express bus service carried 2,313,967 passenger trips for the 12-months to Jan-2014, an increase of +0.4% on the 12 months to Dec-2013. Northern Express bus service patronage for Jan-2014 was 146,740, an increase of 9,636 boardings or +7.0% on Jan-2013.

Other bus services carried 51,784,795 passenger trips for the 12-months to Jan-2014, an increase of +0.3% on the 12-months to Dec-2013. Other bus services patronage for Jan-2014 was 3,410,157, an increase of 154,385 boardings or +4.7% on Jan-2013.

Ferry services carried 5,631,594 passenger trips for the 12-months to Jan-2014, a decrease of -1.0% on the 12 months to Dec-2013. Ferry services patronage for Jan-2014 was 507,682, a decrease of -56,655 boardings or -10.0% on Jan-2013.

Perhaps the most pleasing aspect is that the 12m rolling figure for total patronage grew for the first time in over a year (although it may have done so in December but AT haven’t released those figures). This is pleasing as we’ve been seeing rail patronage recovering but bus patronage still has a way to go.

On rail patronage, we’re still not quite back to the peak (which was in April 2012) but we are getting closer to it and with the first electric trains just over two months away I’m guessing we might see it met/surpassed by the end of the financial year (June) and we may even crack the 11 million trips on rail mark.

The biggest disappointment was that compared to Jan 2013, ferry patronage was down 10% although with some strong growth over the last year or so the 12m rolling figure is still positive. Here are the graphs.

14 - Jan AK Annual Patronage

As mentioned rail patronage is climbing again and you can see it in this graph.

14 - Jan AK Rail Patronage

For some time now the AT reports have also been including bus patronage by sector being divided into North, West, South and Isthmus. The isthmus will definitely have some cross with the west and south as many routes of the routes from west/south pass through the isthmus and pick up passengers along the way, that patronage would be counted based on the sector the bus route assigned to. However when combined with patronage on the rail network it does provide an interesting proxy for patronage by area.

Unsurprisingly the Isthmus has the highest patronage (12m rolling total is 25.8 million) which will likely reflect it both having a higher population but also generally a more direct and higher frequency bus network, particularly along routes like Dominion Rd, Mt Eden Rd etc. This is followed by the south (17.4 mil), north (13 mil) then west (8.7 mil). What’s interesting is when you index the results back to the earliest date the data is in the reports which is Aug 2010 – just before AT came into existence. The west stands out due to the massive jump from the RWC but otherwise seems to generally follow the north and south areas in terms of growth. By comparison the Isthmus seems to do its own thing to a much greater extent. I’m not sure why it is different.

14 - Jan AK Sector Patronage index

Lastly cycling numbers were down slightly on Jan 2013 however there has been continued strong growth in cycling numbers over the last year so the trend is still pointing up.

14 - Jan AK Cycling

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  1. This January was fairly rubbish from a weather point-of-view, so not overly surprised that cycling numbers were down. February has been quite stunning, though, and it will be interesting to see if that has an effect.

    It’s also going to be interesting to see what effect the Thursday-long-weekend of Waitangi Day had on patronage generally. It certainly felt like a very quiet Friday on the roads.

  2. How about that, rail patronage in January 2014 was higher than the peak month in 2006. Even with ancient trains and part of the network shut down for practically the whole month. And even though the roads are essentially free flowing during school hols.

  3. AUT and Auckland Uni start for the year next Monday and the usual chaos on the roads and public transport chaos is likely to occur. Thousands of new student will be trying out their options of getting to Uni and their impression of public transport in the first few weeks will make a huge difference in whether they end up in cars or not. Being left at the stop as full busses race past doesn’t do much to convince them that PT is a good idea. I think that this is such a huge wasted opportunity for AT, perhaps one of the most important times of the year as far as promoting PT. A bit of extra effort here (more busses, a few people on the ground in busy areas looking for and adapting to problems as the occur) could set up a much greater patronage increase for the whole year.

    1. Sounds like a good opportunity for AT reps to be standing at the University/AUT bus stops handing out free Hop cards for the next couple of weeks….

      1. That’s great. I had missed that as I wasn’t around at the start of semester last year. It certainly has been a problem in earlier years, with quite a lot of students complaining about it. It is good to hear that AT have picked up on it and hopefully it will go well next year.

          1. Though I do agree with the comments on the twitter page asking why it’s at Aotea (which about the first thing I thought too when I heard it was going to be located there). Small steps, as with everything associated with AT!

      2. Orientation week was in full swing today and I took a walk around. Plenty of impressionable young students walking around looking for information about their new lives as students. I may have missed them but there was certainly no obvious AT presence. Seems like they are missing an opportunity here.

  4. Now is the time for AT to show they mean business by bringing back the popular FAMILY DAY PASS and DAY ROVER PASS for rail. With the new EMU’s coming on stream in April, loads of families will be on the rail network trying them out.


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