6 Apr 2022

Auckland Transport says it needs more money to keep operating

2:48 pm on 6 April 2022

Auckland Transport says it's struggling to afford an essential level of public transport services, as it tries to lure people back to buses, trains and ferries.

The 125X at Westgate's interim bus hub

Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

In its most recent briefing to the Regional Transport Committee, it explained it had been hit by funding shortfalls, falling patronage and rising costs.

The organisation said it needed more money to if it was to keep operating the city's public transport beyond the end of June.

Its own attempts to save cash, by "optimising" public transport service patterns and delaying the introduction of new services, were insufficient to cover its net public transport costs, it said.

"The dilemma is one of finding the balance between the financial pressure and delivering an essential public service," it said.

"The funding, revenue and cost situation over the next three years appears heavily negative."

The organisation expected it would also have to tweak the 10-year, $37 billion Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) to upgrade the city's networks, and encourage more walking, cycling and public transport.

It said that partly because it's received less funding from Waka Kotahi than requested, and partly due to more climate-change related 'events' affecting the network.

It also expected to get less money for the RLTP from passenger trips than originally forecast.

"The impact of Covid-19 restrictions, a reluctance to return to [public transport] and more flexible working options has resulted in much slower patronage and revenue recovery than planned. If the trend continues, there is the potential to be in the order of 120 million passenger boardings fewer than anticipated in the RLTP over this three-year period, and a significant revenue shortfall."

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