Overall public transport patronage in Perth has risen for the first time in several years with 1.6 million extra boardings across buses, trains and ferries during 2018-19.
The release of the patronage data follows a concerted campaign from the McGowan Government, through the Public Transport Authority and METRONET, to draw commuters onto buses and trains.
The patronage campaign, combined with an improving local economy, are reversing the downward trend that started under the previous Liberal National Government in 2013-14.
Overall patronage increased by 1.15 per cent in 2018-19 with trains recording 1.6 per cent growth and bus boardings rising by 0.92 per cent. The Mandurah Line also recorded its best year since record levels in 2012-13, with around 20.9 million trips recorded in 2018-19.
Today’s release of the 2018-19 patronage data coincides with the 40th anniversary of the former Liberal Government’s closure of the Fremantle Line.
The last train before the four-year closure departed Fremantle Station on September 2, 1979. It was then re-opened in July 1983 following the Labor State Election victory earlier that year.
Since then, successive WA Labor Governments built two of Perth’s most used train lines – the Joondalup and Mandurah lines – which revolutionised public transport in Perth and accounted for 37.4 million trips between them in 2018-19.
METRONET projects will further expand Perth’s rail network, with work on the Thornlie-Cockburn Line, Yanchep Rail Extension, Bayswater Station Upgrade, and stage one of the Morley-Ellenbrook Line, starting later this year. Meanwhile, the Forrestfield-Airport Link will open in late 2021.
Stage one METRONET projects will add a further 72 kilometres of rail and 17 new train stations – many with new homes and jobs within the surrounding precincts.
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“We are building METRONET because we recognise first-class public transport and well-connected homes are integral to a vibrant and sustainable city.
“A number of factors led to last year’s increase in passengers, including a patronage ad campaign from January, improving economic conditions and positive take up of services to Optus Stadium.
“Work is now well underway on a number of new METRONET transport projects, ensuring Australia’s best rail network to even more new passengers across the suburbs.
“We are also building 246 new railcars locally over the next decade to manage this growth, which will be largely manufactured in a new facility in Bellevue.
“So not only will our public transport system lead to less congestion and exciting new communities, it will also support thousands of new jobs through construction and maintenance.”