30,000 Free Train Trips Made


Free train travel over the weekend saw the usual Sunday patronage jump six-fold.
Aucklanders readily took up the free train offer with approximately 30,000 trips made on the Sunday as against the usual 5,000 trips.
This was also helped by the extra train services and those running to take people to and from the Eden Park rugby match on Sunday afternoon.
Travel on trains was free from 5pm Saturday and all day Sunday and no fares were sought, even though NZTA opened the closed southern motorway Newmarket section hours earlier than planned.
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%.
ARTA says that with an average of 1.2 people per vehicle, the train success meant around 25,000 less car trips were made on Auckland’s roads in one day, making a significant contribution to preventing congestion around the area of the work.
The Southern Motorway reopened across the new southbound Newmarket Viaduct at midday yesterday, following a hitch-free move of the 800-tonne ‘Big Blue’ construction gantry.
Pictures from the weekend are here

NZTA has thanked “all Aucklanders for their patience, and in particular their support” i coping.




  1. karl says:

    Good stuff. Maybe we have a couple hundred more regular PT users out of this event alone.

  2. sam says:

    I think the rise in permanant train patronage from the weekend (if any) will tell us a lot about the average Aucklanders view of our trains. It was effectively an open day where people got to see where the system is at- questions like “is there a big misconception about Aucklands trains out there?”and “are the trains good enough yet that most people near a line would consider using them a viable option?” will be answered by their actions. If the trains generally weren’t too crowded and people got a chance to enjoy their trips, they could really spread the word about how fast and comfortable using trains is now we have some modern and quality infrastructure . Free services a couple of times each decade as things improve is definitely the best use for a few thousand dollars- i still think we need to do this during the week sometime, as it will be relevant to a very different ( and potentially much larger) audience.

  3. Carl says:

    where and how do the get the figure 30,000 from if there is no electronic ticketing system?

  4. Nick R says:

    Carl, people have been collecting patronage statistics for over a hundred years. The do it the old fashioned way, a combination of counting heads and statistics. It’s actually more reliable that using ticketing data, they still do head counts in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth despite having electronic ticketing systems.

  5. Jon C says:

    @Carl, there were actual human beings with pieces of paper and pens. Old school but it actually worked. One was stationed all day at Newmarket station.

  6. Brent C says:

    On the Wellington network they know how many people can fit in each seat if fill and just count anyone standing. Otherwise the gard will just wonder down the train and get a heads up. They probably have so many different tricks when it comes to working out the amount of people on a train.

    Rather old fashion but I don’t think anything much will be changing in the next 5 years as we are not getting eletronic ticketing. However I’m glad I ant at the same spot all day with pen and paper counting people!!!


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