On Tuesday, Auckland Transport announced that ticket gates have gone live at Manurewa. That makes it the seventh station that have now has gates operating. It follows Britomart, Newmarket, Manukau, New Lynn, Henderson and Ōtāhuhu. Manurewa is also unique because it’s the first station gated that has side platforms without some sort of concourse area. Below are some images of the station with gates from ATs website

AT are also working on gating another five stations, Papatoetoe, Middlemore, Parnell, Papakura and Glen Innes.

I know a lot of people would like to see gates at every station, however that’s not cheap, often costing more than any fare evasion it might prevent. There are additional safety benefits from gated stations though and that will play a role in some of the stations listed above. Ensuring that most people pass through a gate on at one end of their journey can at least help with the fare evasion issue. AT say that after the additional five stations are complete, 90% of trips will pass through a fare gate.

It did get me thinking about a couple of questions.

  1. With Manurewa gates now live, what percentage of train users pass through a gate now?
  2. After the stations above, what would be the next station to gate to get the most trips to boost that 90% figure, and what does that push it to?
  3. How many train passengers will pass through a gate at both the beginning and end of their journey?

To help answer these questions I used the rail station data AT provided me for the last financial year (to end of June 2017). The data shows how many HOP trips went from each station to each other station. Obviously what it won’t do is pick up all the trips were people aren’t currently paying, although I’d expect few of those would convert to actual trips once gates go in.

Last year there were 19.6 million trips on the rail network and around 17.6 million of these were completed through HOP. The difference will mostly be trips where someone didn’t tag off or special event trips.

With Manurewa now live, what percentage of train users pass through a gate now?

I looked at all trips beginning or ending at a gated station. Given most trips from Manurewa were already to a gated station (e.g. Britomart), I only looked at the net increase it provided. With Manurewa that brings the number up to 81% of all trips.

Gating all stations that AT mention will bring that number to 89%, close enough to 90% for their marketing I guess.

What is the next station to gate to get the most trips to boost that 90% figure, and what does that push it to?

Using the same method as above, I looked to see what the next biggest station was with trips not already passing through a gated station. I wasn’t surprised to see that was Grafton. What did surprise me was that it added about twice the number of trips as next station, which was Sylvia Park. In fact it actually added more trips individually than any of the current batch of stations.

Gating Grafton would push the number of trips through a gated station up to 92%. I assume Grafton will have to be gated by the time the CRL opens. If for nothing else, for the same reason that Parnell is on the list, to prevent it being used as a loophole.

How many train passengers will pass through a gate at both the beginning and end of their journey?

As more stations get gated, the number of people who pass through gates at each end of their journey also increases. From just 5% of trips initially when it was just Britomart and Newmarket, with Manurewa that number is now at 17%. That number will almost double to 33% once the next 5 stations to be gated. The big jump is because most of the trips from those next stations are already to stations that have already been gated.

One of the interesting thing to note is that some of the busiest stations around Auckland, namely Panmure (currently 4th busiest), Sylvia Park (6th) and Ellerslie (8th) are not on the list. That’s because while they provide lot of trips, most of those trips are already going to a gated station such as Britomart or Newmarket

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  1. I think it makes sense to gate Grafton, Mt Eden, and Parnell once the CRL is finished. The other stations that should be gated before then are Constellation, Sunnynook, Smales Farm, and Akoranga. Sunnynook in particular would be so easy to gate; NEX services only, 4 accesses only.

    1. Why would you put it on a bus stop the sole purpose it to prevent fare evasion, hard to get away with on a bus.

        1. You wouldn’t need to. If someone is in the station then they have tagged on, who cares what service they used?

  2. Grafton could be more difficult to gate, with 4 separate sets of stairs down to the platforms, and incomplete lines of sight between them. Perhaps the other stations being done first are lower hanging fruit / better value for money.

  3. Is there any update on any Parnell Station Upgrade? Can’t they just shut the station until its fully functioning.

    1. Agreed. In its current form it is a pointless holdup to the system so just close it. But what a scandal this is!

      Just publicly admit the money spent was wasted because it was never done properly and equally publicly identify and sack the decision makers for the waste of ratepayer money. This public airing may have a cleansing effect on those whose are responsible with public money and hopefully avoid a repeat!

  4. Why bother with Parnell. Western line desperately needs gates. Glen Eden and Fruitvale station constantly have quite rough people on them. Gates would increase the feeling of safety at the station.

  5. Given there is a plan to open a third platform at Otahuhu with the CRL, it would be great if they put down the extra line and opened this platform early with a Manawera style gate, as this would give a flat transfer between bus and train in one direction. No more mad dash up and down the stairs.

  6. It is important to consider how gating affects neighbourhood pedestrian flow, especially as there is a reluctance to put in at-grade ped crossings on trains. For example, the Kingsland station is an important shortcut between the Kingsland business strip and Sandringham Rd to the south. Closing that would add about half a km of walking, and additional climbing for residents in that area.

    1. +1, it’s free to enter and leave a station, but do enough people have HOP cards to make that a reasonable expectation?

        1. Yeah, Kingsland has 6 access points (On Sandringham Rd side alone!). Gating this station would be a significant reconfiguration, and keeping direct public access across would need to be core requirement

        2. That would probably work, but climbing or waiting for the lift does add a bit of time and inconvenience vs going through the underpass. (I love the underpass, best thing about the RWC IMO.)

        3. How about, gate the underpass but create a separator along the left (when entering from Sandringham) edge, down the platform, and build a little stairway and catwalk over the covered passenger waiting area. Voila! No inconvenience there, haha.

    2. Yes and with the gating at Henderson there also came shutters on over Bridge. During the Christmas Train stand down this resulted in the overbridge being closed and thus making residents pedestrian access to the town more difficult.

    3. Interesting point Lewis and something which should be investigated. I also know of a number of people which use Grafton Station as a pedestrian underpass to get from Boston Rd – Khyber Pass entrance to the far Park Rd entrance for access to Carlton Gore Rd. This cuts out the need to cross both Khyber Pass and Park/Mountain Rd at the lights. Potential would be to tag off and tag on at station entrances within the non-chargeable time frame?!

      1. This is how they handle the underpass at the Elizabeth Street end of Flinders Street Station in Melbourne. Half the subway is straight through between Southbank and the Flinders/Elizabeth intersection, the other half has gates that allow you on and off the platforms. That said the subway is super wide so it is easy to split, I’m not sure how they ended up doing the Kingsland and Grafton underpasses and if they would be wide enough

  7. The New Lynn Gates are pointless, you can go between them at the Hetana St end and there is no policing, save for the odd impotent security guard. And the problem passengers are non payers that cost far more.

    If you do not account for non fare payers, because they go on and off largely with impunity, then the true cost of fare evasion can not be known. And that leads to AT’s ” trust me, pluck a low number from your arse and just believe us” stats.

    Last Sunday in a very typical scene, I watched a nice young man walk on to the platform at Ellerslie, patiently wait, not pay in any form, get off at Te Papapa, all on the ratepayers, all because it’s cheaper to not gate things properly and easier to make excuses, just pretend that evasion is as low as AT pretend, just accept payment is an inconsequential option. No inspection, nothing. The question is, why should I pay if that’s the case?

    Once decent gates are fitted, not like they have in places, they are there for good, for decades, investment well spent.

    Honestly, if the current lax situation is acceptable can we do the same with buses and just embrace optional, if it feels good, pay, fare systems, and live and let live?

    1. Depends if you view fares as a way of gathering revenue, or a way of enforcing your own moral law on other people.

      Ultimately, it’s cheaper to let some people not pay – the cost of maintaining and monitoring gates exceeds the number of observed fare dodgers. If you have an ideological need to make them pay, then you must accept either raising taxes or cutting service elsewhere to pay for your splurge.

  8. Wow, with Manurewa 2X security guards always need to be there one for each side, I guess they handle the paper ticket gate too? Certainly is expensive to run, but I think is probably worth it even with more transit police coming on board (pardon the pun). I guess security guards are often in place on a lot of stations part time when they have no gates anyway.

    Passed through Henderson gates first time on the weekend with bikes..well actually the awkward lift situation there…after scratching our heads how to get through narrow gates with bikes…..I had forgotten reading about before that on this blog…..getting there slightly under pressure to get the next train (which is important when only 30min frequency!). I think with bikes we need more way finding at stations to direct people to the wheelchair gates, for example, at Britomart.

  9. I find gates to be of a great service, I am well past my fare evading days and apart from being flat broke at overseas’ metro stations I was never a particular gate hurdling hooligan. For me the plus is that I have on numerous occasions forgotten to tag on or off at train stations, and I imagine that I am not the only absent minded although otherwise reasonably intelligent person that suffers from this. Sometimes one can be so engrossed in one’s literature that the real world is mere fuzzy background. With gates, there is a gentle reminder that tagging must take place or the budget will be blown. I look forward to the one hundred percent gating of the network, understanding that this is costly and will take some time, however, as Tamaki Makaurau further ups its stakes as an international city, the rail network will have to increase its fiscal integrity. The order in which the gate should be based upon the popularity of a station, given that it does provide a service, surely the masses deserve the service first?

  10. One wonders if the scum that slid along the platforms at Manurewa will end up at Homai, Te Mahia and Takanini, causing even more problems there

  11. I believe gating is also good for security.

    In quiet stations during off peak hours, I often see groups of unfriendly kids gathering on train station platform trying to do something nasty. It makes other waiting passengers feels unsafe.

    If the station is gated with some CCTV, those kid would not be able to trepass the platform.

  12. If they are not going to gate Panmure then it would be good to at least install a line of hop card readers as you enter and exit the station. This would be much better than the current arrangement where passengers leaving a train queue to use the platform readers.

      1. Yes and No. It has three entrance points and I’d hate to see accessibility at any station on the network restricted in the name of gating. Especially as we are about to build a light rail network that I imagine will have little gating on it, given the main CBD stations will be in the middle of the street.

        I believe the reason Panmure is not on the list for gating is because it has a high proportion of trips that use gates at the other end. I’m not fussed either way on gates there as I use the main entrance anyway, my main interest is in improving the flow within the station. There are many people in a rush to catch transfer buses using a small number of tag off points on the platform.

        1. You could gate all three entrances and then only put staff at the main entrance. Those staff are already there all day!

        2. +1, AT really needs to employ someone with a budget of $5m a year to just make minor improvements on stuff like this. Could include extra tag posts at stations, missing sections of canopy, shelter as busier bus stops.

  13. Are these ticket gates officially at the Manurewa Station on both sides even the one close to the bridge that is close to the road. This station has been the worst station for trouble makers and even right down to causing fights from each platforms alot of police had to deal with these type of situations all the time and it was stressing me out. Can you please let me know what is happening with the ticket gates are there all four ticket gates to Manurewa station.

  14. Gates are being installed at Parnell Station right now. Due to the design of the station, 3 seperate manned gate locations are required.

    Once Parnell is done, that will just leave Papakura and Glen Innes to be gated as part of the current project.

    It certainly seems that Grafton needs to be gated next, but given the narrow platform, and 4 seperate entrances, it will be difficult.

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