We already knew that rail set a new record in March by rising above 11 million passengers for the first time. What we didn’t know is just by how much it had passed and how the other PT modes fared. We do now seeing as the patronage results have finally been released and it turns out there were some new records from the other modes too.
Auckland public transport patronage totalled 71,108,511 (adjusted to 71,000,588 to account for a patronage reporting anomaly on the Waiheke Ferry service¹) passengers for the 12 months to Mar-2014, an increase of +0.7% (adjusted to +0.8%¹) on the 12 months to Feb-2014.¹ March monthly patronage was 7,305,925, an increase of 510,826 boardings (adjusted to 573,994¹) or +7.5% on Mar-2013 (adjusted to +8.5%¹), normalised to ~ +3.9% accounting for additional special event patronage and one more business day and one less weekend day in Mar-2014 compared to Mar-2013.
Notable is the 12 month cumulative record patronage recorded on rail, Northern Express and the Rapid Transit Network (RTN), and record single month results for rail Southern / Eastern Line, Northern Express and Other Bus (excluding Northern Express) services.
Rail patronage totalled 11,050,980 passengers for the 12 months to Mar-2014, an increase of +1.6% on the 12 months to Feb-2014 and +11.0% on the 12 months to Mar-2013. Patronage for Mar-2014 was 1,174,588 an increase of 171,621 boardings or +17.1% on Mar-2013, normalised to ~ +7.3%. Year to date rail patronage has grown by +14.0%.
The Northern Express bus service carried 2,371,275 passenger trips for the 12 months to Mar-2014, an increase of +1.3% on the 12 months to Feb-2014 and +6.4% on the 12 months to Mar-2013. Northern Express bus service patronage for Mar-2014 was 262,431, an increase of 31,323 boardings or +13.6% on Mar-2013, normalised to ~ +8.5. Year to date Nortern Express patronage has grown by +5.6%.
Other bus services carried 52,429,668 passenger trips for the 12 months to Mar-2014, an increase of +0.7% on the 12 months to Feb-2014 and +1.9% on the 12 months to Mar-2013. Other bus services patronage for Mar-2014 was 5,374,783, an increase of 368,902 boardings or +7.4% on Mar-2013, normalised to ~ +3.8%. Year to date other bus patronage has grown by +3.1%.
Ferry services carried 5,256,588 (adjusted to 5,148,665¹) passenger trips for the 12 months to Mar-2014, a decrease of -1.1% (adjusted to +0.04%¹) on the 12 months to Feb-2014 and -4.1% on the 12 months to Mar-2013 (adjusted to +5.0%¹). Ferry services patronage for Mar-2014 was 494,123, a decrease of -61,020 boardings or -11.0% (adjusted to +2,148 or +0.4%¹). Year to date ferry patronage has decreased by -5.9% (adjusted to +197,678 passengers or +5.3%¹).
You’ll notice some a reference when talking about the total and ferry passenger figures. If you remember there was a lot of question as to why they had fallen so much and Auckland Transport had said they were looking into it. Here’s what AT found.
Due to a reporting anomaly on the Waiheke Island to Devonport ferry service the previous year’s 2011/12 (July 2011 to June 2012) & 2012/13 (July 2012 to June 2013) annual reported patronage for public transport and ferry totals have been overstated. Similar anomalies in the reporting for this financial year 2013/14 (July 2013 to June 2014) have been corrected. Adjusted figures using corrected data for all years are provided in brackets where relevant throughout this report.
Seeing as the Devonport and Waiheke services are fully commercial and most people aren’t using HOP, I wonder if the reporting anomaly comes from the patronage being self-reported?
The increase in the patronage on the Northern Express in March was substantial, up 13.6% on the year before which was the previous monthly record. The Northern Express is impacted by what happens on other buses from the North Shore and the good news is they were also setting new records.
In fact at least compared to any other time since the beginning of 2002 this was the highest month for bus patronage.
On rail the increase was driven by increases in weekday patronage with the average number of passengers per day almost reaching 50,000. Weekend services were about the same as the year before. In addition Auckland Transport has said that a massive 15 services exceeded the passenger thresholds they have set of 1 person standing for every four sitting. Another 6 were close to exceeding that limit. Note: this is not individual services across the entire month but services per day.
One downside is we still get the tinpot dictator stats for bus and ferry punctuality, which is based off the bus companies self-reporting how they are going – and basing it off when a bus starts its run rather than when it arrives at its destination like happens with rail. AT have been promising for years to change this to a metric they control and showed early versions of it last year some time but yet they still go with the self-reported number.
Back to the good news, lastly we have cycling. Like the other modes it also set a record with over 94,000 cyclists recorded on the handful of automatic cycle counters around the region. That’s the first time it’s reached over 90k.
Note: the cycle counters are at Upper Harbour Drive, Great South Road, Highbrook, Lake Road, North-Western cycleway Kingsland and Te Atatu, Orewa Cycleway, Tamaki Drive (E/bound), Twin Streams path.
So we have a very good news month when it comes to patronage. Buses are up and setting new records, rail is up and setting new records, ferries are up once you adjust for the previous anomalies, and cycling is up and setting new records. By comparison, vehicle volumes on the Harbour bridge declined again, down 2% on last year although a few of the other parts of the motorway network did see some growth.