Why is PT ridership falling in the US, but growing here?

Jarrett Walker recently posed an interesting question, that he was after some more in depth research on than the usual ‘reckons’, “why is public transport ridership in the US falling so much?” This builds on a tweet from Kirk Hovenkotter, showing that ridership had fallen in most large US cities over the past year, which was reported on CityLab: Transit ridership is falling except in 2 cities with major bus network restructures. Lets stop blaming gas prices & start a #busturnaround pic.twitter.com/GYCiDmM4La — Kirk Hovenkotter (@khoven) February 23, 2017 A number of “culprits” are suggested. The obvious one being that oil prices have fallen significantly over the past few years, …
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February-2017 Ridership

Auckland Transport’s hold a board meeting next week which means we finally get to see how public transport performed in February. February’s results are always slightly more interesting than normal as they give an indication of what kind of results we can expect from March Madness as the busy conditions usually start manifesting in late Feb – and so far, March has been noticeably un-mad. February this year had an additional dimension to keep an eye on as last year had an extra day due to being a leap year – although there were the same number of normal working days. The good news is the results were strong, the highlights are: …
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Auckland PT Performance Comparison 2017

Public transport in Auckland has come a long way over the last 10-15 years on the back of numerous improvements to the network. From the upgrading of the rail network to the building of the northern busway to improved local buses, all have played a part in the immense improvement in the PT network that we’ve witnesses. And it’s clear it’s not only us who have realised this with the numbers speaking for themselves and ridership booming. The total number of trips taken on our PT network on an annual basis hovered just over 50 million for many years until mid-2007. In January this year we passed 85 million trips with 10 million of that …
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January-2017 Ridership

January-2017 RidershipWith Auckland Transport moving to having less frequent board meetings it makes it more difficult to get monthly updates. However, while not quite as detailed as the reports presented to the board meetings, we can get an indication as to how performance is going from this ridership report AT update monthly and has been updated to include January. The headlines are: Overall ridership for January was 5.64 million, up 6.7% on January-2016. Importantly, on a 12-month rolling basis ridership has now surpassed 85 million trips. That’s pretty good considering that only just passed 75 million just over two years ago. The majority of that 10 million increase has come from the …
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December-2016 Ridership

We normally get our monthly dose of ridership stats from Auckland Transport’s regular board meetings but with the holiday season, the next meeting isn’t till mid-February. Thankfully, AT have already updated their public facing data, which despite not as comprehensive as the board reports, it does allow us to see how we performed in December. The good news is that we performed well. Here are some highlights. Compared to December 2015: Total Ridership was up 4.9% with a total of 6.12 million trips. Use of the Rapid Transit Network continues to grow impressively and increased by 16.2% to 1.68 million trips. The share of PT trips on Rapid Transit is quickly rising. …
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Ka mua, ka muri: Looking back in order to move forward

‘They always say time changes everything, but actually you have change them yourself’ -Andy Warhol Ka mua, ka muri is a Māori proverb that expresses a great truth around a simple image. The image is of a person walking backwards into the future. It suggests that the past is clearly visible but the future is not, that we have imperfect information for the road ahead, but also that this is a natural state of affairs. Let us look back for clues to the way forward, but also understand that the future is unwritten. The future comes out of the past but will not be identical to it. The only unchanging thing …
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2016 – A Year in Review Part 1 – PT

As the year rapidly draws to a close it’s a good time to look back at all the important events that have occurred. Because there’s so much to cover, I’ll be splitting this up over multiple posts, starting with public transport. It’s been a huge year for public transport. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught in the day to day details which makes it easy to forget that a lot of really positive things happened in 2016. So, here’s my summary. City Rail Link We started the year with the great news that the government had come to their senses, agreeing the main part of the project should start …
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November-2016 Patronage and Cycle Data

Auckland Transport kindly provided me the public transport ridership numbers for November and once again show spectacular growth on the Rapid Transit Network as well as a new milestone being achieved on ferries. The numbers for the month were helped by an extra weekday compared to November-2015 but are still good regardless. Over all modes, ridership in November was up 7.9% (adjusted to 6.3% taking calendar and other impacts into account). That saw total ridership increase to nearly 84.5 million trips in the 12 months to the end of November. The milestone for ferries is that over past 12 months, now more than six million trips have been taken on them. This …
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October-2016 Patronage

Ridership figures for public transport in Auckland during October are now available and they continue to grow, driven almost exclusively by huge growth on the Rapid Transit Network (RTN) – the rail lines and the Northern Busway. Compared to October-2015, total ridership this October increased by 2.7% with just under 7.3 million trips taken, but within that figure the use of the RTN has its double-digit growth and is up 16.3% (rail up 16.4% and busway up 16.2%). This kind of great growth is to be expected as it reflects the RTN continuing to establish itself as the core of the PT network. Now over 26% of all PT trips in the region …
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September-16 Patronage

Auckland public transport patronage for September is now available and sitting on a Shinkansen racing across Japan seems like the perfect time to write about it. Compared to September 2015 there is once again a marked difference between the modes with AT reporting the following high level results for the month: Total – up 3.4% Bus – up 0.4% Train – up 13.8% Ferry – up 6.7% The more detailed breakdown is shown below Once again you can see that with bus, it’s the busway that continues to be pull up the numbers up with stellar growth. With Ritchies now running all but two buses in the peak as double …
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