The ridership numbers for January are available and they’ve got a lot in common with the December results. Overall ridership was up 6.6% on January last year, although there was an extra working day this year. That growth is all coming from buses though as both rail and ferries saw the number of trips decrease. Thankfully the buses, and especially the Northern Busway, continues to chug along with double digit growth.
This is the second month in a row that rail use has dropped compared to the year before. Like in December, there are logical and explainable reasons for the drop, nonetheless it is a trend we hope doesn’t set in. The main reason for the drop in January was the Christmas/New Year shutdown. ATs figures show that the Western and Onehunga Lines were the most heavily affected. The Southern Line was less affected because many people could still use the Eastern Line, which saw good growth. February will hopefully return us to growth because with the recent industrial action and fewer working days, March is likely to drop too.
What is less clear is why ferries were down almost 7% (over 9% after accounting for the extra day). Both the contracted (AT subsidised) and exempt (fully commercial – Devonport and Waiheke) routes were down. Some of will have come from the storm in the first few days of the month but surely not all of it.
As part of the monitoring that AT are doing for the City Rail Link, for some time they have included a chart in their business report on how people get to the city. This is shown below and while it may be a technically accurate chart, it’s hard to actually derive any real value from it.
So, I asked AT for the data behind it and it threw up some interesting results. First, I changed the results from monthly to a rolling 12 month. I then group all the PT modes together and Walking and Cycling too. As you can see, when you separate out the modes that cars are dropping remarkably. In just two years, the percentage of people arriving in the city by car has dropped below 50%. That trend is only going to continue as the city keeps growing.