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The car is still king in Melbourne, but its crown is slightly askew.
Data from last year's census reveals 1.25 million Melburnians – or 66 per cent of the greater city's workforce – travelled by car to get to work last year.
The figure dwarfs every other transport mode, but is well down in percentage terms on 2006 levels, when the last census was taken. Then, about 1.1 million people used a car as their main way of getting to work, a whopping 78.1 per cent of the workforce.
Although still well below the car's figures, Melbourne's trains were the second most used mode of travel to work last year – 188,000 people rode the railway lines for at least part of their daily commute. That is 46,000 more people than in 2006 and represents 9.75 per cent of the workforce.
Those who solely took the train to work made up just 6 per cent of the workforce — about 116,000 people. Other public transport modes had fewer users still, with 59,000 catching a tram for part of their work journey and about 44,000 catching a bus.
In one surprise result, last year's census revealed a small decline in the percentage of people who walked to work compared to five years ago, dropping slightly to 3.3 per cent of the workforce, compared to 3.5 per cent in 2006. In total, about 56,400 Melburnians used their legs last year as their main way of getting to work.
Bicycle use is lower but has increased significantly, from almost 19,000 commuter riders in 2006 to more than 25,000 last year.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the 2011 census data on people's journey to work today.
It shows that the outer northern suburb of South Morang had the greatest proportion of people who drove to work, some 73.3 per cent, proving that the new railway station that opened there in April was much needed. South Morang was also the fastest growing suburb in Australia over the past decade.
The suburb of Kensington in the inner north-west had the highest proportion of workers who travelled to work by train — 20.3 per cent. North Fitzroy had the highest proportion of cyclist commuters with 12.6 per cent and Melbourne, unsurprisingly, had the greatest percentage of walkers with 45.1 per cent.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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