Auckland Council endorses plan to boost public transport usage

Posted: 25 October 2023 | | No comments yet

Auckland’s Public Transport Growth Programme is designed to make public transportation faster, more reliable and attractive while addressing disruptions, modernising fares and enhancing the overall customer experience.

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Credit: Auckland Council

Auckland Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee has given its endorsement to Auckland Transport‘s (AT) Public Transport Growth Programme 2023/24. This ambitious plan aims to achieve 100 million trips annually by mid-2024, as the city strives to enhance its public transport services.

Mayor Wayne Brown said: “One of my main priorities as Mayor is to help Aucklanders get around the region easier and it’s clear we need to do better with what we already have. That is exactly what I stood for and what we are on our way to delivering.”

Transport and Infrastructure Committee Chairperson Councillor John Watson said: “We’re pleased to see practical solutions being put forward that will break down the barriers to using public transport. In this respect, we have to both win back patronage and attract new customers. That’s what this programme is designed to do.”

Auckland, like many cities worldwide, has experienced a stabilisation of public transport usage at approximately 83% of pre-COVID levels. AT Metro Optimisation Manager Richard Harrison believes that the Public Transport Growth Programme presents a set of attainable initiatives to boost usage by 25%, as people regain confidence in Auckland’s public transport network.

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Richard Harrison said: “We are continuing to make services faster, safer and more reliable as we come out the other side of a disruptive period for Auckland’s public transport users. We started 2023 with significant disruptions on our bus network and a shortage of nearly 600 drivers, but those challenges and driver shortages are now firmly behind us, and we’re seeing good levels of reliability return across Auckland.”

The programme includes investments in network improvements, recruitment and training for ferry services, as well as the introduction of a new operator for services to Birkenhead/Northcote Point and Bayswater. Furthermore, disruptions for rail users are expected to ease, with the re-opening of stations on the Eastern Line in January 2024 when KiwiRail completes Stage 2 of the Rail Network Rebuild.

AT’s plan to reinvigorate public transport ridership encompasses six key focus areas:

  • Boosting and valuing the workforce
  • Providing faster and more reliable travel
  • Building network resilience and helping customers navigate disruptions
  • Modernising fares
  • Supporting the customer journey
  • Marketing great public transport journeys

The public progress reports on the programme’s implementation will be made available as AT works towards the target of 100 million annual boardings by mid-2024. The Public Transport Growth Programme is now set to be considered for approval by the AT Board at its next meeting on 31 October 2023.

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