Numbers travelling by bus and train hit 25-year high

Lincoln Tan reports in the Herald on recent Auckland public transport patronage figures.

Use of public transport in Auckland has hit a 25-year high, with commuters reporting increased satisfaction with the service on offer.

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority’s annual passenger figures showed 58.6 million trips were made in the year to June 2009 a 7.7 per cent increase on last year and the highest level of public transport use in the city since the mid 1980s.

In 1984, Aucklanders made 60.69 million trips on public transport, but by 1994 that number had declined to a low of 33.3 million.

Rail use has almost doubled to 7.6 million trips, the highest since records began in 1955.

Meanwhile, a customer satisfaction survey conducted by research company Gravitas showed satisfaction rising from 71 per cent in 2005 to 84 per cent this year.

“This has been a very good year for the growth of public transport use in Auckland,” said ARTA Chairman Rabin Rabindran.

“The very fact that Aucklanders are now asking for more public transport is an indication in itself that we are headed in the right direction.”

Forty-five per cent of respondents to the Gravitas survey said they were using public transport more often than 12 months ago, while 91 per cent said they would probably recommend using their chosen mode of transport.

Ninety-six per cent said they were likely to use public transport again.

Sixteen per cent cited fuel and vehicle costs as their reasons for using public transport, and that it was a less stressful way to travel to work and school.

Mr Rabindran said the survey also indicated that customers wanted greater frequency and a more integrated transport network. Authorities are working on an integrated ticketing system to streamline the use of ferry, bus and train services in the city in time for the Rugby World Cup 2011.

Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee said the aim was for Auckland to have a public transport network capable of 100 million passenger trips within 10 years.


Annual passenger transport numbers (for the year to June 30, 2009)

* 58.6 million trips, highest level since the mid-1980s.
* 7.6 million rail trips, highest since records began in 1955.
* 1.5 million on the Northern Express, a 150 per cent growth in two years.
* 2.3 million trips taken by senior citizens on SuperGold card in the first six months of 2009.
* 75.5 per cent increase of student travel on public transport.

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