Melbourne public transport patronage continues to grow

PATRONAGE on Melbourne's public transport continues to grow, with 2008/09 public transport usage up 9% compared to the previous 2007/08 period.

Tram trips rose 12.5 per cent, bus trips rose 9 per cent and train trips increased by more than 6 per cent amounting to a record number of 490 million trips for the year.

The figures arrive ahead of December, when the operators of Melbourne's tram and train network, Yarra Trams and Connex respectively, are replaced by new contracts with Keolis Downer EDI and Metro Trains Melbourne.

It is the first time in three years that train patronage growth was under 10% but comes as the first of 38 new trains was delivered overnight.  The train, similar to the Alstom X'Trapolis trains that already run in Melbourne, will undergo fit-outs and extensive testing, before beginning normal operation later this year.  The entire fleet of the 38 trains will not be in operation until 2014.

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