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Rail Station boarding stats

We know rail patronage is now at alltime highs having passed 11 million trips in March however there’s an interesting question as to which stations are those trips are coming from.

It’s been a long time since we last saw data that showed how many people board trains at each station and in the past Auckland Transport obtained the information by sending out people to stations for one day a year and manually counting everyone who turns up to catch a train. From memory that day was/is sometime in May. The last data we saw gave us the table below.

2003-2012 station boardings-800px

One of the big advantages to HOP is that it provides Auckland Transport with massive amounts of data on people’s trips which can be used for all sorts of interesting analysis. One of those things is to provide them with more frequent information about how many people are using rail stations.

AT have now provided me with some of that data allowing us to see the number of tips per station. The data is different to above in that instead of just showing the patronage for a single day it shows the total for an entire month i.e. all of March. It shows the number of HOP card tag-ons, tag-offs and the number of paper tickets issued for each station on the network however it doesn’t include travel made on legacy tickets & passes, special events, group travel, incomplete HOP transactions or transfers, it also won’t include any patronage where there is fare evasion. The data AT provided is for each month back to July last year (although the August data appears to be incorrect so I’ve ignored that. It’s important to point out that each month has a different number of working days, weekends, public holidays and rail network shutdowns it’s impossible to compare changes at a station month to month but rather only how each station compares to the others on the network.

For  the purposes of this post I’m just going to focus on total boardings so I have combined the tag-on and paper ticket issued data. I’ll look at the breakdown of these figures in a separate post as there is some quite interesting results within that. I’ve ordered the stations by their patronage in March and the colours represent the main line that serves the station with Britomart and Newmarket as purple as they serve many lines.

Station Boardings - Mar 14 (1)

There’s a couple of things I’ve noticed from looking at this.

  • Completely unsurprisingly Britomart is by far the biggest station for patronage and has 4-5 times more boardings than the next best of Newmarket.
  • A few years ago New Lynn was consistently about 5th or 6th for patronage. Now it is firmly in the number three spot and significantly above Middlemore and Papakura, the latter of which used to hold the number 3 spot.
  • December is a short month for patronage due to less school trips, Christmas and the other network shutdowns. Yet despite this Sylvia Park saw a huge increase in patronage. Guess it shows people will catch a train to go shopping.
  • The tag-off data is generally fairly similar (but not the same) as the tag on data. The most significant place where there is a difference between the two occurs is at Grafton and I hear it’s due to something called “downhilling”. Basically people (often with bikes) will get the train to Grafton, ride along Park Rd and Grafton Bridge then ride downhill to their destination in the CBD. To get home they will continue riding downhill to Britomart. As an example of the of this, in March 17,000 people tagged on at Grafton yet 22,000 tagged off. At the same time Britomart had nearly the same difference in reverse with more tagging on than off. No other station has such a discrepancy.
  • The bottom 3 stations, all of which are slated to be closed, remain with stubbornly low patronage. Combined they probably account for only about 1.5% of all trips
  • While all stations saw increases in March compared to the other months, the station with the biggest change is Panmure. This is positive to see at the newly upgraded interchange. I suspect in coming months/years this trend will continue and we will see the station rise much higher in the ranks

I’ve also put together this map with the size of the circle (area) representing how many boardings the station has.

Station Boardings Map - Mar 14 (1)

As mentioned earlier there is more to look at with this data and I’ll do that in a separate post. I also hope that this data is something that Auckland Transport start providing on a regular (monthly) basis.

I’ve also been looking at how a number of other cities produce their patronage data and my favourite that I would love to see AT emulate is the BART system in San Francisco. They produce monthly reports in an excel file that is generally published by the 5th of each month. What’s really neat is they provide the data as the average weekday/Saturday and Sunday boardings separately and do so in a matrix that allows you to see how many people travelled from each station on the network to each other station. I know AT already have this data so hopefully they can start releasing it publicly.  I would also love to compare the train stations with those on the busway.

98 comments to Rail Station boarding stats

  • Ari

    Great infographic. Good to see where the busiest stations are graphically and how they compare. Does this mean we can shut down the ones with the small dots?

  • Adam

    You should include pukekohe on your map, looks like it is just over half way up the rankings but gets thr worse service. Last train just after 8 which drives me nuts and no weekend service and it still gets lots of use. Pukekohe has the most untapped potentail

  • simon

    Great analysis!

  • Jin Park

    Dear Matt.

    I’m a law student currently writing a research paper on the RMA and its usage in facilitating a greater incentivisation of public transport.

    I was hoping you would be able to share with me your perspective on a number of topics and the permission for me to cite some of your articles. Perhaps we could arrange a coffee interview sometime in the next fortnight?

    Many thanks,

    Jin
    jpar243@aucklanduni.ac.nz

  • Tom Jackson

    Would be great to see whether Britomart and Newmarket can be split by line- I’ve always suspected anecdotally that Grafton is more busy than Newmarket on the western line

  • doloras

    I expect both Manukau and Otahuhu to improve drastically once they have the buses sorted out.

  • Rob Mayo

    The numbers show that Takanini’s patronage is consistently good despite the apalling condition of the station. When are you going to upgrade this station AT? Its not on any of your forward plans for 2014 / 2015 – why??

    • Lance

      There is very little in the pipeline for Takanini to be upgraded, I believe just the parking facilities maybe looked at, but not anytime soon. What amuses me is that the proposed Glenora Station for the Takanini Village still will not get any traction, dispite the obvious parallels to New Lyn in so far as the Addison/ Southgate/ Bruce Pullman Park vincinity being an absolute hotspot for development, for recreational sport, Commercial upgrades and thousands of houses being built…
      Takanini Station/ the proposed “free” Glenora station is a black hole of the line (along with Pukekohe- in my opinion) that is constantly being ignored by almost everyone, what a shame….

      • Rob Mayo

        Seems to be ignored in the upper echelons that Takanini is now a multi-class suburb – not just the station’s immediate working-class surroundings but nearby middle-class Addison, upper Porchester Road housing developments and Connifer Grove. Its madness thus, that the station is not slated to be upgraded by end 2015 when the AKL rail network will be running full electric train services. Institutionalised racism? Surely not…

        • Lance

          In all honesty I’m unsure if Takanini Station is even worth keeping, I often feel sorry for the ladys that use this station as its incredibly unfafe, mainly because it’s located in amongst a poverty striken, dark and remote part of town… Relocating to Takanini Village would be a far safer and be handly placed to “catch” alot of the peole/customers/sportsmen/women coming into this booming area…
          I did notice in the local elections that the Glenora station was a high priority, however that was in October and nothing since mentioned…

          I just feel its a black spot because of the grade separation needed in the area. Should the grade be seaparated (hence ending the carnage that’s occuring in this area) we may just see some movement. But that seems to not be a priority, only the widening of State highway 1 to 3 lanes south of Hill road…

          • Glenora Road Station despite being paid for by the developer of Addison is currently stalled due to politics between Kiwi Rail and AT, and the Developer. AT want the developer to pay the $28 million for the Walters Road Crossing grade separation before Glenora Road Station goes in. Of course this has provoked hostilities of the community and the developer against AT. What is also not helping is Te Mahia. Again AT will not proceed with Glenora unless Te Mahia is closed. For the most part and Glenora aside I would wish to see Te Mahia closed any how.

            Takanini once Glenora Road is also open I am inclined and have submitted on it also being closed if shuttle buses were of standard feeding passengers into Glenora from the Takanini, Conifer Grove, Addison areas.

            Pukekohe is meant to be upgraded most likely when Auckland Council finally sign the $110 million cheque to get Papakura – Pukekohe Electrified and the Drury + Paerata Stations built. However, for some reason AT has delayed discussion and a decision around Pukekohe from their recent AT board meeting until June. That delay means the Governing Body can not go through its procedures and get that cheque signed.

            There is meant to be a rail strategy now out from Auckland Transport covering all this plus the Manukau South Link which I have mentioned further down. However AT (unsurprisingly) have gone rather dark on all this leaving pretty much everyone down here in the South in limbo.

          • Ben, apparently the government have said they won’t contribute to Pukekohe electrification, although I’ve not seen this formally stated anywhere. If that’s true, then the proposal is probably in limbo. AT can’t afford to do it themselves (heck, they can’t even afford to pay a signalperson to be on duty at Puke to enable weekend services).

            There’s also been an indication from KiwiRail that the increase in frequency proposed for Pukekohe in association with electrification will require a third main between Papakura and Pukekohe. This will significantly push up the $110m price tag.

            We would get more bang for our buck if AT invested in a new outer urban diesel service instead, linking Papakura with not just Pukekohe, but also Tuakau, Pokeno and Mercer, and potentially Waiuku (or a park ‘n ride at Mission Bush). Better to get more for less.

  • James B

    Ugh… I wish I had more sleep last night. I didn’t read that it was in the thousands and spent five minutes wondering how 2.1 people could possibly use Waitakere.

  • TimR

    Great post Matt. To me the distribution highlights the importance of interchange and fare stages. I’m hoping the AT decision on integrated fare zones/ structure makes some smart decisions around how to attract people to combine bus and rail trips. It will be interesting to understand how the new bus network will further influence this pattern…

  • TheBigWheel

    The spreadsheet shows the impact of hey he extended Eastern Line closure right through January. If you compare the drop off from Nov-Dec to Jan for say GI with Manurewa it’s 2x or worse. Summing the stations gives maybe 30 k. Or double that assuming they mostly would have gone to Britomart. Accordingly, next year should see substantial summer increases.

  • Ross Clark

    One small contrast with Wellington. Wellington station handles 87 percent of the journeys in the Wellington network (that is, they either arrived in Wellington or left from there). Grouping Britomart and Newmarket together, they represent 38 percent of the total boardings for March, or 76 percent of the combined boarding-and-alighting traffics (that is, assuming that someone boarded there means that they alighted or will alight from there as well).

    The point is that the Auckland system is doing better at generating trips which are not focussed on the main or core stations. Thots as to why?

    • Err? Auckland has more destinations. Look for this to increase as the network stops only trying to serve the peak CBD focused commuter. And post CRL and through routing it’ll really go off: Orakei and well anywhere on the Eastern line direct to Eden Park will be by far the best way to a game….

  • Quick thoughts:

    -New Lynn must be a priority for gating
    -The Grafton spread [it'll be buses too Matt] shows just how much the diversion to NM and the slow track through Parnell and round Vector frustrates people. And how Britomart is only at one edge of the city… Those central city stations and the direct route are urgently needed.
    -also while it’s clear where the buses go from Grafton, the reverse is not true; easier to get from Grafton on buses than to it from city.
    -Middlemore; impressive; that core of the southern line gets great frequency already… it works!
    -Built it and they will come: New Lynn, Panmure etc

    • George D

      Realistically, they should gate the top ten, working their way down with one every couple of months. Make it an ongoing project, and you can have the most important stations done in a relatively short period of time. And it pays for itself.

      • bbc

        How does it pay for itself? Unless the millions needed to gate is less than fare evasion it’s actually costing more to gate than to simply accept a few people will always avoid paying. Make fines something people will think twice about incurring, at present I wouldn’t really be concerned about a $10 fine but would be if it was something reasonable like $180.

        On a related note the fines for driving in bus lanes also needs to increase, the amount of abuse yesterday afternoon of innercity bus lanes was absolutely ridiculous, Park Lane and Anzac Ave lanes were completely full of cars, buses weren’t even moving, it was quicker to get off and walk to town. Why isn’t AT making sure fines for all these activities that impact on PT are high enough that people will never take the gamble?

        • George D

          I don’t believe the cost is “millions”. Nevertheless, I’m only suggesting the top stations by patronage – which is still growing rapidly, so the payoff will be much greater than extrapolating from current figures.

        • Ran Derson

          Park Road bus lane infringement is ridiculous – bus lanes between CGR and KPR are totally ignored by motorists. Quick win for AT if they were policed!

      • Jon Reeves

        Agreed. As I live close to Middlemore, I see countless free riders getting on services there daily. Usually they disembark at Otahuhu, Sylvia Park or Glen Innes. Middlemore needs to be gated to ensure fair evasion is sorted out.

        On a slighty different topic, related to Middlemore. Last week I counted 35% of all platform lighting (on light stands) is not functioning. Does AT ever check lights at platforms? Last night I put in a request on the AT website to have the bulbs replaced. For the 4th busiest station on our network to have poor lighting it is not a good look.

        • The issue at Middlemore is the third main. This is the one point on mainline where a substantial rebuild will be required to accommodate it; opportunity perhaps to build an island platform, although that would be tricky to do while so many trains go through there. Either way there is no point in gating it without rebuilding the whole station for the third main and all the necessary overhead pedestrian access etc.

          Really the third main is so urgent, and this is just one little reason why. Of course ‘battered wife’ Kiwi Rail want AT to fund it. Whereas NZTA ought to be able to; it’s a proper multi-modal freight and passenger enabler, and reportedly only 40-odd million. Less than 10% of the cost of that over scaled intersection on the Shore they are planning to just casually get on with.

        • The blown bulbs on the walkway lights at Ranui station still haven’t been replaced, and they blew back in 2005. Both light stands have been dark for nine years!

    • George D

      Is there any arrangement between AT and Middlemore hospital for the provision of discounted tickets to patients/families etc? It seems to me that this could be an area of improvement, with little difficulty. Similarly the Grafton hospital could arrange such a thing.

  • One thing I’d be interested to see is direction of travel versus time of day – we know the West line has good bidirectional all-day travel and the South is generally more “peaky”, but by how much and which destinations most buck the peak-direction trend?

    Another interesting bit of data to see is how much rail travel is already involved in transfer trips to major destinations not directly served by rail, ie people that involve rail+bus(+ferry) in trips to/from the Airport, Busway stations, Takapuna, Devonport, the southeast (Botany etc). Would be good to compare that in the future to data post New Network implementation.

    • Yes would love more detailed data but just getting this info was like pulling teeth

      • Jonathan M

        You should be able to estimate the use of each route (source/destination pair) for this sort of network (mostly tree-like) given you have tag ons and tag offs. Obviously there’s many more routes than data, but nonetheless you should be able to get reasonable estimates of each using pretty standard flow modelling. Drop me a mail if you’d like me to take a look.

        • I’ve seen some more detailed info from AT which shows origin/destination info for all trips but they don’t want to share that publicly. From what I’ve seen it shows that most of the Southern/Eastern line patronage is going to Britomart while on the Western line the majority is but there are a number of other smaller destinations like Henderson, New Lynn, Mt Albert, Kingsland, Grafton etc.

          As for this data, with the exception of Grafton, almost all stations have about the same number of tag offs as tag ons and so we can assume the same thing for paper tickets. In other words you treat the numbers in the table above as the same for origin/destination.

  • Greg N

    It is noteworthy that Meadowbank station on the Eastern line, which is a geographically constrained station for both park and ride, local walk up users and for people who could and do catch a bus to the station, actually has more boardings than Manukau currently does which is also on the “Eastern line”.

    I calculate in March this year that at best only 430 people a day used Manukau station to board (this is assuming all boarding occurs only the working days of month – you can’t count weekends as too many line shutdowns this year so assume all usage is on weekdays only).

    So its a totally optimistic number and real week-day numbers would be lower.

    And in reality that is what 2-3 full DMUs worth of boardings a day and we run 20+ DMUs into Manukau a day? So the average “fullness” of a DMU at Manukau station would be pretty low.

    So maybe Councillor Quax’s historic complaints about low passenger counts at Manukau still has some validity?

    Of course, once external things like buses at Manukau and MIT are sorted that will change, but for now yes Manukau has a lot of potential to unlock and deliver which it is not yet doing so.
    But those external matters are in hand.

    A side question becomes how to lower costs here until the patronage ticks up – and the obvious thing is to get EMU’s on the line ASAP as they will have a operating cost half of the old DMUs so that means less subsidy required per passenger. Which is what AT are doing, and the freeing up of (hardly stretched) DMUs will help will constraints elsewhere on the network.

    Secondly, I note that Orakei is very low down on the list as well compared to GI station which is 2 stops down the same line.
    Both are on fare boundaries (as is Ellerslie station which has similar boardings to GI and its two fare stages from Britomart as well).
    Yet Orakei shows much lower numbers – well under half of the GI ones.

    This is I expect that largely due the impact of no integrated bus services to/from Orakei Station (and possibly some due to its immediate proximity to town).

    So you have to find your own way to the station and either walk, or drive. And if you’re doing that, why not drive/walk to the city instead if you can afford the time or $ to do so?

    GI has good bus integration, and has a smaller park and ride as Orakei. So the two provide and interesting case study of the relative effects of Bus integration.

    If you deduct from Orakei’s figures, the Park and Ride effect (which is 200 car parks a day during 20 working days a month this represents 4000 or so boardings), you actually get similar usage at Orakei to Meadowbank and Manukau stations.

    Extraplolating usage for Manukau Station from GI on the basis that once Manukau has good transport connectivity (not park and ride facilities) then it is actually similar to GI, then you can that Manukau is at least a “GI station-in-waiting”.

    For Orakei, once the Orakei Point development goes ahead and therefore has a resident population to use the station, has integrated bus services with the PTOM network redesign, and has a precinct that can attract people from elsewhere on the network to it, then Orakei will without a doubt, become a Newmarket-beside-the-sea station in terms of boardings within a few years.

    Interesting numbers, interesting times…

    • Well Quax was one of a number of MCC councillors that voted to put MC station where it is; almost nowhere totally disconnected from any current destinations. It will improve with the bus station but that’s just making the best of a very bad thing

      • James B

        To be honest I think it is a blessing in disguise. Malls are often very disconnected from the surrounding streets by carparking. Building it where it is will allow for a more traditional street design like the inner suburbs which would be almost impossible around the mall given the amount of land Westfield would suck up for parking.

        • Neil

          Sylvia Park shows malls and trains can work well.

          • James B

            I’m not saying they can’t work but I struggle to see Westfield being a willing accomplice.

          • Christopher T

            Not sure that Lynmall contributes all that much to the figures for New Lynn; it’s surrounded by car parks; is demarcated by pedestrian unfriendly traffic sewers that serve to discourage pedestrian connections between the two sites; and doesn’t have the cinemas that I understand are one of he drawcards for Sylvia Park. Bit of a lost opportunity.

          • You can get to New Lynn from the train station extremely easily. In fact it’s probably easer to get into from the station than Sylvia Park is. KIPT who own Sylvia Park brought Lynnmall a few years ago and plan to upgrade it including adding cinemas and having the mall interact with town centre better. Hopefully they will start soon with all of the other development happening in the area.

          • Glen

            As an aside, speaking of other malls near train stations, does anyone know when the redevelopment of Westfield 277 Broadway in Newmarket is going to start? I heard it has consent etc.

            (Although there are unfortunately several other carparks in Newmarket) the carpark at 277 routinely fills up on the weekends, it would be a great opportunity for AT to promote travel to the area by train.

          • Greg N

            Last I heard it was waiting for the economy to pick up again (post GFC)…

            They will have to do something soon as their consents will run out if they don’t and I think AC will take a hard line on their design with regard airbridges over public roads and the like if they have to reapply, and the other mall owners will no doubt also put their hands up and object.

            As for a expanded mall, they have trouble both in 277 and in neighbouring shops opposite 277 getting tenants in their current mall/shops, so a larger one will probably have even more trouble getting and keeping tenants.

          • Wrong model… should be doing real mixed use development apartments and commerce and place. Newmarket does not need more mall.

    • George D

      The MIT campus will be finished soon (it was supposed to have happened by now but the construction company fell over). This will change things again.

      Orakei is very near the region’s major employment centre, and a very direct route into it. It makes sense that these people would use the train, and that they will in greater numbers.

      • Greg N

        Yes but they are not now – thats my point, and the reason why not is almost solely due to lack of bus integration there.

        It will change, but compare GI with Orakei to directly see the effect of lack of Bus Integration on a “like for like’ basis – and that lack of integration at Manukau is why Manukau numbers are so crap now.

    • The MIT Campus, the gating of Manukau Station, and the eventual opening of the bus station (and hopefully not that crap saw-tooth design) will give Manukau a boost.
      Increasing frequencies north will give a boost to Manukau
      Redeveloping Manukau will eventually boost patronage
      Building the Manukau South Link and getting 20 minute frequencies to start with on Pukekohe – Manukau via the South Link will be the “killer app” as Patrick says about the CRL.

      Why?
      Manukau services South Auckland primarily
      The bulk of Manukau Station’s passengers will come from the South not the north
      Having them go all the way to Puhinui from Papakura then playing the game of back track for 1.5 km after a transfer seems redundant when you can do Papakura to Manukau via the South Link in about 16 minutes with an EMU.

      Lets go AT – get that Link built over Christmas and you will have a very happy South Auckland (and even a very happy Pukekohe)

      • Nick R

        But those southern suburbs are already getting frequent transit direct to Manukau. Why would you make your way to the train station for a twenty minute train when the bus at the top of your street runs there every fifteen?

        Seems like a good way to waste capital only to undermine both the bus routes and the rail network.

        • Bryce P

          Because the train is more comfortable than the usual bus trip in the burbs in Auckland?

        • Bus from Papakura to Manukau on both the new 33A and the 471/2 is 30 mins in off peak, around 10mins longer in the peak owing to congestion at Takanini Interchange

          EMU and ADL from Papakura to Manukau via the South Link at any time; 18 minutes and no interchange to hold you up.

          So time speaks for itself on the difference.

          Also as I have noted people prefer the train over the bus when both options are given. Dont ask me why it just happens.

          AT initial modelling suggested the South Link would rival our 5th busiest station at the time on 10 minute frequencies which was overkill. 20mins would roughly similar.

          As you lot often say: Build it and watch them come ;-)

          • Not so Ben, you might have missed the results of consultation (yes, despite what certain individuals say, AT have consulted on the RPTP and make changes as a result).

            The bus from Papakura to Manukau is a now frequent service with a bus every fifteen minutes or better all day. No interchanging, just direct frequent service. Actually there are two buses from Papakura to Manukau, the 15 minute one on Great Sth Rd and another 30 minutes one.

            See here:
            https://at.govt.nz/media/309600/4-Final-New-Network-Map-for-Implementation-2015-changes-explained-.pdf

            So if the direct 15 min all-day frequent service doesn’t work, you can also use the slightly less direct 30 min service, or you could connect between train lines at Puhinui. Actually even better could be the train to Manurewa then connect to a bus, as there are three routes overlapping between there and manukau you’re looking at ten minute service or better all the time.

          • I highly doubt I missed the results when I have the full RPTP file from AT sitting in my documents folder and linked up on Scribd as well.

            Also I had submitted and presented on the RPTP as I clearly remember Mike Lee, Peter Clark, and Mark H being there when I presented on it (specifically around South Auckland) http://www.scribd.com/doc/123524142/RPTP-Presentation-2013

            The point about the 15min and 30min frequencies especially along the Great South Road makes the reason for South Link clear.

            As I said: 33A and 33B from Papakura to Manukau is 30 mins and that is if the Takanini Interchange plays nice. Papakura to Manukau via the South Link is 18 minutes with an EMU or an ADL.

            With the feeder buses also feeding into Takanini and Papakura Stations from the new network which we know starts next year we get more people on the trains wanting to go north.

            And as I have said also before the people wanting to get to Manukau do prefer the train but do not prefer the transfer at Puhinui and the senseless back tracking no matter how good the frequency is.

            Get the South Link built and allow the services between Pukekohe and Manukau going.
            The Southern RUB area is growing, Papakura is taking off again (Addison and surrounds), and Manukau/Wiri are about to under go substantive development once the Unitary Plan kicks off.

            Even at 10 mins on a bus, at 72 seats for a bendy that is 144 passengers every 20 mins compared to an EMU taking 375 in the same time frame (you can work out the 6 car config if we get that high). So the South Link gives the capacity needed for those specifically from Manurewa to Pukekohe wanting their Super Metropolitan Centre (and Rainbows End)

          • See the link above. There is no 33A or 33B anymore, only a single 33.

          • Apologies the 33 (should have known that – force of habit there).

            Any case rest of the comments stand. Omnibus on its way tomorrow morning

          • Ben you’re ignoring waiting time at stops’ stations and the time to get there. On a total travel time basis the bus is likely faster, has a greater catchment and easier to add infrastructure for.

          • Really? Go and get a Southern Line timetable and calculate the running time between Papakura and Homai, then Homai and Puhinui, and finally Puhinui back to Manukau via the north links.

            12 minutes which includes stops from Papakura to Homai, another 4 minutes to Puhinui, then another 4 minutes from Puhinui back to Manukau. Total time not including transfers is 20 minutes.

            Knowing the speed of the DMU fleet and an estimated speed of the EMU’s I calculated on a more generous side of 18 minutes for a direct Papakura to Manukau service.

            As for infrastructure its $4 million for the link base on the duplicate north link costs. So a small investment to start the 20 minute frequency services up.

            As for catchments it is the same now and will be when the 33 is on stream. Furthermore with the new bus network we have quite a bit feeding in Papakura, Takanini (or Glenora), and Manurewa with the buses.

            So lets stop the procrastination and get the link built and the services going. As it is noted right through out this thread Manukau’s workers and students are south of Wiri – not north

    • Nick R

      With Manukau what you have to ask is what is actually the marginal cost of running one train an hour on the branch, and a few more at peak. It is after all just a short terminus stub on the end of the line, only a small fraction of those trains time and resources are spent on serving Manukau station alone. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was still more cost effective and useful for operations to terminate trains there, even with zero passengers at all.

      What would you do with them otherwise, is there a better place to use them?

      As for the location, starting to agree with the thinking of James B. The station and campus could act to pull the centroid of manukau to the west, placing the station and the tower buildings in the middle, and the mall on the edge.

      • Yes the only hope is to actively pull the weight of the centre west. This means building on the carpark completely; they really ought to be future proofing the bus station for apartments and offices above….. Still a right royal fuck up.

        Also ped links to rear of Centre and especially Rainbows End need serious attention.

      • Harry

        Having to resort to pulling the centre to the west, when we could’ve just located the station further east is an utter disgrace. The lack of easy access to the mall and other facilities have meant the station is wasted opportunity and will never be able to fulfill its full potential. A station placed at the heart of Manukau should easily have been able to equal the success of stations in similar locations such as New Lynn. But we’re stuck with a station with pathetic levels of patronage and even with the bus station, I doubt the patronage will reach even half of what it could’ve been.

        A wasted opportunity that we’ll probably never have the chance to rectify…and all for what, in the whole scheme of things, wasn’t a particularly large sum of money.

      • Manukau should be considered as a Southern Line station along the way between Britomart and Papakura. In that light, it would likely end up being the most used station anywhere on the Southern Line, potentially more than Newmarket.

        The whole reason the branch was built was to put Manukau on the Southern, and the original intention was to divert all trains via Manukau, until ARTA changed the scope of the project to make Manukau merely a pick up point for northbound travellers. Bad mistake when you consider most Manukau workers live south of Manukau.

  • Greg N

    You’re right, and I would bet Quax would argue, that its better to have “something” than nothing – which was the alternative.

    With Manukau I’m not so sure on that decision as to whether a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush right now… Time will tell.

    • bbc

      It wasn’t something or nothing, the difference in cost was something like $10 million, I’m sure some difficult decisions would have had to have been made to find that in the budget, but I’m quite certain there were a lot of roading projects that could quite easily have been postponed to allow the line to continue into the mall.

  • HV

    Loving the statistic lads. Keep it up! Roughly 545,000 boardings difference between January and March is huge! Untapped potential, minus the students and some holiday makers.

    • Greg N

      Yeah but most of the rail network was shutdown in first half of January for electrification works (The Eastern line didn’t resume normal service til the last week in Jan, Southern a week earlier, Western similar to Southern), so Jan figures are about as low as they could be given the network was shutdown for at least half the month.

      Hopefully next December and January won’t have shutdowns like this, so I expect they’ll show much better numbers then.

  • mb

    There are a few stations that are quite low on the list that might benefit from being moved or at least have a location move investigated.
    one is meadowbank, which might benefit from being moved back a bit towards gowing dr and have pedestrian/cycling bridges to connect to sacred heart college and that kohimarama area making it more accesible.
    The other two are greenlane and remuera which might benefit from being rejigged.

    • Sailor Boy

      All of the stations along Great South Road have appaling access on bike or foot.

    • Neil

      There used to be a station between Meadowbank and Glen Innes accessed off Gowing Drive but it was closed. The nearest college is Selwyn and few would take the train to this college. If anything, many travel to other schools to avoid going to Selwyn. Better to provide a park and ride facility.

      • Greg N

        That station existed well before Gowing Drive did, It was down at the bottom of the Purewa Cemetery.

        Probably built when the Westfield Deviation (original name for the Eastern Line) was built in the 20’s to provide access for visitors to said Cemetery as Tram lines didn’t go that far then.

        You can see its island platform here in this White Aviation Aerial Photograph from 9 May 1954 [nearly 60 years ago], and it looked a pretty decrepit station then. And all evidence of it is well gone by now.

        [Click on the "View archived copy online" link on that page to see the zoomable image] – its in the top left corner of image.

        Looked to be way too close to Meadowbank anyway so never would have survived there – one of them would have had to go as cars and buses became more common this one would be the logical one to have closed.

        Top middle of that photo shows the ground work under-way for Selwyn college….

      • mb

        Sorry yeah. I meant selwyn college

  • Glen

    Sailor Boy – to be fair, Ellerslie is not bad. The two exits provide access both over the motorway and to the GSR side, so effectively four exits.

    Penrose could be improved with pedestrian crossings across the Great South Road.

    Greenlane, however, is awful. Matt L posted about it here

    http://transportblog.co.nz/2012/06/16/improving-greenlane-station/

    and I don’t think much has happened since then.

    IMHO three things need to happen:

    1. Exit at the southern end of the platform, at least onto Derry St, but also a path along the tracks as Matt suggests if possible.
    2. Another exit from the station at the northern end onto Railway Ave i.e. on the northern side of Greenlane East Rd to bring more of the catchment north of GWR and west of the motorway into play. This would ideally have been built before the electrification, but would now probably have to be done during network shutdowns :(
    3. A pedestrian underpass under Greenlane East Road in front of the hospital complex (linked to the existing motorway underpass) to bring more of the catchment north of GWR and east of the motorway into play.

    Can’t speak for Remuera, but it seems like similar severance issues to Greenlane are apparent. Anyone more familiar with Remuera?

  • Mike F

    Glen
    A pathway to Adam Street I think would be more useful than Derry Street.
    Like the other two adjoining stations Greenlane suffers from too much motorway noise. Really needs decent sound walls adjoining these stations.

    • And not just the noise access to the station is completely compromised by the m’way.

      • Glen

        mike and Mike F – thanks for your thoughts. I hope someone at AT is thinking about these low-hanging fruit level rail improvements…

        Though re the noise – I use Ellerslie Station reasonably often and the noise doesn’t bother me at all. As trains get more frequent waiting times will decrease and it will become less of an issue. Conversely, I kind of like being able to look at cars stopped on the motorway when the train is moving nicely…

        • TheBigWheel

          True, shorter waiting time means less noise exposure, and less diesel fumes exposure. But why not cut it down much more with a screen? A transparent environmental screen would give everyone the best of both worlds. You can still look at the cars (I agree, much more interesting than a wall) and of course the car drivers get an unobstructed view of the shiny new FAST trains too…

        • Mike F

          Hi Glen
          I agree that when motorway traffic is at a crawl the noise is reduced and certainly tolerable being no different than say a bus stop on a main road.However sit at Ellerslie station when traffic is doing 100km/hr and especially on a wet night and you would have to agree it is not a pleasant experience.
          Surely they will address this issue when the upcoming extra lane of the motorway is built next to the station?

          • Glen

            MIke F, fair enough, it isn’t pleasant in the rain.

            If NZTA haven’t committed to a barrier by now it probably won’t happen. Wonder if it was in the plans…

  • Mr Plod

    Plus there Fonterra as a major employer nearby who should be cajoalled into incentivising their people to use the rail links.

  • Mr Plod

    My above comment was supposed to have been attached to one about takanini station so sorry if it looks weird where it is.
    As as aside why wouldn’t AT release ALL the HOP transactional data at the lowest level of detail possible but without individual user details and leave the crowd to analyse it? They’d get fantastic stuff and all for free. If we can find planets by crowd sourcing understanding transit movements should be easy.
    And NO, access control barriers at stations are not required, just a flying squad of inspectors who take over the tag off functions of the little boxes at target stations and nail people with $100+ fines for evasion. If their arival at stations is random enough and they apply enough enthusiasm to the task without overly inconveniencing the honest fare payer this will raise the chance of getting caught evasion will drop.

  • Christopher T

    Often wondered why Avondale has poor patronage, particularly given that the rail connection through to Newmarket is much faster than road based connections. Then you look at the facility which is pretty basic, even by AT standards; a rain trap, accessible via enormously complicated at grade crossings. Then you look at the pedestrian/bus connections and you realise that the various parts of AT don’t actually work together. Aside from anything else, half the natural catchment, i.e. an 800m diameter around the station is pretty much cut off by the signalised intersection at New North/Blockhouse Bay Roads (wait time c. 4 mins); they don’t even bother to signpost the existence of the station. All these small disincentives add up. I know from discussions with neighbours that they’re barely aware of the existence of the station let alone the fact that it’s within an easy 10 mins (6 mins + 4mins wait) walk. It’s this fine textured stuff that we’re not getting right.

  • […] questions coming up in the comments section of Transport Blog (specifically here at the moment: Rail Station boarding stats) and I thought it might be time to do an omnibus on what Talking Auckland has commented or proposed […]

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