PATRONAGE of Melbourne's trains, trams and buses has increased for the year ending September 2011, with the public transport network carrying 523.7 million passengers – a rise of 4.6 per cent compared to the previous year.
The latest Metlink survey reveals that for the 12 months ending September 2011, Melbourne's trains carried 227.1 million passengers (up 2.1 per cent on the previous year), trams carried 185.7 million passengers (up 5.4 per cent) and buses carried 110.9 million passengers (up 9.1 per cent).
"Melbourne's tram and bus patronage is continuing to rise each quarter while train patronage, although higher than a year ago, has dropped in the latest quarter compared with the same period a year ago," Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said this week.
The September 2011 quarter survey results compared with the September 2010 quarter reveal a decline in train boardings of 3.1 per cent. However tram and bus passenger numbers both rose, by 6.3 per cent and 19.3 per cent respectively.
Mr Mulder said that metropolitan train patronage was influenced by many factors including the number of Melbourne CBD employees and variability in petrol prices.
"In recent years, the trend has been for Melbourne's public transport patronage to increase. Since June 2007, the number of passengers using public transport has risen by a compound annual growth rate of 5.5 per cent," Mr Mulder said, adding that the rate is higher than Melbourne's population growth rate.
While stating that "there is more to do", the Minister said the government is "actively investing in Melbourne's public transport" and was pleased with the higher passenger numbers.