PTV Release: Station Patronage Data

 
  ChoooChoo Chief Train Controller

PTV releases research showing how we use our train networkhttp://ptv.vic.gov.au/news-and-events/news/ptv-releases-research-showing-how-we-use-our-train-network/

18 June 2013
Public Transport Victoria (PTV) today released the first station patronage data for Melbourne’s rail network.
The research, which ranks all 204 Melbourne stations by the number of people using them, shows data for the past four financial years. It is accompanied by research into how people get to the station and their reasons for travelling.

PTV draws on extensive research and resources including surveys with passengers carried out on the network, data gained through the call centre and the myki ticketing system, as well as operator performance results.

While this research will be used internally to improve PTV and operators’ response to better meet passenger needs, it can also be presented as a resource to deliver for the first time a comprehensive, more rounded view of the public transport network and the people who use it.

The research will be of interest to anyone who regularly uses the public transport network, as well as anyone studying how it is growing and changing.

You can view the Station Patronage Research by downloading the document below.

http://ptv.vic.gov.au/assets/PDFs/Random/Station-by-station-patronage-data.xls

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  ChoooChoo Chief Train Controller

Data of interest:

1) Huntingdale Station has the highest access by bus then any of the 204 stations, 47.5% access the station by bus! Essendon is a distant second with 31.9%. The Monash shuttle is obviously a credit to this figure. Isn’t it about time they got a decent bus interchange (better shelters, seating , access, lighting etc)

2) East Malvern has the highest rate of car access to the station, with 75% catching a car to get there, and 24% walking. Is this due to poor bus services in that area? Merinda Park is second with 70.3% (no surprises there).

3) Beaconsfield had the highest number of commuters cycle to the station, at 7.5%, why is that? I’ve never heard of the area being cyclists galore. I was expecting an inner city station to hold this crown.

4) Melbourne Central had 51,500 commuters in 2009/2010, 55,300 in 2010/2011 but then dropped to 50,700 in 2011/2012, the only city loop station to record a drop. Why is this? I initially thought it was due to changes in access to the loop for Glen Waverley trains, but the other loop stations would have “balanced” that off I would have thought.

5) Wattle Glen had the lowest patronage, 199 people, followed by Officer 212.

6) Mount Waverley had a drop of patrons from 4000 in 2008/2009 to 3,100 in 2011/2012. It’s the only station I could see (quickly) that recorded such a large drop (almost 1000 less commuters), any ideas as to why?

7) Box Hill had a drop from 11,119 in 2010/2011 to 9,440 in 2011/2012. Why?

8 ) Even with the opening of the new Lynbrook station, Cranbourne station reported a continual increase, every year between 2009 and 2012. Merinda Park only recorded one reduction in the final reporting period of around ~300 less commuters, but that is more than offset by the growth of more than 1000 new commuters at Lynbrook station.

9) Flagstaff apparently had "5" people access it on Saturday and 0 on Sunday Laughing

Feel free to raise any other questions or points of interest related to the stats on here. Maybe we could help suggest why they are what they are Smile
  Tribitaka Station Master

As a daily traveller on the Hurstbridge like it annoys me to see my station, Greensborough, is the second highest with patronage yet seems to be one of the most shabbiest and poorly maintained on the line, and has some of the most confusing and poorly designed bus connections!
  Madjikthise Deputy Commissioner

I wonder what the true figure would be if the station cameras were able to count the actual number of people getting on and off the trains, rather than using ticketing data?
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
Website Directory Fail. "/assets/PDFs/Random/Station-by-station-patronage-data.xls"
  ChoooChoo Chief Train Controller

@Heihachi_73 both links work for me. Try accessing it through the normal PTV site. It's on their homepage.
  jdekorte Deputy Commissioner

Location: Near Caulfield Station
Data of interest:

1) Huntingdale Station has the highest access by bus then any of the 204 stations, 47.5% access the station by bus! Essendon is a distant second with 31.9%. The Monash shuttle is obviously a credit to this figure. Isn’t it about time they got a decent bus interchange (better shelters, seating , access, lighting etc)

2) East Malvern has the highest rate of car access to the station, with 75% catching a car to get there, and 24% walking. Is this due to poor bus services in that area? Merinda Park is second with 70.3% (no surprises there).
3) Beaconsfield had the highest number of commuters cycle to the station, at 7.5%, why is that? I’ve never heard of the area being cyclists galore. I was expecting an inner city station to hold this crown.

4) Melbourne Central had 51,500 commuters in 2009/2010, 55,300 in 2010/2011 but then dropped to 50,700 in 2011/2012, the only city loop station to record a drop. Why is this? I initially thought it was due to changes in access to the loop for Glen Waverley trains, but the other loop stations would have “balanced” that off I would have thought.

5) Wattle Glen had the lowest patronage, 199 people, followed by Officer 212.

6) Mount Waverley had a drop of patrons from 4000 in 2008/2009 to 3,100 in 2011/2012. It’s the only station I could see (quickly) that recorded such a large drop (almost 1000 less commuters), any ideas as to why?

7) Box Hill had a drop from 11,119 in 2010/2011 to 9,440 in 2011/2012. Why?

8 ) Even with the opening of the new Lynbrook station, Cranbourne station reported a continual increase, every year between 2009 and 2012. Merinda Park only recorded one reduction in the final reporting period of around ~300 less commuters, but that is more than offset by the growth of more than 1000 new commuters at Lynbrook station.

9) Flagstaff apparently had "5" people access it on Saturday and 0 on Sunday Laughing

Feel free to raise any other questions or points of interest related to the stats on here. Maybe we could help suggest why they are what they are Smile
ChoooChoo
Point 1 - No surprise on this given the number of students that attend Monash Clayton and the frequency of the bus routes that connect at the station (notably the 601, 630 & 900). Rowville train line soon...?

Point 2 - East Malvern has a huge carpark, and is much more accessible than Holmesglen which is the last station in zone 1 on the Glen Waverly Line. Imagine how much it could be connected with an extension of the Route 3 Tram to the station...?

Point 3 - Beaconsfield is surrounded by housing estates. Obviously some planners were slightly more forward thinking than we give them credit for in creating a network of bike paths though the area.

Point 5 - I won't comment on Wattle Glen but Officer is set to record massive increases in patronage over the next few years with the amount of development that is planned in the area including a new Civic Centre. Maybe they might have to rebuild the station too!

Point 8 - The patronage at Lyndbrook is no surprise, massive housing estates on both sides of the station although one of these days they'll complete the road underpass to link up both sides. I've heard that there are about 50 families a week moving into the Cranbourne/Clyde areas. The railway will have to be rebuilt and extended to Clyde and possibly even Koo Wee Rup just to cater for all the people that want decent public transport in the area. Cranbourne station in the mornings is jam packed with people and only very few trains to cater for them.
  Skipdaddyo Chief Train Controller

Location: Living the dream
Of interest to me is the Frankston line data.  The numbers simply don't justify a 10 minute off peak service.  But those of us who do the "daily Frankston" already knew that.  Pork Barrelling always creates skewed outcomes, and this is no exception.

Frankston > Williamstown and Sandringham > Werribee on a 15 minute frequency would surely be sufficient...
  712M Chief Commissioner

Implementing the two-tier service on the Frankston line all day would encourage more pax to use the train from Cheltenham-Frankston even if they went back to a 15 minute frequency.
  PClark Chief Commissioner

East Malvern is a perfect example of a “Park n’Ride” station.

It has about 400 car spaces.  Presumably the space is there because if was once (1890-95) a junction between the line from Burnley and the Outer Circle Line from Oakleigh to Fairfield.

It has no immediately adjacent shopping or commercial district or school.

It also has a very limited pedestrian catchment.  Residents to the north face using on a foot trail across Gardiner’s Creek, the Golf Links and the Monash Freeway and would probably prefer to walk to Alamein.  People living to the south, close to Dandenong Road, would probably prefer to walk to Murrumbeena and those living to the west would prefer to walk to Darling Road and catch the #3 tram
  Braddo Deputy Commissioner

Location: Narre Warren
@Heihachi_73 both links work for me. Try accessing it through the normal PTV site. It's on their homepage.
ChoooChoo
I'm pretty sure he was pointing out that it's an XLS file stored in a "PDFs" directory.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
No problem accessing the data here.

Of interest is that while Frankston is dropping sharply in terms of usage it remains one of the busiest stations on the network.  Away from the City Loop it is beaten only by Footscray, Dandenong, Box Hill and Caulfield.  The number of trains has virtually doubled in recent years but patronage has declined.  From my point of view and knowing several daily (and more former daily) commuters one of the most significant reasons for this is trip time.

The trip time for a Frankston - Flinders Street journey has blown out to well over 70 minutes on most trains when not long ago they were given just over the hour.  Expresses shave about 10 minutes off that.  With the opening of first Eastlink and now Peninsula Link (which is so recent that it will not have influenced the published figures), coupled with a chronic shortage of car parking at Frankston and poor and irregular bus services from surrounding areas, means a significant number of rail commuters has returned to the roads.

I'm sure that is not what was intended.  But the provision of an often-discussed two-tier service offering journey times of under an hour and thus breaking that psychological barrier will return the service to being more attractive.  It really does feel as though the train is taking forever.  It's no contest when off-peak trips can be completed in under 30 minutes by road but not less than 75 minutes by rail even if there is no competition on price.  A car-load still costs almost the same as if just one person drives (marginally more fuel would be used) and only one set of tolls applies but unless or until families or groups travelling together are offered similar discounts on the railway the advantage will be perceived as favouring the private car almost all the time.
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
Well spotted, Excel file in PDF directory. Smile

It's a pity that "car-load" generally means four people driving four cars, with the passenger seats completely empty. I have lost count the amount of times the 901 SmartBus has been delayed by 10+ minutes due to excess road traffic.
  mm42 Chief Train Controller

On point 4, is the drop in patronage at Melbourne Central because of the 401 bus from North Melbourne Station to the University of Melbourne ?
  PClark Chief Commissioner

Re services to Frankston, Gwiwer wrote:-

“But the provision of an often-discussed two-tier service offering journey times of under an hour and thus breaking that psychological barrier will return the service to being more attractive.”

I recently watched a DVD of the 1959 movie “On the Beach” in which the character played by Anthony Perkins (of “Psycho” fame) tells the character played by Gregory Peck that he lives in Frankston which he says is “about 45 minutes from Melbourne by electric train.”

In the movie the Peck character travels to Frankston by Harris train and is met on the platform by the character played by Ava Gardner.

Was there ever a 45 minute service between Frankston and Melbourne?
  mm42 Chief Train Controller

Another possibility with Melbourne Central is that with about 30% of its patronage being for education, a reduction in the number of students attending the University of Melbourne and RMIT each day would reduce the patronage.  As more courses are offered online, students may be spending more days at home with online study.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Was there ever a 45 minute service between Frankston and Melbourne?
"PClark"

I would be surprised. in the 1963 WTT the fastest morning up train I can find  is the 7:49 up, connecting from Stony Point, which ran express Mentone to Richmond (i.e., nonstop through Caulfield) and had a "set down only" stop at Richmond, timed for 55 minutes. Others were scheduled for 56 minutes (express Cheltenham-Caulfield-Richmond), but more of them took 58.  

In the afternoon the 5:03 from Flinders Street stopped Richmond, Caulfield, Mordialloc then all stations in 54 minutes. There were only a couple of other trains which ran express beyond Caulfield - most on a 60 minute schedule.
  Bullucked Assistant Commissioner

Of interest to me is the Frankston line data.  The numbers simply don't justify a 10 minute off peak service.  But those of us who do the "daily Frankston" already knew that.  Pork Barrelling always creates skewed outcomes, and this is no exception.

Frankston > Williamstown and Sandringham > Werribee on a 15 minute frequency would surely be sufficient...
Skipdaddyo
And Metro will run as many (and more) that the grubberment are willing to pay for. Totally agree with your summation Skipdaddyo.
  Kerpal Deputy Commissioner

I would be surprised. in the 1963 WTT the fastest morning up train I can find  is the 7:49 up, connecting from Stony Point, which ran express Mentone to Richmond (i.e., nonstop through Caulfield) and had a "set down only" stop at Richmond, timed for 55 minutes. Others were scheduled for 56 minutes (express Cheltenham-Caulfield-Richmond), but more of them took 58.  

In the afternoon the 5:03 from Flinders Street stopped Richmond, Caulfield, Mordialloc then all stations in 54 minutes. There were only a couple of other trains which ran express beyond Caulfield - most on a 60 minute schedule.
duttonbay
tl;dr - 50 years later journey times are even slower ... such progress!
  712M Chief Commissioner

Not necessarily; the above mentioned 07:47 up Frankston in 1963 and the current 07:17 up Frankston both were timetabled 55 minutes to complete the trip. The latter makes 5 additional stops (at Kananook, Cheltenham, Caulfield, Malvern and South Yarra). Also remember that Harris and Tait sparks in 1963 had a lot more doors than a Siemens or Comeng. It's unfair to compare the fastest express train in 1963 with the slowest all stations via loop train in 2013.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
.... Also remember that Harris and Tait sparks in 1963 had a lot more doors than a Siemens or Comeng ....
712M
Point taken about the Taits, but IIRC the Harris cars had three doors on each side, similar to Siemens and Comeng.  Some had only two doors each side.
  712M Chief Commissioner

Point taken about the Taits, but IIRC the Harris cars had three doors on each side, similar to Siemens and Comeng.  Some had only two doors each side.
Lad_Porter
I stand corrected however Harris cars were shorter than Comengs which meant that they could run as 7 car sets.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
And there are a good many photos of 7-car Harris sets around the network.

Reducing the total door aperture per car is a mixed blessing.  Wider double-leaf doorways allow many people to enter or leave simultaneously compared with a 2' wide door where only one may do so.  The trend in recent years has been to have fewer but wider doorways.  This keeps the interior environment better maintained in air conditioned cars (be it heated or cooled) but possibly at the cost of station dwell time.  Ten 2' wide swing doors for example will allow ten people to exit at the same time taking (roughly) the same few seconds; two pairs of wide double doors may allow only six people to enter simultaneously, possibly eight at a squash.  Those doors also take marginally longer to open and close than swing doors but are much safer.

So we now have a network seeing far greater use than in most of its history but with trains offering fewer and slower doors meaning station dwell time is substantially increased.  That increase is passed on to the user in extended journey times.

You can't have cake and eat it.  Busy trains require longer to go about their business.  Turning the operation into a close-headway metro-style network may not be realistic and we are talking Melbourne with its low-density housing not London which generates 1.25 billion trips a year on the tube but having commuted on both the Frankston line here and the LU District line out to Upminster which is closely similar in terms of distance and number of stops I'd say there is little to pick between the two.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Another element to consider when discussing dwell times in the era of Tait and Harris trains, is that back then the platform gate was slammed shut when the train arrived, and only opened after the train began to move. This meant if you weren't on the platform when the train arrived you missed it. Latecomers could not race onto the train, and then hold the door open for their slower mates as happens far too often these days.
  Revenue Chief Commissioner

Getting back to the data for one second - if anyone has any observations or hypothesis on why patronage has changed at a particular station that might not be obvious to others, then please post them up.  Anything that might help to provide context is obviously appreciated by PTV and the operators. For example, if data at station X has changed, and you might be aware that the change was probably caused by Y, then that's a good insight that someone from outside that area might not be aware of (eg. closure of a local school, better bike paths in the area, etc.). All useful information in trying to build up the picture as to what is happening and why.

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