Late train trial ends with low patronage - Public Transport Authority of Western Australia
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/ Categories: PTA News, Transperth

Late train trial ends with low patronage

A $3.4million trial of ultra-late free weekend trains has concluded and the service will cease because of consistently low patronage.

Transport Minister Troy Buswell said the Public Transport Authority’s trial of the service had shown little demand from the public and the 4am train services would stop after the last services on June 16.

“The State Government launched the Saturday and Sunday 4am service as a six-month trial in November 2011, but the number of passengers simply does not justify the cost of running it,” Mr Buswell said.

The 4am trains run on the Fremantle, Armadale, Midland, Joondalup and Mandurah lines at no cost to commuters.

The 4am Saturday services were cancelled in April last year, but the Government persisted with the slightly better-patronised Sunday morning services to determine their longer-term viability.

“The trial eventually ran over 18 months to properly gauge commuter interest and give the service the best possible chance of succeeding,” the Minister said.

“In total, there are about 500 people using all five lines each weekend.  This means this Sunday morning service, which is provided free of charge, is costing the taxpayer about $60 per passenger - and that cannot be sustained.”

The 2.15am service will continue on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Low passenger numbers have also led to the cancellation of the Fremantle NightRider.

The service was introduced in October 2006 with three routes, each offering five services on the hour from Fremantle through Saturday night into Sunday morning.

As patronage declined, the spread and number of services was adjusted several times and it has most recently been running four services, from 1am to 4am, on each of only two routes.

“Patronage on the two routes, down Canning Highway and South Street, has continued to decline, with an average of fewer than 10 passengers on each service over the past 12 months,” Mr Buswell said.

“The total patronage for the 32 services operated in May was only 78 people and during the first five months of this year, the average subsidy has been about $78 per passenger - this also cannot be justified or sustained.

“After a number of requests to the City of Fremantle to contribute and co-fund the NightRider bus were declined, I have decided to withdraw the remaining services.”

The savings will be reinvested in the Transperth network in areas of high demand, where greater community benefit will be achieved.

Fact File

  • Late night train trial was extended to 18 months and cost $3.4million
  • The free 4am trains commenced in 2011 as part of an original six-month trial
  • Trains cancelled because of a lack of patronage
  • Cost per passenger on 4am train about $60
  • Saturday and Sunday morning 2.15am services will continue to run on all lines
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