Recently Auckland Transport celebrated hitting the milestone of 90 million trips annually. While we knew that high level number, we hadn’t talked more specifically about ridership in August or September as the numbers hadn’t been published. That and after they were things got a bit hectic around here.
Like the two months that preceded it, August this year had the exact same number of working days and weekend days as the same month last year. This gives us a great base to compare to and all metrics showed some growth with rail and the busway once again leading the charge in percentage growth. However, good growth from other buses saw them grow more overall given the higher starting base.
September saw one fewer working day than September last year. Like August, September saw decent growth in PT with a notable exception of the ferries which were down around 4%. Also like August the non-busway buses saw greater overall growth than the rapid transit lines, despite a lower growth percentage.
As well as the normal stats report, the business report has a number of pages looking at how the New Network is performing in South and West Auckland. One of the advantages with this reporting is that it also looks at total journeys, not just individual trips.
After rolling out at the end of October last year, the new network in the south is going well with AT saying trips (boardings) are up 24% while journeys are up 13%. It’s a little bit messy but this is shown on the graph below. It also shows transfers are picking up with AT reporting a 168% increase in transfers.
The New Network only rolled out in June in the west but there are already good results. For September, trips increased by 20% and journeys 13%. We obviously need to give it more time but early signs are promising.
While ridership has been going up, it hasn’t been enough to stem the increases in costs as the farebox recovery ratio continues to fall. This is what AT say about it:
The total public transport farebox recovery ratio was 46.4 percent in the month of September 2017, slightly below the SOI target range of 47 to 50 percent. This reflects the impact of the introduction of Simpler Fares in August 2016, which reduced fares for the majority of users, and the increased capacity on bus services from February 2017, which were less utilised in months of lower demand such as September 2017. Forecast patronage growth will partly offset both of these impacts and the SOI target is forecast to be achieved for the 2017/18 financial year.
One positive is that the continued growth in rail usage is seeing the subsidy per passenger km for rail continue to fall. Electrification sure has had a positive impact.
The average number of trips on trains on weekdays over the year to the end of September has now surpassed 70k. Buses are also increasing and are carrying nearly 220k per weekday.