A few days after seeing that the cycleways a booming, we’ve now got the high level ridership numbers for February and like with bikes, the numbers are looking good. February is always an interesting as it is the first useful indicator for months on how PT usage is going as December and January are impacted by holidays and rail shut-downs. It was also going to be interesting to see what impact the fare increases on 10-Feb had on usage.
For February this year we saw an impressive 11% increase in boardings compared with February 2018, that’s over 835,000 more. On a 12-month rolling basis we’re now at 97.6 million, up 6.5% or 5.95 million. Below you can see how the modes fared with all seeing decent growth.
Once again the busway is looking great and that’s partially due to a change in how AT count it. We’ll need to wait till October to see what the full impact of these changes are but if things continue the way they are, annualised usage for the busway will be about 7.5 million, higher than any of the individual rail lines – the Western Line is the busiest with just over 7 million trips. Buses outside of the busway continue to be strong too with 9.5% growth in the month which is largely related to the changes with the new network. Speaking of the new network. One thing that was expected, based on experiences overseas, was that ridership would initially dip but then come back and grow stronger than it was before. Notably in Auckland we haven’t seen that dip and if we continue to see good strong growth in the coming years it will really help see PT use grow.
February’s strong bus numbers saw us pass a milestone 70 million bus trips with a 12-month period for the first time. This is up from about 46 million bus trips a decade ago and buses still make up about 72% of all PT boardings.
As for rail, after a weak 2018, it’s good to see stronger growth coming back and annualised trips are just shy of 21 million.
For ferries, most notably February was the first full month where services ran to Hobsonville Point and Beach Haven on weekends. This was paid for in part by local residents and some of the developers. Notably it already appears to be more successful than expected with AT saying this in their monthly report
Weekend services commenced between Downtown / Beach Haven / Hobsonville on 26 January 2019. Council funding support has been minimised through a one-year funding and marketing agreement with Homes, Land and Communities (HLC). Patronage continues to be above target on the route at a weekend. Since service commencement, patronage between Downtown and Hobsonville / Beach Haven has been averaging over 500 passenger journeys a weekend compared to the initial target of 200.
It’s interesting to compare this early result to those being seen in the Devonport rideshare trial which is seeing just 500-600 trips over an entire week.
Overall it was a good month and I’m expecting March to be good too with possibly two milestones being reached
- If we can achieve a growth of just 5%, and it seems likely, it will be the first time we’ll have had more than 10 million trips in a calendar month, at least since the trams .
- We should reach 21 million rail trips for the most recent 12-months – most likely we’ve already hit it and will have been 20 months since we hit 20 million
Here are few other things that caught my eye from ATs monthly indicators report – this is only just come out for January though.
Traditionally we see January much lower than December for usage in the weekday average numbers we can see them almost the same this year.
Parking occupancy has fallen both on-street and off-street. The on-street one appears to be the result of a change in methodology but the off-street drop is likely in part due to the all day rate at the Downtown Carpark increasing from $24 to $40 on 21-Jan. I also wonder if some of those upset at the pricing changes have switched to using PT and are contributing to the good month we had.Farebox recovery – the percentage of PT costs covered by fares, declined a little overall in February. Overall ti’s sitting at 44.3%