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Fare free public transport draws the crowds

Aucklanders loved their day of free travel on the city’s buses, trains and ferries last Sunday.

The fare free day was a thank you from Auckland Transport and its public transport operators. In the past year passenger trips annually on public transport in Auckland reached 100 million for the first time since 1950.

Stacey van der Putten, Group Manager Metro Services says the day exceeded expectations. “We are blown away by the figures we’ve managed to put together from the day.”

She says the ferries were the big hit with some destinations carrying seven times the normal Sunday numbers. “Retailers and cafes at Hobsonville Point and Devonport had a very busy day.”

On the previous Sunday, Fullers took just over 3000 people to and from Devonport, last Sunday 16,000 people made the same trip. A clothing retailer in Devonport surveyed her customers and 70 per cent of them had used public transport.

“Fullers did a fantastic job, they were basically shuttling people back and forth and giving some Aucklanders their first trip on a harbour ferry. It was a great family day out and we’d like to thank everyone for their patience and the goodwill they showed to our staff.”

Stacey van der Putten says because people didn’t have to tag-on and off, it is difficult to get exact figures for the numbers on buses and trains. “The early morning trains were quiet but between 10am and 5pm there significantly higher numbers with some trains carrying more than 400 passengers. The highest loads were on Eastern Line services, particularly to and from Sylvia Park, at around lunchtime 200 people were getting on and off every train there.

“Many of our double decker bus services were also very busy with many children getting their first ride on the top deck.”

Viv Beck, Chief Executive from Heart of the City, the city centre business association says Sunday was a busy day for the city centre. “Our data shows a substantial increase in foot traffic. While we don’t yet have our official spending results, anecdotal feedback from businesses tells us that trading was up on a typical Sunday. It appears to have been a good day for business.”

From September, public transport on the weekend will be free for 5 to 15 year olds. They will need to travel using an AT HOP card and will have to tag-on and tag-off.

For details about AT HOP and where to buy a card: https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/at-hop-card/

© Scoop Media

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