Thursday, December 26, 2013

2014 World Fare Comparison - Part 1

High train fares = empty trains! 
It is the time of year again when BrizCommuter compares train fares between different cities around the world. For 2014, the LNP Queensland Government and TransLink have increased the already unsustainable public transport fares in SE Queensland by yet another 7.5%. Whilst this is less than the 15% fare rise planned by the annihilated ALP Government, this 7.5% fare rise is still still an unacceptable increase to the cost of living. Yes, that is an increase Mr Emerson!

Cities known for their high cost of living, such as Tokyo, Moscow, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Stockholm, and Oslo have again been included in the comparison. The top ten most liveable cities in the world are also included in the list. This comparison does not take into account varying incomes between cities, however this is planned for part 3 of the BrizCommuter 2014 world fare comparison.

For this fare comparison we are looking at a 5km train (or light rail) journey from an inner suburb to the city centre (CBD), using the cheapest available adult peak single fare (excluding multi-trip, weekly, or other season tickets). Exchange rates are as of the 26th December 2013. Fares are as of the 6th January 2014.

Top 10 most expensive

Oslo - $5.47
London (Underground) - $5.31
Liverpool (and some other UK cities) - $4.76
Stockholm - $4.26
Brisbane - $4.14
Berlin - $3.98
Sydney* - $3.80
Melbourne - $3.58
Helsinki - $3.37
Adelaide - $3.29

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

Selected other cities

Vienna - $3.22
Toronto - $3.16
Calgary - $3.16
Vancouver - $3.08
Ottawa - $2.87
Auckland - $2.81
Portland - $2.80
NYC (Subway) - $2.80
Paris - $2.68
Seattle - $2.52
Lausanne (and most other Swiss Cities)- $2.38
Perth - $2.10
Los Angeles - $1.68
Tokyo (Japan Rail) - $1.61
Moscow - $1.03
Singapore - $0.91
Hong Kong - $0.87
Shanghai - $0.55

Of the cities sampled, Brisbane has the the world's 5th most expensive train fares for a peak 5km train journey. Only cities in Scandinavia and UK are more expensive. Whilst this may appear as an improvement given Brisbane's 3rd placing in the last few years, this is only due to the falling value of the Australian Dollar. Brisbane is more expensive than all other Australian cities, and nearly double the cost of Perth!

In the last 5 years public transport fares in South East Queensland have increased by 83% compared with CPI at just 9.5%. With 2014 seeing a huge improvement to train services across South East Queensland, then an increase in rail patronage would usually be expected. Unfortunately, with fares completely off the rails, patronage will probably continue to be stagnated. To the casual observer it would appear that public transport patronage is being purposefully stunted so that government spending on more infrastructure is not required. This policy only increases road congestion, road trauma, and pollution, and goes against the United Nations vision of a low-carbon, sustainable transport future.

Part 2 of BrizCommuter 2014 fare comparison takes a look at bus fares, daily fares, and weekly fare options:
Part 3 of the BrizCommuter 2014 fare comparison takes a look at public transport fares vs average income:
The Awful Truth:


  1. Unbelievable! And they expect more people to use public transport!

  2. I should point out in relation to London, you can buy monthly tickets there, meaning it might actually be less expensive than Brisbane.

  3. Qld government is too conservative when come to planning. Like Coorparoo regeneration plans. They did not adopt climate change and sustainability models to the three pillars of sustainable development. Thanks to Campbell Newman since he was being lord mayor of BCC.

    I can see huge problem when come to Translink fares is that our roads are still gridlocked! Increasing fares at same time increasing frequency does not convince people to use them more instead of cars. The busway job is doing so great but still not alleviating the gridlock issues. Friday afternoon travels seems so impossible in many areas especially in southern suburbs.

    15-30minutes frequency of trains on each line is not convincing. I hear and see way more cars than people at train stations. Sydney doing this a great job, even before introducing the Opal card. Sydney have unlimited travels per day with option of per week. That is convincing. Their beauty of frequency and number of trips is very servicable.

    I am in awe and shock of how terrible the Translink is. They always have operational issue everyday, way more than I hear some Windows 8.1 computer malfunctions everyday!

  4. It's easy to focus on always getting the cheapest tickets, but often these will be inflexible (Advance) tickets. If you're not certain that you can commit to travelling on a specific train - for instance, you don't know exactly what time a meeting or an event will end - then it may be best to get a flexible ticket. That way you don't end up clock-watching, or worrying about missing your train - you can simply get on the train that suits you.


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