ECan reports today that 1,058,605 trips were made on the Metro system during February, the busiest month on the system since the earthquakes caused widespread disruption to the network. The previous high was recorded in November with 967,303 trips made, so this is the first time that patronage in a month has exceeded one million trips. This is promising since March is usually the busiest month of the year, with workplaces, schools, universities etc all back into the swing of things, and with no down periods. I would therefore expect we might see another big increase in patronage next month.
The farebox recovery also increased to 37 percent, which is a big increase on 21 percent from April last year, and well on the way toward the 50 percent ratio being enforced by NZTA later this year. Although, understandably, there is still some way to go for Metro in this area, this is an encouraging sign that the changes to the system are working, and make sense. Hopefully more positive system changes come online during 2012.
Cross-suburban bus routes have come in for special attention as a particular success story, especially the branded “Orbiter” and “Comet” services (I still hate the Comet name – a little more ham on that cheesy sandwich?). Interestingly, the number 3 Avonhead – Sumner, and 5 Hornby – New Brighton routes have shown strong patronage growth (I wish we could get patronage of individual routes). This is interesting as the 5 route largely follows proposed rapid transit routes, as does half the 3, with the other half of the 3 running along what I think would be a pretty good core bus route. Food for thought I guess.