Perth’s public transport usage has bounced back and has had one of the strongest returns of any capital city in the world, thanks to the McGowan Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of early October, the number of passengers has returned to about 78 per cent of pre-COVID levels.
School student patronage is back to almost 100 per cent while pensioners’ patronage has returned to almost 90 per cent of pre-COVID levels.
Tertiary students have had a slower return, currently sitting at around 60 per cent, with more options to study off campus.
The overall return to public transport in Western Australia has hovered around 70 per cent of pre-COVID levels since July.
By comparison other jurisdictions are currently running at between 40 to 60 per cent of pre-COVID levels, with Melbourne dipping to five to 10 per cent.
The whole-of-government response to the pandemic, the enhanced cleaning regime and installation of hand sanitiser units at key facilities have all contributed to enhanced passenger confidence.
During 2018-19 public transport patronage grew by 1.15 per cent (to 141.4 million boardings), the first positive growth since patronage peaked at almost 150 million boardings in 2012-13.
At the height of the pandemic, patronage on public transport in Perth dropped 85 per cent.
For example, in April 2019 there were 11,450,802 boardings compared to April 2020 where there were 1,901,700 boardings.
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“The strong return to public transport is a credit to the whole-of-government response and the Premier’s strong border stance.
“Our response has been based on health advice which has helped keep us safe and given us the strongest economy in the country.
“Western Australians’ return to public transport is back to almost 80 per cent of pre-COVID levels – one of the most successful returns to public transport across the world.”