MP Says Give Onehunga A Chance


Stop concentrating on the low numbers using Onehunga. They’ll come.

That’s what Labour MP Carol Beaumont said today - reflecting what we have been saying here the past few days.

“As the Labour MP working in the Maungakiekie electorate (Onehunga) I am confident that while patronage got off to a slow start on the first day it will lift significantly.

“Obviously in the early stages there is a need to inform people of the new service, timetable and fares. There are also elements still to be finalised like the important park and ride facilities.

Maybe they should run just steams on Onehunga- they were popular on Saturday!

“Onehunga is a very networked community and word of mouth will build demand, as will deliberate efforts by local leaders and community groups. I for one will be actively promoting the service, as will the Onehunga Business Association,” Carol Beaumont said.

“Of course future developments like a link to the airport, which is now only 9km away, and to the Avondale line would assist in the success of passenger rail services. Onehunga could become a real transport hub for Auckland.

“Far from being concerned about initial low levels of patronage I have sought assurances from the Auckland Regional Transport Agency that they will work to promote patronage and will respond promptly to lifts in demand by increasing the frequency of services or lengthening the platform if necessary.”




  1. JBR says:

    I don’t think the numbers have been low. From a service with no trains last week to around 20/30 pax a train on day 4 is pretty astounding as far as mode shift is concerned.

    More will come.

  2. Cam says:

    Are people really complaining because they thought patronage was low on the first day? That’s ridiculous.

    It will take at least six months to a year to assess how good uptake has been. Do we even know what the actual numbers using it this week are anyway?

  3. Jon C says:

    Dont get me started on what newspaper we can thank that for.

  4. Matt L says:

    Geoff on the CBT board did a count of some afternoon services yesterday going between Penrose and Onehunga, on 16 services he counted 244 passengers using the line including a strong counterpeak flow which is good. That would indicate that patronage is already above the 500 per day that ARTA estimated and the park and ride hasn’t even opened yet

  5. Doloras says:

    Jon C, are you basing your comment above solely on Matthew Delearney’s piece, or has there been other anti-rail coverage that I’m not aware of? Delearney, in my experience, isn’t anti-rail as such - more like always wants to make a story out of nothing, and writes anti-rail stories only when pro-rail stories aren’t exciting enough.

    But really, it’s a no-win situation. Over at the CBT forums, people were until recently going nuts that ARTA’s patronage estimations were far too low, that Onehunga trains would be sardine tins, etc. It actually looks like ARTA got it right, but no-one seems to look at it that way.

  6. Joshua says:

    Matt L - Sounds Great!

  7. Joshua says:

    Doloras - I don’t think ARTA has got it right, actually as Matt has said it’s already turning over ARTA’s estimates, It’s only going to get better given it has literally just opened!

  8. Andrew says:

    I predict it will be standing room only on peak services within three months.

  9. Scott says:

    “and the park and ride hasn’t even opened yet”

    I doubt the park and ride will make much difference. It’s only 60 spaces so will fill up fast. This means that only early morning commuters will get a park and commuters typically park for the whole day meaning low car park turnover.

    “Park and Ride” seems to be the buzz word of public transport atm. If there ever is a time to charge for park and ride this is it as the carpark is in a destination area, and very limited in size.

  10. Jon C says:

    @Doloras I have always made it clear the reporter is pro rail has wide respect and does a fine job

  11. Matt L says:

    Scott - My point was that even without the park and ride there seems to be walkup patronage in excess of ARTA’s predictions. Having a park and ride, albeit small will only help things further. I agree they aren’t silver bullet to transport problems but do have a part to play

  12. Nick R says:

    In retailing they allow a new shop 12 to 18 months to build up it’s custom before the make decisions about it’s viability.
    Perhaps we can give this line more than a weeks grace?!

    I imagine a lot of people wouldn’t bother changing their travel patterns at this point of the year, then things will tail off for the holiday season. However come February-March I imagine we’ll see a big leap in patronage as people set themselves up for the year ahead.

    I wonder if living in Onehunga will become popular with uni students? Plenty of good houses with reasonable rents only 25 mins for town.

    Are the bus diversions in place yet? If ARTA were really keen they could establish a northern pass style transfer ticket for the Mangare area.

  13. Cam says:

    It’s funny with public transport how some people scream that it’s a waste of money if it’s not jam packed from day one. I remember similar complaints when the northern busway opened people complaining about seeing “half empty” buses. If we were to assess transport spending using this logic we would’t build anything unless we could garuantee it would be at capacity from day one and 100% of the time thereafter. I often wonder if these people look at a road that’s empty or only has a couple of cars on it at a given time and curse that as a waste of money, probably not.

  14. Joshua says:

    Cam - Well put, what about all those empty roads we are maintaining?

  15. Nick R says:

    Funny how public transport has to be congested to be a success, but new roads are only a success when they are not congested!

    If this were a new motorway link they’d be taking about how it was free flowing yet future proof for growth!


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