More Commuters Is Good & Bad
Infratil acknowledged today that .when it comes to increased bus patronage, while it is better to have too much than too little demand, it can result in slower services and passenger discomfort.
“In 2006 a surge in petrol prices resulted in record boardings on Wellington buses, complaints about the resulting drop in service quality and a sharp fall in public transport usage when petrol prices later fell. Auckland Transport and NZ Bus are aware that increased capacity is an urgent need if a similar series of events is to be avoided this time.”
This in Infratil’s monthly report released tonight which says that of Auckland’s 250,000 additional bus boardings in March relative to the same month in 2010, 170,000 of those were on NZ Bus services.
In the year to 31 March 2011 Auckland’s total public transport use rose 8% to 64.5 million boardings while NZ Bus’s patronage in the region was up 6%.
In response to this demand, NZ Bus says it’s working with Auckland Transport to immediately lift capacity through the acquisition of additional larger buses.
NZ Bus management say they are also working with Auckland Transport on “longer-term improvements so that by the time the Rugby World Cup opens Aucklanders will be experiencing significantly better services on at least the central area bus network.”
Oddly Wellington commuters are still not rushing to buses despite the petrol price.
The report says: “Patronage in the Wellington region continues to show only modest growth, but the overall results hide a perplexing mixture of results on individual services. The outcome has not reflected capacity which was increased in both Wellington and the Hutt Valley.”
On its Snapper service it says: “Snapper’s provision of its ticketing technology to Auckland’s public transport users is the immediate priority. This involves installing Snapper’s ticketing equipment on the NZ Bus fleet, linking this equipment with the back office “clearing house” and ensuring that the system can cope with all the various fare products. It also involves Snapper making its smartcard technology available to Auckland Transport for inclusion in its HOP Card and managing customers’ swap of their redundant GoRider cards for the new HOP card.”