Auckland Transport have released the May 2011 public transport statistics report, and the results patronage-wise are pretty spectacular. Here are the highlights:
These are particularly strong increases, as compared with April’s numbers we see all patronage increase by 10.3% (compared to 3.9% in April) and rail patronage grow by 21.5% (compared to 12.7% in April). It’s a bit unfortunate that we couldn’t have had another 15,000 rail trips on the network to crack the magic one million mark, but it seems likely that getting more than a million passengers a month on the rail network is likely to become fairly commonplace over the next year or two.
Looking at the more detailed statistics, we see a really solid increase in general bus patronage (over 8%) and spectacular growth on the Western Line rail patronage (almost 30%). The investment in improving the Western Line over the past few years is really starting to pay off. Sneaking in at the bottom there is ferry patronage, which grew by an excellent 8%. Ferry patronage has been pretty static over the past few years so it’s good to see some growth there. Once the Hobsonville and Beach Haven ferries are up and running (some time next year I think) it seems likely that ferry patronage will grow once again.
The longer term patronage trends are shown in the graph below. What’s of particular note is that May was the third highest total (only beaten by March this year and last year) and the second highest month for rail patronage (even higher than March last year):
Once again the most significant growth in patronage is on the Rapid Transit Network (the rail network plus the Northern Busway). RTN patronage was up 20% on May last year: Helpfully, bus patronage on “normal routes” (by that I mean excluding the Northern Express) also increased by 8.2% – the biggest increase since October/November last year (and those results last year were the rebound from the bus lockout the year before). With around 4.7 million of the 6.3 million public transport trips in May occurring on ‘normal’ bus routes, it’s crucial that we continue to improve those services if we really want PT patronage to boom: Looking at the bus numbers in a bit more detail, once again it seems that the highest growth rates are in the north and south – generally the areas where we have seen service improvements over the past few years. One can only hope that Auckland Transport will eventually learn from this and embark upon comprehensive bus service improvements elsewhere in the region: The rest of the report is fairly stock standard. Rail reliability improved, although is still below the 90% level that many overseas cities would cancel contracts over if it was not achieved. Most of the delay minutes seemed to result from “operations”. By that I guess it is meant the age that it often takes for the doors to open and close at each station?
One useful thing that’s mentioned in upcoming PT improvements is a reworking of bus routes in south Auckland to feed into the Manukau Station when it opens in February next year. Let’s hope that might lead to a reduction in the 73 million bus routes from Manukau to Britomart.