March 2009 was a record breaking month for public transport usage in Auckland. The ARTA monthly business report confirms that there were 6,115,155 bus, ferry and rail boardings in March across Auckland’s network. This is up 19.7% on last March. It also means that the 12 month rolling total for Auckland at the end of March was 58,325,170 boardings – a 10.6% increase upon the 12 month rolling total for the previous year. The image below shows the huge leap that March 2009 represents, and how it compares with the last few years (the highest month of all):
Regarding railway patronage, the figures are even better in some respects: 802,623 boardings for the month, a 26.7% increase upon March 2008. Â The image below shows how this compares with past months, and also how it compares with March from the last few years:
This is all excellent news – although the figures are slightly inflated because Easter fell in April this year but March last year. It is clear that Aucklanders are responding to improvements to our public transport system and also that the increases in public transport usage that we saw last winter due to high oil prices were not just a once-off, but that people who perhaps tried public transport for the first time then liked it, and are sticking with it. Later this year we will see a few more milestones, as the Onehunga Branch re-opens and the Newmarket Station is completed. Hopefully we will also have some sort of integrated ticketing system going, and a few more trains available to handle the increased demand.
March and August are generally the months with highest public transport usage (no school holidays, uni holdiays or uni exams). It will be interesting to see if August 2009 can top March2009.