Just remembered the tender docs for the air services routes had some passenger numbers as well (2013 calendar year numbers).http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/~/media/Travelandtransport/Qconnect/Air%20and%20long%20distance%20bus/AviationServicesIndustryBriefing.pdf
For Northern 2 - Townsville-Hughenden-Richmond-Julia Creek-Mt Isa (similar to the Inlander), there were approx 402 pax per month (or 4824 per year).
The Inlander is estimated to have carried 3677 pax in comparison. In my view, clearly if you put all these passengers on flights (and possibly let the flight routings be more flexible), you're probably going to help the air service become a lot more viable (and perhaps do away with its subsidy)? If people want land services perhaps the bus (refer below)?
For Central 1 - Brisbane-Roma-Charleville (similar to the Westlander), there were approx 18,920 pax per month (or 227,040 per year)
Also, for completeness, for Western 2 - Brisbane-Toowoomba-Charleville-Quilpie-Windorah-Birdsville Bedourie-Boulia-Mount Isa (containing the Westlander and more), there were approx 517 pax per month (6,204 per year).
Given that in NSW, a route is generally deregulated once it reaches 50,000 annual passengers, it surprises me that Central 1 is still regulated. Id think a bit of competition in that route would lower the price more and more than cater for the community, meaning the Westlander can be discontinued.
What rolling stock currently does these services can someone tell me? Would it be able to start and maintain a Toowoomba daily or twice daily commuter service (notwithstanding capacity issues on the line, ignore them for now).
Its worth noting that both of these routes also have bus services along their length that are also subsidised. Refer map at the link at the bottom of this page:http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Travel-and-transport/Long-distance-air-services/Review-of-long-distance-passenger-services
Goes to show you how politics really makes a mess of reviews. I bet both of these routes were suggested to be cut, behind closed doors, but politics came along and kept them alive (i.e. the Qld LNP).