Friday, December 16, 2011

TransLink Tracker Q1 2011/12

The TransLink Tracker for Q1 2011/12 was released earlier this week, accompanied by an explanatory document explaining the adjustment to train patronage figures.
Documents available from TransLink's website
As usual BrizCommuter gives his opinion on this Tracker below.

Page 4/5 - Overall network patronage appears to have slightly fallen (last years figures not provided), and has fallen significantly against the previous calculation method. Train patronage has barely increased in the last year at 0.7%, which is well below population increase. Train patronage has decreased massively compared to the previous counting method by -12.5%. Bus patronage has decreased by 1% which is disappointing considering there has been a significant number of new and improved bus routes. Ferry patronage has nosedived by 15%. It is quite clear that the high fare prices are discouraging public transport use. Only someone is serious denial could disagree!

Page 5 - Both the amount of subsidy and percentage of subsidy have increased in the last year. This shows that the Queensland Government's policy of increasing fares 15% per annum to reduce subsidy has seriously failed. The average fare per trip at $1.98 appears to be misleading. BrizCommuter assumes that for example a $3.11 zone 1-2 peak journey with one change between modes is counted as two $1.56 trips?

Page 7 - The number of complaints has increased. How many of them are about the ridiculous fares? On the subject of complaints, BrizCommuter would like to see full bus statistics added to TransLink Tracker.

Page 8 - Go card use has increased to 79.5%. It is concerning however that more than 20% of users are paying a huge premium for paper tickets. BrizCommuter hopes that TransLink's excellent current advertising campaign helps to further reduce the number of paper ticket users. The ability to purchase go cards at Brisbane Airport may also help too. BrizCommuter also suggests that bus drivers give out explanatory leaflets on the fare differential with every paper ticket.

Page 9 - The higher fixed fares appear to have discouraged fare dodging by not swiping off go cards on longer journeys. However, with 2.36% of fares still resulting in a fixed fare, it has to be questioned how reliable the go card system is. BrizCommuter has had two fixed fares caused by go card reader failures in the last week! Given the hike in fixed fares, it appears that commuters are being more active in claiming corrections, with the number of go card adjustment requests increasing by nearly 100%.

Page 15 - Train service kilometres have increased by just 6% in the last year. Bus service kilometres have increased by just 2.5%. Given the 15% fare increase in the last year, these statistics show that SE Queensland commuters are not getting value for money from the fare increases.

Page 16 - The Passenger Load Survey mentioned in the previous blog post shows a 6.8% increase in peak train use, with figures being physically counted. This is in contrast to the overall train patronage increase of 0.7% calculated from go card use. This begs some questions. Does this mean that off-peak train patronage is in serious decline? Quite possible when Brisbane has such terrible off-peak train frequencies. Or does it mean that 6% of peak hour passengers have started fare evading in the last year?

Train Patronage Report - This report explains how historical train patronage figures have been adjusted so as to match newer go card based figures. The previous figures made assumptions about the number of trips made from daily and weekly tickets which have been killed off by TransLink in the last few years.  Some public transport users that used to make effective use of weekly and daily tickets have since changed their travel patterns to decrease travel costs. This decreases the accuracy of the adjusted figures which are based on more recent go card travel patterns. Press reports this week made it appear that the adjustments were spin to hide the drop in train patronage. Whilst BrizCommuter disputes the accuracy of the corrected historical patronage, both the old and new methods show a patronage decrease since 2008/09. Again, there is little question that the fare increases are discouraging the use of Brisbane's train services. BrizCommuter commends TransLink on publishing this report, and which again shows that TransLink may be starting to be more transparent. Just a shame about the fares and infrequent train services!

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