Public transport in Auckland, the largest metropolitan area of New Zealand, consists of three modes – bus, train and ferry. Services are provided under the "MAXX" brand by private transport providers, coordinated by Auckland Transport, the council controlled organisation that replaced the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA). Britomart is the main transportation hub.
Historically Auckland was well served by public transport, but an extensive Auckland tram system was dismantled in the 1950s, which, together with the decision not to electrify the rail network and instead heavily invest into a motorway system, led to a collapse in both mode share and total trips. Major projects have been undertaken in recent years to improve public transport, both smaller-scale initiatives such as bus priority measures and large-scale bus and rail infrastructure projects. Public transport use grew by 4.4% over all modes in the year to June 2008 (with rail passenger up 18.4%), and later accelerated even more, growing by 8.3 percent in the year to February 2011 (with rail passengers up 17.9%), with Auckland for the first time reaching 1950s overall numbers again.
There have also been significant gains in the distances travelled by public transport in the Auckland Region, with an associated improvement in subsidy efficiency - with subsidy totals rising 14% in 2008-2009 (to account for increased patronage), but leading to a 39.4% increase in the kilometres travelled (during the same time, patronage in terms of trips increased 7.7%). The increased travel distances were mostly considered due to longer rail trips and more trips on long-distance services such as the Northern Busway.
Despite these strong recent gains, Auckland however still ranks quite low in public transport use as of 2009, having had only 41 public transport trips per person per year, while Wellington had 91, and Sydney 114. Despite these comparatively low metrics in international comparison, the Auckland Region, with 34% of New Zealand's population, in 2007-08 had 47% of national bus boardings, 37% of national rail boardings, and 93% of national ferry boardings, showing an above-average level of patronage for New Zealand, although if regions without rail and ferry services are excluded, national rail boardings are actually below average (Auckland has 75 percent of New Zealand's population with access to rail services).
The construction of a CBD rail tunnel for an estimated $2 billion, creating several new stations and also improving capacity for trains on all suburban routes, has been argued as the most important future public transport project for Auckland, allowing extra capacity that could provide up to 50 million trips per year on the city's rail lines, about twice the amount possible without it.
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