The ridership numbers for April are out and they’re following a similar trend to the other months this year. Overall ridership was up 4.4% on last April, however that is in part due to the calendar having two additional working days compared to 2017. Once you account for those, and any other events, the normalised result was more like 1.7%. However, it was still enough to push the 12-month rolling total over 92 million trips.

Like with other months so far this year, bus numbers saw decent growth of 6.6% over last April. After normalising the results, the increase dropped to 4%. Within the (un-normalised) results we can see that strong growth is continuing on the Northern Busway which was up almost 10% and higher than the Southern Line for the first time in a normal month (happened in Dec/Jan due to the rail shutdown too). But the real star of the show are frequent buses which were up over 60% – although it’s not clear how this relates to there being more of them. One specific example is the 380 Airporter which was up 39% in April following a frequency increase in December bringing it very close to ATs definition of a frequent route.

We’ve been seeing similar results over the last few months and so a lot of that will be the impact of the New Network rolling out in some areas. Bus numbers are likely to get more boosts over the next year with the new network on the Isthmus rolling out in six-weeks (8-July) and on the North Shore at the end of September. The numbers aren’t quite a good for trains or ferries though.

Rail usage was up 1.9% however once that normalisation took place, that dropped back below zero to -2.2%. For some reason, rail growth seems to have evaporated this year and overall usage continues to hover at just over 20 million trips annually. The plateauing growth is something also reflected in the weekday average.

The new timetable that AT have been working on can’t come soon enough. It is now confirmed to be introduced on Sunday 26 August. According to AT it will see:

  • Improved journey times across the Southern, Eastern and Western Lines, including further reduced dwell times
  • An increase to three trains per hour, from 7am to 7pm, across the Southern, Eastern and Western Lines at weekends, up from two trains per hour
  • Weekend services will largely follow the same weekday inter-peak timetable
  • Weekday afternoon and evening services will transition from the ten minute frequency in the PM peak to a 20-minute frequency from 7pm until 8pm, and to a 30-minute frequency thereafter
  • Services to Parnell station increased to include all Western Line services, throughout the day. Currently, Western Line services only operate to Parnell after 7pm, and at weekends
  • Pukekohe shuttle services continue to operate three trains per hour during the morning and afternoon peaks, with an increase to two trains per hour during interpeak periods and at weekends, up from one train per hour
  • Later night services on Friday evenings, with an additional two service operating over the current timetable.

AT say another timetable change they are looking at for February next year will see “further journey time improvements, and a proposal to extend the new weekend frequency later in the evening“. Still no word on when we’ll see all day frequent services though.

Unfortunately ferries fare even worse, overall  they were down 4.4% however after normalisation were down 7.3%. This drop is on their commercial services (Devonport and Waiheke) and ferry numbers have been fluctuating for the last year or so.

On some of the other metrics, AT say farebox rates continue to track lower. This is blamed on simplified fares introduced in August-2016, the roll out of the new network which is seeing more services being run, and interestingly, HOP usage being above expectations. AT’s strategy for some time has been to push people to use HOP by making cash fares much more expensive. Let’s hope this doesn’t mean they try to increase HOP fares to cover the difference.

One notable result in April was train performance. Both punctuality and service delivery dropped to levels not seen since before the electric trains finished rolling out. It’s also worth noting that the train derailment at Britomart was in May so didn’t impact these results.

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102 comments

  1. On the trains issue, i’d be interested to note whether a contributory factor to the plateauing growth is a rise in antisocial/criminal incidents (this would possibly be more reflected in the non-business day averages).

    1. If it is it’s time to get some decent enforcement on the trains. The new Transport Officers are looking a lot like the old ticket inspectors with new uniforms, which suggests nothing much is going to change.

    2. Other reasons :-
      Peak times 6 car trains are full, or standing room only
      Not frequent enough
      Park and ride parks are filled very early
      Real health risks from cold/flu in confined spaces
      Uncomfortable seating for longer distances
      Slow overall timing
      Lack of express limited stop service

      1. Which 6-car services are full or standing room only? Some three car services are getting pretty packed at peak hour, but I’ve never seen a 6-car train anywhere near full unless there have been cancellations.

        1. Just after 8am New Lynn to Britomart, the front 3car emu was packed, I could not get a seat until someone left at Kingsland, the back emu looked full as well but not sure.

          1. Can’t have been very full if you managed to get a seat eventually.

            I don’t think we should be resourcing peak services so that everybody getting on halfway along gets a seat

          2. Ok, maybe we shouldn’t, but is it likely to attract new passengers if there is only standing room for most of the journey? You may be happy standing but for me I want to use my iPad email etc during travel, in fact that was one reason that attracted me to PT; however, the close company of sneezing and coughing ppl may yet force me back to car commuting

          3. Worried about getting a cold on the train, so subjecting yourself to an increased risk of fatality/serious injury from a motor vehicle collision? Seems reasonable.

            PT is not a luxury service. If I got a seat at peak I’d assume it was a failing PT system. Sure, keep it from being crush loaded, but if you really want to increase patronage, provide better frequency/span of service outside peaks, improve the network connectivity and improve walk/bike access to services before trying to free up seats during the peak. PT is competitive at peaks, even standing room only, because driving at peak is expensive and horrible and that will never change.

  2. “Services to Parnell station increased to include all Western Line services, throughout the day. Currently, Western Line services only operate to Parnell after 7pm, and at weekends”

    Whoah, now I can actually catch a train to work?

      1. The morning service looks like the problem one; it won’t get me to my desk in time 🙁 If there was just one more earlier service I’d be sorted.

        However, now that we do have mass transit options in Parnell, parking restrictions seem like a logical next steep. I am pleasantly surprised that this has not happened the other way around

        1. Perhaps you have pleasantly *noticed* this? I wouldn’t imagine there’d be any *surprise* about it. 🙂 AT has a parking strategy that is focused on a mode shift to public transport to help minimise traffic congestion. It is a document, not a practice.

  3. I preface this comment by saying I think this is a fantastic blog that is having a hugely positive impact on transport policy in Auckland. The comment comes from a kind place.

    Matt, it would be great if you could nail the difference between “however” and “but”. The first is an adverb, the second a conjunction. You use “however” four times here. One time you get it right. The other three times you use it as a conjunction. That doesn’t work. If you want to use “however” you need to start a new sentence. If you are joining two clauses together “but” is the conjunction you should use – simple yet elegant.

    There will be readers here who say these things don’t matter. My view is that they do – proper use of language conveys clearer meaning but also give credibility.

    Rant over (with much respect for everything you guys do).

    1. Using ‘however’ as a conjunctive adverb:
      ‘However’ can be used to join two simple sentences to make a compound sentence.
      ‘However’ indicates that the relationship between the two independent clauses is one
      of contrast or opposition.
      The engineers claimed that the bridge was safe; however, they were still not prepared to risk crossing.
      Use a semi-colon (;) before and a comma (,) after however when you are using it to
      write a compound sentence.

      Using ‘however’ to begin a sentence:
      If ‘however’ is used to begin a sentence, it must be followed by a comma, and what
      appears after the comma must be a complete sentence.
      However, there was no need to repeat the data entry.

      My source was <1 min Googling a result from Sonoma State University. Notably, onlinegrammer.com.au also agrees, though in clearer language.

      🙂

      1. But Jon, I think that would be onlinegrammar.com.au, however I’m sure we’d find it despite the misspelling. 🙂

    2. I have never really understood apostrophes. Three octopies played with a ball but was it the octopie’s ball or the octopies’ ball?

        1. It is a little known fact that Apostrophes was a Greek philosopher who was very possessive. The other Greek kids at his Lyceum thought he was a dick. So now apostrophe is a Greek word meaning “to turn away from”.

          1. Sorry Heidi it just marks a missing ‘e’ when ‘es’ is added to a word. Then some imbecile started adding an apostrophe to words that didn’t have an ‘e’ before the ‘s’ missing or otherwise, just to indicate possession. I wonder what Apostrophe would have made of it all.

          2. It’s – – -its
            You’re- – -your
            They’re – – – their
            Cyclist’s – – – cyclists’
            1970’s – – – 1970s
            EMU’s – – – EMUs

            You’re not wrong!

          3. I had a peep in Pepys’s diary because I was wondering if it should be spelt Pepyses in full, but no, he said one day that he went to his Cosin Tho. Pepys’s place. How do you pronounce Tho.? Where would you put the apostrophe in Tho.’s Diary? Should Cosin have an apostrophe for the missing ‘u’? Did Apostrophe have a cat, and what was its name?

          4. I think Apostrophe kept octopies or octopodes as pets. Schrodinger had a cat, but he didn’t treat it very well. Heisenberg also had a cat but it wandered and he couldn’t keep track of it.

          5. Thanks for reminding me of Schrodinger and Heisenberg. I think I can bring their ideas into my submission on the low carbon emissions economy report.

            Schrodinger’s law is very similar to setting up an ETS and then giving free allocation of carbon credits to heavy polluters. It’s like a scheme that is dead and alive at the same time; but it’s all just a thought experiment really.

            Heisenberg’s law is like our agricultural and transport carbon emissions: the more certainty we have in pinpointing just how bad they are, the more the momentum of activity around the activities in order to prevent anything from actually changing.

            And the cats are reducing the ability of the native bush to sequester carbon too, so it’s all relevant to what I’m doing today.

    3. As a grammar pedant, I would suggest there are much more egregious crimes on this blog than the misuse of “however”.
      I wouldn’t get too exercised over that.

    4. In other words, if your take these sentences –
      1. I agree with your first point. However, I take issue with your second.
      2. I agree with your first point; however, I take issue with your second.
      3. I agree with your first point, but I take issue with your second.
      4. I agree with your first point, however I take issue with your second.
      1,2 & 3 are supposed to be right, and 4 is supposed to be wrong.

      This is one of the more pointless rules of traditional prescriptive grammar. 3 and 4 obviously mean the same thing (4 is maybe a little more emphatic) so the tendency to punctuate them the same way is quite natural and logical.

      You’ll find tricky, pedantic, unnecessary rules like this on a hundred grammar websites not because they make any particular good sense, but simply because they’re all plagiarising each other, often going back to some original long-dead self-appointed expert with a tin ear for language (and I mean looong – trying googling ‘John Dryden preposition stranding’)

      I’m not advocating open rebellion here. In more formal types of writing it may well be prudent to follow pointless traditional rules if you think that might impress your boss/client/supervisor. But that’s different from accepting that the rules are good.

  4. Actually also, on the recent theme of moving on from an obsession with the timetable, isn’t it about time we got the government to pass legislation to at least create the regulatory framework for a transit police? As I imagine it, the legislation would make provision for sworn officers who would be paid for by the transport companies and have some limited police powers like the use of force, making arrests, detaining people and issuing fines on all PT services and property. They would be uniformed, have stab proof vests etc and carry the usual handcuffs, batons, mace etc.

    A force of perhaps a few dozen officers would allow for quite good coverage of the PT network and even, in co-operation with the regular police, planned actions against the organised gangs of taggers and eventually – as night followers day – muggers.

  5. Has plateau-ing figures anything to do with the extra roading capacity added by Waterview Connection? There are obviously more people using cars for trips now… people from Pt Chev and those driving in along GNR aren’t bothering to get on the motorway as it’s too full. Initially Meola Rd filled up; now they’re rat-running along Motions Rd past Western Springs College.

    1. Yes traffic has got noticable worse around western springs, I gather bus patronage has increased on GNR, i certainly try and use it when i can

      We must be coming up to 12 months of waterview being open. I would be very interested to hear what time saving it providing to motorist 1 year on.

      1. Yes. AT’s response to my question of what they were doing to improve safety in the local roads, given the traffic the WC would induce traffic there, was that they were taking 50,000 cars off the roads. Since that didn’t happen, and school kids instead have all this extra traffic to contend with, maybe AT should have done something?

      2. I made a trip from Auckland Domestic Terminal last Friday leaving at 8:05am and arriving Britomart at 8:45am by car via Waterview keeping to the posted limits.
        I found insignificant traffic delays on the way and felt no pressure to meet a 9:00am deadline.
        A great experience!

        1. Excellent. That’s the trip it was designed for. Just a pity about the other side-effects, like the traffic from further west that used to be able to use SH16, but can’t because of trips like yours. That’s why we saw 8% increase in traffic on Pt Chevalier Rd in 8 weeks.

          I imagine you’d be concerned that kids on the local roads have an increasingly dangerous and dirty environment to contend with because airport travellers have been prioritised?

        2. Yes, sorry i also meant to add, it does depend on where i am heading.

          Clearly off-peak travel is a big winner with waterview & i suspect long distant travelers notice a big difference too.

          I’ve noticed some similar gains traveling from airport to cbd in peak too

  6. Southern Line will flatten out until the all day frequencies get to every 10mins making off peak worth it. That said once Manukau to Airport MRT gets going by 2021 the Southern and Eastern lines will surge back up again as well

      1. Yes and no. Remember with Southern Auckland half of the commuters commute within the South. So given the industrial complexes are not properly connected up to the rail network most of the South will drive (hence the Great South Road and Southern Motorway are total arses 7 days a week).

        One we get MRT to the Airport and out to Botany it opens up accessibility for the South and South East. That would provide a big boost to the Southern Line as a consequence.

        1. Again, didn’t the Waterview Connection ease congestion on the SH1 for a while, with some people using the new route instead? Is the congestion now back to where it was? If so, that will be because some people have mode-shifted back into cars from PT.

          1. I regularly drive from One Tree Hill to Redoubt Rd or Papakura on a Friday evening, aiming to arrive 6.45 – 7.00. Before Waterview generally Google showed the SW motorway as several minutes faster (non-peak it takes 1-2 minutes more for us to get to it than SH1). Since then, SH1 is nearly always the same or slightly faster.

        2. Unless all of the new residents in South Auckland work within the south, which I would doubt there still should be some increase in peak demand on the rail network if there is population growth.

          If not then we are effectively seeing people move away from the rail network, which is quite concerning.

          1. From Matt’s post about travel time savings: “Mode-shift induced demand: This is when people who may have previously used public transport, or walked, or cycled the route switch to using their cars, because the reduced congestion has made that a more attractive option.” Thanks for all the road building, NZTA.

          2. If Waterview has freed up space on the Southern Motorway then it is certainly possible. However, given a large number of train trips are to the CBD, I would have thought the lack of parking spaces would put a dampener on this.

          3. Could be that some of the southern motorway works have eased with the extra lane going south open around takanini IIRC. This would encourage more people back to driving. Train industrial action & better bus network is perhaps impacting too. Also overloaded in some peak times putting others off?

          4. Jezza, from the traffic modelling report: “One of the objectives of the WRR is to relieve congestion that currently occurs on SH1 and to provide an alternative rute north across the Auckland Isthmus. The provision of the Waterview Connection is expected to result in traffic diverting from SH1 and CMJ to the WRR. The modelling has indicated that there will be a shift in longer distance trips from Sh1 to SH20 (WRR), consistent with the objectives of the WRR.”

            In the early days after opening, we had Remuera families refusing to change violin lesson times in Pt Chev because the SH16 had become too congested at certain times. That wasn’t newly generated trips, it was the route shift from SH1 to the WRR and SH16.

          5. I have no doubt it has freed up space on the Southern Motorway but I can’t imagine it has freed up a single carpark in the CBD.

          6. Are the rail figures only for people going to the CBD? Couldn’t the mode shift be explained by people who previously took PT to other places, now using SH1 for some of their journey?

          7. No, but the large majority of passengers on the Southern line are heading there or Newmarket. The Western line has a higher proportion of trips that don’t originate or end within the CBD.

          8. So is the increase of traffic on SH1 since the early post-opening of WC just from newly created trips, then Jezza? Not from mode shift? Not from people who had been taking the bus, even?

          9. Since when was there a lack of parking in the CBD?

            Right now for instance there are 384 available spaces at Victoria St, 443 at the Civic and 1005 Downtown.

          10. I think while having PT running pretty well, it’s still the alternative of driving people swing back to when they have had a bad experience or two. ie industrial action, track faults, cold shelters, squashed in with weezing sniffling passengers on a cold morning etc. They try the car again (after some extra lanes or motorways have been put in) and think “that was actually quite nice in my own little cocoon” driving door to door to my work place.

            For a lot of people unless the car is a consistently painful experience they won’t tend to use PT.

            Remember they recently put fares up as well & I think NZ’s are very price sensitive, shown by the up take in HOP card use.

    1. What’s MRT? Is it Mass? Is it Rapid? You don’t have both unless it’s a high frequency heavy rail option traveling at 100km/ph+ speeds.

  7. Besides the derailment this month were there not also a couple/few serious service interruptions to rail in April? They do need to work on service recovery/alternatives if there is a problem.
    Still disappointing result for rail. Reducing dwell times will help along with extra services. The drop off in growth is probably due to many peak services running into capacity constraints.

    1. There’s a real need for peak time express/limited stop trains to provide a service that is really time competitive and more attractive to a wider range of users. Any advantage over car travel is thrown away by the constant ambling in and out of stations combined with the ludicrous(cf international standards)dwell times. I was in a car on a jampacked Southern Motorway and we still beat the train from Remuera to Ellerslie.

        1. I’m suggesting one or two peak time express/limited stop services. Not all trains running express, you know, like they do in all commuter rail systems. Except Auckland. Ideally you would have short runner immediately following the LS service.

          1. Britomart is at capacity so there is no room for any extra services, also with express trains on a double tracked network you need to allow a decent gap in services so they don’t catch up with all stops services. There will have to be a number of stations that no longer have 10 min frequencies to allow these expresses to run.

            I’m interested in what your running pattern would be and which stations would loose out.

          2. Make one AM peak Southern Line service all stops to Otahuhu, express to Newmarket, cover the gap with the Onehunga train. May require some timetable rejigging buy could be done.

          3. In theory that would work in terms of maintaining 10 min frequencies at all stations.

            The problem is there is not much room to move in terms of train slots between Wiri and Westfield, where there are already 12tph in each direction (plus freight), and at Newmarket. In reality an express train would likely loose the four minutes it has gained waiting for its slot at Newmarket.

            It doesn’t really seem worth it to provide a small benefit to passengers who are happen to need to travel at the time the infrequent express service is running.

            I fully agree that express services are worthwhile, however it is not really realistic until the CRL is completed and there is a third main on the inner part of the network.

  8. The bus growth is fantastic to see. The fact the busway is now carrying more than the heavy rail line is a good counterpoint to those who argue for rail at all costs, such as extensions to Huapai.

    I get the sense that Auckland is heading for a bit of a PT sweetspot where it has the right modes in the right place working together as a network.

    The key thing will be whether AT can transition from building the PT network to managing the network. The latters means a focus on unglamorous operational details, like dwell-times, boarding/alighting etc.

    1. The busway succeeds because, while it has a high frequency, it is also fast and direct with only a few high quality stations. It doesn’t amble all over the place and stop every 30 seconds in the name of “catchment”. For once in Auckland PT, the tail doesn’t wag the dog.

      1. That’s simply not true. The busway is just under 18km from the CBD and the Northern Express takes 30 mins to get to the CBD stopping at four busway stations and two street stops in the CBD. From Otahuhu, which is pretty much the same distance on the Eastern line it takes 26 mins stopping at five stations.

        The reason trains take longer to get from Papakura is because it is further away. Which stations would see a reduced frequency to allow these express trains you propose to run?

    2. “I get the sense that Auckland is heading for a bit of a PT sweetspot where it has the right modes in the right place working together as a network.”

      Stu, how can you say this when growth is at a recent low of around 4%.

      As a sometimes user of the bus way to Albany it is far from an optimum service and I wonder what light rail would be able to achieve? Buses are obviously slowed at Constellation Drive and beyond and the struggle to get to busway stations can be horrendous.
      The busway works because for most North Shore people it is affordable; parking prices at the most common destination, the city, are high; and congestion on the motorway and feeders is horrendous.

  9. I think the reason the northern busway is doing well is that the Northern motorway no longer functions as a motorway, more a car park. Too many vehicles, no room.

    I expect the big subdivisions around Silverdale and Orewa to send bus usage up further. Quite how driving to work will be an option, I don’t know.

  10. Lol, can’t have been very full if you managed to get a seat eventually

    I dont think we should be resourcing peak services so that everybody getting on halfway along gets a seat

  11. “Weekday afternoon and evening services will transition from the ten minute frequency in the PM peak to a 20-minute frequency from 7pm until 8pm, and to a 30-minute frequency thereafter”

    There are still a lot of people working late and having a drink after work. 7pm sounds a bit too early to reduce service.

    30min frequency after 8pm discouraged people to have dinner in city after work and use PT to commute back.

    1. AT is really concentrating on the peak commute only. If you work odd hours – you’re out of luck. It doesn’t even have to be particularly odd. Many West bus services drop to 1 an hour past 7pm.

    2. I’m appreciative of the increases in evening and weekend services, though. It will be interesting to see the ridership numbers after this change.

    3. Their goal is to have the frequent network run from 6am to 9pm, this is in the Regional Public Transport Plan.

      But unfortunately budget constraints prevent them from delivering that right now, but the goal is still there.

    4. I am worried this change would force people to vacate the city before 7pm.

      It actually forms an negative spiral cycle as reduced late customers forces restaurants and shops to close at night, which in turn discourage people to stay late.

      Eventually making the CBD turns back into ‘ghost town’ after work like a decade ago.

      1. This is an increase in frequency I don’t see why it would cause people to vacate the CBD or for it to become a ghost town. Currently trains go from running every 10 mins to every 30 mins at 7pm.

        1. No.

          Looking at the existing southern line timetable, the proposed new timetable seem to make things worse:

          Our exisiting southern timetable (with Onehanga) have 10 min frequency until 8:00pm, then become 15-20 min frequency until 10pm, and 30min thereafter.

          Where the new one;
          “will transition from the ten minute frequency in the PM peak to a 20-minute frequency from 7pm until 8pm”

          sounds like we no longer have 10 min frequency after 7pm

          1. The 10 min frequency through Ellerslie is just because a number of peak trains returning to the depot at Puhinui are run as scheduled services. There is no reason this would change.

            Currently the Eastern line, Western line and Southern line south of Puhinui only have 30 min frequencies after 7pm, this will improve to 20 mins after 7pm in August. Onehunga trains will continue to run as they do now so there will still be a higher frequency between Britomart and Penrose.

          2. What happens to the network if there is a serious accident somewhere between Puhinui and Wiri? Is there any contingency plans in place to allow the rest of the network to continue to function? I know there are some train yards at Henderson?

          3. I think they have cut some southern area evening bus services as well. Due to lack of money. So cutting back evening trains might have been innevitible.

  12. In creating an efficient network service, the need for reasonable frequency over the full span of operating hours is comparable, in the time dimension, to the need for a complete network of routes in the space dimension.

    In space, the outer suburban connecting service may carry few passengers and so may seem very unprofitable considered in isolation. But those passengers, when they board the trunk line service at an interchange, are adding revenue (assuming you have a distance-based fare system) at practically no extra marginal cost to the operator. The whole network has to be considered together.

    Similarly in time: the late night bus service with only half a dozen passengers may seem very unprofitable considered in isolation. But you have to remember that all those people made a trip the other way earlier in the day, probably at almost no marginal cost to the operator. Without the possibility of returning home late, some of that revenue earlier in the day would be lost. So every late night bus is effectively earning more than the number of people on board would suggest at first sight.

    1. +1 as per the post the other day, need consistent routes throughout the day too. Still too much emphasis on peak hour congestion busting.

    2. +1

      The new timetable reduced week day night service frequency. As a result, it will discourage people to use PT at the morning as well. It will eventually cripple to ridership and farebox recovery rate.

      It is very shortsighted and ends up costing more money.

      The new timetable may decile patronage and not saving money.

  13. Is it possible to get more detailed information about ridership on trains over the last 18 months?

    It would be interesting to see (on a station level) how things like:

    (A) new network
    (B) higher fares
    (c) changes in petrol prices
    (D) opening of waterview tunnel
    (E) packed services on the western line

    have had (if any) on ridership. I can not see that the comfortable of trains, lack of limited stops services or dwell times have had on the sudden down turn of ridership on trains growth. It seems that pre Oct 17 that growth was about 10% but post Jan 18 it has been significantly less. It is simply that we have got most of the people who can and are willing to use trains. Or is it that events since July 2017 have made trains less attractive?

    1. It’s not a case of less attractive, because they aren’t losing customers. It’s that growth has slowed.

      My guess is that the peak market attracted by the current offering of lines, stations, frequencies and speeds is close to saturated. Until they a) improve the peak offering (hard to do before the CRL is open), or b) start getting serious about the off peak and weekend market (big gains still to be had) that might be it.

      1. Thanks, I think you may be right but I am worried that some internal factors might be retarding growth as well. Before AT published data on a line by line study. I did notice that after the Manukau line open then the growth in all three manurewa stations slowed down.
        Did we see a increase from the new networks like predicted or did fare structure changes make trains less attractive?
        I was wondering if the data to look at the recent changes at a station level would help to identify some correlations or not.

        We had to hit saturation at some point but I do not think overloading is a problem as I can almost always get a seat.

  14. My take on the fall off in rail patronage

    There are an increasing number of train cancellations due to train and track/overhead faults and driver shortages. The track/overhead faults are, of course, the responsibility of Kiwirail who don’t seem too interested in fixing them so what are they doing with the track access charges that AT pay them? The train faults, if one believes what one hears, are largely due to the damage caused by the appalling track condition.

    Of course, train faults are responsible for single sets when the timetable calls for doubles which causes overcrowding on a non-regular basis.

    Recently Transdev commenced stop skipping to avoid cancellation penalties. This causes overcrowding on the following service and, if done off peak, 40 minute gaps in service (on the Southern at least) at the stations that are skipped.

    About 5-8 minutes could be shaved off Papakura-Britomart if the timetable didn’t have so much slack in it and drivers were encouraged to run at line speed instead of dawdling along at 60-70 kph.

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