Busy busy

Been busy on a comparison of public transport fares between Australian mainland cities, which found Melbourne’s the most expensive for most trips: Age story… on the front page no less. Full data/graphs.

The government claims it’s an unfair comparison. But they would say that, wouldn’t they.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

12 replies on “Busy busy”

Wow, front page news! I just cannot understand why .gov worldwide won’t grasp the thistle and make “public” transport public. Here in the UK we have a terrible mix of private companies all providing the most “cost effective” (e.g. not there when you need it, and expensive) services.

No integration, no forethought, so congested roads get worse and short term fixes are thought up when just a little more investment in proper PT would work wonders.

Well done for helping bring this to the public eye, and well done for managing to get your say in at the beginning of the article where the majority of people will see it.

I’m sorry but, having used public transport a lot in Sydney, the Harbour City is more than twice as expensive as Melbourne.
For around six bucks you can use any form of transport in Melbourne within 15km radius of the city all day. In Sydney, you catch the bus to the ferry terminal, or to the train station, and you’re looking at $13 return – easy.
In fact, we found Sydney more expensive than London public transport (admitedly, we used off peak services).
What sample weightings did you use for journey types?

Pete, you may be interested to know that the quasi-private system we have here was based on the UK model!

Roger, check the figures and footnotes. Yes it’s true that Sydney costs add up fast for using multiple modes, but in Melbourne 85% of journey to work trips only involve one mode.

Conversely, I found London extremely expensive and that was off peak. When a single station-to-station within one zone trip can cost four quid (times that by 2.4), it’s rather exxy. We bought a weekly pass for zone one which is basically the Square Mile area and that cost 25 pounds. On par with current Melbourne prices for a weekly zone one/two ticket. Anything outside this small area you had to pay “extention” passes from about two pounds or more depending on where you needed to go. Probably spent about 20 pounds on bus rides throughout York as well (1.50 – 3 pounds per single ride, depending on where you were going and which bus company you were on).

Having said that though, the Tube is seriously good service and if you’re a tourist doing the London scene, you get your money’s worth. Trains are five minutes apart on average on ALL lines and you should see how apologetic everyone is if they’re running late for some reason. Greek tragedy proportions and SINCERE. Something we don’t get often from Connex.

‘Melbourne 85% of journey to work trips only involve one mode’. That is fine for workers. What about the rest who I think use much more multi modal.

$15 dayticket a couple of years ago in Sydney for what I wanted to do on bus and train would have only cost a bit over $5 in Melbourne. But to go one stop or one station in Melbourne at over $3 is far too high.

In London in 2002 we bought a family all-day, all-zone ticket for the equivalent of AUS$22 (for use after 9:30am). We used underground trains, other trains (including to Heathrow), and buses. At the time a Melbourne family ticket (for use all day, including morning peak) was about the same.
All day London tickets (inc. morning peak) are very expensive.

Yeah I dunno if you can get a family all-day, all-zone ticket for $22 in London now. However, I did find the Tube and bus prices reasonable. I used a pre-paid Oyster card (similar to what we will *hopefully* have here later this year) and it was fine. What was not fine was the price of tickets to get trains further out than the tube system. Those are the overland trains, run by various companies, and one trip I did cost me about £7. One return trip on a day cost me £12.50. So there are certainly price problems with travelling out to the suburbs.

I notice that in Melbourne now (at least between Lilydale and Mitcham), Connex has casual staff out doing its ‘Extended Passenger Counts 2007’, according to the sheets on their clipboards. I hope this was happening last week as well and I didn’t notice, because the university semester finished last week and that means that passenger numbers this week are noticeably lower in the morning peak, with many students not needing to go into the city at normal times. If Connex thinks that this week is representative of normal passenger numbers, we have a problem.

‘Melbourne 85% of journey to work trips only involve one mode’.

Where do the stats for that come from? Validations? For sure! From my own experience, most people only validate when they have to, so much of the data that’s gathered and used is pretty much useless, along with the conclusions drawn from it.

As for the whole comparisons thing, I’m getting a little annoyed with it. Not because it’s boring, but because it’s highly selective. When it comes to administration, Vancover and Perth are almost always used. As for speed and easy ticketing, Singapore is the goose that lays those golden eggs. Yes, we can learn alot from various places, but as much of the recent articles have proven, we still haven’t even mastered the basics yet (or at least we’ve been willing to let governments screw up the basics over decades of underfunding and mismanagement).

well, the stats that I managed to pull off the ABS web site shows 114,123 persons used one method (only) of public transport to get to work on Census night 2001 in Greater Melbourne. A further 62,060 used two or more methods to get to work – but I suspect this includes CAR as one of the methods. So my research is bloody useless, Sorry!
PS Over one million Melburnians used “car only” to get to work. How depressing!!

Rob, I’m not sure what makes you say the comparisons are highly selective. London is quite possibly the most expensive city in the world, so the PTUA is being very fair including it. You’ll find New York is not particularly unusual as North American cities go either. And I’m not sure why it’s highly selective to compare all Australian capital cities against each other (with Sydney being the odd one out in that it’s not multimode).

And anyway, what’s wrong with saying we want a system with Vancouverian planning processes, Swiss governance and reliability, Torontonian integration, Dutch staffing and Singaporean fares? Shouldn’t we pick the best features of a range of systems and combine them?

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