Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Not ferry happy

A baby ferry
TransLink have finally released the belated TransLink Tracker Q2 2010/11. This tracker covers the period from October to December 2010. Despite many comments and photos of the floods, it is made clear in the foreword that the statistics in this tracker were prior to the floods. The statistics are also prior to the huge January 2011 fare increase and removal of weekly paper tickets, as well as the opening of Richlands (which is also mentioned in the tracker).

The tracker shows a measly 2.4% increase in overall patronage since Q2 2009/10. This is just 0.4% higher than Queensland's annual population growth. Bus trips only rose by 2.1%, which is not surprising given that the overcrowding occurring on many routes is deterring bus usage. What is a very pleasant surprise, is that train patronage increased by more than 6% after a fall over the previous year. BrizCommuter jumped to the train patronage figures to obtain a better breakdown of this information, only to see a message on page 16 stating "The train passenger load survey will now be conducted every six months with the results of the March survey published in Q3 2010/11 Tracker". BrizCommuter would like to see the full passenger load survey to be published in a similar format to the 2009 passenger load survey. This would show growth (or decline) broken down into line sections and individual stations.

The CityCat and CityFerry services saw a 21.2% patronage decline, as well as a significant fall in customer satisfaction. Whilst the ferry services were cancelled for 3 days in this period (less than 4% of the quarter), both this and passengers jumping from CityCat to CityGlider should not have affected the figures by such a large degree. There needs to be a big please explain to TransLink and BCC as to these statistics! In general customer satisfaction appears to be decreasing for all modes. This will be little surprise to BrizCommuter's readers. If the satisfaction survey was to be done at QUT Kelvin Grove busway station, BrizCommuter would expect customer satisfaction to be zero!

The fare statistics show an average fare per trip of $1.66, up 10.7% on Q2 2009/10. This is a very odd statistic, given that BrizCommuter's average fare per trip in Q2 2010/11 was more than $2.50, and up more than 20% on the previous year. Maybe public transport is overrun by students and pensioners making one zone journeys?

The subsidy to fare ratio has not significantly changed, and amount of subsidy has significantly increased. This goes to show the Queensland Government's huge fare increases are failing in their purpose to decrease the public transport subsidy. In the mean time it is appears that the high fares have stunted bus patronage increases, and may be causing a decline in ferry patronage. A big policy fail!

Go card usage increased to more than 64.2%, which means that more than 35% of journeys were still using overpriced paper tickets. It will be interesting to see if the removal of daily paper tickets in January 2011 has increased go card uptake further. Continued use of paper tickets must be a good cash cow for TransLink, no wonder that the go card lite was abandoned! Another interesting statistic is that 3.45% of go card journeys are resulting in a fixed fare, yet only 0.038% of go card journeys have a fare adjustment. So either many people are unknowingly getting fixed fares through not swiping on and off, or many passengers are taking advantage of the fixed fare system. Another please explain for TransLink!

The place kilometres statistic annoyingly just has graphs rather than written values. It seems that in the last year, both trains and buses have only had minor increases, and far below the previously mentioned fare increases. It is also strange the the train place kilometres are less in Q2 2010/11 than Q1 2010/11. Why?

Finally, BrizCommuter would like to see the statistics for the number of full buses included in TransLink Tracker. Aside from ridiculous fares, and infrequent trains, full buses are one of the biggest problems on TransLink's network.

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