The rail network and Northern Busway have helped to show that when relatively fast, frequent, reliable and high-quality services are provided, that Aucklanders will flock to use them. At 25.6 million trips, now around 28% of all public transport use in the region takes place on our burgeoning Rapid Transit Network., It has accounted for about 55% of the growth that has occurred over the last five years – although growth on the rail network has notably slowed since late last year.
Once again, Auckland Transport have kindly provided us with the numbers breaking down the results. This allows us to see how many trips travel from every station to every other station.
Before delving into it a few caveats.
- The data is based on completed HOP trips i.e. where both the origin and destination are known. This means trips aren’t included, such as where someone has forgotten to tag off or for special events where travel is included as part of the ticket. This accounts for about 90% of all rail trips. The busway numbers match the overall result though suggesting the monthly numbers AT report are actually understated.
- The boarding numbers don’t include transfers i.e. where someone gets off a western line train at Newmarket and transfers to a Southern or Onehunga Line train it’s all considered one journey
- The numbers for rail and the busway are independent of each other so we can’t see how many people transfer from a train to the busway.
First up, the total boardings for busway and train stations. Britomart and Busway boardings in the city are truncated so it’s possible to see the outcomes of other stations easier.
And here is the change in boardings from this year to last year. The Busway stations aren’t included in here as we don’t have last year’s data to compare it to.
Below are some observations from this data
- The busway stations are very well. Interestingly Albany has actually dropped a bit since the last data we had and I suspect that’s mainly related to the increased use of the Hibiscus Coast Station.
- Panmure has been growing strongly in recent years and if current trends continue, will see it replace New Lynn as our third busiest rail station. For some reason, a lot more people alight trains at New Lynn than board though so New Lynn is still quite a bit higher in that regard. Once the Eastern Busway eventually opens I suspect Panmure will be significantly busier station.
- Otahuhu has shown impressive growth and AT should have been using it as a poster child for feeder buses during the Herald’s Park & Ride campaign. In the first full year since the upgraded station opened and the new bus network was launched in South Auckland there were 435k trips, up from around 100k a few years before. To get that kind of growth with P&R would have required at least 700 carparks requiring a significant amount of money and land.
- Parnell has been open for more than a full year and is still performing poorly with fewer than 100,000 boardings. Despite having all Southern Line trains stop at the station, along with Western Line trains in evenings and weekends, the station still has fewer boardings than Te Papapa, a station that at best only gets half-hourly trains. We hope this drastically improves now that all Western Line trains are also stopping there and once the improved access to Nicholls Lane opens.
- A number of stations saw decreases in boardings this year which is not usual. It’s not clear what caused this.
- Downhilling from Grafton remains popular with there being over 130,000 more trips alighting than boarding – downhilling is where someone gets off a bus/train at the top of a hill then makes their way to a station at the bottom so they don’t have to walk back up the hill.
Here are the boarding and alighting numbers
Lastly, something we call the Rankings Rug – because it resembles a rug with an abstract weave. Using the information above and some older station counts, I’ve ranked each train station and plotted it on the graph to see how things have changed over time. The rug doesn’t include the busway stations as I don’t have much data on them
The station order on the left of the chart represents how the stations were ranked in 2011 and stations can be traced through to now to see how they’ve changed over that time. A few notable changes that stand out are:
- You can clearly see the stratospheric rise of Otahuhu in the rankings to now become the 12th busiest station.
- Manukau has also continued to improve and I’d expect it to keep doing so over the next year with the bus interchange now open.
- Penrose is another station that has been climbing the ranks fairly consistently over recent years.
- Going the wrong way, both in rankings and in usage, is Homai
- With fewer than 40k boardings, Te Mahia is once again the lowest ranked station. Even Parnell, the next lowest, has over twice that number. It will be interesting to see if the station upgrade currently underway will change this at all.
What do you make of the station usage results?
If you want to make some visualisations of your own, the raw data for the last five years is here.