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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Narrow gauge

The NZ Herald reporting on the waterfront tram under-useage sure use a lot of figures:

Figures given to Auckland Council member Cameron Brewer show the two heritage electric trams carried fewer than 20 per cent of forecast passengers over their 1.5km circuit in March, when patronage slumped to 1933 people.

That was well below October's figure of 15,322 - after which patronage previously boosted by the Rugby World Cup plummeted to 2391 before rising to 4357 in December and then falling again.

But council organisation Waterfront Auckland said yesterday that the figure for April - which was not given to Mr Brewer - rose to 4664 passengers after a successful Easter holiday programme for children.

Auckland Council transport chairman Mike Lee said the success of the trams should not be measured simply by "bums on seats" but also by their contribution to the development of Wynyard Quarter.

Mr Brewer said an operating loss of $139,136 for the trams' first eight months had prompted a request from the waterfront agency for a $150,000 council subsidy. 

The council had also included $8.2 million in the first year of its draft long-term budget for an extension of tramlines across Viaduct Harbour.

Unfortunately the few figures that could substantially explain the low passenger numbers was absent in the report.  An oversight meaning with all the stats the wood cannot be seen for the forest. Just another example of generally poor reporting from Granny Herald.  It still amazes me that Granny's journalists and editors still haven't worked out that after the "What?" in an news article must come the "Why?" - not what people on either side say and what an official report says, but why has this occured? It's infuriating when they treat their readers like morons.

So I'll answer the question left begging. From the tram website:

Auckland Dockline Tram - Prices
Adults: $5
Children (5-15years): $1
Family Pass (2 adults & up to 3 children): $10.00

Operating Hours

1 December – 29 February:
9am – 5.30pm (May operate later if patronage demands)
1 March – 31 November: 10am – 4.30pm
Christmas Day: To be advised

That's right - it costs an adult $5 to tootle along a line that is only a mile long and doesn't really go anywhere (so miniscule even the site doesn't have a circuit map thnat I can find) - and then only operates in limited hours.  The price - as much as the location and length - explains the failure to meet passenger targets. It used to be even worse - $10 for an adult!

While the extension of the tram circuit is the main long term answer to increased patronage, with prices so high it is at present nothing more than an expensive folly for the wealthy tourist.


At 20/5/12 5:17 pm, Blogger peterquixote said...

wish I was with you on the train ride Tim, but down here in Christchurch our Mayor hasn't got around to light off your face rail yet, and we will get rid of him next election


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