Auckland Transport announced we reached a new milestone for train use in Auckland on Wednesday, clocking up more than 16 million trips over a 12 month period. I imagine it would have been close to happening in March had it not been not been for Easter falling fully within the month this year. The milestone comes around 4 months after we passed the 15 million trip mark which is a milestone rate we’ve been seeing for the last year now. It’s a good thing the government agreed to start the CRL on time as delaying it to start in 2020 like the government originally planned.
AT also chose to make the announcement in quite a unique way because there’s another reason the 16 million trip milestone is important.
It’s worth remembering that the plans from even a decade ago and assumed projects projects like electrification would happen sooner than they did.
By the year 2016 it is envisaged that rail patronage should be around 15.7 million boardings per annum, and by the year 2030 it is envisaged that the rail system could be carrying some 30 million passengers p.a. (with the inclusion of the CBD loop tunnel), up from the current 5 million passengers p.a. These growth figures will obviously be impressive, but even more important is that these journeys will be mostly the long-distance journeys.
The growth in rail patronage has also seen rail’s share of patronage climb and now just under 20% of all PT trips take place on a train despite bus and ferry use also increasing.
So when will the next million trips milestone come? Based on recent performance it would suggest August.