Which were the least and most used stations in Victoria before COVID?

This is a kind of update of a previous post that I did back in 2019 using 2016-17 patronage data.

So since that post there’s been this little thing called a pandemic that’s been upon us for the past couple of years. Amongst other things, it’s caused significant variances in public transport use due to lockdowns, travel restrictions, working from home and many other things.

As a result, I am going to answer this question on the least and most used stations in Victoria in two sections. The first will be using the last complete yearly data before COVID-19 hit us, i.e. 2018-19. The second will be using 2020-21 data, which is the latest available. I’ll do this in a separate post.

The least used station in Victoria (pre-COVID)

As mentioned above, this uses 2018-19 data.

Perhaps no surprise, as last time, that all of the ten least used stations in Victoria are in regional areas.

RankStationPatronage (yearly)Line
1Dingee400Swan Hill
7Sherwood Park1900Warrnambool
10Eaglehawk2700Swan Hill

Dingee takes out the title of the least used station in Victoria for 2018-19 with approximately 400 people per year. This is a little more than one person per day. In 2016-17, we had Elmore down as the least used station. However, for some reason, Dingee was not included in pre-2018 data, so it may also have been at this time too.

On the electrified metropolitan network, this was the picture in 2018-19 (excludes the Stony Point Line, which easily make up the ten by themselves):

RankStationPatronage (yearly)Line
1Wattle Glen48,050Hurstbridge

This is a similar picture to 2016-17. Some of the changes are that Diggers Rest is no longer in the least used 10 (patronage shot up to 221,250), being replaced by Rushall. Officer has also risen from third least used to fifth least used with a significant increase in yearly patronage – likely due to suburban expansion in the area.

The most used station in Victoria (pre-COVID)

On the metropolitan network, these came up as the top ten in 2018-19:

RankStationPatronage (yearly)Line
1Flinders Street28,320,650Multiple
2Southern Cross19,551,450Multiple
3Melbourne Central15,250,700Multiple
7South Yarra4,367,150Multiple
10Box Hill3,685,500Belgrave/Lilydale

Not many surprises here – Flinders Street easily takes the title of most used station in the state. The stations here are the same as 2016-17 with just some slight changes in order.

The data notes indicate that interchanges within stations are not counted in these figures. The Southern Cross Station figure also excludes V/Line data from Platforms 1-8.

For regional stations:

RankStationPatronage (yearly)Line
1Southern Cross6,306,000Multiple
5Wyndham Vale786,100Geelong
7South Geelong557,400Geelong
8Deer Park453,950Ballarat/Geelong

This one has quite a few more differences.

The first thing to note is Tarneit Station, which has jumped from 887,566 in 2016-17 to 1,350,500 in just two years. This may be the first time that a non-interchange V/Line station in Victoria has cracked a million passengers (please correct me if I’m wrong).

Other things to note are that Footscray has completely fallen off the charts from the 2016-17 data. I suspect this is because V/Line were previously including interchange data in their figures. Otherwise, the most used stations continue to be mostly located in major regional cities and growth areas in metropolitan Melbourne.

So that’s all for now! Stay tuned for the next post which will answer the same questions, but using 2020-21 data, recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re not already subscribed for updates, you can do so using your email address in the box on the right hand side.

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