24 months late but finally here
It has taken around two years to recover from the previous peak of 10.8 million rail (we suffered a sustained dip after that peak) but today it has been declared our rail passenger trips are at 11 million.
Friday, 28 March, 2014 – 10:16
Aucklanders are getting on board with trains in record numbers – making a record 11 million trips in the past year.
This milestone comes just weeks before Auckland’s new electric trains are introduced and is the highest number of passengers ever on the current rail network.
Auckland Transport chairman Dr Lester Levy says Aucklanders are using public transport more than ever as improvements to services make it a more attractive option. “We are now seeing 5,000 additional passenger journeys each business day compared to a year ago. People are responding to initial improvements such as integrated ticketing, better on-time performance and improved facilities like the new transport hub at Panmure and there’s a lot more to come.”
When Britomart Transport Centre opened in 2003, just 2.5 million trips were made on trains.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown says the milestone is very welcome.
“One thing is is certain with regard to public transport in Auckland. If you build it people will use it. I am confident that now integrated ticketing is in place and as our new electric trains go into service, this won’t be the last patronage record we will break.
The implementation of the New Network and the City Rail Link will also boost numbers.”
Transdev operates the trains for Auckland Transport. It says it is pleased to see that its major focus on performance over the past 12 months is translating to improved patronage.
Transdev Managing Director Terry Scott says “We are working hard with our partners at Auckland Transport and KiwiRail to improve network performance and we are striving every day to achieve excellence in the customer experience.”
Dr Levy says the upward trend in numbers is pleasing given that during the past year rail services have been regularly disrupted due to electrification works on the network. “We are making strides with an ageing fleet of diesel trains which are now 60 years old, just imagine what we will do with new trains.”
I was there with the Mayor at Britomart Station when we celebrated 10 million trips back in 2011. It has taken a wee while to get to the 11 million mark but that along with AT-HOP now fully rolled it definitely good news indeed.
Transport Blog did Tweet that rail patronage increased 20% for the month of March while annual patronage is up 10%.
That alone should hopefully help plug the $10.1m budget hole AT has right now. However, the more important bit is annual patronage growth is up at over 10%. The Prime Minister made it very clear that there were two conditions needing to be met for the City Rail Link to be brought forward to around the 2017/18 time-frame:
- CBD employment increases by 25%
- Rail Patronage is either at 20 million OR showing a growth trend of 8% year on year
So on the 11 million news today it illustrates that the second condition has been met – but will need to be sustained. Then again we have this from the Prime Minister yesterday:
Prime Minister it is a standard response from you as we have seen in the past. That said one of the two conditions you set in your speech last year (Condition Number 2) is being met. If we can sustain this (and I believe we can) then we have done our side of the deal (Condition Number 1 is due to be met by 2016 on current estimates) – you need to do your side of the deal and bring the CRL forward as you said to 2017/18 please – thank you.