Overcrowded Trains Exceed Guidelines


It’s official. Some of the train overcrowding on the Auckland train network is pushing the rules.

Recently AKT was asking if the overcrowded carriages was exceeding OSH limits and some female readers were getting distressed by the way males were crammed in so close to them near the doors.

Auckland Transport Chair Mark Ford has revealed that there has been a “noticeable increase” in the number of train services exceeding the desired load factor of 1:4 (4 standing for every 10 seated). This is up from 3 standing for every 7 seated.

Crushed in like sardines is becoming common

The Auckland Transport Chair says Auckland Transport will tackle the issue by:

  • Reviewing the train rolling stock allocation to ensure the optimum allocation of longer trains (6 cars) to the most heavily patronised services. A minor improvement will be made on the Western Line from mid-June.
  • Commissioning of an additional four carriages in June - by which time all platforms will be able to accommodate 6 cars - and making up 4 by 5 car trains to be deployed on the Southern and Eastern lines.
  • Reviewing the possibility of reviewing the final SX carriage to the current  5 car configuration in line with the completion of the the 6-car platforms in June.

Britomart bus area under review

AKT recently published a letter Auckland Council Chair Mike Lee sent to Auckland Transport on the overcrowding issues.

Mr Ford has replied with the points:

  • There are several bus routes Auckland Transport is considering withdrawing, reducing or truncating services
  • NZ Bus purchased 5 buses from Christchurch that have just been put on Mt Eden and Dominion Rd services
  • 6 buses were leased form Christchurch for the Northern Express service from next week. Ritchies has also ordered new buses, two have already arrived.
  • Auckland Transport will consider off-peak pricing to encourage people outside the peak.This would be easier to implement with integrated ticketing.
  • A review of the Britomart bus stops is getting underway.  Operational issues can’t be fixed just by changing stops but require infrastructure investment and service re-design. The vacant stop there is to be used for the improved central isthmus flagship services under consideration.
  • A lack of capacity is causing the queues at the Northern Express stops at Britomart. This should be eased with the improved services. Extra ticket services on the pavement would still see some people paying by cash with the driver. Queues happen when people wait for the next bus once they realise they would have to stand. Buses can be loaded in 3 minutes according to monitoring. Fencing off would disrupt wider pedestrian traffic flows.
  • Delays in Fanshawe St for buses  is the issue of congestion between Sturdee St Intersection and Custom St West. This has been reduced with the Quay St roadworks easing but it will be monitored.
  • The Albany park and ride will be extended in April next year. Construction starts in November and can’t be brought forward because of the RWC 2011 and significant storm water issues on the site over winter.






  1. Matt L says:

    The scary thing is they indicate some services had just as many standing as sitting meaning on a 4 car train it is well over 120 people above the target level.

  2. Owen Thompson says:

    I would withdraw route 455 that runs Manukau - Manurewa - Clendon. From Manurewa to Manukau and vice versa I am sometimes the only passenger.

  3. Jamee says:

    They better not touch the 048/049/080/090 services. They are pathetic enough as it is. This is one area where 1 bus per hour has always been the norm. A major reason why there has never been a good level of patronage on them. Besides the poor reliability.

  4. Anthony says:

    Wowee, if the poor passengers are getting crushed now, imagine the nightmare that it will be during the World Cup, i can imagine the angry people…

    -”The entire system is a shambles, how can you call this a world-class city when it can’t even manage it’s vital public transportation system?”

    -”too little parking, overcrowded trains, unreliable buses, unaffordable taxis, how am i supposed to get to the stadium? walk?”

    -”The government spent millions on a plastic structure but can’t get their PT systems prepared? Get your piorities right!”

    I honestly think that the whole Cup is going to be a nightmare…

  5. Andy says:

    Trains get full in every country at peak times. It’s what happens when PT becomes reliable. (Yes I know we’re not quite there yet but we have improved a lot compared to 15 years ago). Get over it.

  6. Geoff says:

    So what happens next?

    Rail patronage growth has been accommodated by adding 16 carriages per year from 2004 to 2010. 2011 will only see 4 carriages added. 2012 and 2013 will each see no carriages added.

    It’s terrible timing to end the provision of more rolling stock, when patronage growth is at an all time high.

    As things stand, rail growth will stall until 2014.

  7. Jon Reeves says:

    Geoff, guess who capped the PT funding and worst still took $200 million from the PT funds? One Steven Joyce, Minister of Roads for Trucks. Now the fruits of his actions from 2 years ago are coming to bear fruit, or in this case, bear nothing.

    If you want better rail and PT you need to oust the Nats this year otherwise worse will follow.

  8. Matt L says:

    Jon, while Joyce is the cause of spend issues, he isn’t the reason there is going to be a rolling stock shortage. There was never any new rolling stock planned between the SA’s and the EMU’s and the even plans from the previous government indicate that the electric trains wouldn’t be running till 2013.

  9. Carl H says:

    Try a train in London in rush hour. Now THAT is exceeding guidelines.

  10. Jon Reeves says:

    And Joyce hasn’t reacted to the changes in forecast demand over the past couple of years and allocated additional (or the original funding levels before he swiped it away). He is however, looking at more RoNS.

  11. Simon says:

    What`s new? Many of us have been on trains over the guidelines in other countries around the world - personally speaking, I`ve had the experience in India and Japan. I never heard anyone in those countries complaining about it. Get used to it Auckland and stop being a bunch of softies. Also it doesn`t make sense to spend a whole bunch of scarce funds on carriages that will have a limited lifetime use.

    Many of us who have watched developments in the last decade always knew there would be a gap between having all the DMUs and SA/SD sets in place and the EMUs in service with the dithering that went on deciding whether to have DMU or EMU units and then getting the central governments to back the local govt proposal and finally come up with some kind of funding mechanism.

    The only thing that can be done is to see if we can use what we currently have, smarter. So yes, AT has to be really on the ball.

    Matt, while Joyce can`t be blamed for rolling stock, the decrease in PT funding has put a major crimp in the extent the current rolling stock can be used.

  12. Tim says:

    Are these guidelines imposed by the operator/AT/ARTA, or are they the design limits? Wellington’s Ganz units have a maximum capacity of 1:1 so for 144 seats, there are 144 standing…
    And like a few have already said, world-class transport is packed at rush hour. Harden up.

  13. Geoff says:

    @ Jon Reeves, the SA cars were not a government project, they were ARC. Nothing to stop AT from providing more trains, they don’t need government permission.

  14. Simon says:

    @Geoff, and again the point is to do that they need money which they don`t have, which I`m sure you`re well aware of yourself.

  15. Geoff says:

    @Simon, the ARC funded carriage purchases free from government funding. That they cannot afford more is therefore not because of any government funding constraint.

  16. Jon R says:

    Geoff, ARC receives/received PT funding from NZTA (ie the Govt). Do you agree? Therefore, when that funding was cut or capped, or reduced which is a fact according to the latest AT business report, ARC and AT could not purchase more SA carriages.

    Steven Joyce is the man behind NZTA as Minister of Transport and directed the cuts/capping and GPS.

  17. Alphatron says:

    The planning guidelines for the new Auckland EMUs assume a maximum seating to standing ratio (SSR) of 1.7 (i.e 7 persons standing for every 10 seated). This is consistent with many overseas systems. QR works on a SSR of 2.0 for short journeys.

  18. Matt L says:

    Jon R - The SA carriage purchase was from well before National came to power so you can’t blame them for this one.

    Are National being brain dead stupid with their transport policy, yes, but you can’t blame them for things that were done before their time otherwise it just reduces credibility.

  19. Luke says:

    @Matt L I understand that some SA carriages were delayed entering service because of govt funding cuts a year or so ago.
    However the real issue is to the delay to the EMU procurement.
    Under the previous govts plans we would have EMU’s next year so it wasnt too much of an issue.
    However because Joyce mucked around we will now have big issue in 2012/2013.

  20. Matt L says:

    Luke – Yes the carriages were delayed being entered into service and some are still not in use yet due to funding shortages however we are talking about the total number available which is a different thing. The contract and funding to refurbish the SA’s which is what determined how many we have available was sorted before National came and once they go into service shortly there is nothing else planned.

    Yes Joyce mucked around however the original EOI from ARTA had trains being delivered in 2013 which is the same as the current plan (of course what time of the year in 2013 we will see them is a bit more uncertain).

  21. Geoff says:

    There’s no way Auckland’s EMU’s will be carrying passengers in 2013. If you apply the Matangi timeframe, you actually get a 2015 start date. My guess is they will enter service in 2014, with the last in 2015.

  22. Tim says:

    @Geoff - Unless they’re 3 Car Matangi clones…

  23. Calvin Donald says:

    ….I Guess There Is Still Hope….



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