Melbourne bus patronage data 2008 – 2017

Download the data here. Update 8 April 2019: Peter Parker over at Melbourne On Transit has kindly added extensive notes to the spreadsheet (which has now been updated).

Last year I requested bus route patronage data from Public Transport Victoria.

They obliged quickly (no FOI request needed) but I totally forgot to publish the information.

You can download the compiled bus route patronage data from 2008 to 2017 here.

Please note that the FY2017-18 data only includes route information up to 31 December 2017.


As with the railway station data, compiling this into a comprehensive and useable file took quite some time. I had to amalgamate four spreadsheets covering different years. They were also laid out in different formats which didn’t make it any easier.

Many routes have been abolished, created or had their numbers reused in other areas. I have tried my best to clean the data to avoid erroneous myki programming (e.g. some touch ons are still showing up as being from the 202, several years after it was removed).

If anyone finds any additional notes or issues with the data, please let me know.

I will also request the rest of the 2017-18 and 2018-19 data from PTV at the end of this financial year for both buses and railway stations. This sheet will then be updated with the new information. Once that’s done, I’ll publish a new post.



Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Sawgat Ahmed Shuvoreply
21 April, 2019 at 11:51 pm

Hello Philip,
Thanks for the data you shared.
I have 1 query. Why data for FY 2012-13 and 2013-14 is missing ?
Thanks again…

23 April, 2019 at 10:05 pm
– In reply to: Sawgat Ahmed Shuvo

Hi, I don’t know for sure unfortunately! This is all the data that I received.

There is actually a similar gap in the train patronage data for the same period of time. I suspect that the data simply wasn’t collected for some reason. It would be worth asking PTV why the gap is there.

12 September, 2019 at 11:20 am

Hi Philip, you mention the term touch on rates. Is this patronage data or myki touch on data? Based on the different levels of touch on rates, this may skew the patronage numbers.

12 September, 2019 at 6:54 pm
– In reply to: westpazza

Hi, the data is based on myki touch ons but does not solely rely on this. DoT use a model to come to the most accurate possible number for each route by using a range of factors such as fare evasion rates per route, temporal travel behaviour, etc. The notes from the last round of patronage data (up to 2012) gives a rough idea of how it works:

“Estimated patronage by route was estimated using the MACA bus patronage model. The model applies route level validation rates derived from the Modal Validation Rate Survey (where available) to route level Metcard validation extracts from the ATS datastore.
Patronage Estimated = ticket valns / valn rate

To develop validation rates and to maximise the precision of estimates, individual bus routes were grouped together based on having validation rates that were not significantly different and a ‘group’ validation rate applied. Fourteen bus route groups were developed. Those routes that did not fall into any of these 14 groups had the modal validation rate applied.

The disaggregated validation rates are derived from a smaller sample than that used to produce than the modal validation rate for bus, therefore precision will not be as great. The total estimated patronage (total of all routes) was corrected to match the published route bus estimates. From 2008-09 to 2011-12 an average correction factor of 3 per cent was applied. ”

Hope that helps!

10 January, 2020 at 2:03 pm

Hey Philip,
Is there anywhere I could find the most recent bus patronage data as of 2020?

12 January, 2020 at 10:20 am
– In reply to: MooshGuy

Hello! I’m working on getting it from PTV, along with up to date train station patronage data. I’ll publish it on here once (if) I’ve received it and cleaned it up a bit, so stay tuned 🙂

28 February, 2020 at 2:40 pm

Hi, unless I’m looking at the data wrong I noticed the data for 601 monash shuttle was a bit off;
2016-17 shows 813,592
but then 17-18 drops 472,297
then 18-19 jumps sharply to 1,269,050

as a university shuttle bus, that doesn’t look right to me, could you get that data rechecked?

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