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64% of Aucklanders support $2.5 billion city rail link

November 19, 2012
Media release

64% of Aucklanders support $2.5 billion city rail link project

75% of Aucklanders want integrated bus-rail improvements to their public transport
64% support building the major City Rail Link (CRL) project, only 14% oppose
64% of those who support the CRL want it built “as soon as possible”, 22% by 2020
Only 3% of CRL supporters think that it does not need to be complete by 2020
If the CRL increases train frequency to every 15 minutes in peak hours, 6% would switch to using rail to travel to work
Using conservative assumptions (see report), it is calculated that rail trips in the Auckland area could increase in peak by 5,230,000 trips a year and off peak trips by 1,640,000
The extra 6,870,000 trips would lift rail patronage 65% above current figures

64% of Aucklanders support $2.5 billion city rail link project

A new survey finds 64% of Aucklanders support the proposed $2.5 billion City Rail Link (CRL) project.

Only 14% oppose the project which would provide 3.5km underground rail tunnel linking Britomart rail station with the existing rail network at Mt Eden.

75% of Aucklanders also want to see integrated bus and rail improvements in public transport in Auckland. There is much less support for improvements to either train services or bus services alone.

A Horizon Research survey of 1,099 Aucklanders aged 18+ years between October 31 and November 12, 2012, finds that if the new rail link increases train frequency to every 15 minutes in peak hours, 6% would switch to using rail to travel to work.

Using conservative assumptions (see report), it is calculated that rail trips in the Auckland area could increase in peak by 5,230,000 a year. Off peak trips could increase by 1,640,000 a year.
The extra 6,870,000 trips would lift rail patronage 65% above current figures.

The sample is weighted to reflect Auckland demographics and has a maximum margin of error at a 95% confidence level of ± 3.0%.

The survey looked at:

• How Aucklanders travel within the city and where they travel to.
• Whether Aucklanders want transport development in improvements to bus services, train services, or an integrated network involving improved bus and train services.
• Whether Aucklanders support the proposed City Rail Link project and why.
• The potential impact of the City Rail Link on Aucklanders’ travel.
• Comparison between the City Rail Link and more buses
• Acceptability of funding options

A key element of the survey was measuring support and opposition to the proposed City Rail Link. Supporters of the project point to an effective rail system as a hallmark of large cities elsewhere. Those who are opposed, point to the level of costs involved and believe that the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Overall, there is significant support for the City Rail Link from Aucklanders, regardless of where they live and whether they currently use rail or not. Across the city, 64% want to see it built; only 14% are opposed. Support at the southern end of the suburban rail network (Franklin, Papakura) is lower, but still a majority. Only in Rodney is support less than a majority, although it is still higher than the level of opposition in that area.

Along with the support goes a desire from those who support the City Rail Link for it to be built as soon as possible, and certainly completed by 2020. Only 3% think that it could be built later than that.

Potentially, the development of the link along with increased frequency of trains could result in a significant patronage increase for rail. Based on the responses given to this survey, and making conservative assumptions about Aucklanders realising on their stated intentions, patronage could increase by is 6,870,000 trips or 65% above current rail patronage figures reported in Auckland Transport’s September 2012 Statistics Report.

Respondents were told: the City Rail Link project is anticipated to cost around $2.5 billion. This is a 3.5km underground rail tunnel linking Britomart rail station with the existing rail network at Mt Eden. There would be new stations at Mid-City, Karangahape Rd and Newton. This tunnel will allow urban commuter trains to continue through the Britomart rail station instead of terminating there, as currently happens. The City Rail Link would allow the number of trains passing through the Britomart rail station to double and provide a more reliable service across the entire Auckland rail network.

To fund the City Rail Link, Aucklanders are looking for a significant contribution from the Government, but are prepared to consider other non-rates funding methods in addition.

Key findings:

• Travelling to work destinations in their own area varies for residents across the city:
o Rodney: 55%
o North Shore: 60%
o West Auckland: 34%
o Central Auckland: 71%
o East Auckland: 26%.
o South Auckland: 45% (although Papakura and Franklin respondents are more likely to be travelling out of their area for work than other South Auckland respondents).
• 41% of Central Auckland residents said that they were travelling for work to the Central City/CBD
• 35% of East Aucklanders’ work travel destinations are on the rail network. But because East Aucklanders travel to more disparate destinations they would benefit more than people in other areas from an integrated public transport network.
• Around 90% or more of travelling to take children to school is local area travel.
• Shopping destinations are more varied than work destinations.
• Friends and family visiting destinations are more spread out across the city, particularly for Rodney and West Auckland residents. On average, only 40% of destinations for Aucklanders visiting friends and family in the city are on the rail network.
• Only North Shore and Central Auckland residents have a majority of their entertainment or recreation destinations within their own area.

Travel mode:
• Car travel is particularly dominant in Rodney, South Auckland and on the North Shore.
• In South Auckland, car use for travel to work has a higher incidence than for non-work travel.
• The level of car use for non-work travel is highest in the East Auckland, North Shore and Rodney areas.

Distance from the rail network:
• 27% of respondents said that they were within walking distance of the Auckland rail network. This is the same level as shown in 2006 Census figures.
• Among those who said they were within easy reach of the rail network by bus or cycle, no more than 2% used rail regularly to travel to work.
• Among those who within easy reach of the rail network by private transport, 9.8% regularly used rail to travel to work and 9% regularly used it for non-work travel.

Transport Developments:
• 75% of respondents wanted to see integrated network development.
• South Auckland respondents had a much higher preference for rail improvements than residents in other areas. This is particularly noticeable in Papakura.

City Rail Link:
• 64% of respondents supported building the City Rail Link.
• Only 14% overall oppose the building of the rail link; 18% are neutral.
• Support was lowest in those areas not served directly by rail; however, there was majority support for building the City Rail Link from residents in all areas except Rodney. In Rodney, support for the project was still greater than opposition.
• Support at the southern end of the suburban rail network (Franklin, Papakura) is lower than average, but still a majority.
• 64% of those who support it want it built as soon as possible.
• 22% of supporters want it built by 2020.
• Only 3% of supporters think that it does not need to be complete by 2020.
• 6% of respondents indicated that if the City Rail Link had the effect of increasing train frequency to every 15 minutes in peak hours, they would switch to using rail to travel to work.
• Using assumptions (see report), it is calculated that rail trips in the Auckland area could increase in peak by 5,230,000 trips per annum and off peak trips could increase by 1,640,000 per annum.

Bus alternative:
• A third of respondents felt that Auckland needed both more trains and more buses.
• 37% thought that more trains would be better than more buses.
• 21% of respondents felt that more buses would be as good as or better than more trains and 14% thought that buses were a better solution for them.
• Congestion was thought by more than a third of respondents to both affect buses and be caused by buses.

Funding options:
• Over half of respondents were looking for the Government to contribute significantly to the cost of the City Rail Link project.
• Tolling new roads was supported by 30% of respondents overall and had broad support across areas, except Rodney. Indications are that Papakura respondents also would not support this, although Franklin respondents appeared to support it at above average level.
• Targeted rates are supported by 24% and have more support in Rodney and North Shore than other areas.
• A partial sell-down of Auckland assets is supported by 17% of respondents.
• A regional fuel tax has least support in Rodney, Papakura and Franklin.
• Least supported were increasing general rates and increasing airport departure tax, supported by 8% and 7% of respondents respectively.


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