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Aucklanders might be on the way to doubling their public transport use to 120 million rides a year within a decade, a goal once deemed "unbelievably outrageous".
Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy said the challenge seemed undoable when it was put to him by then-Mayor Len Brown in 2012.
"No other city had done that, Vancouver came close," Levy told AT's board.
Auckland will hit 100 million trips in a 12-month period mid-year, with three years and eight months remaining to reach 120 million.
Levy's comments came as the council agency patted itself on the back for the patronage lift which has followed the two-year process of overhauling the bus network.
The so-called New Network simplified routes, boosting frequency and capacity on many services, but requiring more commuters to transfer.
An AT report showed patronage continued to climb through the change process, without the temporary dips experienced overseas as people adjusted to new journeys.
The proportion of journeys taken requiring a transfer has doubled to 1 in 6, and the acceptance of transferring has surprised AT.
"We knew that would be painful, and for some it still is," acknowledged Mark Lambert, the general manager of integrated networks.
Part of the success of the changes was AT's decision to roll them out progressively over a two-year period, starting with the south and ending with the north.
"Some said we were too slow, but we did it in bite-sized chunks - we felt it was too significant to try to achieve at once," said Colin Homan, the group manager of public transport development.
AT executives diplomatically noted the chaos in Wellington when it introduced a "big bang" overhaul of the region's bus services last July.
This article first appeared on www.stuff.co.nz
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