Much like September, the Rugby World Cup helped to boost October public transport patronage to some pretty impressive levels, especially for the rail network which had over 1.2 million trips, a new record. The monthly PT patronage report has all the details, and here’s a summary:It’s pretty impressive to see that we’re closing in on 70 million trips as our 12 month rolling total. It wasn’t so long ago that we passed 60 million trips. The 16.7% increase in total PT patronage is also very impressive, as while the World Cup clearly boosted our numbers, we must also remember that school holidays completely fell in October this year, whereas last year they straddled September and October.
But perhaps the most exciting numbers relate to the rail network’s patronage – which hit a staggering 1.2 million, the highest monthly total ever. It was up by over 55% on the same total last year. Western Line patronage was almost double last year’s total (obviously the RWC benefits were most clearly concentrated on the Western Line). Here are some of the details:This is the first time we’ve been able to make comparisons for year on year growth in Onehunga Line trains. The much higher 63% growth (compared to 36.5% on the southern & eastern) suggests that patronage on the Onehunga Line has consistently grown since the service was launched in September last year.
The graph below shows the longer term trends: As I noted above, the most spectacular numbers were on the rail network. Even though this was boosted by people travelling to and from Rugby World Cup games, Auckland Transport’s data shows that there were over 1 million ticketed (that is, excluding people travelling to and from games) rail trips in October. October was the fourth month in 2011 to have more than a million rail trips, and the third month in a row to break through this important threshold. The challenge will be this time next year for rail patronage to not experience big losses in year on year patronage – although I’m fairly confident we’re going to start to see reaching 1 million rail trips a month being more common than not in the not too distant future.
When it comes to bus patronage, the increases were a little more circumspect at 7.4%. Much of the increase was for trips within the isthmus, although I’m not sure the extent to which this was influenced by Eden Park bound trips. Here are some further details on bus patronage changes around the different parts of Auckland: All up we have seen the RWC give a pretty massive boost to PT patronage over the past couple of months, but even pulling that out (which is difficult to do entirely) the numbers show a continuation of recent trends of strong growth. What will be interesting to see is how things hold up in the next few months as there are many more disruptions to the rail network in particular. I’m also hoping that Auckland Transport will be well prepared for March next year – as they seem to have a habit of failing to prepare for the busiest month of the year.