Saturday, August 13, 2011

TransLink finally release survey results!

More than a year ago (4th to 21st May 2010), commuters may remember filling in a paper survey, and putting them in orange bins. Well the results have finally been announced. The summary of the results can be found here:

Firstly, under 17s were not sampled. Considering a reasonable percentage of public transport users are travelling to and from school, this means that the results are off to a flying failure. In fact, the vast majority of users of the now extinct Tennyson Line (still operating with empty out of service trains) were school children. Coincidence?

More than half of public transport users are under 30 years of age, with a much lower age weighting on buses rather than trains. This is likely to be due to most major universities (including UQ, QUT Kelvin Grove, and Griffith Mt Gravatt) being served by bus instead of train. Interestingly 59% of survey respondents were female, and 72% have a driving licence. The latter figure is of no surprise, as not having a driving licence is a major handicap with Brisbane's non "World Class" public transport system. 53% did not have access to a vehicle for that journey, for example one car families (such as BrizCommuter's family).

67% of respondents were using public transport due to not having a car, being unable to drive, not wanting to drive, being unable to park, or it being too expensive to park. Only 12% used public transport due to it being cheaper. This would be even less so with 2011 fares! Only 5% used public transport due to it being the fastest option. With ever increasing fares, infrequent services, relatively fast roads, and high percentage of car ownership, public transport is finding it difficult to compete with the less sustainable transport option that is the car.

51% of users payed the full adult fare, with 32% holding a student concession. 78% percent of respondents used a go card. Only 12% used daily, weekly, or season tickets. However, it should be remembered that this study was taken after the daily and weekly prices had been hugely inflated to make them less attractive than the go card. Had this study been performed in 2009 when weekly and daily were at an attractive price relative to the go card, then the results would be very different. As mentioned a zillion times in this blog, the current fare structure makes public transport very unattractive for frequent users.

56% of public transport users use public transport every weekday, and 42% use public transport on at least 2 weekends a month. It would interesting to know if this is for leisure, or for work? BrizCommuter would not be surprised if the current fare structure has reduced demand for weekend leisure traffic for those who used to have weekly tickets, as they now have to pay extra for more than than their daily work commute.

Nearly 70% of journeys to train stations are by foot, with around 30% of journeys to train stations by car. The survey didn't seem to have public transport as an access option. These figures show that there is a need for frequent feeder bus services to improve access for those who live too far away from stations to walk, and for those who currently access train stations by car. Whilst it is no surprise that more than 90% of passengers access bus stops on foot, it is still concerning that nearly 10% have to use a car to access a bus stop. There must be some very large public transport black holes in SE Queensland!

The station entries statistic is rather odd. Why does Ferny Grove have far less station entries (approx 1,500) between 05:30 and 20:30 according to this study than the 2009 QR Passenger Load survey (which had the figure as 2,163 just in the am peak)? That's more than 500 missing passengers. These statistics need a big please explain! Of course it would be nice if the un-transparent TransLink would like to release the 2010 and 2011 QR Passenger Load surveys. BrizCommuter is not holding his breath.

The Inner Ipswich and Caboolture Line's have the highest number of off-peak train travellers in absolute terms. This makes it pretty obvious that if you provide a half decent off-peak service (every 15 minutes) that people will use it. Lets hope TransLink make note of this statistic, and introduce 15 min off-peak train services on the inner Beenleigh Line, inner Cleveland Line, and whole of the Ferny Grove Line as well. Information from QR, and a recent quote from a politician in a newspaper, is increasingly making it look like the pathetic 30 minute off-peak train service is here to stay.

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