A few days after I published my post on ridership for September, Auckland Transport released the data for October. The month is significant as it’s the first one since the new bus network on the North Shore was rolled out, completing the major changes that have been in progress for the last few years.
October 2018 had one extra business day over 2017 but even taking that into account, the month recorded the strongest growth we’ve seen this year. In total there were nearly 1 million more boardings in the month compared to October last year and that has also pushed the annual rolling total up to just under 95 million. The last time it was that high was 1951, just as we really started pulling the trams out. Some of the highlights from the month include:
- The busway experienced significant growth, most likely thanks to the increased frequencies on the NX1 (formerly the NEX) and the introduction of the NX2. Total busway trips jumped a staggering 45.6%. The increase was so significant it even stands out on the annual rolling graph. If this continues, we could see the busway become busier than some of our key rail lines within the next few months, a great example of the power of speed and frequency to drive usage.
- Frequent buses also saw strong growth with trips up 65.1% but some of that will be related some routes across all the areas rolled out in the last year now being classified as frequent.
- Trains saw some improved growth after what has been a sluggish year. The growth was enough for the annual rolling number to pass 20.5 million, finally passing the previous ‘high score’ of just over 20.4m achieved in November last year. The good news is more trains are in the process of being built.
Something a little different for your Tuesday…
These are the first pictures sent in from the team in Spain who are overseeing the manufacturing of our new trains. We have an additional 15, three-car electric trains on order, with the first arriving next year! 🚉 🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/yr0vUga3Lx
— Auckland Transport (@AklTransport) November 26, 2018
- Even the ferries got in on the action with almost 11% growth for the month and both the contracted and exempt (commercial) routes seeing an increase of 10% or higher.
In a newsletter a few days ago, AT also included these charts showing how usage was changing in each of the regions of Auckland following implementation. As you can see, all areas so far are experiencing growth.
Below are the more detailed breakdown of the numbers that’s available. I don’t often include this table but for those that look at the results regularly, you may notice a change
For those that don’t always look at this, the change is the addition of journeys to the data. Journeys are different to trips (boardings) as they take into account all trips you may make in one go. For example, my commute to Takapuna can involve a train and two buses but that will only be one overall journey. Some of you may, by now be asking how they then break journeys down into modes and even services. I was certainly curious so I asked AT who explained how they split the numbers up based on the fraction of your journey you were on that service. Here’s their technical response
The Journey selection shows how many apportioned Journeys each category received. For example: 1 Journey has two trips, the first trip is Bus Mode for 2 stages and the second trip Train Mode for 1 stage. Then the Journey will be 2/3 Bus and 1/3 Train. If a second Journey had 2 trips, the first trip is Bus Mode for 1 stage and the second trip is Train mode for 3 stages. Then the Journey will be 1/4 Bus and 3/4 Train. Adding these two Journeys together you would end up with 2/3 + 1/4 = 11/12 = 0.92 Bus and 1/3 + 3/4 = 13/12 = 1 1/12 = 1.08 Train. This means the weighting for each Journey is identical regardless of the amount of Revenue received.
I was also interested to see how that journey data changed over time, especially in relation to the new bus network. Again AT kindly provided me with the data to allow me to fill in some of the blanks. Unfortunately the data only goes back to just over a year to when integrated fares first rolled out. One of the first things you can see in the graph is how we’re already seeing trips the results for trips and journeys diverge.
It will be fascinating to see how this changes in the coming years. The numbers suggest we have about 1.2 boardings for every journey. For a quick comparison I looked at Vancouver which publishes both numbers. They have about 427 million trips and 257 million journeys. That’s 1.7 trips per journey so we’ve potentially got a lot of room to expand the network.
Finally, we also saw decent numbers on many of our cycleways in October with many of the counters seeing double digit increases over October last year. For all counters where we had data last October, there has been an 18.3% increase. The NW cycleway has been one of the most consistent in seeing growth this year. Here are the numbers for it at Kingsland and Te Atatu. Of note, the lowest month in 2018 in both of these is about the same as the peak of 2016.
These two are significant as this morning will see the formal opening of the Ian McKinnon Dr extension of the route, cutting out the sharp climb up to Newton Rd.