10th Million Passenger!


Rail patronage in Auckland has reached a record high with 10 million passenger journeys within a 12 month period achieved this morning.

Four times the number of passengers are using rail now than 8 years ago when Britomart was opened.

In 2003, there were 2.5 million trips on rail compared with the ten million we have just reached.

At Britomart this morning  Mayor Len Brown was greeting commuters and inviting them to share slices of a large celebratory cake in the shape of a train.

10 million -and they keep coming

Auckland Transport’s Chief Executive, David Warburton called it  a significant milestone in Auckland’s public transport journey.

“There are a number of reasons for this. They include more services, customer service improvements, an improved network and better facilities at our train stations. It is also generally cheaper to travel on rail than to run a car and pay for parking. Train travel also provides the opportunity to use travel time effectively.”

Dr. Warburton says, “Growth in the number of services on rail has raced to keep up with ever increasing commuter demand. In 2003,784 train services ran each week, in 2011, this number has increased to 1,950 services. There were 18 train sets with 38 carriages, now there are 38 train sets and 147 carriages.

“We have upgraded, redeveloped or added brand new stations to the majority of the network. These include Newmarket, New Lynn, Avondale, Grafton, Panmure, Penrose, Te Papapa and Onehunga.

“There have also been a number of network upgrades completed with our partner KiwiRail. These include the completion of the double tracking on Auckland’s western rail line and the redevelopment of two new rail lines, Onehunga which opened in 2010 and Manukau which will be completed early next year.

“Electrification and resignalling of the network is well underway, with the first electric train due in service in 2013 after years of our operator Veolia Transport doing a great job maintaining service performance with  aged rolling stock”, Dr. Warburton says.

Auckland’s Mayor, Len Brown says: “I’m committed to making Auckland the most liveable city in the world, and central to this is an effective, integrated transport system which gives Aucklanders options for moving around the region. Our rail network is going from strength to strength, and our rapidly increase patronage figures just prove to me that if you build it, people will use it.

“The great cities of the world are focusing on mass transit, particularly rail, and the upgrades we are making to Auckland’s network will transform this region as people and commercial freight moves around more easily.”

Veolia Transport Managing Director Graham Sibery says: “Auckland rail has experienced strong, consistent average annual growth of around 21 per cent since 2004, which is excellent by international standards. Working together, we provide a great service for Aucklanders, who are increasingly adopting rail as their preferred mode of travel.”




  1. Cam says:

    And yet in Wellington they say patronage is only 5 million because they feel the 2006 census is the only accurate guide to patronage numbers.

  2. Matt L says:

    Its great to reach this milestone although they weren’t giving out the cake when I went through at 8:20 (and my train was late)

  3. George D says:


    Hope this helps achieve more progress.

  4. Giel says:

    Cam - Don’t know about your 5 Million passenger journey number for Wellington but all the sources I know off say it is abour 12 Million passenger journeys per year for Welington. This directly compares to the about 10 Million for Auckland quoted above.


    So Auckland still has a way to go to catch up with Wellington. But it is building nicely towards that. Remember Greater Wellingtons population is about 25% of Greater Aucklands population so to get same per capita rail passenger journeys Auckland would need 48 Million passenger journeys per annum. Ten Million is a long way off that I afraid.

  5. Matt L says:

    Giel - I believe that Cam is refering to the figures that the government use to talking about why they won’t invest more into rail for Auckland not the patronage of the Wellington network.

    Wellington Patronage has actually gone back at bit and is currently about 11-11.5m per year so based on current growth, Auckland will pass it by the end of next year. I suspect that AT will count RWC patronage in their figures which give a big boost later this year but may come back to bit them later on. Also I don’t have the figure in front of me but yes Auckland would need patronage in the mid 40′s to match the per capita use of Wellingtons system. The only way we will have a chance to get that is if we build the CRL.

  6. Brent C says:

    @ Giel - The term Wellington is a really bad way tto describe parliament. This is even through many of the folk who make decisions down there are from the Auckland area, inlcuding Key and Joyce.

    Its good to see we are celebrating passenger numbers on our train systems. Good on you Len! Think SJ will be handing out cake to truck drivers who are stuck waiting in traffic congestion?

  7. Sam says:

    @giel- I think what Cam was referring to is that our friends in parliament like to think Auckland only carries half the rail patronage we actually have. I’m pretty sure that the running statistics kept by Auckland transport said about 5 mil at the time too-So it’s reasonable to assume that there not too far off now… Unless of course you don’t want it to be true

  8. Giel says:

    Yes guys - did misunderstand Cams point - reading it again he is saying “Wellington” in the sense that the Government is saying Auckland is 5 Million Pax in 2006 - which is grossly misleading by the officials - Valid Point - apologise - will read it more carefully next time.

    Yes Wellington pax numbers down to 11.1 M in FY2010 but mostly because of major disrupts for upgrades eg Johnsonville line closures - many weekend closures. Long run numbers normal is closer to 12 Million. Will be interesting to see the Wellington numbers in 12 months - should rise with new capacity now in coming into play.

  9. Jon C says:

    In the 10 months to April 2011 about 9.2 million rail trips were made in the Wellington region. No final figure for the 12 months yet.

  10. KarlHansen says:

    21% growth a year, for 6-7 years running. It is mind-boggling, especially considering how hard-fought these wins have all been.

    Three cheers for everyone involved in making it happen!

  11. Matt L says:

    Jon C – Wellington patronage was about 1.05m in May with their 12m total about 985k ahead of Auckland. Haven’t seen June patronage data from Wellington to be able to compare it yet.

  12. Luke says:

    in March Wellington patronage was only 17,000 ahead of Aucklands. The gap has gone back up to about 80,000 in subsequent months.
    Auckland must have more monthly variation with schools and uni making up a higher proportion of travellers.

  13. Cam says:

    Apologies - I did indeed use the term Wellington to refer to the government. Which is a bit unfair as it could be taken to include ordinary Wellingtonians. It is very frustrating the SJ chooses to ignore the fantastic growth that Auckland rail patronage is getting. He wont be able to it for ever.

    This is very positive news though all in all. Rail patronage just keeps marching on, which is great to see. Just shows if investment is put in people will use public transport. Bring on electrification!

  14. Commuter says:

    It’s a pity that Veolia itself doesn’t seem to recognise this growth in passenger numbers. My 12:21 Britomart to Waitakere today was a two car ADL and it was packed to the gills basically making for a deeply uncomfortable ride for many passengers. And the quality of Veolia’s service isn’t much better than it was in 2003: my 8:02 Waitakere to Britomart this morning was running 8 minutes late at Avondale; no passenger communication explaining the delay, or even an apology for the late running service. We’ve still got a long way to go before we achieve the level and quality of service that we should be getting for the money we pay via fares, rates and taxes. But it is a small improvement and we should thank the like of Mike Lee for having the political courage to push against the tsunami of motorway promotions emanating from the Ministry of Transport for these improvements.

  15. Jennifer says:

    The last time I saw the numbers, which was a while ago, Wellington had 50% more commuter passenger services than Auckland (and one third the population). That they currently carry more passengers in absolute number terms isn’t too surprising - Auckland is very much on the growth path. Integrated fares, the CBDRL, a south-west service, and rail across to Mangere will generate a factor increase.

  16. KarlHansen says:

    Jennifer - none except the integrated fares is anywhere on the horizon before a decade or two though. There is however electrification - that WILL probably kick us into something like another 50% more over current levels before the Britomart issue chokes us off again (the 50% increase is just my personal guess, I am sure others can provide better estimates from official papers etc…)

    And the cool thing about that big leap & increased sexy factor will be is that it will be exactly the means we will need to shove the dinosaurs out of the way for the CBD rail tunnel.

  17. Patrick R says:

    KH, methinks you are a little pessimistic…. I feel a train-a-coming and it take me not only under Albert St but to the airport too. Within this decade. Well I hope I’m right, but this is my feeling and I’m quite good at picking these things… [trust me]. I thinks it’s unstoppable this time.

  18. Pim says:

    To be honest, unless Labour get in to parliament this coming term, and come up with a genius plan to fund the link without putting the country into too much more deficits, we won’t get it done within the next ten years. Considering all possibilities, I think we should have it in 20 years, with a bit of luck. If Labour doesn’t get voted in in the next 3 terms however, it will most likely be longer. But National can’t avoid this issue forever; the numbers are just too staggering to ignore, even for the normal aucklander who has never caught a train in their life. There will be change in Auckland, it’s just a matter of time.

  19. Patrick R says:

    Pim, here’s the thing, we, AK, can just do it. First couple of years don’t cost too much. Then Infrastructure bonds, ie borrowing to get going. Certainly we should sell those airport shares and hypothecate [ha!] that resource to the Mangere line. And generally pressure government to come to the party. I don’t see the problem.

    Although of course the best heat is at the voting booth. And this is where we can send a strong message, at the election even if Lab/Green don’t get over the line this time. I know it seems that the whole country is mad for these saps currently running the place but these things never last. They’ve had a lot of luck, a lot of excuses, and next year isn’t going to be easy…. I’m picking that this is their high point, so there is only one way to go from here….

  20. tbird says:

    It could have been me. Except that my 7:52am arrival that should get me in right before work, always arrives after 8. I’ve looked at the speeds by taking a GPS onboard, and can’t really work our where the delay is - it seems to accumulate slightly with each stop. Maybe if they just revised the timetables to be more realistic they’d have more on-time arrivals!

    Regarding Labour/Greens - well with all the other bribes they’d need to do to get elected, we’d be billions more in debt, so I don’t think you’d be getting a new train line.

  21. Patrick R says:

    Tbird what is with the cynicism? Tax cut for the top earners isn’t a ‘bribe’ then? Anyway it’s perfectly clear in the transit space that there is more than enough money for the CRL if we can clip the RoNS madness. Settle and simmer, I, seriously, don’t get your panic: do you really think these guys are running the ship smartly? Really?

  22. Clint says:

    Wellington’s rail patronage was 11.2 million this last financial year. Auckland’s was 9.8 million. Auckland Transport expects its patronage numbers to surpass Wellington in about 12 months.
    Fran Wilde told Radio New Zealand this week that per capita Wellington is in front of Auckland 23 to 7 for train travel.
    Joyce also commented this week he’s not going to consider the CBR loop project until the dire situation around shortfalls for metrorail are sorted out. Projected to be about 40mil on average from next year until the end of the decade. Auckland Transport and Govt are fleshing some sort of deal out now

  23. Frank says:

    I wonder how long National can continue to ignore rail in Auckland. Its amazing the way they are doing it. Yet, their support goes up and up.

  24. tbird says:

    Well, Frank. National’s a political party - I’m not sure why transport is even in their job brief. Do we actually need/want a government meddling in this type of stuff?

    Pat R. Tax cuts aren’t bribes. They’re removal of a punishment!
    If you’re caught with drugs in South America, you can’t get off the hook by stealing the policeman’s money and giving him back a small fraction! :-D

    Never voted National before in my life, but they’re not doing too bad a job considering how difficult politics can be. They’re actually pretty left wing now. Labour’s a disaster, unmitigated and dangerous. I’ll try to stay partially on topic, but making GST more complicated? Punishing people for growing their business? More money for deadbeats? No Labour, no. First two are not going to help anyone except accountants; and people don’t want to give any more money to bludgers.

    It annoys me that Labour fanboys seem intent on picking on John Key, demonising him because he is rich. Great stuff.

    Greens are too antitechnology for anyone who reads a train page to be voting for. Ban DNA, ban DHMO, ban Doubledowns, protest, grandstand, protest. Sadly they’re a green veneer over a luddite/red centre. If they were more environmentalist, less political-activist I might consider them.

  25. George D says:

    Do we actually need/want a government meddling in this type of stuff?

    Yes. Transport is a non-rival public good.

    If that’s too technical for you - cities that do well around the world have extensive government co-ordinated/run public transport systems. The transport adds to the city, well above and beyond its cost to taxpayers and residents.

    As for Labour/Greens etc, they seem to be able to balance budgets fairly well, spending no more than they take in. Debt is a function of spending exceeding income, not merely spending. You can argue how much should be spent, and therefore how much to tax, but that’s a matter of opinion.

    Patrick R is right in saying that a tax-cut is a bribe if there isn’t a spending cut to go with it - because it increases debt is essentially a payment to current taxpayers from future taxpayers.

  26. George D says:

    Anyway, I don’t want to go too deeply into politics, but that was necessary to illustrate my further argument - that spending on transport cannot happen sustainably under current arrangements.

    You can’t have it both ways, tbird. Either you have a shitty transport system and slow delayed trains, or you pay more taxes. (Yes, National have cut taxes, but they are spending huge amounts on roads with no business case, so they are racking up debt. Future taxpayers will pay for these roads.)

    Or, perhaps, you vote for a party that abolishes unemployment benefits and puts those people out on the street (thus saving money and allowing you tax cuts), while investing heavily in public transport. I do not think such a party exists.

  27. Jon C says:

    @Clint Thanks for that

  28. Patrick R says:

    RE Clint above, Joyce’s expressed excuse for not funding the CRL is a great window on to this government’s arrogance, short sightedness, and bullying provincialism.

    Sad then that as evidenced by tbird above that people seem to to only see the gov’s spin on the other political parties.

    We need change in transport decisions urgently and to get that we will have to vote accordingly…. vote for Joyce and you’re voting for nothing but State Highways and poverty through oil dependency.

  29. Cam says:

    “Well, Frank. National’s a political party – I’m not sure why transport is even in their job brief. Do we actually need/want a government meddling in this type of stuff?” - Yes it is in their brief, that’s why we have a ministry dedicated to it with a budget of billions of dollars. Seriously that’s an odd question.

  30. Cam says:

    “Pat R. Tax cuts aren’t bribes. They’re removal of a punishment” - Are you for real?

  31. Patrick R says:

    Hey Cam, that not me with the jumbled thinking it’s tbird …been flying a little close to the sun I’m afraid

  32. tbird says:

    “Cam – Are you for real?”
    Yep, I’m for real. I take credit for the jumbled thinking! And apologise in advance for getting so off topic.

    I’m still not sure how a tax cut is a bribe. It’d be great if there was a spending cut too - but in that situation the spending is more of a bribe than the cut. I’m in full agreement that this debt is a very bad thing, but Goff’s proposed election bribe is going to worsen that considerably.

    We’ve seen Labour in action for nine years, and it’s disgusting how they’ve left our country. Telling us what lightbulbs and showerheads we can use is about all that they’re good for. Plus their party is an absolute disgrace - think how much Chris Carter has ripped off from us, plus they love to protect nasty pieces of work like “Taito” Philip Field and Darren Hughes. That’s not spin, it’s a sad fact.

    “..why we have a ministry dedicated to it with a budget of billions of dollars.”

    Maybe we should be spending those billions on national transport, instead of expecting the rest of the country to pay for a the pet projects of various cities.

    It’s sad that people and towns/cities of this country just sit in the corner whinging and crying that the goverment (i.e. other taxpayers) isn’t giving them what they want. “We have to pay for the dentist”, “Petrol’s too expensive”, “My builder did a crap job and my house is mouldy”, “There was an earthquake and I didn’t want to waste money on insurance”.

    Seriously, people need to take some responsibility and do things for themselves. I know that being babied with “free” money from WFF etc means many have lost that ability, but it’s going to be necessary in the future once our country’s debts are called in.

  33. Patrick R says:

    Hard to know which bit of that twaddle to take apart first, or whether to bother… So I’ll only address one, before trying to return us to topic.

    Bribe is a silly and emotional word but I was merely hoping to get you use it, if you must, evenly. Politicians of all stripes offer us their goodies and we must decide whose we like the best, getting all steamy and declaring the ones we don’t as ‘bribes’ is childish and petulant. However it seems you are some sort of unbeliever in society, and a bitterly judgemental one at that there doesn’t seem much point in continuing.

    But perhaps you will agree that this current government is not serving the country well with it’s transport priorities…? Or perhaps not, because what on earth do you mean by ‘national transport? Every transport project is somewhere, so how can some projects be national and others only local? Is a road national and a train local? Because I might drive on a road in Southland, well might not a Southlander also visit Auckland and catch a train?[especially if one went to the airport] . Nothing you have written in this tread makes anymore sense than that absurd idea.

  34. tbird says:

    However it seems you are some sort of unbeliever in society, and a bitterly judgemental one at that there doesn’t seem much point in continuing.


    I haven’t even judged you! Quite frankly I think everyone’s entitled to their own ideas. I’m sorry if this offends you.

    I’m happy you’re backing down over tax cuts being “bribes”.

    If you’re unable to imagine a logical way to differentiate “local” from “national” I’m probably not going to be able to help you. Yes there’s obviously overlap and ambiguous cases, but this happens any time you try to classify something.

    There’s a distinction between state highways and other local roadways, so it’s not too difficult to draw a line. How’s this: national - in between towns, local -within towns. Not complicated.

    By your argument the government should be paying when a NZer touches down in Sydney!

  35. tbird says:

    Oh, and to address a point that’s vaguely on-topic…
    (I’ll try not to get derailed by blatantly inflammatory comments in future.)

    Regarding the handling of transport by National. No not good. But there’s more to life than transport, and I don’t think Labour would do any better.

    What needs to happen is that Auckland, can pay for Auckland’s local loop. And if Auckland wants it so bad, it should start saving now.

  36. Patrick R says:

    Well we’re getting somewhere, this is exactly how our small town minded government thinks too, no wonder you like them. But you like them are wrong: Ak is more than a quarter of the country, and steadily heading to be more. And is not, by any analysis a ‘town’. It is not of the scale of, say, Reefton. Intra Auckland problems and solutions are of a national scale, and of national importance. This is the point. The CRL is not like a local road, it will enable the entire regional rail network to function, it will unlock the billions of dollars of ROW underutilised in the existing network, and crucially build efficiency and resilience for the whole region and therefor the country. And it is our taxes they are spending too.

    I also don’t think you can really silo what the gov are doing with transport from everything else, as it is symptomatic of their boneheaded refusal to realise what serious challengers we face this decade from the new challengers ahead. Especially the end of cheap oil and the pressures of climate change. The RoNS nonsense is a dangerous gamble with scarce money that is taking down the exact opposite road of where we should be heading. It reflects their world view, which is wishful thinking that nothing is changing. They, and therefore we, are in for nasty shocks, and will be less prepared to face them because of there heads being stuck in the last century.

    hey and no offence, like a good chat.

  37. Jon C says:

    Darren Hughes has not been charged with any crime but may well be guilty of poor judgement. But let’s not get off topic by evaluating the morals of Labour MPs.

  38. Clint says:

    I agree the priority in the latest transport plan [GPS 2012-22] is titled heavily towards roads, with funding for most other activity classes remaining largely flat. I’m not sure this is a good thing at all. But there’s some merit in the RoNS, but at the same time it’s a huge gamble given the way oil is going and the limited transport budget. I think we have to face the fact the transport priorities set out by the Government are locked in for at least the next few years and maybe longer if National continues to ride high in the polls. By the time Labour wins back power [2014 or 17 or later???] most of the RoNS will probably be mostly built or to far down the track to pull the pin. But to be honest what is Labour going to do to rebalance the transport spend, it’s not like they have been putting a whole lot of ideas out there. They did afterall have nine years to invest heavily in PT but it was only the last couple they started throwing cash to Auckland and Wellington for upgrades etc. But obviously we are in a situation now where National has no real apetite for new large scale PT infrastructure projects such as the CBD rail loop.
    I think who ever has the purse strings is always going to piss someone off.

  39. Patrick R says:

    Clint, current Labour policy is to upgrade the existing SH1 north of Auckland and fund the CRL. They aren’t great at communicating this.

    Also remember the next Labour gov. will be a Lab/Green one so it will be a million miles away from both current policy and that of the last Labour gov.


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>