Auckland's once dilapidated rail network reached a milestone today when it recorded 20 million rail trips in one year.
New Lynn's Manjula Singh was presented with a $100 HOP card by Auckland Mayor Phil Goff at Britomart rail station this morning to mark the occasion.
The finance worker, who has been commuting to work on the western line since April, was thrilled to receive the card, saying the train service was better than the traffic jams.
Goff said that back in 2004 just 2.4m passengers used rail, it was now 20m and would reach 30m within three years.
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Auckland's rail renaissance is largely due to former Auckland City Mayor Christine Fletcher, who built the $211m Britomart transport centre that opened in 2003, and former Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee, who oversaw electrification of the city's rail network, new and faster electric trains and who began work on the $3.4b city rail link.
Goff said 20m train trips in one year was a huge achievement and cause for celebration as Aucklanders embrace rail.
"Auckland's rail system has gone through huge changes in recent years. We've replaced our diesel fleet with electric trains, reducing carbon emissions by 80 per cent and saving more than 9 million litres of diesel a year.
"The past year has also seen the opening of a new train station in Parnell, a bus-train interchange in Otahuhu, improved links with our bus services and agreement to invest in more electric trains running to Pukekohe and South Auckland," Goff said.
Auckland councillors have also agreed in principle to the purchase of new battery-powered trains able to run to Pukekohe without passengers having to transfer from electric to diesel trains at Papakura.
The new trains are expected to arrive in 2019.