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ARC releases latest patronage survey

Aucklanders choose public transport – ARC releases latest patronage survey

09 October 2003

Public transport usage has continued its upward surge with a new high of 53.4 million trips by bus, train and ferry across the region according to the ARC’s annual public transport patronage survey released yesterday.

The survey, carried out within the Auckland urban area, has recorded a 13% overall increase for public transport trips for 2003, up from 7% in 2001 and 8% in 2002. The results show the dramatic change in trips over the past decade with 53.4 million trips for 2003 representing a 65% increase over the all time low of 32.4 million trips experienced in 1993.

Total bus trips have risen by 11% from 41.4 to 46 million trips; rail trips have increased by 11% from 2.2 to 2.5 million trips; and ferry trips have experienced a 36% increase from 3.6 to 4.9 million trips.

The ARC also carries out an annual survey within the Auckland Central Area between 7am and 9am, measuring the number of people entering the CBD on public transport. The results for 2003 echo the overall passenger transport patronage increases across the region, recording a 5% overall increase in passenger transport trips into the CBD for 2003.

ARC Passenger Transport Committee Chairwoman, Catherine Harland, says the growing number of trips shows the important role that passenger transport plays within the region’s transport system.

“The results reflect the region-wide demand for more and better travel options, as well as a positive response to the significant increase in services the ARC has added across the region in the past year,” she says. “The past four years in particular has seen a rapid patronage increase of 44% and in my view that is a direct result of the focus on a balanced improvement in infrastructure and services for buses.”

"Back in 1995, the sceptics said no-one would ever use public transport so why bother spending money on helping the bus network. I am pleased that the commitment by the current and past Councils to overcome the nay-sayers, is now being vindicated with usage levels soaring."

“Every weekday buses, trains and ferries carry about 205,000 passengers. That's the equivalent of every North Shore City resident - adults and children - taking a trip by public transport each weekday. If all these people decided to hop in cars instead, they would add another 56,500 cars to our already clogged roads and create a traffic queue of cars 368 kilometres long - the distance between Auckland and New Plymouth. That's how many cars are removed from the road through people using public transport.”

“The ARC has added around 300 new bus trips across the region in the past year, with a focus on increasing frequency via additional services and reducing trip-times via on-street initiatives such as bus lanes and bus-priority measures. Coupled with the opening of Britomart and the gradual increase in train services, we are starting to deliver what Aucklanders have demanded for decades – improved infrastructure and services.”

Cr Harland also says that much of the recent increase in public transport demand – particularly buses – is outside peak times.

“Off-peak patronage has been growing at a greater percentage rate than the peak. People appear to be changing their work hours to travel to outside peak time and using public transport for entertainment or other trips,” she says.

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