While accountants may be excited by the end of a financial year, gunzels get excited for another reason – new station patronage data!
Using the same method as last year, I have asked for and obtained the latest 2018-19 patronage data from the Department of Transport. I’m still waiting for V/Line station data, although I suspect that I may have to do another FOI request for this information.
DoT very kindly sent me a spreadsheet which included patronage data right back to 2005, so this supersedes the spreadsheet that I published last year in terms of comprehensiveness. I have made a few small alterations, including an extra column showing the percentage change.
You can download the spreadsheet here.
I may look at a better way of storing and sharing this data given that it can be updated periodically and not just as a ‘one off’. I’ll do another post on that should it come up.
Some brief observations
I’ll do some more detailed posts soon on the data. For now, here are some notes from a quick glance.
Overall, patronage has continued to increase – from 229.4 million trips in 2017-18 to 231.6 million trips in 2018-19.
This data also includes all Mernda Extension stations and, for the first time, stations on the Flemington Racecourse Line.
There are some interesting rises and falls by station:
- Southern Cross has continued its long-term trend of increasing patronage (5.0% – or around 938,000 extra trips annually). For comparison, Flinders Street’s patronage increased by 0.6% (or about 160,000 trips annually).
- Melbourne Central has seen a notable decline in the number of passengers (-3.83% or 608,000 trips annually). My guess is that this might be due to the large number of disruptions resulting in trains being directed out of the City Loop in 2018-19. This might have resulted in more passengers using Southern Cross instead.
- South Morang has seen a decrease of 30.0% (or around 380,000 trips annually). This is probably due to the Mernda Extension opening and associated construction impacts. People who previously had to travel to South Morang to catch a train can now access one of the three new stations that would be closer to their home.
- Rosanna, Hughesdale and Southland all had the three highest increases in patronage. However, the first two were disrupted for long periods due to level crossing removal projects, and Southland opened part way through 2017-18, so these are not typical comparisons.
- The biggest surprise to me is that Crib Point comes out as having the highest percentage increase of passengers of 43.3% (excluding the three stations mentioned above). Admittedly, these are low numbers – an increase from 12,496 in 2017-18 to 17,911 in 2018-19. Not sure why this might be the case.
- Officer continues its trend of huge increases in patronage, which increased by 31.7% in 2018-19. This is almost certainly due to the large-scale urban sprawl in the area. For the first time, it has cracked 100,000 annual trips. Just four years ago in 2015-16, Officer’s annual patronage was 60,256. In 2018-19, it has more than doubled to 122,892.
- Carrum has seen the greatest decrease in patronage of 31.7%. No surprises here, given that it was disrupted for long periods in early 2019 due to level crossing removal works. As of 9 July 2019 (outside of these statistics), it has been closed until 2020 to allow the station and its precinct to be rebuilt.
- Westona has the most stable patronage as a percentage between 2017-18 and 2018-19 – a difference of only -0.01%. Morradoo has the most stable patronage as an absolute number (only 2 fewer people in 2018-19 compared to 2017-18).
The One Million Club
Stations that have annual patronage of one million or more in 2018-19 (in descending order of annual patronage) are:
- Flinders Street
- Southern Cross
- Melbourne Central
- South Yarra
- Box Hill
- Williams Landing
- Glen Waverley
- North Melbourne
- Hoppers Crossing
- St Albans