Public transport decline threat to future funding

By Mathew Dearnaley

The Government requires Auckland Transport to have almost doubled its annual patronage to 20 million trips by 2020. Photo / Janna Dixon
The Government requires Auckland Transport to have almost doubled its annual patronage to 20 million trips by 2020. Photo / Janna Dixon

Auckland's public transport patronage continues to languish.

Trip numbers over the past 12 months ended 3.3 per cent lower than for the previous year.

Patronage to August 31 amounted to 69.2 million passenger trips, down from the previous annual figure of 71.5 million, according to a report to Auckland Transport's board yesterday.

Trains accounted for the largest proportional loss, down 7.5 per cent to 10.1 million trips, despite the added contribution of the new Manukau line.

Even so, rail is starting to show a slight recovery, after its annual patronage drop from almost 11 million trips.

It notched up just over a million trips last month, 1.7 per cent higher than in August last year, despite one fewer business day.

But much more is needed, making a promised new fares strategy all the more pressing.

The Government requires Auckland Transport to have almost doubled its annual patronage to 20 million trips by 2020 before it will accelerate its 50 per cent funding for the city's $2.86 billion underground rail project.

One encouraging statistic is an improvement in punctuality. Close to 89 per cent of trains arrived at their final destinations in August within five minutes of scheduled times, up from a 12-month average of 86.2 per cent.

Ferry patronage also increased, up 2.7 per cent to 414,500 trips on August last year, but bus travel was down 1.2 per cent to just over 5.1 million trips.

- NZ Herald

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