Which are the least and most used stations in Victoria during COVID?

This follows on from my previous post asking this question for pre-COVID conditions.

This second on the latest railway station patronage information will be using 2020-21 data, which is the latest available.

The least used station in Victoria (during COVID)

As mentioned above, this uses 2020-21 data.

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

RankStationPatronage (yearly)Line
1Dingee250Swan Hill
9Eaglehawk1,150Swan Hill
10Sherwood Park1,150Warrnambool

Dingee takes out the title of the least used station in Victoria for 2020-21 once again with approximately 250 people for the year year. This is a less than one person per day.

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, and Showgrounds/Flemington Racecourse as special event stations):

RankStationPatronage (yearly)Line
1Wattle Glen16,600Hurstbridge
9Diggers Rest59,350Sunbury

This is a similar picture to 2018-19. However, what I think is interesting is that Officer – normally a regular feature in these least used station lists – is not in the top ten. Diggers Rest and Eaglemont also feature here and not in 2018-19. This probably has something to do with commuting patterns and working from home.

The most used station in Victoria (during COVID)

On the metropolitan network, these came up as the top ten in 2020-21:

RankStationPatronage (yearly)Line
1Flinders Street8,528,000Multiple
2Southern Cross4,556,450Multiple
3Melbourne Central4,206,700Multiple
6South Yarra1,669,900Multiple
10Box Hill1,192,700Belgrave/Lilydale

Again, not many surprises here – Flinders Street easily takes the title of most used station in the state. The stations here are the same as 2018-19 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 Cross2,033,750Multiple
3Wyndham Vale358,050Geelong
6Deer Park240,650Ballarat/Geelong
8South Geelong162,000Geelong

As with the metropolitan network, this ranking is more or less the same. Deer Park and Wyndham Vale jumped up a few places, pushing more regional stations like Ballarat and Bendigo further down.

Impacts of COVID-19

Since we’re talking about the COVID pandemic, let’s have a quick look at what it has done to patronage by station.

Overall, the yearly patronage difference between 2018-19 and 2020-21 was a 66% decrease for the metropolitan network. By station, we can get a more granular picture of what’s happening. Here are the top ten largest declines (as a percentage) for stations in Melbourne on the metropolitan network:

RankStationPatronage difference 2018-19 to 2020-21 (yearly)Line
1Showgrounds -98%Flemington Racecourse
2Flemington Racecourse-88%Flemington Racecourse
6Southern Cross-77%Multiple
7Williams Landing-77%Werribee
9East Malvern-73%Glen Waverley
10Diggers Rest-73%Sunbury

There are a lot of interesting things going on here.

The first two – Showgrounds and Flemington Racecourse – operate during special events. Obviously during COVID-19 restrictions, these events did not operate, or operated without spectators (e.g. the 2020 Melbourne Cup).

Some of the stations on this list were affected by works and were partially or fully closed for long periods of time. Coburg and Moreland were closed as part of the Level Crossing Removal Project, as was Aircraft.

Parliament was a bit of a surprise for me. Obviously the City Loop stations were seriously impacted by not having office workers commuting to the CBD for most of this year, but I did not expect it to be this significant. In total numbers, it’s almost eight million fewer people using the station than before COVID.

This would also be the main reason why Southern Cross is also on this list, but not the only one. This station is also the main hub for regional trains, which would also account for the nearly 15 million fewer boardings than 2018-19.

Finally, we have two odd ones out – East Malvern and Williams Landing. Neither of these stations serve activity centres and are primarily used for commuting which, for many people, was not happening during the pandemic.

So that’s all for now! Stay tuned for future posts where I will interrogate these data, including tram stops. If you’re not already subscribed for updates, you can do so using your email address in the box on the right hand side.

1 Comment

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

17 March, 2022 at 8:26 pm

The statistics are interesting. Richmond being low in the list of suburban stations is surprising but I suppose much of busyness is from interchange, and so excluded. South Geelong in the regional stats is also interesting and I don’t even know exactly where the station is. I guess they are commuters to Melbourne. Btw, we recently caught the The Overland and I saw somewhere you did too. We quite enjoyed the trip but how much longer can it last in its present form? http://highriser.blogspot.com/2022/03/adelaide-1-overland-to-adelaide.html

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