Free Travel Success Proves Rail
ARC chair Mike Lee says he hopes anyone taking the train for the first time during the period of free travel doing the weekend “got the opportunity to experience the way of the future! “
Mike Lee was the one who promoted the idea of free travel while work was being done on the Newmarket Viaduct – an idea some of us also advocated to give Aucklanders a taste of the trains.
The most pleasing comment I overheard was on Sunday on a busy Southern line train was someone saying “I didn’t realise public transport was so efficient!”
A manual count was made during the free travel period -and as I reported earlier, there were 30,000 trips made, 6 times the usual Sunday number.
Lee, who is standing in the council Waitemata Gulf ward , says: “We estimate that Aucklanders choosing to take the train alone reduced the number of cars on the road by some 25,000 – and that’s before we consider all the responsible citizens who chose to leave their cars at home during that time. It says a lot about the progress we have made in recent years that ARTA was able to readily and successfully deploy this mass transit option as one means of helping avoid what could have been a transport crisis. ”
Traffic counts taken around Auckland over the course of the Southern Motorway closure indicated that regular traffic volumes were down by as much as 80%.
NZTA has thanked Aucklanders for their patience and said the availability of a free transport alternative “certainly played a key role in managing travel demand across the region.”
ARTA continued to honour the free travel during the weekend even though the motorrway work was finished early and the motorway lanes opened just after midday Sunday.
BTW, Mike Lee has an interesting post about trams on his site