We have been hearing bits and pieces about it but the Draft Regional Public Transport Plan is finally here. It won’t be without its challenges but if AT manages to complete what is proposed in the plan, they will have truly revolutionised public transport in the region for the better. One of the big influences on the direction for this plan over previous versions of it is the creation of The Auckland Plan which among other things set some challenging but achievable targets for PT use, in particular:
- Doubling public transport from 70 to 140 million trips by 2022 (subject to additional funding)
- Increasing non-car (walking, cycling and public transport) mode share in the morning peak from 23 to 45 per cent of all trips by 2040
- Increasing the proportion of all vehicular trips made by public transport into the city centre during the morning peak from 47 to 70 per cent by 2040
- Increasing the annual number of public transport trips per person from 44 to 100 by 2040
- Increasing the proportion of people living within walking distance of frequent public transport stops from 14 to 32 per cent by 2040
I haven’t had a chance to fully read through the plan yet but the general theme is to use our existing PT resources to get as much out of the public transport system as possible before large infrastructure projects like the City Rail link are built. In a way it could be also be described as finally addressing all of the things that aren’t always as sexy as a big new infrastructure project but that need to be done. Many readers will know that improvements over the last decade to both infrastructure and services has seen patronage rapidly increase but sometimes it pays to put that into perspective. The image below shows our historic patronage by mode all the way back to 1920. It perhaps important to remember that back in the mid 50’s when patronage was still over 100 million per trips per year, our population was less than 1/3 of what it is today.
While patronage has been improving in recent years, there is still a lot of challenges that need to be addressed which range from funding pressures to infrastructure requirements to how the PT network operates. To address these changes there are a number of key changes that anticipated to take place over the next decade, they are listed below:
A couple of these are going to have a massive impact on the general public with the biggest of them being the new route structure that is proposed and is the same as we saw a few weeks ago. As a reminder here is the frequent network on which services will run at least every once 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm.
The other big piece that we have been waiting to hear about is moving to proper zonal fares that doesn’t penalise people for transferring. Its great to hear that that is officially the plan. Here is a map of the proposed fare boundaries. I like how the boundaries overlap in the major transfer points.
There is quite a lot of detailed information in the plan and over the next few weeks we will break down the various components, give our thoughts on them and come up with a model submission should you wish to use it for yourself. Consultation closes on November 5th. At a high level at least, things appear to be going in the right direction so I can’t wait for the revolution to begin.