Greetings of the season from Stewart Island. The other day, I wrote a piece about patronage in Auckland, Greater Wellington, and Greater Christchurch. This was based on Auckland data up until October 2018, and Wellington and Canterbury data up until June. Here’s an update.
Auckland Transport issued the November update on their website in mid-December. Their patronage is steadily increasing; things are pointing in the right direction. Thumbs up!
Greater Wellington used to publish their data on a monthly basis. For some reason, this stopped at the end of their last financial year. I’m not sure why they did that but my cynical mind concluded that their July 2018 network changes would have resulted in a dip in patronage. As the changes have proven to be hugely controversial maybe they didn’t want to add to the bad press? On 19 December I asked them for newer data and got them a couple of days later. Good customer service! Long story short – my suspicion was unfounded; their patronage is steady, and I shall eat my hat. What they did change this financial year is that they exclude commercial services from their data pool, i.e. their Airport Flyer and some Hutt Valley services as listed on their website. They have kindly given me last year’s data excluding their commercial services hence I can work out what difference this makes; it turns out that just under 2.5% of their patronage is contributed via commercial services. For the 2017/18 financial years, you see parallel patronage lines in my graph below; one with and the other without the commercial services. Let’s hope that they go back to their monthly reporting schedule. Let’s also hope that their patronage remains at least steady.
And how is Canterbury patronage doing? Well, we were wondering and there was this Twitter interaction the other day.
But rather than wondering, why not simply request the latest patronage data from Environment Canterbury (ECan)? I did so on 11 December by writing to their chair Steve Lowndes. On 18 December, I was told that my request had been passed on to “the relevant persons for an appropriate response”. As of today (22 December), we don’t know what patronage is doing and we are left wondering what an “appropriate response” looks like. Will it be the patronage numbers? Or will it be a list of reasons why the public can’t have the data?
My next communication to ECan will either be a kind thank you, or a request under the Official Information Act 1982. If the latter, these requests will henceforth be made once a month. Plain and simple, this type of data should be in the public domain and if they are unwilling to publish that then I will do it for them.