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report purple arrow down    WORSENING TREND

Public transport use per person in the Waikato region peaked in 2011/12 and has subsequently fallen.

This indicator is the average number of passenger transport boardings in the Waikato region per resident per year.

Why is this indicator important?

Public transport is defined as any shared transport service available for use by the general public, such as buses, trains and ferries. Although there is continuing debate as to the true efficiency of different modes of transportation, public transport is generally regarded as significantly more energy efficient than other forms of travel, particularly in metropolitan areas.

Any increase in the number of people using public transport instead of their own vehicle also reduces the numbers of cars on our roads. This improves road safety and journey times for all road users (including public transport vehicles). Improved journey times are not only welcomed by individual travellers; they can assist with improved efficiencies in moving freight within and outside our region. This in turn can contribute to a better regional and national economy. Less use of private vehicles also improves the environment (and people’s health) by reducing air pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases.

Public transport

Public transport use 2019

Year Public transport use per person
2000/01 4.2
2001/02 4.3
2002/03 4.5
2003/04 4.9
2004/05 5.1
2005/06 5.5
2006/07 7.3
2007/08 9.1
2008/09 11.1
2009/10 11.0
2010/11 10.9
2011/12 12.2
2012/13 11.9
2013/14 10.1
2014/15 9.9
2015/16 9.1
2016/17 8.7
2017/18 8.5


What is this indicator telling us?

  • The predominant form of public transport in the Waikato region is buses. Over the period 2000/01 to the peak of 2011/12, estimated average use (volumes) of public transport use per person per year in the Waikato region tripled from 4.2 to 12.2 passenger boardings per person. However, in more recent years there has been a slump in Waikato public transport use to levels seen a decade ago.
  • Public transport use per person in the Waikato region remains well below the national average. Passenger transport volumes per person are markedly higher in the more metropolitan regions of Auckland and Wellington.

Check out related information on our website and other organisations’ websites listed on our Waikato Progress Indicators’ Useful Links page.

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Boardings data are available from the Ministry of Transport (MOT) online, PT008 Public transport boardings by region. Data are reported in millions of boardings per year.

The boardings data (in millions) were divided by regional population estimates from Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) NZ.Stat tables, selecting subnational population estimates (RC), then the result was multiplied by 1,000,000 to arrive at average public transport passenger boardings per resident per annum.

Update details: Annual data to November are usually published by the Ministry of Transport in December.

Customised data request requirements: Nil


Territorial Authority (TA) disaggregation: No

Other regions: Yes, but not a meaningful comparison due to differing geographical and other characteristics.

New Zealand: Yes, but not a meaningful comparison due to differing geographical and other characteristics. 

Other countries/ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):  No