Auckland Council supports ‘back to basics’ Public Transport Growth Programme Auckland Council supports ‘back to basics’ Public Transport Growth Programme

Date: 20 October 2023

Auckland Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee has endorsed a comprehensive plan by Auckland Transport (AT) to increase public transport use as disruptions ease and improvements are made to services.

AT’s Public Transport Growth Programme 2023/24, a work plan to achieve 100 million trips annually by the middle of next year, was discussed at the Transport and Infrastructure Committee meeting yesterday.

Mayor Wayne Brown is pleased to see a practical and achievable programme to turn around Auckland's transport based on services and reliability.

“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 says the programme is an opportunity to improve travel outcomes for Aucklanders and get more value out of the region’s public transport system.

“We’re pleased to see practical solutions being put forward that will break down the barriers to using public transport,” Councillor Watson says.

“In this respect, we have to both win back patronage and attract new customers. That’s what this programme is designed to do.”

Like most cities around the world, Auckland’s public transport usage has stabilised at about 83% of pre-COVID levels.

AT Metro Optimisation Manager Richard Harrison says the Public Transport Growth Programme is a set of achievable initiatives to increase usage by 25% at a time when people can once again begin to have confidence in Auckland’s public transport network.

“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,” Mr Harrison says.

“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.

“We’re also investing in improvements across the network and in recruitment and training for ferry services, as well as a new operator for our Birkenhead/Northcote Point and Bayswater services.

“Disruption is easing for rail users as well, with stations on the Eastern Line re-opening in January 2024 when KiwiRail completes Stage 2 of the Rail Network Rebuild,” Mr Harrison says.

“Now we have an opportunity to win back customers, attract new ones, and get current customers to use public transport more.

“Through the Public Transport Growth Programme, our plan is to get back to basics and drive growth. We’ve identified six key focus areas where we need to take action over the next two financial years.”

These key focus areas are:

  1. Boosting and valuing the workforce
  2. Providing faster and more reliable travel
  3. Building network resilience and helping customers navigate disruptions
  4. Modernising fares
  5. Supporting the customer journey
  6. Marketing great public transport journeys

“We would report on our progress as the programme is implemented,” Mr Harrison says.

“People would be able to see how we are tracking as we get closer to our target of 100 million annual boardings by mid-2024.”

The Public Transport Growth Programme will be considered for approval by the AT Board at its next meeting on Tuesday 31 October 2023.