Auckland’s train operator Veolia provides their performance statistics – which is a good thing. The problem is that actual figures themselves, which show just how poor the service actually is:
The first column is how often trains are 5 minutes late or less. The second is how often trains arrive at all.
So if you take the Southern Line (wherever that is), you are likely to be more than 5 minutes late 24.2% of the time. If you commute 5 days a week, then that’s averaging one every two days*. Even the overall average of 83.1% implies one late train every three days.
Worse, if you commute 5 days a week on the Western line, then 2.6% of the time, or once every 4 week, your train doesn’t complete the journey. Perhaps it’s stuck somewhere, or perhaps it broke down with you one it. Either way you’ll have to take another one or find some other way to get to or from work.
So these performance statistics are clearly unacceptable for commuters, who need the security of knowing if they are at the station at a certain time then they will get to their destination on time, each and every time. It’s something that needs to be solved so that Auckland can extend beyond the traditional drive a car and then sit in the traffic jam approach.
So now let’s look at Wellington, where there’s been a relatively successful commuter train operating for years.
Oh dear. The comparable metric is that in the last month only 88% of the trains were on time – on average. That’s not as bad as Auckland, but it still means that the average commuter would be late about once every 4 days.
The worst line is the Wairarapa one:
While they dipped down to 73%, the 83% on time is still better than the Auckland average – expect to be late once every three days.
So Wellington also needs to improve their act.
I’ll continue to walk and motorbike to work in the meantime – particularity as I stay nowhere near a train line in either city.
*This assumes that trains at commuter times are just as likely as all trains to be late. I suspect that trains during commuter periods are actually more likely to be late than trains in quiet times, as there’s more congestion then and more that can go wrong.