Rail Up Staggering 18.2%


Auckland’s rail patronage is now up a staggering 18.2% on last year.
And in September it jumped 27.2% on the previous month.
For the year to date there have been 2.535 million passengers recorded travelling by rail an increase of 18.2% on the same period last year.
In fact, although ferry use is a little down, possibly due to fare increases, public transport use continues to gather speed .
Wherever you look at the spreadsheets, the rises are incredible and prove that the consistent rises month on month are showing that Aucklanders are changing their commuter pattern and embracing public transport, especially now that rail is much more reliable and the station upgrades have become obvious.

And Auckland’s new mayor, Len Brown, who took office today, is right on the button with pushing for more rail improvements.
Looking at September, total PT patronage increased by 7% on the same month last year. Bus patronage was up by 4.4% while ferry patronage was down slightly by 2.4%.
Looking at the big jump in the three months to September 30, total PT patronage showed an increase of 6.2% on last year to date. This has seen rail use increase by 18.2%, bus by 4.7% and ferry down fractionally by 0.4% compared to last year.
The Northern Express continues to be the poster child for PT growth with patronage up yet again - by 20.2% for the month of September and by 20.7% compared to the equivalent 3 months to date last year. There has been 1.88 million passengers recorded using the Northern Express over the last twelve months, an increase of 20.3% on the same period last year.

Commuters are pouring on to the stations!

September 19 saw the Onehunga line open, longer trains on the Western line and new timetables. Free travel was also offered on train services during the Newmarket motorway closure on the weekend of September 4-5 and there were just over 25,000 passengers recorded on the free trains, and more than 35,000 on all trains during the weekend compared to an average of approximately 15,000 over the two days of a normal weekend.
More than 20,000 passengers took the opportunity to travel by train on the Sunday. Additional trains were scheduled on all lines to manage the demand.
Including the counts made of the number of passengers boarding the free trains on 4th and 5th September and the advance purchases made towards the end of the month there were 893,000 passengers recording during the month which is 27.2% more than the same month last year.
For the rolling twelve months October 2009 to September 2010 the total number of passengers recorded travelling by rail was 8.869 million, an increase of 14.9% on the equivalent period last year.
There were 556,000 passenger journeys recorded on Southern and Eastern Line trains during September, an increase of 23.3% on the same month last year.
For the financial year to date there have been 1.610 million passengers recorded using Southern and Eastern Line trains, 17.4% more than the same quarter last year.
For the rolling twelve month period October to September, there have been 5.784 million passengers recorded on Southern and Eastern Line services, 15.3% more than last year.
In September there were 310,000 passengers recorded on Western Line trains, an increase of 23.4% on the same month last year.
For the financial year to date there have been 898,000 passengers recorded on Western Line trains which is a 16.0% increase on the same quarter last year, while for the rolling twelve month period 3.057 million passengers have travelled on Western Line trains, 13.1% more than the same twelve month period last year.

Ferry patronage is down in September

Although ferry patronage this September is down on the September 2009, it has increased by 5.1% over the last two years compared to September 2008.  Ferry patronage for September is -2.4% (8,199 boardings) lower than last September, for the financial year to date patronage is down by -0.4% (4,106 boardings) compared to the same period in the 2009/10 financial year.

Bus patronage in September grew by 4.4% (183,500 boardings) compared to last September. For the financial year to date, bus patronage is up 4.7% (589,911 boardings) compared to the same three months of the 2009/10 financial year.  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.

Graphs showing the above are here
Breakdowns over this month
Onehunga booming




  1. Matt L says:

    Stunning growth, and hopefully it will continue and results like this will help to build pressure for things like the CBD Tunnel.

  2. Joyce's head in the sand? says:

    So Mr Joyce - Auckland wants rail - not more motorways - deliver what the public WANT - not what funders of your political party want.

    The Road Transport Forum can benefit by having less cars on the roads you know Mr Joyce!

  3. karl says:

    I think from recent noises even amongst the likes of Joyce, the planning and designation work on the CBD tunnel will now proceed over the next 2-3 years.

    Then, the next Auckland election in 2013 may well become about the “lets start the diggers now” issue (and hopefully, next year’s national election will be about “lets fund this”).

    The important thing is to keep up the phenomenal growth in the next 1-2 years, or at worst, keep it in line with pop growth (I am hopeful it will be more than that, but I’m unsure how disruptive the electrification works themselves will be). Then, and crucially, by 2013, we should be seeing the first new electric trains (and the new boost in public interest and patronage that goes with it), just in time for a feasible start time on the new tunnel.

    I think it will be extremely hard to pull the plug on the CBD tunnel the same way they did on Robbie’s rail (though the leaky home costs may become a much bigger competiting issue for money in the coming years - maybe more dangerous to the tunnel than Puhoi). So in total, the timeframes look real good.

  4. Ian says:

    Yes it is good news though with a downside, that being that with the fleet of push pulls continuing to grow, a considerable amount of capital is tied up in them. This cannot be written off overnight and so we are likely to see a considerable number of these trains running well into the future albeit electric hauled. The real future of rail PT is in EMUs and DMUs in non electrified areas, not the slower push pulls.

  5. Sam says:

    @Ian. Have timetabled trip times increased since the Locomotive hauled trains were introduced? I am too young to remember.

    I heard somewhere that we are ordering electric locomotives alongside our EMUs to operate the SA/SD sets. Electric locomotives apparently have much better acceleration than the diesel ones at least. Would it be possible that they could be built specifically for suburban commuter rail and therefore have more suited characteristics than an old diesel designed to haul 1000s of tonnes and stop infrequently?

  6. Matt L says:

    Ian & Sam - When we get the EMU’s they will run on the Western, Eastern and Onehunga Lines. We will also be getting a fleet of 13 electric loco’s to pull the SA cars on the Southern line. Due to the money that has been spent over the last 5 or so years refurbishing these carriages we need to keep using them for a while longer. The spec docs for the electric locos state that their performance needs to match that of the EMU’s.

    The bigger concern is that the money being used to buy the new trains is only loaned to Kiwirail so Auckland will likely need to pay at least the interest on it where as currently we own everything but the loco hauling the carriages. This means that there could be an additional $30mil+ a year to pay just to run them.

    Long term I think I that the SA carriages only have about 10 years left in them so at that point we will hopefully replace them with more EMU’s. This may coincide with the opening of the CBD tunnel and or the airport line for which we will probably need more trains anyway.

  7. jarbury says:

    I think the real question is whether electric loco hauled trains will be able to handle the grade of the CBD rail tunnel.

  8. antz says:

    the EMU’s would handle steep grades a whole lot better than DMU’s as they have more power and better traction. look at the johnsonville line for example. they have been operating since the 1940′s and they are still handling well, also you can get trains specially designed for steep tracks like the matangi.

    im more worried about the amount of energy and the wear and tear on the DMU’s on that slope.

  9. Sam says:

    Thanks Matt L for all that information…I hadn’t thought about the likely reality of a locomotive hauled train appearing out of a dark tube at one of our future metro stations- it will look ridiculous!

    Does anyone know why they creak so much? The mechanical parts are all meant to be brand new, but even the 40 year old DMU’s don’t seem to be so noisy! They look really high quality on the surface, but you get the feeling as they run that there was a bit of cost cutting involved. Is poor quality why you only expect them to last 10-15 years… not long in the scheme of things (especially for Auckland)

  10. Matt L says:

    Sam - I don’t know about the quality but I do know they are about 40 years old already which is why I think they don’t have a huge lifespan left.

  11. karl says:

    “so Auckland will likely need to pay at least the interest on it where as currently we own everything but the loco hauling the carriages. ”

    I thought after Joyce’s “no, you can’t have a regional fuel tax”, we basically lost all rail assets to KiwiRail in a forced takeover? Or did that apply “only” to the stations?

    “I hadn’t thought about the likely reality of a locomotive hauled train appearing out of a dark tube at one of our future metro stations- it will look ridiculous!”

    I’ll take such “ridiculous” things any day over the current situation where for some reason, there don’t seem to be any such stations at all…

  12. Kurt says:

    @ Sam.. The creaking that sounds more like metal tearing appears to be on the SA/SD cars with the early coil sprung bogie’s that were reused from earlier guards vans (as opposed to the new Chinese made bogie’s on the later SA/SD cars). It sounds terrible.

    Its as if they aren’t lubricated on the pins that they pivot on under the floor of the carriage because they are quieter when its raining which makes me think dry joints.

    Otherwise I don’t see a downside to the loco hauled SA/SD sets referred to by Ian. These are smoother, quieter and generally quicker than the DMU’s, especially the ADK’s although their one downside is their aircon is fairly poor

  13. anthony says:

    you don’t even know what “poor aircon” is until you hop aboard Wellington’s Ganz Mavang and english Units!


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