Over year to the end of June, the number of boardings on our rail network increased by 5.8% on the year before to a record of 21.4 million.
Every year Auckland Transport kindly provide me with the numbers to break that down by station, including how many people went 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 data accounts for about 96% of all rail trips.
- 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
First up, the total number of boardings at stations. The Britomart numbers have been truncated so it’s easier to see the detail of the other stations.
Below are some observations:
- Panmure has seen impressive growth since the upgraded station opened at the beginning of 2014 and this year sees it replace New Lynn as the third busiest station on the network behind Britomart and Newmarket. We also know that a lot of people transfer from buses to trains, more than predicted would, and it helps to show that people will transfer if it’s easy. Once the first stage of Eastern Busway opens, could we eventually see Panmure start to put pressure on Newmarket for second spot? A quick comparison of the recent history of New Lynn and Panmure is below.
- Otahuhu is another poster-child for transferring. Prior to being upgraded only around 100k people used the station, last year there were over 500k boardings. To get that kind of growth through park & ride would have required about 1600 spaces at a cost of $40-100 million – depending on how much of that was in a multi-storey building. It’s going to be fascinating to see what happens to Puhinui once that station upgrade is completed in the next few years.
- In it’s second full year, Parnell has improved and recorded the strongest percentage growth due to the low base it was coming off. That growth makes it now only the 5th least used station.
- Te Mahia once again takes the wooden spoon for the least used station. I wonder if the recent upgrade is going to see that number jump in the next few years.
The next graph shows the change in usage by station over the last year. As you can see, there was very strong overall growth at Panmure, Manukau, Newmarket and Ellerslie. The first three are all major interchanges but Ellerlslie is a bit of a surprise. I wonder if this is related to the new bus network as the popular 70 passes by the station so could be picking up some transfers. This time only one station, Papatoetoe, recorded a 6k drop in boardings.
This shows the same thing but as a percentage change. In this case the Parnell result of 82% growth has been truncated
What is most notable about this is that Britomart had the lowest percentage increase of all stations (other than Papatoetoe). This is interesting as it shows the rail network is more and more being used not just for trips to the city but for other journeys too. A few years ago 60% of all trips on the rail network started or ended at Britomart. This year that has fallen to 51%.
Lastly, something we like to call the Rankings Rug – because it resembles a rug with an abstract weave. I’ve ranked each train station over time based on boardings and plotted the results on the graph to see how things have changed. A falling ranking doesn’t mean that boardings have fallen, it usually just means other stations have grown faster and now have more. A few notable changes not already mentioned are:
- Penrose and Pukekohe have both been climbing the ranks fairly consistently over recent years.
- On the other end of the spectrum, Manurewa, My Albert, Onehunga, Sunnyvale have seen their rankings fall as other stations grow faster.
What do you make of the results.
Note: in the past I’ve included busway station in some of the graphs above. AT changed the way they report on busway numbers when they launched the new network and it’s not as directly comparable so I’ve left the results off.