Vote with your backside

Vote with your backside

Auckland has reached the milestone of 100 million public transport trips in a 12 month period. The last time this milestone was reached was in 1951, when trams still existed on Queen Street and before Aucklanders fell in love with the car.

Auckland’s story, until recently, is one that is well-told across the world.

We tore out our tram lines and failed to invest in our rail, bus or ferry services. The result? For a long time, many Aucklanders decried the use of public transport – especially the bus. This culminated in a low point of 30 million public transport trips in 1994.

However, the increasing congestion on our roads cannot be addressed by building more roads or extending the motorways. It’s through the growth in public transport that we will free up roads for those who need to drive.

To really highlight how momentous 100 million public transport trips is, it’s worth reflecting that in 2013, forecasting conducted by Auckland Transport estimated that 100 million passenger trips would be reached by 2022 and only if big transport infrastructure projects like the City Rail Link were completed. Yet it’s only 2019 and and we’ve already reached this milestone despite non-completion of those projects.

The slow but steady growth to our public transport patronage is the result of slow but steady improvements to our public transport services since 1994. In particular, the implementation of the New Bus Network to provide more frequent, higher quality bus services. Each bus or transit lane put in place, each new bus stop and shelter, each new bus service, has contributed to our bus network becoming more attractive. It’s because of each small victory that we’ve reached 100 million public transport trips.

Choosing to invest in public transport services is more than investing in how we get from A to B. Our transport system can profoundly influence the type of city we live in, our sense of place and community, our health outcomes and our ability to access social and economic opportunities.

Harrison Grierson’s Transport Team encourages everyone to make use of the free public transport offering from Auckland Transport this Sunday 23 June, and to think about how to incorporate public transport into their lives. Voting with your backside is the most effective way to show your support for the public transport investments that Auckland needs.


Hamish Speakman is a Transportation Consultant in our Auckland office. He believes that Aucklanders who are using public transport are profoundly influencing their city.

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