The patronage results for February are out and overall they’re looking pretty good. It was helped in part by some of the major events that occurred like the Eminem concert and the NRL 9’s however even accounting for those the results were positive.

Auckland public transport patronage totalled 70,824,030 passengers for the 12-months to Feb-2014, an increase of +0.6% on the 12-months to Jan-2014. February monthly patronage was 6,070,570, an increase of 430,610 boardings or +7.6% on Feb-2013, normalised to ~ +5.1% accounting for additional special event patronage in Feb-2014 compared to Feb-2013. No normalisation required for business days due to equivalent business days in Feb-2014 compared to Feb-2013.

Rail patronage totalled 10,879,359 passengers for the 12-months to Feb-2014, an increase of +2.0% on the 12-months to Jan-2014. Patronage for Feb-2014 was 1,005,372 an increase of 216,295 boardings or +27.4% on Feb-2013, normalised to ~ +15.2% after adjusting for special events in Feb- 2014 compared to Feb-2013.

The Northern Express bus service carried 2,339,952 passenger trips for the 12-months to Feb-2014, an increase of +1.1% on the 12 months to Jan-2014. Northern Express bus service patronage for Feb-2014 was 196,539, an increase of 25,985 boardings or +15.2% on Feb-2013, normalised to ~+9.8% accounting for special events in Feb-2014 compared to Feb-2013.

Other bus services carried 52,060,766 passenger trips for the 12-months to Feb-2014, an increase of +0.5% on the 12-months to Jan-2014. Other bus services patronage for Feb-2014 was 4,408,736, an increase of 275,971 boardings or +6.7% on Feb-2013, normalised to ~ + 6.6% accounting for special events in Feb-2014 compared to Feb-2013.

Ferry services carried 5,543,953 passenger trips for the 12-months to Feb-2014, a decrease of – 1.6% on the 12 months to Jan-2014. Ferry services patronage for Feb-2014 was 459,923, a decrease of -87,641 boardings or -16.0% on Feb-2013. Ferry patronage on the Commercial Waiheke ferry service is showing a sharp decrease when compared to the same month last year. This anomaly is being investigated and will be reported back at the next board meeting.

The increase in rail is spectacular and continues a trend we’ve seen in recent months of strong rail growth – although some of it may be attributed to fare evasion being counted in. Even so my personal experiences combined with comments I’ve seen from others is that the trains do feel busier than they did in the past. The bus results are also pleasing as the annual figure appears to have turned a corner. It had been declining each month compared to the same point the previous year since Feb 2013. The big disappointment is of course the ferries which had been performing so strongly for quite some time. Let’s hope they can improve for the rest of 2014.

14 - Feb AK Annual Patronage

With a total patronage for the last 12 months of 70.8 million trips, it is just over 1 million trips short of the peak reached after the Rugby World Cup and almost 2 million more than the low in June last year of 69.1 million. Similarly on the rail network patronage is is only 100k short of the peak set post RWC in April 2012 of 10.98 million. I made a comment in January to a senior AT manager that I thought we would reach 11 million  rail trips by the end of the financial year (30 June) and his response was that while he hoped that would happen, he wasn’t confident. It’s now looking more and more likely and I think it might possibly even happen in April.

Of course as mentioned the NRL 9’s played a big part in the boost to rail figures however it’s noted that even without that and other events, patronage growth was strong at over 15%. This can also be seen in the average weekday passengers figure which shows a growth of around 5,000 trips a day over Feb 2013.

14 - Feb AK daily rail patronage

The event figures also show that over 50% of all people attending the NRL 9’s did so via PT which is a fantastic result.

14 - Feb AK NRL 9's patronage

All up there are some fantastic results were some fantastic PT results in February and I have a feeling that March will be good too.

Lastly on to cycling and again February saw a slight decrease in cycling numbers compared to Feb 2013 although the AM peak numbers has continued to increase strongly. Not sure if there is any particular reason for this. Perhaps the attention on cycling safety following the horrific accident in January has had an impact on casual cyclists.

14 - Feb AK cycling annual

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  1. Great news! Imagine the growth if AT actually focused properly on improving PT by putting in bus lanes, got a decent operator to make the trains run on time and didn’t waste its money on silly road projects.

      1. If we can get real RTN frequencies near term too; must be every ten minutes minimum to be proper turn up and go. So, a clear and plain Metro style network relying on transfers and high frequencies rather than deferring to infrequent one-seat rides of the Commuter style.

  2. I would guess that rail numbers are vastly underestimated due to legitimate fare evasion.So many ticket machines don’t work, don’t accept cash, don’t accept eftposor don’t work at all due to sunlight which results in a huge amount of people riding for free. They need to sort this out asap.

    1. I called AT about a the ticket machine at grafton being broken two weeks ago. This afternoon it either still hasnt been fixed or broke again in the exact same manner. Bit slack tbh given how busy grafton is

  3. It will be broke again. I see people every day riding for free due to these crappy tix machines. Must be thousands per week.

  4. Ferry patronage decline could be a result of negative publicity around Fullers’s dumping of sewage in the harbour? Unreliable services? Or just the low frequency and high fares ? Either way it’s time to reign in on Fullers and demand some better service.

    1. I fully agree with you Louis. I lived on Waiheke for 7 years and most islanders have a love/hate relationship with fullers and their monopoly. Our family of 5 paid about $1,400 a month in ferry fares alone. Since we all shifted off-island in January 2013 (in part because of the high ferry costs) they have increased their prices even further. We would have been making about 50 trips a week on the ferry for the preceding 5 years; so around 2600 trips a year.

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