June is always one of the most important months in the year for ridership as it’s the final month in the financial year. The latest results are out and here’s a breakdown.

Auckland

AT have published the June numbers, although they don’t have quite the same level of detail as the report that goes to the board.

Monthly Results

Focusing on the month first, this year June had one less weekday than June last year. This is important as a weekday accounts for about a 3% difference in ridership. With that in mind, here is a summary of June’s results:

  • Total trips – 7.7m, down 0.8%
  • Rapid Transit – 2.2m, down 1.2%
    • Rail – 1.7m, down 2.3%
    • Busway 456k, up 3.5%
  • Other buses – 5.1m, no change
  • Ferry – 404k, down 6.9%

Overall, June was a fairly lacklustre month, only really squeaking into the positive if you take the working days into account.

Annual Results

It’s the overall result for the year to the end of June that is most closely watched and also what AT are judged on for their targets.

  • Total trips – 92.4m, up 4.6%
  • Rapid Transit – 25.6m, up 4.3%
    • Rail – 20.2m, up 2.6%
    • Busway 5.5m, up 10.9%
  • Other buses – 60.7m, up 5.3%
  • Ferry – 6.1m, down 0.6%

The overall growth rate is lower than it was in 2017 (6.7%) but is in line with what we’ve seen over the last 15 years. It’s also higher than population growth and so our per captia measure has grown too. It remains unclear exactly why ferries continue to struggle.

These results should also be compared against the targets set out for AT in their Statement of Intent for 2017. The relevant portion is below, with the other PT targets focusing on Punctuality and Customer Satisfaction.

So, AT didn’t meet the target for total boardings short by 600k, they didn’t meet the target for rail boardings, short by 91k and rapid transport increased slower than total boardings. The only one they may have met is the third one and that’s only because we can’t tell from the data what the growth in the frequent network is.

It should also be noted that at 92 million trips, boardings on public transport in Auckland are the highest they’ve been since 1952, although on a per capita basis we’re below where we were in the 80’s.

Busiest buses

As well as the ridership, AT have provided me with the number of boardings for all bus routes. I plan to delve into the data in more detail in a future post but here are the top 10 busiest routes other than the Northern Express. It’s also worth noting that many of these constitute multiple routes that I have grouped together into corridors. The routes and the number of boardings are:

  1. Dominion Rd – 2.94 million
  2. Mt Eden Rd – 2.55 million
  3. Outer Link – 2.22 million
  4. Manukau Rd – 2.20 million
  5. Sandringham Rd – 2.18 million
  6. Inner Link – 2.17 million
  7. New North Rd – 1.95 million
  8. Takapuna (& East Coast Bays) – 1.93 million
  9. City Link – 1.71 million
  10. 70 (Botany to City) – 1.63 million

Update: I forgot to aggregate all the Onewa Rd bus services. Of those that head to the city, they total 3.01 million and the few other services that use Onewa but then head to Takapuna or Northcote Point add another 381k

Of these, perhaps the most interesting is the 70 as it’s only been running since December. The data AT provided me is monthly and so if we compare the totals since from December onwards, the 70 would actually be the busiest route, beating out Dominion Rd buses which have done 1.62 million since then. Of course, the 70 generally has a lot longer route and I suspect many of it’s users are transferring to trains at Panmure, which other data AT has provided me suggests is challenging New Lynn for the 3rd busiest station spot.

It is also going to be interesting to see what impact the New Network has on these numbers. So far the East, West and South have seen decent growth from their respective network changes and we hope to see something similar on the isthmus and in future the North Shore.

Wellington

Wellington’s numbers for the year are also available. Wellington hasn’t been experiencing the levels of growth that Auckland has but it did see growth in the 2017/18 financial year. Here are the annual results

  • Total trips – 38.5m, up 1.9%
  • Rail – 13.6m, up 3.3%
  • Bus – 24.7m, up 1.1%
  • Ferry – 204k, up 4.3%

In July Wellington launched a new bus network and it will be fascinating to see the impact this has on their ridership numbers.

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125 comments

  1. As with every lackluster month stats – AT has to take ownership of this. I suspect there are no consequences for missing the target, so “steady as she goes” won at AT. Let’s hope the recent statements from AT CEO Shane Ellison turn into reality and those bus routes actually get prioritised.

  2. That’s fascinating about the 70, the Eastern Busway to Panmure will make that journey so much faster. Proper buslanes on Pak Highway should be expedited at the same time. East Auckland is poised to have an access and connectivity explosion just like the North Shore did with its Busway (where the usually types claimed it would never work).

    There’s a whole Hamilton or Dunedin over there across the Tamaki that the wider city really needs this vast (mostly) dormitory zone properly connecting 1) to the centre and 2) south 3) west across town.

    Shame for so long the politicians there at all levels harboured such an irrational hatred of all things urban and in particular all forms of non-single occupant driving provision they successful kept their area so disconnected and congested, and less prosperous than it otherwise would be…

    1. And with that access and connectivity explosion could come a huge mindshift change around support for PT. I hope progressive would-be politicians in the area are taking note.

    2. I had to take my car to Botany the other day to get its warrant. Every thing is bright neat and shiny and so spread out and completely dysfunctional because there are so many traffic lights and cars having to go from A to B to C and D to get from A to E. . I walked from the garage to Botany town center and caught the 31 bus home which wasn’t too bad with a guided tour of Otara. I did the same in the reverse in the afternoon. I wondered why they have to have such huge premises for the business out there. One bed shop I walked past had about 50 beds on display and no customers and one bored looking salesperson staring at a computer screen. Plus about 20 empty car parks out front. The whole area could do with a downsize. I know you people pour scorn on Manukau city but this is far worse . Anyway a green wave for the buses is about the only solution I suppose.

      1. They have done work in the US on rejuvenating sprawl dysfunction, by reallocating carparks and wide roads … although it always looked like too little too late. Anyone know any really good rehabilitations?

  3. A few strikes, many days with rail disruptions for various reasons all have a lasting impact on people’s decision to use PT or not.
    Really not sure what’s going on with ferries. Maybe the disruption to services out east with pier damage?

    1. Yeah, I gave up on rail a few months ago after taking the train for a few years. Now I drive. I’ll probably go back eventually once AT/KiwiRail sorts it crap out.

    2. What’s going on with ferries is a lack of integrated fares, combined with subsidies not being applied as they are for buses and rail. Basically a lack of attention and effort from government and Auckland Council.

      1. Exactly. As I’ve suggested previously, incorporating ferries into the fare structure and making the system mode neutral has to be the way to go.

  4. So if Dominion Road at 2.94 million trips per year is already suffering bus congestion sufficient to warrant conversion to light rail and Mt Eden Road is only 39,000 trips per year behind, then the obvious question is how long after Dominion Road LR is implemented will Mt Eden Road require the same treatment?

    1. 1. it’s 390 thousand trips
      2. LRT on Dominion Rd is about bus congestion in the city and by putting it on Dominion Rd, it frees up a lot more space for buses from other routes

    2. You missed a zero: The difference is 390,000.

      The answer is not as simple as it appears from raw patronage numbers. Note that the Dom Rd and Mt Eden buses both run down Symonds Street from Newton. By taking the Dom Rd buses off Symonds Street and replacing them with LRT on Queen, you free up additional bus capacity on Symonds for, among other routes, Mt Eden Road.

      Another way to think of it: Dom Rd LRT frees up enough bus capacity to carry another 3 million odd bus passengers on Symonds, at current infrastructure and service levels.

      Basically, Dom Rd LRT probably frees up enough bus capacity on Symonds to cater for about ~20 years of growth. So converting another route to LRT may definitely occur at some point, but is unlikely to be a priority in the short to medium term.

    3. The dom road LRT line will be much busier than the dom road bus line, even without extending to mangere and the airport. At least two other factors:

      1) People living in betweeen Sandringham and Dominion, and Dominion and Mt Eden, will be attracted toward the faster, more reliable and more comfortable LRT line instead of their current bus. A big chunk of people living either side will find that by walking a minute or two the other way they can get the LRT and save themselves ten minutes and avoid delays.

      2) The various routes that currently run up Sandringham, Dominion and Mt Eden from south of SH20 will connect to the LRT, so many folk out of Green Bay, Owaraka, Lynfield, Three Kings etc will elect to swap to the LRT line rather than keep taking the bus the whole way in.

      Both of these factors together means maybe twice as many people on the Dominion LRT, and potentially less on Sandringham and Mt Eden buses (or at least, more room to grow before being overcrowded)

      1. Will LRT be faster though? I’m not sure how they can guarantee it any more than they can with a bus.

        I wonder how cyclists will like having to fight it out with general traffic.

  5. The 70 buses are consistently overloaded between Ellerslie and the city in the morning rush hour. It’s not unusual for 3 to go by without stopping if you’re trying to head into the city or Newmarket.

    1. Yeah that was my thought too — the 70 is basically two busy routes wrapped into one: Botany-Panmure and Ellerslie-City. May be worth looking at sending the Botany end cross town (forcing the connection to rail at Panmure of Ellerslie) and running a separate route on Great South Road.

    2. Yeah I noticed that. Makes me wonder, how many of those passengers are heading to the bottom of the CBD? I’d love to see data on the destinations (tag off points) for trips originating in the vicinity of Ellerslie.

      I’d love to know if the data suggests people not wanting to transfer to train, or having a legitimate reason to use the bus…

    3. There is a few things going on there but. Folks headed to Newmarket, Grafton and Symonds St aren’t well served by the eastern line, and there’s three uni campuses, a huge hospital and umpteen businesses along that stretch.

      From Panmure inwards it’s basically another major isthmus frequent corridor, Certainly from Ellerslie in too.

      My view is they need to consider the whole route from Botany to Britomart as a future busway, albeit one with connections to two train lines and numerous local buses.

      1. I agree in terms of quality of infrastructure, although I’m really not convinced by the need to run a single bus route from Panmure all the way into City in the medium to long run, past two frequent rail services.

        Two reasons stick out as being particularly relevant:

        1. Peak travel-times from Ellerslie to Newmarket by rail and bus are 14 and 28 minutes respectively. That’s quite a lot of transfer/walk time; and
        2. If AT do choose to run the Purple (west-south) heavy rail line, then we may as well make the most of by requiring the connection.

        So I don’t see much value in running the 70 route as a *single* bus route into the city, especially post-CR (and I know people focus on the patronage, but the operating costs of that route must be huge: High kms, high hours, unreliable etc).

        Instead I see merit in:
        — A new route running from Panmure–St Lukes / Unitec via Balmoral Rd. This route would replace the back third of the Inner Link with a frequent crosstown that also provides a frequent connection from the inner isthmus areas along Balmoral Rd to the southern rail line (NB: This is an important connection that is missing right now).
        — Run a new GSR frequent from Penrose/Onehunga; and
        — Run a new frequent from Panmure to Pakuranga and then onto Botany/Manukau.

      2. I don’t know stu, that would mean taking three separate services to do something fairly basic like Pakuranga to the Hospital, or Highland Park to the University. And if you’re not too close to the Main Street you might need to take a fourth feeder service to get started. Well you might know one off for some of that by using the low frequency crosstown.

        I don’t see why we wouldn’t continue the radial RTN line to the centre, we do with all others, or at least are planning to with the airport-mangere line and the Northwest line.

        Why stop the eastern busway line halfway?

          1. As to why: i suspect you’d spend less off opex and get higher patronage. You definitely simplify and expand the frequent network, amd have the ability to run the crosstown and radial segments at optimal frequencies, which will likely vary across the day/week. Note that Panmure is about same distance to city as new lynn: why take radial bus services in from there but nowhere else?

        1. Noooo Nic. There’s three frequent lines there already. Your simply creating more of a grid with less overlap. Look at outerlink, 70, plus botany to manukau services together.

        2. Plus, if you thought there were high peak demands on top of all-day network, then run some direct peak services for that, rather than an all-day route.

          1. It’s not a bad idea but likely need to wait post CRL & more train sets giving direct city centre stops and more frequent trains?

      3. This is all very interesting, been meaning to check out the 70 at peak in the morning since the new central network. Here’s a bit of anecdotal evidence it’s overloading from Campbell Rd up to Market Rd as per Tim Roberts comment below.:

        I travelled one morning through Ellerslie on the 782 & two people got on assuming it was just the 70, one got off before tagging on once they asked the driver, the other didn’t realise until later. I spoke to them & they actually specifically caught it to avoid standing room only or squishy southern line train from there. I think they were just told this and had not really tried it, so maybe related to back when there were strikes & only running 20 min frequencies or something? The southern does seem (& you would expect) pretty busy at peak with all the transfers to it now from buses.

        I think a lot are NOT transferring to the train at Panmure due to just distaste to transfers but also convenience of the University route.

        Trying to help someone on Twitter also that with the loss of the old kind of One Tree Hill 390 route they are also trying to use the 70, both the new 295 & 298 + the 321 work to transfer to the 70 around Campbell Rd too if you don’t want the train line.

        Seems there is simply a case to run these more frequently if you ask me anyway if they can, this will make it even more popular anyway. Perhaps a lot will end up moving to use the train instead, but how many have just ended up going back to driving their car in?

        I also wonder if the 321 hospital bus up great south rd should be run more frequently as well and on weekends. This could give a little bit more backup to the train line when there are faults etc. It could also help with the Gilles Ave 295 run.

        1. Also thinking the Parnell station, dare I mention it, could help with encouraging to get University students to use southern train line connections somewhat once that walk path and of course when an overbridge & other improvements are finished.

    4. Which stop between Ellerslie and Newmarket are you catching the bus on? I might be interested in collecting some data on overloading on the 70 post new network.

        1. Another thought for things to work better around this area as discussed on this blog before is improved connections to Greenlane train station particularly walking.

  6. Those top 10 bus routes need to be getting some bus priority. That bus lanes are pretty much non-existent along New North Road for example is crazy.

    1. Yes, and there needs to be some rat-run-blocking of the nearby quiet streets at the same time to ensure there’s traffic evaporation not traffic diversion.

  7. The rail network has had a noticeable spike in unreliability over the winter. Some delays and cancellations, but more just a general message of not giving a shit about customers – disconnected message boards, a tannoy system no one can understand, trains of different lengths turning up randomly causing commuters to have to run up and down platforms, platform changes . Humans are creatures of habit. Do AT not understand that commuters in particular crave a reliable, routine run to and from work?

    On the upside, ticket enforcement has been everywhere and obvious, but why can’t they swipe a HOP card for silly clots who, troubled as they are by the vicissitudes of a long working day, forget to tag on and get pinged?

  8. Could ‘ferries struggling’ simply be a result of mode switch from unimproved ferries to improved buses and trains? E.g. it might once have been more attractive to get to Half Moon Bay for a ferry, but now the 70 bus takes you to Panmure and thence the city, in a more efficient manner than before? (It would be interesting to compare frequencies and pricing as well as journey times…as people no doubt do).

    PS are Waiheke ferries excluded from the numbers?

    1. yes that was my thought too — I suspect there has been some leakage from ferry to bus/rail due to the availability of integrated fares on the latter.

      That said, that’ll all change when integrated fares come to ferries in the near future.

      1. Waiheke is included. It’s probably useful to note that waiheke and Devonport account for almost all ferry patronage (think it was something like 80%, maybe someone here can confirm).

        Therefore the ferry figures are very dependent on the fortunes of those two routes, an small downturn in waiheke trips from a bad tourist season, for example, could completely negate anyting happening or not happening at Half Moon Bay.

        1. A good reason, perhaps, for having different fare options for Waiheke commuters and tourists – each in a way that makes sense for those users – which separates the data easily?

          1. Could have different prices for day returns from Waiheke and from Auckland (tourists would be Auckland-Waiheke-Auckland). Possibly a weekly cap aimed at commuters.

          2. Patrick — at the margin it’s not that far-fetched when you look at the catchment for the Devonport ferry. Imagine you’re living around Hauraki Corner and your choice is to (1) connect (by whatever mode) to the ferry and pay high fare or (2) catch a bus via Esmonde/Takapuna for lower fare.

        2. Don’t forget Northcote ferry problems started June. “An Auckland ferry wharf plagued by bad-weather closures has been shut until further notice, once again leaving ferry commuters in a bad mood.

          Big swells and an undisclosed problem identified in routine structural assessments saw Northcote Point Wharf closed at 6pm on June 20.”

  9. Ferries continue to struggle because they are expensive with very poor service frequency. There’s no turn up and go mindset. At peak times, there is an hour (4:15pm & 5:15pm) between services.

    Some form of integration with zonal fares would also make a difference.

    I live in Howick, it’s $7.50 for the half moon bay ferry which is expensive enough, add in a $1.90 single zone fare to get the bus 4kms to the ferry and a weeks commute costs $94 in hop card money.

    Compare that to $55.00 a week for the bus / train combo. It’s a nearly $2k difference a year to get the ferry. If AT wants to encourage people to use a ferry service, then the $1.90 bus charge needs to go.

    Like others have mentioned, there is huge pent up demand east of the Tamaki river, the eastern busway can’t come fast enough, although I suspect it’s being held back until the CRL is completed to avoid over stressing the eastern line.

    After using public transport every day for years, I’ve largely abandoned it for an e-bike. I can do my 25km commute in a reliable 55 minutes as opposed to 1 hour 10 mins on public transport. It’s cash positive too.

    1. The AT website showes that the Pakuranga-Pamure section of the busway will be complete by 2021. I expect that this will result in a substantial increase in train boardings at Pamure, and it will be interesting to see if there will be adequate passenger capacity on the Eastern Line prior to the opening of the CRL.

      Unfortunately the only realistic option to increase capacity on the Eastern Line pre-CRL would be to run additional trains to The Strand, but that would probably not be worthwhile.

  10. Rail has apparently dipped a little since the start of this year, about the time the 70 bus route started. My commuting may be typical of why this change occurred.

    I travel on Wednesdays to a hobby group meeting out past Pakuranga. I take PT to Pakuranga where I’m picked up by a friend. How I get there is not important (it’s local North Shore bus, NEX, train to Panmure, 70 bus to Pakuranga. One and a quarter hours from leaving home).

    It’s the return trip (off peak) that’s relevant. My friend drops me off back at Pakuranga, and my habit was to catch the 70 bus to Panmure, the train to Britomart, then either walk or take the CityLink bus uptown to near the Civic where I would have a coffee and refreshments while checking emails and browsing before catching a NS bus home from outside the Civic.

    On the afternoon that the train derailed in the Britomart tunnel, I was forced to take the 70 bus all the way into the city, and found that I could get off at the top of Wellesley St and walk downhill to the Civic. This beats walking up Queen St or waiting for the CityLink bus and has now become my preferred route. In other words, I am no longer taking the train from Panmure back into the city.

    So there are two factors that the 70 bus has given us versus the train. 1. It travels down Symonds St, dropping me and students uptown where we want to get off, instead of having to make our way uptown from Britomart, 2. It has higher frequencies, 10 minutes versus rail’s 20.

    So it looks like the 70 bus has taken passengers from rail. When the CRL opens, I will again go back to rail, travelling through Britomart to Aotea so I can get to the Civic direct.

    Meantime, because I sometimes just miss the NEX-Eastern Line connection in the morning and have to wait 20 minutes for the next train, I’m starting to think it might be quicker to take the 70 bus from Britomart on that journey too.

    1. It’s worth noting that the 70 replaced a number of H & E services that ran along this route from Panmure to the City. The frequency was actually higher prior to the eastern new network, so I’m not sure it would have taken that many off the trains.

      1. Maybe, but if they were multiple routes that connected at strategic points, passengers may have balked at having to transfer. The 70 route is one (usually double decker) all the way.

        1. There were no transfers, the routes have always gone right through to the CBD. The only difference is there were different route numbers depending on what part of Howick, Bucklands Beach or Botany the route started or terminated at, now there is just a single route number.

          1. Also the Otahuhu/ Sylvia Park 515/505 & other peak variant buses that came up through Ellerslie to the city. There were also motorway expresses which I noted one day were full. Maybe they will put in some short runner buses from either panmure or Ellerslie until CRL done.

      2. Yes, especially until the CRL opens or more frequent trains (when are the new batch coming?), that 70 probably needs a little boost (see my related comments above).

    2. During off peak 70 all the way to city is good. However during peak the congestion is quite bad around Greenland and New Market. The train from panmure will be much faster.

    3. Yes this is showing that the CRL and higher frequency trains during the day now is sorely missing. Another thing is the novelty or nice view from high up is a new thing.

  11. I know that these numbers are for June, but I thought I’d post my rant anyway…

    Since the new network for central was launched last month, the frequency of buses on Dominion Rd and Mt Eden Rd has decreased during peak times.

    This has lead to too many full buses (try catching the 25 or 27 from Symonds St or Mt Eden Station during the evening peak). I’ve literally waited at Mt Eden station for just shy of 40 minutes, waiting for a 25 bus that wasn’t full (not just seats full, but standing full).

    It’s seriously making me consider alternatives to the bus, and I’m such has affected ridership in July and August.

    1. *Reposting in the correct place*

      the 25B/L timetable shows a bus every 5 minutes or more from 7am to ~915am = 12 buses per hour. On top of which there is an express bus service running every 10 minutes or so = 6 buses per hour. A total of 18 buses per hour results in an average headway of just over 3 minutes. That seems pretty decent to me?

      What was the frequency before?

      1. Think it was over 30 an hour before. Maybe the problem is the timetable was planned for double deckers that haven’t been rolled out yet?

    2. Yeah I have noticed the decrease in peak time frequency on Dom Road buses too. I guess they took away or combined some of the less used routes, resulting in fewer buses. Given that this is one of the busiest PT corridors in the city, they need to give more thought to overall capacity – supply vs demand in other words.
      As for rail, I caught the train rather than the bus home to Kingsland the other day – it was much slower than the bus. The driver just seemed to dawdle along, station delay at Newmarket is too great and the services aren’t frequent enough off peak for it to be a viable option for many people. Plus Uber is way more convenient which is probably a factor as well.

  12. the 25B/L timetable shows a bus every 5 minutes or more from 7am to ~915am = 12 buses per hour. On top of which there is an express bus service running every 10 minutes or so = 6 buses per hour. A total of 18 buses per hour results in an average headway of just over 3 minutes. That seems pretty decent to me?

    What was the frequency before?

  13. That’s interesting regarding the 70 route. I think it is also the longest frequent route in Auckland, yet it has terrible bus priority and was not mentioned in the list of busy bus routes getting bus lane upgrades I saw in the paper yesterday.

    While there are big plans east of Panmure, many of the problems that cause this route to be very unreliable at peak occur west of Panmure, especially the Ellerslie town centre. It’s not uncommon to wait 20 minutes for one of these buses during the peak.

        1. He mentions the pick up service in Devonport too. What a stupid thing that is for an area that should be able to support a proper bus. And stupid to be building the greenfields areas the idea is intended for.

          1. …yes except if they do build greenfield areas in outer areas & don’t spend on shelters, big buses etc etc it maybe an OK idea…Devonport is really just a trial area…but really it’s just a subsidised taxi…but worse if you aren’t ready when you schedule a pickup anyone else in the vehicle would have to wait for you?…not sure on this one, it could have a place in way out places for last mile etc….better than an hourly or two hourly bus perhaps.

        2. Some promising comments in that article. Specifically mentioning “reallicating road space”. The proof will be in the pudding.

        3. Yes this sounds positive & I’m glad we are starting to hear from the new CEO now, seems was digesting & getting his head around the mammoth organisation for a few months before saying too much, which is probably wise. Also with most (almost all?) of the staff now (or moving to) in the one building in a more central location (old Vodafone building in Fanshawe St), I’m thinking synergy will be better too. Can’t rely on travelling around Auckland too efficiently for meetings etc ironically 😉

  14. For the Wellington bus trip numbers, you can expect them to dip next month, as people have already had a gutsful of the new network and the contract that resulted in knowledgeable, experienced drivers quitting in droves.

    I hope Metlink are cracking down and penalising Tranzit for their abysmal implementation of their contract. It will only “drive” people to use their cars and forget all about PT.

    1. I know we are often critical of AT but think it is important sometimes to just be thankful we don’t have Greater Wellington Regional Council running PT in Auckland.

        1. to be fair ive had no issues with the new Wellington network, My trips have gotten cheaper thanks to the off peak snapper fares and train frequency has improved in the daytime mon to fri.

          1. The patronage figures have continued to increase week on week as well (I linked today’s transport committee report below), so I think most of the complaints come from quite a vocal minority – people were predicting a sudden drop in pax numbers, but it just didn’t happen.

          2. At the talk about the NN a few weeks ago, Anthony Cross said that there’s usually a dip with a new network, as people find things didn’t work as they did before, then they adjust to the change, and ridership increases. I think he said this dip didn’t happen in South Auckland, so interesting if that’s true of Wellington too. I suppose sometimes the benefits of a new system can be obvious from day one.

          3. The capitals fare structure might drive people away from trains to parallel bus services too, the snapper discount is only available to rail users as a ten trip which makes for a large difference for just single trips.

          4. I’ve personally had fewer problems with the new network than the old.

            The old network was over crowded in the AM peak. It was a bit of a lottery as to whether I could board the next bus that turned up. Was regularly passed by full buses (2 or 3 not unusual – the extreme case was 6 in a row). It was so bad that I took to leaving 20-25 mins earlier to guarantee I’d be on time.

            In my case transferring is far more convenient (particularly in the morning) compared with the infrequent, direct, and frequently overloaded/full service. This even given all of the problems of the new network. Only been unable to board a bus once (single decker replacing double decker), and due to one of the current “features” of the new network (bunching) there was another along ~2-3min behind that was half empty.

            Also been enjoying the weekend/evening service on my closest route (which is different from my weekday usual) – particularly good for bringing home supermarket shopping (will also be good in wet weather).

            However core route frequencies in the evening could be better, ditto service span (should be to midnight at least every night).

            A few of the issues:
            – incomplete transfer hubs & lack real time info
            – cancelled services
            – bunching (not entirely convince of route 1 through routing without any further bus priority which pretty much guarantees it)
            – overly complex & illogical route structure in J’ville-Newlands area
            – poor evening frequecies
            – lack of ticketing integration with rail (particularly J’ville line)
            – route 7 Sunday service is a joke for a core “frequent” route (30min day, hourly evening)

          5. Luke – You must be living the Johnsonville/Grenda area. These area are having it good compared to the city suburbs.

          6. And you (if you regularly use Wellington City peak buses at all) must be living somewhere where the old network worked…

            Don’t assume that that was the case for everyone.

          7. gk – Whilst it is working for you, don’t assume that it is working for every one. There are alot of Wellington city suburbs the network is not working in.

        1. GWRC’s performance is suboptimal, but Wellington PT is still better than most places in NZ.

          AT isn’t brilliant either – just better than GW.

          1. Ok: better than CHCH then. Probably not as good as Auckland, but that’s only (relatively) recently improved, and isn’t brilliant by world standards.

            GW are even ahead of AT on some things.
            For example:
            – off peak fares (same hours as SuperGold)
            – battery electric buses (current 3 double deckers + prototype trolley conversion; 7 more double deckers this year, ~50 trolley conversions next year, 22 more double deckers 2020-2021)

            PT in the larger regional centres should be improved. Hawkes Bay would be a good place to start: main Napier-Hastings route meanders about, stops everywhere and is very slow – network needs complete redesign.

          2. “the rest of the country” – There are some notable exceptions to this, proving that a smaller population is no excuse for poor PT patronage. Otago had 18% growth in the last 5 years (and this doesn’t include the massive success of the new Queenstown network). Nelson at 29% growth is another standout.

  15. Really looking forward to seeing the ridership after the central NN started. I’ve been using the 66 and 650 a bit, and have noticed that numbers seem to be rising as people get used to them, especially on the 66. Poor pedestrian connectivity to the other routes, though. One young man on the westward journey on Monday saw his next bus on Mt Eden Rd, but the 66 had to travel another 200m along Mt Albert Rd before it reached a stop (the alternative was a stop 260m before Mt Eden Rd.)

    Putting the bus stops at the corners as they do in some other cities will give us much more return on our investment in the bus network.

    1. There are alot of frustrated bus travelers in Wellington who are not happy with the services that is being offered to them. Under the previous network, they could take 1 bus from A to B with short travel times, now have have to take to 2-3 buses to travel the same route with longer travel times.

      There will be a decline in passenger numbers as the new bus network especially, Wellington city and its mediate suburbs struggles with cancelled services due to shortage of drivers. The major operator – Tranzit (Tranzurban) pays a starting hourly rate of $18.50 p/hr for 8- 9 hours of work over 12-14 hour shifts. Despite both Tranzit and GWRC claims that the network is experiencing teething troubles, experienced bus travelers know, the network will continue to be unreliable as there will be never enough drivers to make the network as it it was designed to do. If fact, GWRC is now considering to look at some routes that currently multiple transfer hubs back to ‘point to point’ routes.

      The new bus network is based on ‘hub n spoke’ system which is good for Auckland and may be Christchurch but not Wellington due to city’s topography. Wellington city and its mediate suburbs requires a predominantly a ‘point to point’ route system. There has been several attempts to look at a ‘hub n spoke’ network over the last 50 years but have been dropped, as the ‘point to point’ route system with less labour and bus intensive.

      Whilst the previous bus network has its moments at least it worked and all was needed with some fine tuning and integrated ‘tap n travel’ payment system.

      The new bus network is an exercise by the GWRC to get a cheaper return on PT by replacing one major bus operator with another bus operator who has a non unionised work force on low wages.

      1. I wouldn’t fully trust the Union or Transit (or GW). All have reasons to spin.

        In the case of the union, it’s funny how overtime was good under NZ Bus, but only became a safety issue under Transit/Tranzurban …

        Still, I suspect drivers have been screwed to some extent by all of the above (& the previous National led government who wrote the rules under which all of this happened).

          1. why take on the safety critical high pressure role of a bus driver for that money when you can get the same for stacking shelves at bunnings now they pay living wage.

    2. Those numbers show that things are improving from when rolled out but don’t compare to what things were before the rollout happened so not really a fair comparison

      1. I did some (very) rough calculations based on the monthly stats for last year (https://www.metlink.org.nz/assets/Uploads/P12-Jun-18-Patronage-Stats.xlsx):

        For the month of July 2017, there were 1,977,932 boardings; this gives us around 446,630 boardings per week (divide monthly by 31 and multiply by 7). I’m using weekly calculations to try to avoid problems with the differences between weekend and weekday patronages.

        For the week 15-21 July listed in the GWRC report linked in my previous comment, we have around (19,000 + 65,000 + 75,000*4 + 25,000) 409,000 boardings, which is around 91.5% of the previous year. Moving on to the final week listed (29 Jul to 4 August) we have (19,000 + 80,000 + 85,000*4 + 25,000) = 464,000 boardings per week, slightly more than the weekly July figs for the previous year (but given how rough my calculations are I’m obviously not confident in saying “yes, it’s more than last year”).

        These calculations are VERY rough (i.e. I got the weekly figures for this year by reading by eye off the graph and rounding to nearest 5,000), but I think that I would be comfortable saying that there hasn’t been a *massive* drop in patronage.

        If anyone can find weekly data for last year, though, I would be very interested to see the stats (and if anyone can do week-on-week number growth calcs for July last year I think it would be interesting to see whether the growth this year as people move back onto the buses after the fiasco that was rollout day is larger than normal growth) – I’ve just had a quick look and this is the best I can come up with.

        Other questions someone could answer: based on the “normal growth”, is 464,000 for the end of July/beginning of August lower or higher than we would expect based on extrapolating from last year?

      2. Having looked at the spreadsheet for last year again I noticed that August 2017 had significantly higher (by ~400,000) boardings than July – averaging weekly boardings for both months (calculated in same way as prev comment) I have a new weekly figure of 489,349 boardings, which means this year’s are both lower (at around 84% and 95% respectively). Still, I wouldn’t personally call it a “massive” decline given that the number of boardings seems to be increasing, but I’m less confident than I was before.

        1. Need to be careful of what they’re counting too. Boarding vs journeys, given all the transferring going on.

          For example, my morning commute is now involves transferring (2 boardings) vs previous direct (1 boarding) – it’s still one journey though.

          1. It will probably be journeys, given that the data comes from the Snapper system – so it would only count transfers where you paid an extra fare (i.e. paying cash). (This is what I recall from the RLTP when I read it last year, I haven’t gone and checked today though so take this with a grain of salt. If you can find somewhere that says this or the opposite definitely, then I’d be very interested to see that!)

          2. On the other hand, they will be getting per-bus data too (so they can see which routes they have to increase capacity on and so forth), but I doubt they publish that directly – if there are per-route numbers or any other data I would be delighted to see it as GWRC (like most councils) has a tendency to only release summary figures. So, in summary, I have no idea but it’s probably journeys (that’s what snapper natively handles) not boardings.

            I believe (again talking off the top of my head) that the number of journeys with transfers is ~30% in Wellington City if anyone’s interested – but I doubt we’d see a decline in figures that large unless GWRC had really messed up, and judging from the capacity issues that are still on a lot of buses, anecdotally there hasn’t been that big of a decrease in pax (if boardings were counted separately even for transfers, we would have to subtract around 20-30% from my % figures above to account for it and the final % number just seems far too low – but again I have absolutely no idea).

          3. Would be good if they showed both. I think AT did that when reporting figures for the new network out West (Auckland).

            Also where transfers are occurring – numbers for hubs and also how much is going on away from designated hubs. (I’ve done a bit of that to speed up trips.)

          4. My point is that it’s not *catastrophic*, anyway – and with new bus hubs and fixes to RTI systems and so forth it shouldn’t be any worse than before. At the end of the day the point was to align the new routes with the PT spine study and to reduce bus numbers down the golden mile so they could stick extra capacity on the spine routes, and I think that while it’s not perfect it’s definitely not the end of the world, like the Dom Post seems to think it is 🙂 And anecdotally, I don’t know anyone with more problems than they used to have with buses (but I don’t know many of the elderly etc. who will be worse off with transfers).

            Sorry for massive comments, I’ve got nothing else to do for the next couple of hours and apparently I care enough about this to rant about it…

          5. Agree that drop doesn’t appear catastrophic & things will improve once the hubs, bunching, etc are sorted.

            “Dom Post”
            Shock/horror/doom/outrage …
            At least they’ve now changed their paper size to match their journalism (tabloid in both cases).

            Elderly: don’t know many in Wellington, but those I do know are enjoying having evening and weekend services where there were none before (& realise that transfers are the trade off that allowed this to happen). Have heard a rant about bunching and the number of Number 1’s spotted in a row during the day …

          6. gk – I agree with you about boardings and journeys. There will be an increase in boardings due to hub system, as some suburbs that required 1 bus for a journey now required 2 or more boardings to achieve the same journey.

        2. gk – With regards to your comment – ‘Agree that drop doesn’t appear catastrophic & things will improve once the hubs, bunching, etc are sorted.’ the problem is not going to be sorted, as the network needs to have every shift that is required to make the new bus network to work filled with a driver.

          The problem is, Tranzit is now the major bus operator of the network and since they pay low wages and do not want their drivers being members of a union, recruiting and retaining drivers is going to cause ongoing cancelled services, bunching of buses, full buses, etc are going to be the norm resulting in alot of frustrated travelers who will look at other methods to get to work.

          1. How did Tranzit get to be so powerful? They own Intercity as well, so are responsible for the dire state of our regional bus facilities. Exploiting the tourists who couldn’t know any better, the poor who have no choice and the people like me silly enough to prefer not to drive. Why on earth aren’t these things in public ownership so we can decide to improve them?

          2. Tranzit is a dominant player now in the NZ bus scene. They are a family owned business so very hard to get information on how the business runs or to put pressure on them through shareholders meetings.

          3. Heidi – Tranzit and Ritchies are both family owned businesses and have become major players in the bus and coach industry.

            Tranzit is not the owner of InterCity Group but is the the second largest shareholder. Ritchies is the largest shareholder with SBL (Suburban Bus Lines) located in Nelson having a small shareholding.

  16. While disappointing compared to previous years growth I think we should be cautious in looking at the reasons behind the 2017/18 figures. There are lots of reasons PT patronage can go up and down. General economic growth may have tapered off, the completion of Waterview will have driven a mode shift back to cars, and in real terms I suspect car purchase and operation was not getting any dearer during this period. Whereas there was a fare increase, and that was predicted to drop patronage by 600,000.
    https://at.govt.nz/about-us/news-events/changes-to-public-transport-fares/
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/349322/auckland-transport-fare-hike-imminent

    1. Yes, agree & also just extra up and down fickel weather doesn’t help, seems worse this winter. I think some underestimate how some users don’t like walking or transfering especially in bad & cold weather. Union meetings etc & myriad of small problems of reliability due to traffic congestion, bad signage, timetable changes & apps that don’t give you very good journey options sometimes all contribute. This is shown by the good growth in the NEX still, simple turn up and go and not much affected by weather or general traffic.

      1. “some users don’t like walking or transfering especially in bad & cold weather” … given the time it takes to walk the 200 or 500 m transfer distance, with no shelter and with 1.5 to 2.5 minute pedestrian wait times at crossings…

        1. Yes, a lot of stuff is still bare bones basic, we have new close stop with nice new matching one opposite looking like it’s planned to be there as it’s sketched in but no pole, proper markings or showing in the journey planner yet. The original one further away is used in the meantime which at least has a shelter. This closest one (with no seat or shelter) also has limited lighting (on otherside of the street only) so drivers were having problems seeing users flagging down the bus at night or early morning…had to jump in front of it almost for them to stop, lol, now has markings on the road at least I think makes it more obvious for them to look out for people.

          1. On those early runs I usually use the screen of my phone to signal drivers. Works like a charm 🙂

  17. “The overall growth rate is lower than it was in 2017 (6.7%) but is in line with what we’ve seen over the last 15 years. It’s also higher than population growth ”

    Matt, this last statistic is an absolutely meaningless one and is of no help other than to encourage AT that they have achieved something.

    PT ridership 4.6% increase 4.6% x 90 million = an extra 4.14 million trips/year

    Auckland population (assume a conservative 2% increase) x 1.6 million people x 10 trips /week x 48 weeks/year = an extra 15.36 million trips/year

    So public transport seems to be capturing only about 27% of additional trips made in Auckland last year.

    This is another epic fail by AT on top of a number of epic fails.

    My memory says the ATAP report expects 7% growth each year for the next 10 years.

  18. As Sock puppet points out, “There are lots of reasons PT patronage can go up and down.”
    Spare an historical thought for real decline in public transport patronage recorded by John Lyne in his contribution to the 1962 publication of Auckland Expanding To Greatness: “Passenger services using Auckland Transport Board services have dropped from the peak in 1945 of 99½ million to last year (1960-61) 50 million. In 1949, four years after the peak, passengers had dropped to 89 million – without any fare alteration. These figures tell the story of the decline in public transport during the 16 years in which metropolitan Auckland has increased its population beyond all expectations.”
    One of the reasons given for the declining patronage of the 1950s and 1960s is often quoted today – that of convenience:
    “Bus users complain about the inconvenient location of public transport, of time wasted in walking up and down the city to connect with buses, and compare the days when most mainline tram services ran through Queen Street. Many wish for the return of those days by the routeing of buses through Queen Street. But until the kerbs are cleared of parked cars and meters and the city council has a change of heart public transport had no chance of meeting people’s wishes.” (Lyne – Auckland Expanding To Greatness pp.153 & 154)

  19. The ferry lacks competition and AT doesn’t seem to care.

    For example in Hobsonville, although there is a huge demand of more ferry service, AT are just seem slow to respond. The current ferry operator is monopoly, so it is encouraged to keep the status of quo.

    To really solve it, there should be more competition between ferry operators. Ideally each ferry terminal there should be have more than one ferry operators competing for customers.

    1. “slow to respond”
      Ferries are expensive.

      “competition”
      Very poor idea. Would lead to two services leaving around the same time, large gaps, a price war then return to a monopoly.

      Ferries should be part of the integrated network, with timetables, fares, etc specified by AT.

      1. When a competitor emerged for the Waiheke service, this what happened: Fullers were running hourly. The competitor ran on the half hour. The people were happy.

        So, Fullers doubled the number of ferries they ran, scheduling one boat to leave five minutes before the competitor was due to leave. Their related bus company on Waiheke ran their buses to meet the Fullers boats, not the competitor’s boats. This is in keeping with Stagecoach’s tactics overseas (e.g. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/stagecoach-set-record-of-shame-ful-record-of-shame-1527193.html). Stagecoach own Fullers. Of course with the competitor out of business, Fullers are running hourly services again (sometimes with stupidly small boats at busy times, and so sometimes large groups of people get left behind on the wharf to wait for another hour).

        AT refused to give the competitor access to the covered wharf near the ferry building, so customers had to find the competitor’s wharf and had to queue in the rain. But Fullers were allowed to run more ferries from the same covered wharf. Also, the competitor didn’t receive the Super Gold Card funding that Fullers received. After the competitor went out of business, there was a deal in which Fullers bought their boats.

        So yeah, I’d say the solution is not trying to compete with an aggressive monopolist, but to do what gk says: Bring all ferries under AT’s remit and then get them to show the ferries some love, bringing them into an integrated network, specifying timetables and fares.

        PS there was a tender for a consultancy to help deliver a new ferry strategy a while back…anyone know where that got to?

        1. Ironically Manabus, part of the Inmotion Group who also own Fullers, were also given a very poor deal with bus stops in central Auckland. When they finally “closed down”, the buses were sold to their competitor, Ritchies, who own 46% of InterCity. Despite this creating a monopoly, not a peep was heard from the Commerce Commission.

          1. zippo – There is no requirement for ComCom to be invloved, as Ritichies did not buy the Mana/Nakes Bus brand only purchased the coaches and rehired most of drivers who were made redundant by Inmotion Group.

          2. It sounds like there are cases for anti competitive practices. Do you think the upcoming commerce commission amendment bill will solve those issues.

  20. Just a quick update to the post to note that I forgot to aggregate all the Onewa Rd services. Doing so the ones to the city add up to 3.01 million with another 381k as services that use Onewa Rd but go to Takapuna or Northcote Point

  21. I can’t help thinking that the decline in rail patronage is due in part to the reduction of seats when a double unit is replaced by a single. This seems (from the texts I receive) to be particularly prevalent on the Eastern Line.

    I am informed that the train plan allows 3 trains per day on planned maintenance, however that doesn’t make allowance for the long term withdrawal of the Britomart and Meadowbank accident victims or the unscheduled maintenance required because of damage caused by our appalling track standards

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