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Aucklanders love their cars

Published: 8:34PM Tuesday July 24, 2001

A love of cars by Aucklanders has been damned in a new study by University of Melbourne researchers.

The study shows that use of public transport in New Zealand's biggest city is among the worst in the world and that the city's use of public transport has dropped 89% in half a century.

Traffic congestion costs Auckland around $1 billion a year.

"Auckland really is the bottom of the class unfortunately," researcher Doctor Paul Mees said.

Sydney has a population three times that of Auckland but on average each person uses public transport 160 times a year.

Atlanta is roughly Auckland's size and its residents use public transport 121 times a year, and residents in Los Angeles, considered a car capital, use buses or trains just 55 times a year.

But Auckland is even lower with just over 30 trips each year.

Back in the 1950s, each Aucklander made 290 trips but around the same time construction began on a grand motorway system and the focus switched to moving cars rather than people.

"Auckland's transport planners tried to turn their city into a Los Angeles and succeeded to the point where public transport usage is less than LA, which is quite an achievement," Mees said.

But the Auckland Regional Council insists the motorway project must be completed.

And with a $1 billion public transport plan still on hold, any difference may be years away.

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