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Auditor General reports on bus services

Perth / Western Australia Transport Discussion

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Auditor General reports on bus services

Postby PaxInfo » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:13 pm

Finds that service is good but falling patronage has blown out costs

Report and media statement at https://audit.wa.gov.au/reports-and-pub ... -services/

Appendix 1 has approximate patronage and boardings per km for each route
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Re: Auditor General reports on bus services

Postby Mr OC Benz » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:20 pm

Interesting to read through. Certainly the km growth far in excess of patronage growth is a bit problematic. Hopefully as the economy picks up again, so will the patronage. PTA projections indicate an uplift from 2018-19.

This is also the first time that approximate annual patronage and boardings per km figures have been released for all routes. I've broken them down into the different patronage brackets that they are listed under, although passenger boardings per km figures provides a more accurate view from an efficiency perspective.

3,000,000-4,000,000
Routes: 950
2,000,000-3,000,000
Routes: 998, 999
1,000,000-2,000,000
Routes: 100, 910, 930, 990
750,000-1,000,000
Routes: 34, 60, 371, 501, 507
500,000-750,000
Routes: 72, 206, 344, 549, 558, 935, 955, 960
250,000-500,000
Routes: 15, 19, 24, 27, 30, 39, 48, 67, 75, 97, 102, 103, 111, 114, 115, 160, 170, 177, 204, 205, 207, 220, 345, 380, 386, 388, 389, 391, 415, 423, 461, 467, 468, 483, 502, 508, 511, 513, 517, 518, 520, 527, 530, 532, 555, 956, 970
100,000-250,000
Routes: 25, 28, 31, 32, 36, 38, 40, 41, 42, 55, 66, 68, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 101, 107, 158, 176, 179, 208, 212, 228, 229, 232, 245, 250, 254, 282, 283, 288, 294, 296, 297, 299, 314, 320, 322, 324, 341, 342, 352, 361, 362, 365, 372, 376, 377, 384, 390, 402, 414, 421, 425, 441, 442, 443, 444, 445, 446, 447, 450, 460, 462, 463, 464, 465, 466, 480, 481, 482, 484, 490, 491, 509, 510, 512, 514, 515, 516, 519, 525, 526, 531, 541, 543, 548, 551, 552, 557, 560, 561, 562, 563, 565, 587, 588, 589, 591, 592, 593, 594
50,000-100,000
Routes: 33, 35, 150, 202, 203, 210, 211, 231, 241, 243, 244, 284, 295, 311, 315, 323, 325, 334, 337, 340, 343, 347, 360, 370, 378, 387, 403, 406, 407, 410, 412, 422, 424, 427, 428, 470, 474, 500, 503, 504, 505, 506, 540, 542, 550, 559, 564, 566, 567, 568, 584, 597, 598, 600
20,000-50,000
Routes: 16, 20, 23, 70, 148, 252, 279, 286, 287, 298, 301, 310, 321, 327, 328, 335, 336, 346, 349, 385, 404, 469, 471, 473, 553, 556, 586
0-20,000
Routes: 201, 223, 240, 249, 251, 253, 285, 291, 293, 304, 307, 308, 312, 326, 330, 331, 379, 413, 522, 554, 604, 605
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Re: Auditor General reports on bus services

Postby tonyp » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:48 am

Wow, in NSW we can only dream about the level of data detail for bus services in Appendix 1! Only in moments of political crisis, like the present events with the Gong Shuttle in Wollongong, do we get a release of more detailed information. Auditor Generals in general (pardon the pun) are pretty good at extracting stuff too, but in NSW hasn't yet dug deep into the bus industry afaik.

On previous information you've given me Mr OCB I estimated the 950 at perhaps 6 million ppa patronage but it seems a little lower than this, but impressive nonetheless. It also enables me to see that the Gong Shuttle patronage is up among the top of any single bus route in Australia, but that's another subject! There would be few, if any, single bus routes (as opposed to combinations of routes along a corridor) in Australia up at these levels - perhaps the 400 and Sydney and some particular route or routes along the busways in Brisbane and Adelaide?

As a regular user of 910 and 998/9 I'm also impressed to see how strong they are.

The first couple of paragraphs in the PTA's response I can only say amen to:

https://audit.wa.gov.au/reports-and-pub ... transport/

Let nobody anywhere lose sight of how completely remarkable is Perth public transport and the way it works. I struggle to think of anywhere in Europe that betters it overall. Of course, it comes at a cost, but so it does everywhere. Perth people just don't know how good they have it, they just keep frigging driving and whinging, the fools!

PS Just noticed that the CATs aren't included in that list although there's nothing specifically excluding them from the scope of the report. It would be nice to see patronage figures for their individual routes.
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Re: Auditor General reports on bus services

Postby Merc1107 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:36 am

Doesn't surprise me in the slightest that several of the more well-patronised routes are those traveling east of Murdoch Station (204/5/6/7 & 517/8). I often see those dumping standing loads at Murdoch Station around 10am on a Sunday morning!

I suspect several of the freeway routes serving all or some of Canning Highway (111, 114, 115, 150 & 160) do have a 'variable' patronage. What I often see is passengers taking whichever bus arrives first, and even going as far as swapping buses if something else arrives. Some of these routes (111 & 150) are peak-only services, too. If services were combined, I suspect the patronage numbers would be quite surprising

Tony is right, we have plenty to be thankful for. I think, however, that downturns in patronage do highlight (to an extent) the city-centric model of our public transport, and room for improvements.
Increasing connectivity between the rail services and buses, and well as between bus services (particularly on weekends, and off-peak weekdays) would give less excuses for people to drive, as would timing services so they don't concurrently serve a common corridor at the same time (i.e. 114 & 115 on weekends, traveling 2mins apart on a 30min frequency) when services could be staggered and give a higher frequency with the same route kilometres.
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Re: Auditor General reports on bus services

Postby tonyp » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:04 pm

I recall some proposed survey mentioned elsewhere in this Perth forum that intended to find out why people who drive make that choice when there's a good public transport network in place. That would be a good starting point on the path away from CBD-centric dependence.

I've seen several of those newspaper/TV stories where they find somebody who drives from A to B across Perth on their journey to work and they complain about taking hours stuck in the motorway crawls and yet, when reading such stories, I check the Transperth journey planner and find that their journeys would actually be quicker (sometimes much quicker) if they went by public transport, even with a couple of train/bus mode interchanges, because the connectivity, frequency and speed of Transperth's services is so good.

There is a need to discover how to wrench them out of that default of going by car. Some of it just boils down to the comfort and privacy of using their own car, no matter how long it takes, unfortunately. Continually adding to motorways and generous availability of carparking don't help either. One thing (around Australia) that really makes an impact on car use is those free circulator bus routes, like the CATs, but of course funding needs to be well-sorted, otherwise it's something else for the Auditor General to complain about.
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Re: Auditor General reports on bus services

Postby PaxInfo » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:10 pm

Perth's network is amongst the nation's best when it comes to work trips to the CBD. It has comparatively few exclusive way PT corridors into the city (especially compared to Brisbane) but those it does have work well. But the end of the mining boom has hit CBD employment hard, which has disproportionately affected PT patronage. The profusion of employment in transit-hostile locations such as Balcatta, Wangara, O'Connor, Malaga, Welshpool and Belmont (which probably exceeds better served Armadale, Joondalup, Midland and Fremantle) along with free parking makes Transperth's job a hard one for non-CBD jobs. But a lot has been done to provide a good network to the big suburban universities and hospitals. In other words they've been astute with their targeting of services.

Outside that service levels are patchy - numerous routes only run hourly off-peak, with some 120 min frequencies (or nothing) on Sundays. The after midnight offering (even on just Saturday nights) is a fraction that of any other capital. There is very little service to leisure destinations in the hills, coast (eg Cervantes) and even regional cities eg Bunbury. This is very different to the likes of Melbourne and surrounds where many such areas get approximately an hourly service. Driving is convenient even in inner-suburbs and there aren't the non-car owning constituencies that Sydney and Melbourne have.
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Re: Auditor General reports on bus services

Postby tonyp » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:43 pm

Yes I've experienced the joys of late Sunday night transport, for example, including the thrill of rushing through the bag retrieval at the airport in order to catch one of the two hourly buses that happen to leave at virtually the same time! (Perhaps the airlines should include their schedules in the Transperth journey planner lol.)

Perth's singular accomplishment is achieving that amazing growth of patronage in such a hostile environment of virtually the most car-addicted major city in the world. That's a remarkable achievement in its own right. The rest is now a series of steps that have to be worked through to consolidate those gains. I think the recent patronage drop should be seen as a temporary blip. It would be very short-sighted of a government to drop the financial ball right now. Probably lucky the Liberals aren't in at the moment because that's probably exactly what they'd do.
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