Everything here is in millions – fare revenue dollars (the dark red line) and passengers carried.
Obviously the low point was 2020-21, when much of the year was spent under COVID-19 lockdown, particularly in Melbourne.
But we can see the recovery following the lifting of COVID restrictions, with fare revenue for 2023 at 62.8% of 2019 levels, and patronage at 71.9%.
Looking at the patronage data by mode shows varying levels of recovery.
|Year ending June||2019||2023||2023 % of 2019|
|V/Line train and coach||22.4m||18.7m||83.6%|
We know journeys to the CBD are still well down, especially in peak, and especially on Mondays and Fridays, due to ongoing widespread Work From Home for office workers. There’s some more data that I’ll explore in a future post, but it’s a reminder that government should be planning and funding the public transport network to more actively chase patronage for non-CBD, non-peak trips.
White-collar Work From Home also explains why metro train and tram have not bounced back as far as buses – historically they have been very focussed on CBD peak journeys. In contrast, much of the bus network serves non-CBD trips.
V/Line saw a big uptick in patronage after the 31st March fare cut, but only a quarter of the 2023 financial year data is after the change – and much of that was affected by major works. So we’ll need to see more recent data to really understand how much patronage has increased.
Still, it’s interesting to see how things are bouncing back.