Auckland PT Use Cracks 60m


Public transport use in Auckland has cracked 60 million boardings for the year.
The impressive June rises for bus and train patronage has pushed the total patronage to 60,618,292 boardings- that’s 3.4% (2 million boardings) higher than the 2008/09 financial year.
It’s estimated if it had not been for the NZ Bus industrial action last October, actual patronage for the year would have been at least 61.2 million, an increase of 2.526 million or 4.3% over the 2008/09 financial year.
The total combined bus, ferry, and rail patronage for the month of June is 6.5% (313,221 boardings) higher than June 2009 at 5,153,169 boardings.

Here are the impressive annual financial year figures -which help prove that if you build it and improve it, people will come:

  • Northern Express patronage was up by 19.5% (291,761 boardings) compared to the 2008/09 year. There have been over 1.79 million passengers recorded using the Northern Express over the last twelve months, an increase of 19.5% on the same period last year.
  • Overall bus patronage is 1.9% (882,626 boardings) higher than the previous financial year.
  • Rail: There were 8.479 million passengers recorded on rail services, an increase of 10.8% on last year.
  • Southern & Eastern Lines: There were 5.546 million passengers recorded using Southern and Eastern Line trains, 12.2% more than last year. And in June, 469,000 passengers travelled on Southern and Eastern Line services, an increase of 11.2% on last year.
  • Western Line: There were 2.933 million passengers recorded as travelling on Western Line services, which is 8.4% more than for the same period last year. In June, there were 239,000 passenger journeys -   an increase of 4.4% on the same month last year.  There were additional weekend bus replacement arrangements this year compared to last year and service performance issues in the early part of the month.

  • Ferry patronage is 3.5% higher than the previous financial year.  But for June, patronage was 1.6% lower than last June.
  • Revamped bus services prove the point about how to grow public transport. Growth in the bus sector has been seen primarily in the north and south of Auckland. These are areas where services have been redesigned over the last two to three years with simpler and higher frequency services. ARTA will be implementing service changes in the West sector later this year.
  • For example: Local and Manukau Cross-town bus routes were redesigned in February last year.  Routes were simplified with some extensions and new timetables. Patronage growth on these services is 49.0% (32,098 boardings) compared to June 2009, growth for the financial year is 34.8% (255,681) higher than the previous financial year.

Increased usage helps the case for a CBD rail loop

Train Reliability
Overall performance during June was the best recorded during the financial year with the exception of September. In June, 84.5% of all services operated on-time or within five minutes of their schedule compared to 79.3% in May and 80.9% in June last year.
Western Line services recorded a significant improvement in June with 83.2% of services operating on time or within five minutes of schedule compared to 67.2% last month and 80.6% for June last year. The main improvement was recorded after Queen’s Birthday weekend once the trains began using the new double track section that removed the major bottleneck on the line.
Southern and Eastern Line service performance in June, at 85.1%, was similar to last month (85.5%) but better than the 81.0% recorded in June last year.
Reflecting the improved performance, the number of significant incidents impacting on services was the lowest for many months, although non-peak services continued to be delayed to varying degrees by track protection measures through a variety of work sites. These works involve preparations for electrification, particularly signalling and bridge clearances, and the extension of platforms at some stations to support six-car train operations.
There were four signal or points failures that had significant impacts on service performance during June. 

In the early hours of June 2 a signal fault at Paerata resulted in substantial delays to morning peak services on the Southern and Eastern Lines.  The same signals failed again the following morning with a similar impact.  This fault remained for several days although the service impact was not as severe following the initial occurrence.

Also on June 2, a points failure at Britomart resulted in delays to services on all lines during the evening peak.  On Queen’s Birthday Monday 7 June a signal fault between Britomart and Newmarket that occurred around 5pm resulted in delays and cancellations to Southern Line trains through to approximately 9pm (note there were no services operating on the Western Line on this day).

There were three train faults in June that had a significant effect on services. Around midday on 1 June a train was disabled at Takanini leading to delays and cancellations on the Southern and Eastern Lines.  During the morning peak of 14 June a train fault at Waitakere resulted in delays and cancellations to Western Line services.  Another fault that developed with a train at Britomart on 29 June resulted in delays and cancellations on all lines during the evening peak.

In line with the general improvement in performance, delay minutes declined by 22.2% in June compared to May.

Infrastructure-related delay minutes made up around 42% of delay minutes during the month but this represented a reduction of 6% on the delays recorded in May.  Speed restrictions continued to be a low contributor to delays, and the greatest impact was through the track protection measures, which relate to platform lengthening and signalling work.  There was an increase in the delay minutes attributable to signal/points failures but there were fewer incidents of these failures.

Delay Minutes Proportion

Network Control 225 4.8%

Signal/points failure 1,209 26.1%

Speed restrictions 396 8.5%

Track protection measures* 2,809 60.6%

Total   4,639




  1. karl says:

    Gooooood stuff. See, there’s actually no reason to be angry as a PT advocate in Auckland at all - IF Auckland is actually allowed to do PT, we do quite well.

    A great thanks to ARC and ARTA, the driving force behind the last decade’s transformation of Auckland’s transport system. We started the decade with the idea of fully abolishing rail not really of the table, and we end it with this…

  2. Chris says:

    Can’t wait for summer where delays due to buckling of rail lines will be endemic.

  3. karl says:

    Because we all know that the PT patronage drop in January is because of buckling rail delays, lol ;-)

  4. Matt L says:

    Great news, Personally I think we will see a big jump in patronage from integrated ticketing, not so much from the fact it easier should be easier to use but from the fact that we should get better reporting, I do think we are currently under counting many trips, especially on the trains.

    Also Chris - nice and positive there I see.

  5. Jon C says:

    @Matt L Good point . I think the people escaping paying are fewer than before the more intense efforts to catch them.

  6. Bill Turner says:

    Hi Jon
    Many thanks for the endless hours you put into keeping us informed on Public transport in Auckland. I really appreciate your commitment.
    I dont often travel by PT but today used the northern express to travel into Auckland City and was impressed by how quick we got there while motorists were standing stationary (wet weather) on the motor-way.
    Please keep up the good work you do.

  7. joust says:

    60 Million! Thats amazing. Its outstripping population growth by a long shot. Give people a real alternative to expensive frustrating private car journeys and they flock in.

    @Matt L - very astute, can’t wait for integrated ticket, thats just one of the myriad benefits we’ll see. Talk about a reaL step-change.

  8. Martin says:

    And here’s Steven Joyce, Minister of Roads saying people don’t use PT.

    The evidence above proves the case of “build it and people will come”, especially if there is good integration between rail, bus and ferry.

    With the Onehunga line due to open soon, light rail for the waterfront and the impressive interchange plans for South Auckland in the works, it can only be onwards and upwards.

    Bring on rail for the Shore and the Airport, the Waikato Express and the CBD tunnel.

  9. karl says:

    I hope we get to the 100 million level in a few years! Then we could finally have a real record (i.e. have surpassed the 1950s level of PT trips).

    Of course we will only surpass the 1950s PER CAPITA public transport trip rate (290 trips per person per year!!!) when we get over 400 million annual trips…

    But heck, despite that: 100 mil get!!!

    The person achieving that should get a lifetime free fare ;-)


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