Sunday, December 29, 2013

2014 World Fare Comparison - Part 2

Melbourne - cheaper public transport than Brisbane
In part 1 of the 2014 BrizCommuter world fare comparison, we ascertained that Brisbane has the worlds 5th most expensive 5km adult single peak train fare. In part 2, we look at bus fares, daily ticketing options, and weekly periodical ticket options. We generally only look at the 8 most expensive cities sampled in part 1.

Exchange rates are as of the 26th December 2013. Fares are as of the 6th January 2014.

* Note: Sydney's "Opal Card" fares not shown due to lack of network wide availability.

Bus ticket, adult passenger, single 5km peak journey

Oslo - $5.47
Stockholm - $4.26
Brisbane - $4.14
Berlin - $3.98
Liverpool (similar to some other UK cities) - $3.85
Sydney* - $3.70 ($2.96 with 10 multitrip ticket)
Melbourne - $3.58
London - $2.26
Toowoomba - $2.90 (similar to most QLD regional cities)

Half of the 8 cities sampled have cheaper bus fares compared to train fares. Of the cities sampled, Brisbane has the world's 3rd most expensive fares for a 5km peak bus journey. Sadly, with most of Brisbane having an infrequent bus service due to Brisbane City Council's poor network planning, it could be argued that Brisbane has the world's worst value for money bus network. Brisbane also has peak bus fares 43% higher than regional cities in Queensland. On the positive, at least one fare can be used for a train then bus journey (connection within an hour) in SE Queensland. 

Daily ticket maximum, adult passenger, for 5km journeys (including train)

Brisbane - $32.34 (incl. 3 peak trips)/$29.88 (all off-peak)
Sydney* - $23
Stockholm - $19.61
London (Underground) - $15.39 (peak)/$12.82 (off-peak)
Oslo - $14.59
Berlin - $10.27
Melbourne - $7.16 (weekday)/$6.00 (weekend)
Liverpool (and most other UK cities) - $6.60 (after 9:30am only)

Due to complete lack of daily ticketing options (apart from the ridiculously expensive tourist SEEQ card), Brisbane potentially has the world's most expensive public transport system for multiple daily journeys. Not good news for tourists or those without cars who rely heavily on public transport! It's about time that Brisbane has an attractive daily ticketing option - just look at Melbourne's as a good example. Sydney also has a very expensive daily ticketing option, but is at least valid across most of the Sydney Trains network.

Weekly ticket maximum, adult passenger, for 5km train journeys (including peak)

London (Underground) - $57.90
Stockholm - $51.18
Berlin - $44.14
Oslo - $40.11
Brisbane - $37.26
Melbourne - $35.80
Liverpool (and most other UK cities) - $32.80 to $37.94
Sydney* - $28 (train only)/$46 (all modes)

Thanks to the 9 and free weekly cap, Brisbane "only" has the world's 6th most expensive weekly train fares, but is still more than expensive than most other Australian cities. The ridiculous difference in price between Sydney's train only fares ($28) and fares that allow use of all modes ($46) should also be noted. This may improve in the future with Sydney's Opal Card.

In brief

As there has been no significant changes to fare structure (other than an across the board 7.5% increase) then it can still be concluded that longer distance journeys in SE Queensland are considerably better value for money than shorter journeys. This bizarrely favours environmentally unsustainable long distance commuting and lifestyle habits.

Public transport is more expensive than using a car (running/fuel costs only) for journeys in SE Queensland up to approximately 40km (depending on fuel economy). This assumes a car is already available, and parking is free. Public transport is still cheaper than driving when new car purchase costs and parking costs are factored in.

Off-peak fares are a small improvement over peak fares at $3.32 for a 5km adult single peak train or bus fare. However, even with off-peak fares, Brisbane is still within the 10 most expensive cities sampled in part 1 of the world fare comparison. In fact Brisbane's off-peak fares are 58% more expensive than Perth's anytime fares of $2.10, and 84% more expensive than Adelaide's off-peak fares of $1.80. The latter is also valid for Adelaide's entire public transport network! The movement of the end of the am peak fare period from 9am to 8:30am (touch on time) is just a desperate gimmick that does not improve a shoddy and extortionate fare system. The am peak fare period should be based on touch off times anyway!

Due to lack of refund policy for public transport delays in SE Queensland, then Brisbane has the world's most expensive public transport system without a refund policy. For example, in London if you are delayed by more than 15 minutes on The Tube, you get the fare refunded. In Oslo, if you are delayed by more than 20 minutes, you can catch a taxi for free.

Part 1 of the BrizCommuter 2014 world fare comparison took a look at 5km, adult, peak period train fares:
Part 3 of the BrizCommuter 2014 world fare comparison will take a look at fares in relation to average income:
The Awful Truth:


  1. I struggle to accept that buses should be cheaper than trains. I suppose the argument would be that it is a lower quality service. Still, making it cheaper would discourage using trains and encourage using buses which isn't a particularly good outcome. Buses are a more expensive mode to provide capacity with per space-km so better to make it more expensive or keep it the same.

    I'm not really familiar with London's bus system but do they have long distance commuting on buses there as applies in Brisbane and Sydney?

  2. BzC, I think you need to do two other comparisons as they add to the picture. They are:

    The value for concessions. With go cards for concessions, it is two journeys then free. And the other is general value for money.

    What value for money means is that whilst fares might be 'expensive', services are very good, regardless of time of travel (early morning, late night, weekend etc)


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