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ARC pleased with ARTA achievements

20 May 2005

ARC pleased with ARTA achievements

The Auckland Regional Council's Transport Committee has acknowledged its subsidiary's success in significantly increasing rail, bus and ferry service capacity, with special mention of relief offered during the recent bus strike.

The ARC Transport Policy Committee this week received the quarterly report from the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) for the quarter to March 2005.

The report summarises the passenger transport service delivery improvements that have been achieved in the quarter. These include:

Rail Service Improvements During the quarter there was a major improvement in peak hour services on both the western line and the southern line, notably a doubling of frequency of peak trains from and to New Lynn, express trains from Otahuhu to Britomart and increased limited express trains from Papakura to and from Britomart. These services commenced in mid February. These service improvements, combined with the return of university students, have been partly responsible for March rail patronage reaching 391,000, well above any figures for the last 30 years.

North Shore Bus Services The new North Shore bus contracts were largely finalised during the March quarter and will take effect from 3 July 2005 with further improvements in November 2005. The new contracts will provide a 40% increase in peak capacity and an increase in overall capacity of some 28%. This will equate to some 3300 extra seats in the inbound morning peak, providing significant relief on the overcrowded roads in the northern part of Auckland.

School Bus Services The new school bus service contracts have delivered a substantially higher level of service. This level of service had previously been agreed by the ARC. The introduction of these new services in January/February was not without some teething problems, however, these problems were all resolved promptly and with due regard to customer satisfaction. New Ferry Services ARTA has doubled the peak service frequency for Gulf Harbour ferry services. We have also contracted with the operators of Pine Harbour Ferries for week day services between Pine Harbour and the CBD. These services commenced in January. In respect of West Harbour Ferry Services, ARTA put in place an emergency contract to ensure ongoing service delivery in February.

Sustainable Transport Activities The development of ARTA activity in the area of sustainable transport was reinforced with the approval by Land Transport NZ to fund 75% of the strategic planning activities and 53% of the operational activities for 05/06 and 06/07. This will allow ARTA to increase the number of school travel plans to 71 and the number of corporate travel plans to 40 over the next two years.

"The ARC is delighted with the progress ARTA is making in expanding passenger transport capacity and patronage. As the main funder of ARTA, we are gratified to be advised of these bangs for the bucks that we are investing on behalf of the Auckland region's ratepayers," says Transport Policy Committee Chair, Cr Joel Cayford.

"The recent bus strike made life difficult for commuters across the region, and we acknowledge the proactive response of ARTA in ramping up rail services to take some of the strain."

ENDS

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