January-2017 Ridership

With Auckland Transport moving to having less frequent board meetings it makes it more difficult to get monthly updates. However, while not quite as detailed as the reports presented to the board meetings, we can get an indication as to how performance is going from this ridership report AT update monthly and has been updated to include January.

The headlines are:

  • Overall ridership for January was 5.64 million, up 6.7% on January-2016. Importantly, on a 12-month rolling basis ridership has now surpassed 85 million trips. That’s pretty good considering that only just passed 75 million just over two years ago. The majority of that 10 million increase has come from the Rapid Transit Network which increased by 7.7 million trips over the same timeframe.
  • The strong growth on the Rapid Transit Network continues to drive ridership growth with usage of the RTN in Jan at 1.5 million, up 16.4% compared to Jan-16. Within that:
    • Trips on the rail network increased by 17.9% to 1.2 million
    • Trips on the busway increased by 10.8% to 301 thousand
  • On buses excluding ones that use the busway, ridership was up 2.6% to 3.5 million
  • Ferry use continues to grow well, up 8.8% in Jan to 617 thousand

While we haven’t yet seen the January version yet, the results for December show positive movement once again on metrics such as weekday boardings and farebox recovery.

The strong growth on the rail network in particular, is seeing boardings on business days skyrocket and as you can see the difference between Dec-16 and Dec-15 is substantial. As you can also see, March tends to set a new benchmark for usage so we’re expecting another big jump this year. Could we hit 80k per day?

Farebox recovery had taken a dip recently which was expected to a degree with the introduction of Simplified Fares. While only one data point so far, it has hopefully started to turn around now as I suspect this is what could partially be behind AT not improving aspects like rail frequencies off peak like they need to. What is also interesting is the subsidy per passenger km for bus and rail are now close to identical and I suspect in a few months, rail will actually perform better.

December also set a new record for rail punctuality with 98.4% of all trains arriving at Britomart within 5 minutes of their scheduled arrival time. That’s a far cry from the months before the full roll out of electric trains when it plummeted to below 75% with the old trains breaking down frequently.

By waiting a little longer than usual for this post, it also allows me to include the January results for Wellington too. The good news is ridership in the capital has been growing, but not to anywhere near the levels that Auckland has been experiencing. Because we don’t talk about it as much, I’ll focus on the 12 month rolling results. The key highlights are:

  • Overall in the 12 months to the end of Jan, ridership is 2.9% to 37.6 million
  • Bus use continues to fluctuate a bit but as a general trend is going up and to for Jan it was up 0.8% to 24.3 million.
  • The rail network has been seeing some decent growth over the last year or so and is currently up 6.9% to 13.1 million