How does this compare to normal?
I’ve taken last year’s State Budget targeted annual trips for 2019-20, and used previous rail patronage data indicating each weekday is about 17.19% of weekly patronage. Assuming every week is the same (which it isn’t), this gives us a rough estimate of a “typical” weekday.
|Mode||Targeted trips 2019-20||Estimate per weekday|
|Regional trains and coaches||23,200,000||76,275|
Note: this is trips, not passengers. Each passenger would typically make multiple trips per day, often using multiple modes.
So then, based on that rough calculation, a mere 200,000 trips per weekday right now, presuming it’s measured the same way, is down about 90% on normal numbers.
200,000 trips in these difficult times might be more you might think. Apart from shopping trips mentioned in the article (essential for some people) this perhaps points to the common assumption that All PT Users Are White-collar CBD Commuters Who Can Work From Home being quite wrong.
How much lost revenue is that?
The tram and train operators mostly get paid for running services and project works, but they also get a share of fare revenue.
The PTV Annual Report for 2018-19 says total fare revenue for the year (plus a few other minor revenue streams) was $982 million. If that revenue is down 90%, that’s down about $17 million each week.
The report also says that of that revenue, about $620 million was distributed to the transport operators, though it doesn’t specify how much went to each. That’s about $12 million per week.
So if fare revenue is down 90%, it’s costing them collectively about $11 million per week.
The State Government view seems to be that a full service will keep running. This is partly because thankfully COVID-19 has not affected staff availability. It’s also partly as a way of avoiding further economic impacts from standing down large numbers of transport workers.
And of course running the full service helps support essential workers who have to commute do continue to do so, and help with staff and passenger safety, given the system has plenty of spare capacity right now.
I don’t recall a pandemic clause being in the contracts. But given the cost to the private operators, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some kind of deal in the works.
- Reminder: You can pause a Myki Pass