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Te Awamutu Courier - 2021-07-22

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Waikato-Auckland train patronage growing

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The Waikato-to-Auckland Te Huia train service has transported more than 11,000 passengers in its first three months of operation. It’s also proving popular with families during the school holiday, with a 31 per cent increase in the number of people on Te Huia last week compared with the daily average from Monday to Friday. “When we started the service we knew it would take time for people to move out of the car and into the train, but in just over three months we’ve already exceeded 11,000 passengers,” said Waikato Regional Council chair Russ Rimmington. “What’s really exciting to see is the small but steady growth in passenger numbers, with increases of around 4 per cent a month, which is on track with projections,” Russ said. “We’re also getting really great feedback from returning passengers. “They love its comfort and the ability to work on the way up to Auckland and back again, and that our trains are reliable . . . ” The Saturday service has been especially popular, with a daily average of 300 passengers and services often at seated capacity. Russ welcomed news of the first service improvement, with Saturday trains arriving at The Strand station in central Auckland without changing trains, starting this Saturday. “Our council has been working closely with our partners on the governance group and we’ve got even greater things planned for Te Huia, backed by submissions on our long term plan.” Improvements include the introduction of an interpeak weekday service to start next year. Work is also under way on getting the weekday services further into Auckland. “I’m confident these improvements will grow our patronage more to make the service a real success story,” Russ said. Te Huia launched on Tuesday, April 6. Statistics show that average daily boardings from Monday to Friday are 141, with the 6.28am service to Papakura and 4.42pm back to Hamilton proving the most popular on weekdays.

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