Just over a week after we saw the results for December. Now the high level ridership numbers for January are out and they are looking good. January is typically the quietest month of the year thanks to a number of factors such as: school holidays, people being away on leave, the rail network shutdowns and traffic being lighter so driving is easier, but this year it seems many more people jumped on board buses, trains and particularly ferries. It’s also worth noting that there were exactly the same number of working days, weekend days and public holiday days as January 2018 which further helps make the results impressive.
Across all modes combined we saw a 13.7% increase in boardings compared to January 2018 which represents almost 820,000 more trips and pushing us ever closer to the 100 million mark – we’re now at 96.86 million. As you can see below, all modes fared well.
The busway is continuing to look very positive, however with the roll out of the New Network AT did change how they report busway usage. We’ll need to wait till October to see what the full impact of these changes are but as I mentioned yesterday, the indications are that the busway is now carrying more passengers on an annual basis than any of the lines on the rail network, a great example of the power of frequency and reliability in getting people to use PT.
The real surprise result for January though was the ferries. In total just over 716,000 trips were recorded on ferries, an increase of 24.6% on last January. This is probably the single biggest month ferries have seen since the harbour bridge was built, the previous biggest month was in March last year (based on monthly data since 2002. It’s not clear what caused ferries to see such a surge in usage but it might be tied to the hot and dry January we saw encouraging people to visit places like Waiheke etc.
The rail network also did well considering much of it was closed down for a lot of the month as part of the upgrade works. Overall there were 1.3 million train trips in January and what’s interesting is that prior to 2015, we had never seen even a March, typically our busiest month of the year when electric trains really started rolling out, have that many.
A good amount of the growth we’re seeing will be the result of the new bus network that has been rolled out over the last few years and for which the final major parts, Central Auckland and North Shore. Below is a quick summary of how each of the new network areas are performing. As you can see, all parts of the city are seeing PT use increase but it also highlights how almost 60% of trips occur in the central area – the old Auckland City Council boundaries.
|Trips||% of Total||Growth|
Another thing that is reported in ATs board reports is this graph which shows how people are accessing the city centre each morning. This basically the people crossing the city’s motorway noose and so doesn’t include people who live within the city centre cordon. I’ve mentioned before that I find this graph horrible to read as it’s impossible to really tell what is happening – although you can see a decrease in car numbers over time.
AT kindly provided me with the latest numbers, as used in the graph above, which has allowed me to update my version of this which I think shows the trends much better by looking at the results on a 12-month rolling basis. As you can see, the split of modes seems to have roughly stabilised over the last six-months with people arriving by car making up just over 48% of AM peak trips to the city. This is down from almost 54% around three years ago. Over the coming year it will be interesting to see how this all changes, especially if the changes to Quay St start to change behaviour.
We’ve had some individual months where PT use alone has been higher that car use but I wonder when we’ll see that happen over a 12-month period?