Results from Hamilton City Council’s most recent Residents Survey show that 85% of city residents think a Hamilton to Auckland Passenger Rail Service would be a good idea with over 43% stating that they would use services if they were restarted.
The survey which is carried out quarterly and benchmarks residents’ satisfaction levels, recently included a question which asked residents if they were in favour of the re-introduction of passenger rail services to Auckland.
A business case report on a potential Hamilton to Auckland Passenger Rail Service was commissioned by Environment Waikato earlier this year. The report looked at opportunities to restart services within the next three years and concluded that it would be possible to start small and build services once popularity grew.
While numbers of people who currently brave the daily commute to Auckland are low, 66% of survey respondents stated they would consider using services if more than one daily departure to Auckland was organised. The survey also highlighted that on average travellers would be prepared to spend in the region of $32 for a return ticket.
Increasing the range of transport options would improve ease of access to and from the Hamilton and Waikato regions for residents and visitors alike – potentially benefitting not only quality of life but the economy too. The service could be an attractive travel option to many, not just solely commuters but also other business people and day trippers, with the benefit of avoiding busy roads on a more leisurely but direct trip.
Hamilton City Council Transport Committee chairman Councillor Dave Macpherson says, “This potential for growth is encouraging and is more likely to be achieved if a guarantee can be given that services will continue for more than a one year trial.
“Capital Connect Services running from Palmerston North to Wellington are very popular and now run profitably without the need for any rates or national subsidy. We aspire to see the same thing happening between Hamilton and Auckland.”