Auckland Transport chiefs have admitted concern at falling rail patronage after being told that trains carried fewer people last month than in September two years ago.

They have until now blamed inflated patronage figures from last year's Rugby World Cup for making rail performance over the past two months look lacklustre.

But they acknowledged concern yesterday after Auckland Council transport chairman Mike Lee, who is a member of their board, noted that patronage ran higher in 2010 than the 822,871 passenger rail boardings recorded last month.

That compared with 893,048 trips taken in September 2010, before the rugby tournament boosted patronage to 1,178,586 boardings for the same month of last year.


The revelation prompted reassurance from Auckland Transport chief executive David Warburton to his board that the management took the issue seriously. "We are concerned about it - we are working on it and will come back to the board," he said.