Patronage Figures Show Need for Tunnel


Aucklnd’s Mayor Len Brown says the real solution to the increased demand for public transport and to fixing Auckland transport system is our major transport projects like the Auckland Rail Tunnel.
For the first time in decades public transport usage exceeded 7 million passenger journeys in a single month and for the first time ever, more than one million passengers boarded a train in March.
The new rail figures are included in Auckland Transport’s patronage report, that was studied by the board today.
It reports a total overall increase in public transport passenger numbers, reaching 64.5 million in the 12 months to the end of March an increase of 8.3 per cent on last year.

Highlights include:

  • Rail monthly patronage for March is 1,117,781 up 21.8 per cent on March 2010.
  • March monthly patronage was 7,067,239, an increase of 506,025 boardings or 7.7 per cent on March 2010.
  • Auckland public transport patronage totalled 64,581,631 passengers for the 12 months to March 2011 an increase of 4,971,450 boardings or 8.3 per cent.
  • Northern Express bus service carried 1.99 million passengers for the 12 months with a growth in March 2011 compared to March 2010 of 10.7 per cent.

The rush in March of commuters caused overcrowding issues and has resulted in Auckland Transport making some changes, including to the Northern Express service.
The Mayor congratulated Auckland Transport and its partners for its response to the continuing growth in patronage.

“A viable public transport system is key to my vision of Auckland as the world’s most liveable city and demand will undoubtedly continue to grow as electrification and integrated ticketing take hold. “However the real solution to this increased demand and to fixing Auckland transport system is our major transport projects like the Auckland Rail Tunnel”.
On the Southern and Eastern train lines, four additional carriages are being added and five car trains will operate from the end of next month. All platforms will be extended so as to accommodate six-car trains by end of May.
Auckland Transport Chief Executive David Warburton says the delivery of quality facilities and reliable services along with the return of students to tertiary study and rising petrol costs continues to push patronage growth to record levels.
“These numbers continue to show spectacular growth in public transport usage proving that there is no doubt Aucklanders want more quality public transport services. Auckland Transport is responding to this requirement from the market through a number of initiatives. Some of these include:

  • On Hibiscus Coast bus routes including 893, 895 and 897 larger vehicles have been moved to areas of greatest need. Phase one of the Silverdale Park and Ride will be complete by the middle of the year.
  • On route 881 from Long Bay to Newmarket, two additional services will be added to cope with peak hour capacity issues.
  • On the Northern Express route more buses will be during peak hours and night time services extended to alleviate overcrowding and get people moving faster
  • On Onewa Road and on the route to Botany, extra capacity has been provided on a temporary basis while a permanent solution is investigated.
  • On Mt Eden Road and Dominion Road, extras buses are being brought on to those routes in the morning and afternoon peaks.


  1. Matt L says:

    Len needs to keep repeating this message as well as pointing out that while patronge is going through the roof private vehicle usage is actually declining.

  2. jarbury says:

    “Auckland Rail Tunnel” rather than “CBD Loop”.

    I like.

  3. Linz says:

    Yes Jarbury I like this too. The “loop” is a bad name implying trains going round in circles and giving a misleading idea of its real function which is to allow through running and bring the whole CBD into the network. I’ve heard it described disparagingly as Len’s Loop by some clueless person. I hope council will keep calling it the Auckland Rail Tunnel from now on.

  4. Cam says:

    Well all he can do is keep chipping away and keep getting his message in the press and out to as many people as possible.

    The tipping point has to come in the next couple of years as PT use continues to grow, the wider public will begin to see how we are being shortchanged here.

  5. Anthony says:

    Len Brown should tell TVNZ about this, just so that people and the government pays attention to it. if i could i’d gather as much people as i could and do a parade of support for Len Brown and his ambitions for his Auckland Rail Tunnel.

  6. Sam says:

    are all the initiatives bullet pointed above coming in on the 1st of May?

    On Dominion Road the peak (when theres a bus scheduled every 2-4 mins) isnt too bad- and the buses are usually only about 75% full. The big problem I have come across dozens of times now is from 6pm to 8pm, when the bus frequency drops slowly from every 5 mins to every 15. If you are waiting at the Symonds Street overbridge, you (and 20-40 others) often watch as 3-4 buses go past completely packed.

    They do need to do something about reliability though- often there are 7-8 minute spaces with no buses during the morning peak… then 3-4 all come at once. Hop will help, but more bus prioritisation is required, especially now that buses carry the clear majority of peak Dominion Road users.

    Mt Eden road is definitely in need of more peak services… they seem to be packed almost all day!

  7. Jarrod says:

    It’s great how train usage continues to grow despite the fact it can often be unreliable and it is limited in where you can go. The CBD tunnel would make the system just so much better. I live in Meadowbank. If the tunnel was completed I could catch the train straight to Eden Park to watch the Blues. Perfect. That alone is reason enough to build it!

  8. Chris R says:

    “The “loop” is a bad name implying trains going round in circles”

    Until the front couples itself to the back…..

    Just thinking in pictures…


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