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Half Million Train Passenger Journeys In Auck.

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE: Auckland Regional Council and Auckland Regional Transport Authority

April 11 2006

HALF MILLION TRAIN PASSENGER JOURNEYS

HIT FOR FIRST TIME IN AUCKLAND’S HISTORY

The Auckland Regional Council (ARC) and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) today welcomed news that for the first time in the Auckland region’s history, 545,000 passenger journeys were made in March on the region’s rail network.

ARTA Chief Executive, Alan Thompson, said, “This is a 39.4% increase on the same month last year and is nearly 100,000 more than the previous monthly high achieved in August 2005.

Mr Thompson said he believed that the month on month growth in rail patronage in Auckland was clear evidence of the fact that, develop the public transport services, timetable and supporting infrastructure Auckland commuters want, and they will come.

“Aucklanders have been starved for decades of the public transport infrastructure and services that other comparable international cities have enjoyed. Once we begin to provide it, the evidence that Aucklanders will use it, is right in front of us.”

Mr Thompson said, “In October 2005, ARTA, with its operator Veolia Transport (previously Connex Auckland), introduced a new train timetable to better meet the service level requirements of Aucklanders.

“Previously both ARTA and Veolia Transport were hampered by the inheritance of a timetable which didn’t reflect the capability of our current rolling stock nor the increased train patronage that Auckland was starting to experience. We now have a much more realistic timetable at a very sound 84% on time service, even though we still have a considerable length of single track and a restrictive signalling system.”

Mr Thompson said central government’s pre-Christmas financial commitment to completion of double-tracking of the Western line would allow much higher frequency services and even greater patronage levels.

ARC Chairman, Michael Lee said he was “extremely pleased” with the train patronage figures.

“Auckland commuters have sent us a clear message, build it and they will come”, said Mr Lee.

In terms of the future of Auckland’s rail project, including funding and electrification, the ARC and ARTA were working together to find solutions, said Mr Lee.

Mr Thompson said, “In the short term, ARTA will continue to focus on improving passenger train services, including an expanded fleet of refurbished trains, station upgrades and passenger information as we move towards the Rugby World Cup in 2011. However in the medium to longer term we believe that the right solution for Auckland is to acquire a fleet of modern electric trains to provide an even better service for our passengers.”

-Ends-


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