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Public transport patronage continues to grow

“Auckland public transport patronage continues to grow”
9 July 2001

Patronage figures released on Thursday confirm that more Aucklanders are jumping onto public transport to enter the Auckland central area.

ARC’s annual Central Area Passenger Transport Patronage Survey recorded 4.9% more people entering the Auckland CBD by public transport in the morning peak period between 7am and 9am this April compared to April 2000.

This means that on a typical working day 37% of people entering the CBD do so on public transport – up from 34% in 1999.

“This increase shows that the continual small improvements we’re making to public transport, especially buses, every few months, is helpful for Aucklanders,” said Transport Committee chairman Les Paterson. “They’re voting with their feet for public transport.”

“We’ve had a steady increase in public transport patronage into the CBD ever since 1994 and we expect this healthy trend to continue.”

The survey, conducted on a weekday in early April 2001 recorded 21,115 people taking a bus, train or ferry into Auckland’s central area, up from 20,120 last year. Buses accounted for 84% of the patronage, ferries 13% and train services 3%.

Bus patronage had the biggest increase with 7.5%, or 16,804 last year to 18,064 people this year coming into town at rush hour. Ferry patronage remained constant. After a 35% increase between 1999 and 2000, rail patronage dropped back 35% from 2000 to 2001. 1101 passengers were recorded last year compared to 718 this year.

“It’s not surprising that train passenger numbers are down. Train fares went up last October, parking at many outlying train stations is becoming more expensive and the central rail station is a mess,” said Transport Committee chairman Les Paterson.

“The potential for rail to bring in people efficiently is enormous and the current system is going backwards. That’s exactly why we’re planning to make big improvements to the rail service and infrastructure. The first step is to get rail into the bottom of Queen St in the next two years. We are also planning to make other stations more accessible and improving their attractiveness and safety.”

On Friday, a forum of councillors from all the councils of the region agreed to recommend a $1 billion upgrade of the rapid transit network (including rail, the Waitemata Waterfront and the North Shore busway) to all councils, with light rail in the west, light rail and bus on a central Auckland city link route, and modern conventional rail along the southern lines.

“We’re getting ready now to build the most appropriate service for Aucklanders for the next generation. Rail patronage leap ahead in future years. That’s where the real growth potential is,” said Cr Paterson. “We’ll continue to make steady improvements to the bus network as well.”

“Our annual patronage survey only records people entering the CBD. What it doesn’t record are the people who use the centre to transfer and head out to another part of Auckland. In the future, with an efficient transport interchange at downtown Auckland connecting rail, bus and ferry services we will see many more people making these transfers easily and happily. This will boost patronage even more,” said Cr Paterson.

The ARC’s Central Area Passenger Transport Patronage Survey has been measuring public transport usage into the Auckland Central Area between the hours of 7.00am and 9.00am since 1986.

- END -

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