Auckland Transports public transport ridership numbers for May are out and and they continue to show impressive growth. This was helped in part by there being an extra working day in the month compared to May-16. – and a lot more than there were in April (only 17 working days).

Here are the headline numbers for May

  • Total – 8.72m (+11.1%)
  • Rapid Transit – 2.48m (+18.1%)
    • Train – 1.98m (+18.5%)
    • Busway – 501k (+16.6%)
  • Other buses – 5.74m (+9.0%)
  • Ferry – 487k (+3.0%)

For rail, the result was the second strongest we’ve seen with just under 2 million trips, only surpassed by the result from March. As expected it also saw us reach another milestone, 19 million trips within a year and put us well on the way to hitting the 20 million mark in the next few months. As a reminder we were at 10 million trips just four years ago.

If 2017 conforms to trends over the last few years we should also see strong growth continue. AT’s indicators report includes a look at the average number of weekday boardings – although it doesn’t yet include May’s numbers. As you can see, it shows that March provides a peak then the rest of the year follows along slightly lower. So far that looks like that pattern is going to repeat.

Within a similar timeframe for rail to hit 20 million trips, we’re also going to see the bus reach the 5 million mark.

Share this


  1. Imagine the even greater growth with proper service off peak and in the weekends!
    Trains should be every 10 minutes in the weekend, so it’s just turn and up go and the number of riders will just sky rocket.
    Having to use a train schedule in the weekend is such a pain in the ass, I along with many others just drive in the weekend, even through I use the train during the week getting to work.
    Talk about low hanging fruit, especially after the hard work in electrification / double tracking out west etc.

  2. Proof, once again, that if you provide a good PT service (especially rail), that meets people’s needs then they will flock to use it.

    And also proves once again the utter mistakenness of pronouncements by Steven Joyce and Gerry Brownlee to the effect that “Aucklanders love their cars so you’ll never get them on to public transport”.

    The corollary of course is that if you don’t provide good PT then of course people won’t (can’t) use it. Maybe this is what confuses the likes of Joyce and Brownlee.

    Unfortunately because of their blinkered misconceptions, the provision of better PT (especially rail) has been and continues to be held back all over the country under their governance.

    1. The argument by Joyce et al is essentially that: “as long as at least 1 person in Auckland can’t use PT for everything therefore they will have no alternative but to drive. Ergo we need to build more roads.”

      Which completely ignores the well known and demonstrable congestion busting benefits of only *some* of the Auckland population using PT. Which is exactly what we see here.

      Just imagine, despte the massive road building program of the last 9 years, what it would be like there now, if those 10 million or so a year additional PT trips that are now being made since 2013 were being done using cars.

      Just how much worse would the traffic be now?

      Yeah and MoTs assertion a few years back before CRL was reluctantly accepted as needed by the Govt [thanks to Joyce and Brownlee again] of “Not ever being on target to reach 20 million train trips by 2020” So CRL not needed ’til late 2020’s.

      Yeah, MoT and Brownlee you were definitely right on that one, we’ll never reach 20 million train trips a year in 2020, ‘cos that impossible “millstone” was passed in 2017 – some 3.5 years early.

    1. I do include it from time to time but generally only once we’ve got the population numbers for the year. Based on the way population has been growing, per capita use has been growing though. By my estimation, in May last year we had 51.4 trips per person per year, now at 53.2. A decade ago that was 38.2.

      1. On a related note, I wonder what the numbers would look like if we were to conduct surveys with the ambition of comparing ridership to time settled in Akl. Extra points for separating that into place of origin so that we can infer cultural norms and how they change with exposure to Akl living.

        I say this because where I grew up, public transport was for “poor people” (funny since it was pretty damned expensive!). My brother, who lives in Tauranga, was in a state of culture shock when he saw how heavily used the trains are here (by all sorts of people). It’s my expectation that those coming from outside Auckland would have a similar experience and I’d love to know how long it takes a person to change, if they do indeed change…

  3. Interesting that the “other bus” category appears to be again providing the majority of growth in trips (if I am reading it right). That is after about a year(?) of not doing so. I wonder what the reason is and if it will continue.

    1. No, not quite right. On a 12m rolling basis the RTN has seen trips increase by 3.37m while other bus has increased by 1.28m. If you’re looking just at May then yes, other bus is higher than the RTN, but it’s worth noting that it fluctuates either way from month to month. Of course. you’d expect it to be higher in absolute terms given it comes from a much larger base so that they’re so closer is in itself remarkable.

      1. Yeah I was only looking at the monthly number and no doubt there will be volatility. It’s interesting to me as the “other bus” hasn’t been growing as strongly for a while IIRC, so it’s an interesting turnaround. The other way to look at the comparison is $ of new investment vs return in terms of patronanage. The other bus has got some investment recently in terms of DDs so that may be paying off.

        1. yeah I think that’s the case, not just the DDs but also the Southern NN being rolled out.

          Also worth noting that other bus patronage suffered from a bus drivers strike a year or so ago, and changes to central city bus stops associated with the CRL. There was also the implementation of a $0.50 cash fare on the city link about two years ago.

          I suspect the growth we’re now seeing reflects how the effects of a couple of negative factors have dissipated, while the effects of some positive factors are continuing to have an effect.

  4. I travel counter direction – that is Britomart to Manurewa between 0630 and 0700 and Manurewa to Britomart around 1900 and I have noticed a large increase in pax on these services.

    Of particular interest is the number that do the cross platform transfer between West and South in the morning.

  5. Has Joyce instructed AT to kill growth on the Western line by cancelling services and not telling anyone? Two services around 7am cancelled from Swanson on Monday due to train fault at New Lynn (good communication via PA & txt), same two services cancelled this morning, absolutely nothing from AT (no PA or txt). First cancellations due to faults in a long time, though.

  6. Do you guys have any info on passenger numbers getting on or off at the new parnell station?.or where that info can be found. ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *