Factors Influencing Public Transport Patronage Trends: Perth 2009 to 2019

Research output: Book/ReportOther output


The purpose of this research is to determine the systemic factors driving public transport patronage shifts in Perth during the last decade in order to: inform the enhancement of the public transport patronage forecasting model for the improved prediction of fare revenues, operating subsidy requirements, levels of service provision and service innovations; and facilitate the development of a range of customer centric initiatives to optimise (public transport related) travel behaviour. Based on an analysis of socio-economic and demographic trends in combination with network conditions, this report provides evidence on the factors associated with changes in public transport ridership in terms of: the relative magnitude of the association for different factors, spatial variation and variation across different user profiles. The period of estimation is from April 2009 through to April 2019. It was found that Perth patronage trends during the period 2009-2019 follow an S-shape curve with three periods of change: growth, decline, and recovery, consistent with the variation of the economic indicators.
For the metropolitan areas as a whole:
• For all journeys fare is a significant contributing factor to patronage numbers, second in importance only to bus service coverage and frequency
• For all journeys, bus service frequency and coverage (measured by bus service kilometres) is the most important factor, followed by fare and then economic factors (worker migration rates (worker visas) and employment rates)
• For commuting journeys, the most important contributing factors are bus service frequency and coverage followed by fare, then economic conditions (CBD office vacancy rates plays an important role here because it is a strong indicator for the number of jobs in the city)
• Demand elasticities with respect to fares are -0.62 for all fares and -0.78 for commuting.

Spatial variation:
• For commuting journeys, second to bus service frequency and coverage, fares are most important in outer areas while in inner areas, economic conditions (CBD office vacancy, employment rates) are more important than fares
• Bus service frequency and coverage matters most. For all fares, service km (which include local trips) the fare: bus service ratio is smallest for outer suburbs. However, when considering commuting journeys to the CBD and inner suburbs, the fare: bus service ratio is lowest for outer suburbs
• For commuting journeys from outer areas, fare is twice as important as CBD office vacancy rates
• For commuting journeys from inner areas, fare is approximately half as important as office vacancy rates
• Commuting elasticities are higher for outer zones
• Whilst there are statistically significant differences across the three zones it is difficult to argue that the magnitudes are sufficiently different to affect policy

Original languageEnglish
PublisherPlanning and Transport Research Centre, University of Western Australia
Number of pages114
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Factors Influencing Public Transport Patronage Trends: Perth 2009 to 2019'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this