Sunday, August 27, 2006

Melbourne lagging on buses

The Public Transport Procurement Legislation Review Consultation prepared for Auckland (pdf 1.8MB) has some interesting comparisons between bus service levels, their change over time and patronage growth across major Australian and New Zealand cities.

The statistics (verifiable by consulting their timetables) show that Christchurch now has higher average bus service levels than just any other city in Australia or New Zealand. A concerted effort to redesign the nework and boost services was rewarded by higher patronage, with a growth of about 43% since 1990 (all of which occurred since 1999).

Of the Australian cities, Brisbane and Perth did best with increases of 35% and 14% respectively. The newly-integrated Translink fare system, high-quality BUZ services and better service co-ordination all contributed to Brisbane's performance.

Melbourne buses scored at or near the bottom on many measures, with a patronage growth of just 0.3% since 1990. Admittedly these stats exclude our large and popular tram system, which most of the other cities lack. However this also means that our buses disproportionately serve outer suburban growth areas, which should attract greater use through faster population growth. However you look at it, the statistics present solid evidence that there is room for Melbourne buses to do much better.

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