'We delivered' - Auckland Transport reports to its bosses

By Mathew Dearnaley

Auckland Transport says it has met or exceeded most council performance targets. File photo / Chris Skelton
Auckland Transport says it has met or exceeded most council performance targets. File photo / Chris Skelton

Auckland Transport says it has met or exceeded most council performance targets, although customer satisfaction is not among the glittering successes.

Although it surpassed Auckland Council's public transport patronage goal by more than four million passenger trips, it fell just short of the mark in terms of meeting the expectations of those who collectively took 71.1 million rides on buses, trains and ferries in the year to June 30.

It also slipped between the cracks of its footpaths, with 74 per cent of surveyed residents saying they were satisfied with the quality of paths in their neighbourhoods, against a target of 75 per cent.

Chief financial officer Dave Foster reported to his board yesterday that 29 out of 33 measures were "fully achieved".

The other two exceptions were travel times between the Southern and Southwestern Motorways via Nielson St in Onehunga.

Mr Foster said footpath and public transport measures - for which satisfaction among 85 per cent of passengers fell short of a target 87 per cent - were regarded as being "substantially achieved".

Ferries excelled with a 92 per cent rating, ahead of buses and trains, each of which scored 82 per cent.

But the overall result, which Mr Foster said was within the limits of measuring accuracy, was slightly below that of the previous year.

Inter-peak travel along Neilson St between the two motorways - a busy freight route on which Auckland Council wants to spend more than $1.1 billion for a new link - was measured at 18 minutes eastbound and 14 minutes in the opposite direction, against targets of 16 and 13 minutes.

Travel from the airport to central Auckland, via the recently widened Manukau Harbour motorways crossing, was measured at 37 minutes, against a target of 41 minutes based on the previous year's performance.

Despite Aucklanders' more modest assessment of footpaths in their own neighbourhoods, 79 per cent were paradoxically satisfied with the quality of paths through the region - four percentage points higher than the target.

An 85 per cent satisfaction rating for roads excluding motorways also exceeded expectations, by 10 percentage points.

Public transport patronage rose last month, to 8.5 per cent higher than July last year, and rail custom increased by 8.9 per cent after falling for the previous two months, to the ire of Auckland Council transport chairman Mike Lee.

Although annual rail patronage of 10,978,500 passenger trips by the end of July was 10.9 per cent higher than for the previous year, it was still slightly lower than for the 12 months to April.

Rail punctuality has improved slightly, to 82.6 per cent of trains arriving at their final destinations within five minutes of schedule.

Although that compares with a dismal 79.1 per cent in June, Mr Lee said it was still "well below the norm".

"As a publicly funded organisation, this is our bottom line," he said.

He was joined by fellow board member Mike Williams in wondering how the punctuality ratings of 95.2 per cent and 92.3 per cent respectively for the Manukau and Onehunga branch lines could have been achieved, while their trains had to share other lines plagued by signals and other technical faults.

Public transport operations manager Mark Lambert said services south of Manukau were disproportionately affected by factors such as signals upgrading work yet to be completed through Papakura, but a timetable to be introduced in October should provide some relief.

- NZ Herald

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