Post-COVID Patronage Rebound

General Transport Discussion not specific to one state
Post Reply
Merc1107
Posts: 2341
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:38 pm
Favourite Vehicle: MAN 18.310, MB O405NH, L94
Location: A Coastal City

Post-COVID Patronage Rebound

Post by Merc1107 »

This media statement is in relation to Perth, but I wonder where other cities stand, presently?
Public Transport Authority wrote: Public transport patronage bouncing back in WA
  • Public transport patronage continues to climb towards pre-COVID-19 levels
  • Two-zone cap and Airport Line among initiatives making public transport more attractive
  • Transwa patronage also back to 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels
Western Australian commuters are flocking back to our trains, buses, and ferries, helping to lift public transport patronage numbers closer to pre-COVID-19 levels.

From the introduction of a two-zone fare cap to the opening of the Airport Line, public transport has become an appealing option for more commuters in 2022.

This has been reflected in the numbers, as patronage rebounds to about 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels when comparing recent weekly 2022 SmartRider statistics to the corresponding week in 2019.

Average weekday patronage across the network in the week ending 2 December was 295,670, roughly 89 per cent of the corresponding week in 2019, before the impacts of the pandemic began. This rose to 90 per cent in the week ending 9 December.

It's the first time since COVID-19 reached WA that a weekly comparison has shown patronage at or above 90 per cent when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Analysis of passenger activity shows standard fares and students travelling to and from school is back above 90 per cent when compared to pre-COVID-19 levels, while the levels for those people travelling for tertiary education is at roughly 85 per cent.

Transperth patronage only dropped significantly for about a month in April 2020. Since then, WA's public transport patronage recovery has been one of the fastest and strongest in the country.

Patronage on Transwa's regional trains and road coaches have also returned to about 90 per cent of pre-COVID-19 numbers.

Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, Transperth continues to rank highly among passengers, with the annual Passenger Satisfaction Monitor (PSM) results released earlier this year showing more than 9 in 10 were highly satisfied with their public transport services.

In an effort to continue bolstering patronage numbers, the Government is also announcing today that free public transport will once again be available across the network after midnight on New Year's Eve.

Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:

"Despite a significant drop in patronage caused by the pandemic - something experienced all over the world - it has been encouraging to see passengers haven't stayed away from public transport for very long, with numbers now back around 90 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels.

"Clearly there are a number of factors at play including the two-zone cap keeping ticket costs at $5 or less and the opening the Airport Line encouraging more commuters onto the network.

"The bounce back in WA public transport patronage is one of the strongest in the country, with standard fares and students travelling to and from school back above 90 per cent when compared to pre-COVID-19 levels. Those travelling to and from university is slightly lower around 85 per cent, with online learning now more common.

"We continue to work hard to make our trains, buses and ferries more attractive, environmentally friendly, and affordable for commuters, and I think the bounce back in patronage numbers shows our public transport continues to be the best in the country."

Minister's office - 6552 5500
The date of the article, 20th December 2022, has been omitted as I find it irritating that the "Americanised" date format of MM/DD/YYYY is becoming increasingly common in the media.
User avatar
Traklink
Posts: 144
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2021 5:02 pm

Re: Post-COVID Patronage Rebound

Post by Traklink »

These are the figures I've found - comparisons are between 2022 and the equivalent period of 2019:

Adelaide:_____________76% for Quarter 3 (July-September)
Brisbane/SEQ: ________71% for Q3, 79% October
Canberra: ____________67% for Q3, 70% October, 77% November, 79% December
Melbourne: ___________77% for November, otherwise unspecified and official statistics don't appear to have been updated since September 2021
Perth: _______________75% for Q3, 81% October, 88% November
Sydney/NSW Opal card: 60% for Q3, 64% October, 62% November, 73% December (November was undercounted due to industrial action)
Catch a Traklink bus and you're on the train.
Merc1107
Posts: 2341
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:38 pm
Favourite Vehicle: MAN 18.310, MB O405NH, L94
Location: A Coastal City

Re: Post-COVID Patronage Rebound

Post by Merc1107 »

Thanks for going to the trouble of finding those. It seems while Perth is presently the best overall (perhaps the impact on public transport wasn't as great with less lockdowns, and COVID in the community), other cities experienced strong growth towards the end of the year, although in all cases it may just be a seasonal 'blip', rather than anything that carries into this year.
tonyp
Posts: 12411
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 2:31 am

Re: Post-COVID Patronage Rebound

Post by tonyp »

There are also potential variations between modes disguised by those average figures. I don't know about other cities, but in Sydney light rail, metro and ferries have recovered above average, while suburban rail and bus recovery are below average.
User avatar
Traklink
Posts: 144
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2021 5:02 pm

Re: Post-COVID Patronage Rebound

Post by Traklink »

Thought I'd update this using the latest figures, comparing Quarter 4 2023 and Q1 2024 to their equivalents in 2019. Note that this means comparing a leap year to an ordinary one in Q1.

Adelaide:_____________85% for Q4 2023, 90% for Q1 2024
Brisbane/SEQ: ________81% Q4, 85% Q1. Edit: Translink's dashboard has now updated and suggests 88% and 89% when calculated quarterly (previously I took the sum of their weekly figures roughly corresponding to each quarter).
Canberra: ____________85% Q4. Records only seem to go back to July 2019, so a Q1 comparison isn't possible.
Melbourne: ___________79% Q4, 82% Q1
Perth: _______________101% Q4, 103% Q1
Sydney/NSW Opal card: 82% Q4, 87% Q1.

Perth is now well ahead, but definitely helped by the pandemic being relatively mild and to an extent by free travel during January. Sydney is also now performing strongly considering that a year ago they were well behind everywhere else, and Adelaide too is doing quite well. Melbourne is the weakest but at least is now regularly publishing data.
tonyp wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 9:20 am There are also potential variations between modes disguised by those average figures. I don't know about other cities, but in Sydney light rail, metro and ferries have recovered above average, while suburban rail and bus recovery are below average.
Definitely noticed this in the Sydney figures, and in Perth the single short ferry route is smashing its previous all-time records set back when Elizabeth Quay first opened.
Last edited by Traklink on Sun Jun 23, 2024 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Catch a Traklink bus and you're on the train.
Merc1107
Posts: 2341
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:38 pm
Favourite Vehicle: MAN 18.310, MB O405NH, L94
Location: A Coastal City

Re: Post-COVID Patronage Rebound

Post by Merc1107 »

Traklink wrote: Mon Jun 03, 2024 1:38 pm Perth: _______________101% Q4, 103% Q1
Considering the Armadale line is closed, and patronage along this corridor quite suppressed, this is very impressive; no doubt the stats have been boosted by continuing tweaks and improvements across the network, on top of growth from Lakelands Station, and the Airport line in particular.
Traklink wrote: Mon Jun 03, 2024 1:38 pmDefinitely noticed this in the Sydney figures, and in Perth the single short ferry route is smashing its previous all-time records set back when Elizabeth Quay first opened.
This perhaps explains the Government's renewed enthusiasm for additional ferry services along the River, although I think it's also worth considering what tweaks could be made to the bus network around South Perth to support the ferry, too. Admittedly the walking distances from either Labouchere Road, Mill Point Rd or The Old Mill to the existing services are not huge, but we are talking about asking people to cross a (very busy) four lane road. For example, does the 35 represent the best for Mill Point Rd/The Old Mill area, or could it be reorganised into a less-frequent CBD service (if not deleted entirely), with a service from The Old Mill, via the Mends St Jetty and into South Perth (Angelo/Coode Sts), perhaps even travelling further east into Victoria Park?
User avatar
Lt. Commander Data
Posts: 2345
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:09 am
Favourite Vehicle: Scania L94UB
Location: Adelaide Hills

Re: Post-COVID Patronage Rebound

Post by Lt. Commander Data »

Traklink wrote: Mon Jun 03, 2024 1:38 pm Thought I'd update this using the latest figures, comparing Quarter 4 2023 and Q1 2024 to their equivalents in 2019. Note that this means comparing a leap year to an ordinary one in Q1.

Adelaide:_____________85% for Q4 2023, 90% for Q1 2024
Brisbane/SEQ: ________81% Q4, 85% Q1
Canberra: ____________85% Q4. Records only seem to go back to July 2019, so a Q1 comparison isn't possible.
Melbourne: ___________79% Q4, 82% Q1
Perth: _______________101% Q4, 103% Q1
Sydney/NSW Opal card: 82% Q4, 87% Q1.
Shocked and impressed that Adelaide is second best recovery after Perth, considering Perth has seen various infrastructure upgrades and fare incentives. Adelaide has only seen a few minor boosts (route 206 upgraded to full time Go Zone), and the electrification of the Gawler Railway (but no frequency upgrade or timetable change).
Merc1107 wrote: Mon Jun 03, 2024 2:14 pm [quote=Traklink post_id=<a href="tel:1108395">1108395</a> time=<a href="tel:1717385883">1717385883</a> user_id=38413]Definitely noticed this in the Sydney figures, and in Perth the single short ferry route is smashing its previous all-time records set back when Elizabeth Quay first opened.
This perhaps explains the Government's renewed enthusiasm for additional ferry services along the River, although I think it's also worth considering what tweaks could be made to the bus network around South Perth to support the ferry, too. Admittedly the walking distances from either Labouchere Road, Mill Point Rd or The Old Mill to the existing services are not huge, but we are talking about asking people to cross a (very busy) four lane road. For example, does the 35 represent the best for Mill Point Rd/The Old Mill area, or could it be reorganised into a less-frequent CBD service (if not deleted entirely), with a service from The Old Mill, via the Mends St Jetty and into South Perth (Angelo/Coode Sts), perhaps even travelling further east into Victoria Park?
[/quote]

On a recent trip to Perth I did walk from Mends Street to Labouchere Road, I remember a decent uphill from the jetty which would make it difficult for elderly and mobility impaired to transfer. For such a short ferry trip, could transferring at Mends St ever be a better option than a direct service on the Mitchell Freeway?
First person on 822, 865 (2016 re-route).
Last person on 164, 867, 868
Merc1107
Posts: 2341
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:38 pm
Favourite Vehicle: MAN 18.310, MB O405NH, L94
Location: A Coastal City

Re: Post-COVID Patronage Rebound

Post by Merc1107 »

Lt. Commander Data wrote: Mon Jun 03, 2024 4:58 pmOn a recent trip to Perth I did walk from Mends Street to Labouchere Road, I remember a decent uphill from the jetty which would make it difficult for elderly and mobility impaired to transfer. For such a short ferry trip, could transferring at Mends St ever be a better option than a direct service on the Mitchell Freeway?
I think you mean the Kwinana Freeway :wink:

To answer your question, though, it would really depend on the time of day, congestion levels going forward, and where people actually want to go. Journey times of the 35 and the ferry, are about 8mins each to their respective parts of Elizabeth Quay (the 35 varies between 8-11mins, depending on time of day) - and while it's further to walk from around The Old Mill to Mends St Jetty (which would be similar to walking to Labouchere Rd/Mill Point Rd for the superior 30, 31 & 34), there's obviously quite an attraction or preference towards the ferry versus the 35; frequency and hours of operation playing a big part in that.

The nearby Perth Zoo is a substantial tourist attraction too, and in the past (pre-EQ) has reportedly generated over half the ferry's patronage. Nowadays, there's obviously a lot more pull from Elizabeth Quay/Barrack St Jetty, and development around South Perth, so if the Mends St Ferry is meeting, even surpassing past patronage records (whereas the 35 has only been cut and cut some more over the past decade), I think consideration should be given to enhancing the timetable further (every 10mins), with a revised winter timetable and focus on connections with the Blue CAT at Elizabeth Quay. In this scenario, where the ferry were to run so frequently, and connects nicely with Blue CATs in both directions, what benefit, exactly, does the 35 have when it dumps people on the edge of the CBD (therefore forcing transfers or more walking anyway), only runs every 30-60mins without night service, and couldn't sustain the superior timetable it had when first created?

That's why I question the relative merit of the existing 35. There's already great access to the CBD, including William Street, Perth Busport and therefore Perth Station, thanks to the 30, 31 and 34. The ferry provides a nice link across the River to Elizabeth Quay, and into the CBD/Northbridge via Barrack & Beaufort Sts (also passing Perth Station). What's missing in South Perth is a good cross-suburban link towards Victoria Park or Burswood, and a better connection to the ferry - keeping something in place from The Old Mill would just placate any outcry about the loss of a direct bus.

Of course, much of this would be moot if a bus-only access to and from the Kwinana Freeway from The Old Mill were constructed!
Post Reply

Return to “General Transport Discussion”