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Figures Reveal Failure Of ARC's Rail Policy

7 July 2004

Statement from David Thornton

Public Transport Figures Reveal Failure Of ARC's Rail Policy To Reduce Peak Hour Congestion

Figures released today by the ARC reveal that the total number of people travelling into the Auckland CBD by public transport in the morning peak hours [7am - 9am] has in fact declined over the last twelve months. Despite extravagant claims by ARC Transport Chairwoman Catherine Harland that rail usage was on the increase the real truth is that, while peak hour passenger numbers on rail have increased by 844 passengers per day, bus passengers have dropped by 1,288 per day for the same period.

It is now apparent that rail is attracting passengers who previously travelled by bus - and that has had no effect on the number of cars on the road in the morning peak, and consequently no effect on traffic congestion - despite millions of dollars having been spent on rail improvements, largely paid for by the regions residential ratepayers.

Spending even more money on rail will not reduce congestion at the critical peak period time if all the 'new' passengers have merely changed from using buses. The ARC must review its policy of spending huge sums on the rail project at the expense of much-needed major improvements to bus services.

It's time that the transport overlords realised that Auckland's public transport system must be dominated by a flexible bus network rather than the rigid fixed route structure of heavy rail.

ends

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