Auckland Mayor Len Brown says Auckland's rail patronage in the past 12 months has leapt by 21.7 percent meaning the patronage target set by the government for funding of the City Rail Link (CRL) will be achieved three years ahead of schedule.
Len Brown says Auckland's strong growth in public transport figures for June, just released by Auckland Transport, indicates the government's target of 20 million passenger rail trips per year will be reached in 2017.
Aucklanders are also flocking to use bus and ferry services. In the financial year to date:
· Northern express bus patronage has grown by 17.2 percent
· Other bus services by 6.6 percent
· Ferry services increased by 8.3 percent. Gulf Harbour services are up 115 percent.
"These are extraordinary numbers and dispels the myth that you can't get Aucklanders out of their cars," says the Mayor.
Len Brown says while it's good to celebrate the figures, growth of this magnitude will soon create problems which emphasize the urgent need to get cracking on building the CRL.
The number of trains able to enter Britomart through its two-track dead end tunnel is presently 20 in and out an hour.
"At the existing rate of growth, we will reach train service capacity by 2016 and if you ride Auckland trains, you'll know many of them are full now.
"Soon after that, Britomart's platforms will no longer be able to cope which means passengers will have to endure service delays."
He says the CRL will open up Britomart enabling 48 inbound services per hour and trains every seven minutes from stations across the network.
"Aucklanders told me their number one priority is to fix transport and they are proving they see reliable fast public transport is the answer but we can't wait any longer to build the CRL."
This week marked another milestone- the completion of the roll out of electric trains across the Auckland rail network.