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Aucklanders Continue Love Affair With Trains

July 12, 2006

Aucklanders Continue Love Affair With Trains

Aucklanders continue to be attracted to travel by train, as evidenced by year-end train patronage figures just released by Auckland's transport agency, the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA). Train patronage growth in Auckland has been climbing significantly in Auckland since October 2005 and recent figures show a further increase in growth.

ARTA's Acting Chief Executive, Fergus Gammie, said, "For the financial year ending 30 June 2006 there were over five million passenger journeys recorded on the region's rail network. This compares to 3.8 million for the equivalent period last year a 32.5 per cent increase. Of these journeys, 1.91 million were made on western line services (compared to 1.35 million last year) and 3.12 million passenger journeys on the southern and eastern lines (2.45 million last year)."

Annual patronage is calculated by ARTA from ticket sales.

"Much of the new growth can be attributed to timetable changes implemented in October 2005 which increased peak service levels and introduced Sunday services as well as adjusted running times to better reflect operating conditions. The tight service focus of our operator Veolia Transport has also made a significant contribution to the growth we are enjoying.

"Travel on Sunday services is now accounting for more than 100,000 passenger journeys a year and Aucklanders are increasingly taking the train for special events from sporting fixtures to events such as the Big Day Out.

"ARTA's most recent customer satisfaction survey indicates a growing level of customer satisfaction with train journeys for their timeliness, comfort, quality of service and cost.

"Analysis of train patronage figures shows increasing numbers of new train users, and they are using word of mouth to encourage others to try trains.

"Provide good service, comfort and affordability and Aucklanders will use passenger transport services, which is all good news because it eases Auckland's traffic congestion", said Mr Gammie.

"ARTA is planning to meet increased train patronage demand by providing more trains. The eleventh SA series train has arrived in Auckland and will be in service in mid-July. Three more SA trains are due before the beginning of 2007. ARTA's refurbishment programme for its ADK trains continues.

Auckland Regional Council Chairman, Michael Lee said the strong growth in Auckland's rail patronage is a good indication the council's public transport investment is paying off.

"The ARC has quadrupled its public transport spend over the last five years from $35.7 million in 2001/02 to $145 million for 2006/07. The remarkable growth in rail patronage is very encouraging.

"We are proposing a $1.6 billion public transport investment over the next 10 years to allow ARTA to implement Regional Land Transport Strategy recommendations. We look forward to seeing more trains, better stations, closer integration between train and bus services and a transferable ticket."

Prime Minister Helen Clark will be in Auckland on 20 July as guest of honour to officially open a new transport interchange for Manurewa in Manukau, Auckland.

ENDS

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