Every year, Auckland ratepayers contribute around $320 million to public transport, alongside the hundreds of millions of dollars in other funding sources.
The benefits of this investment are transformative. With Aucklanders making 90 million trips on buses, trains and ferries over the past year, it reduces congestion, provides more reliable options for people to get to and from work, and is better for the environment.
But one significant benefit rarely talked about is the huge economic benefit from public transport investment to those who continue to travel by car.
“Every commuter benefits, regardless of whether they use public transport or not,” says Auckland Council Chief Economist David Norman and colleague Shane Martin in their latest Insights paper on topical economic issues.
“One single-decker bus with 50 people headed to work takes approximately 46 vehicles off the road; a double-decker removes even more. A six-carriage electric train takes hundreds of cars off the road”, says David.
“Without public transport, there would be at least 40,000 more cars on the road taking workers to and from Auckland’s CBD and neighbouring suburbs during rush hour every day.
“This means for those who need to drive to work from urban centres or rural communities further away and for freight moving on roads, the more people on buses and trains, the fewer cars on the road resulting in faster trips, less time spent in traffic, less fuel used and less competition for parking.
“And with road congestion costing Aucklanders at least $1 billion a year, further on-going investment in public transport will save money, contribute to economic growth and improve productivity.”