More students close the door on car travel

Thursday 11 September 2008, 6:23PM
By Auckland Regional Transport Authority


One year after the launch of the Universities’ Travel Plan, a follow-up survey of student travel shows that more and more students are getting out of their cars and onto buses, trains and ferries.

A 2006 survey conducted by the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) showed that sustainable travel choices were already popular with CBD students – only 13% of students travelling into the university each day drove a car (4,123 cars) and over half (18,425 students) caught a bus, train or ferry, making students the most sustainable transport users ever surveyed in Auckland.

This year even more students are making sustainable travel choices, with 927 fewer cars being driven to the CBD each morning and 1,270 more trips by students being made into the CBD on buses, trains and ferries.

Around 32,000 tertiary students, as well as about 8,000 staff, travel daily to and around the University of Auckland’s and AUT University’s CBD campuses.

The Universities’ Travel Plan was developed by ARTA, Auckland City Council, the universities’ management and student unions specifically to improve and promote walking, cycling and public transport options for travel to the universities

ARTA’s Chief Executive Fergus Gammie says, “Since the launch of the Universities’ Travel Plan in September 2007 ARTA has increased the discount on tertiary fares from 20% to 40% to further incentivise students, working closely with student unions to ensure that all students and potential students are aware of the discount and of the advantages of catching public transport, walking or cycling to university. The results speak for themselves.”

University of Auckland’s Registrar, Tim Greville says, “The reduction in student cars coming into the city is a great result for the travel plan initiatives. Higher petrol prices have obviously played a part, but the Universities’ Travel Plan has encouraged these major moves to public transport. Bus travel to the university is likely to be even more attractive for students when the Central Connector comes on stream."

John Williams, AUT University’s General Manager of Services and Operations, says, "The further increase in the number of students taking public transport rather than driving to university is great progress. It shows we are on the right track and underscores the value of the approach we are taking."

Further improvements to travel to and from the CBD will be added by Auckland City Council’s Central Connector Project.

The project, which commenced construction in April this year, will reduce travel times and improve bus reliability between the CBD and Newmarket via key locations such as the University of Auckland and AUT University.

Improvements will also be made to pedestrian and walking facilities to create a safer and more enjoyable environment for students.

The Universities’ Travel Plan is part of ARTA’s TravelWise programme, which follows an internationally recognised process that works to make sustainable transport options more attractive to people. It’s based on an understanding of factors that affect travel behaviour. Behaviours are assessed and a range of actions put in place that will increase more sustainable travel choices and make it easier for people to choose those options.

“Currently, ARTA has 32 organisations covering 89,000 staff and students signed up for travel plans. Our original target under the Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy was to reach 90,000 Aucklanders by 2016,” Mr Gammie says.

For more information about the Universities’ Travel Plan visit  or

To find out more about public transport services to the University of Auckland and AUT University visit