Posted by: Gregory | May 19, 2015

Patronage on privatised bus routes

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of fluctuations in patronage on my bus route. School holidays are very apparent, but there are longer term cycles that I see but don’t understand. The problem I have is that I can’t look at the patronage data. The routes out to Eastbourne have been registered as fully commercial, so that information is commercially sensitive.

wpid-img_20150518_080345.jpgWithin around a week, we’ve had three trips for my particular route with people standing while we were on the motorway. It’s the final running of the northbound 84 during the morning peak. After this bus, there is a mix of 83s (via Queensgate) and 81s (direct to Eastbourne) that do something similar to the 84, unless you actually need to get to Gracefield, which will require a bit of a walk.

A good portion of the passengers get off on Jackson Street, presumably for Weltec, but there’s around half a bus of people continuing around to the east. This suggests that there may be sufficient demand to run another 84 after 8am, although I couldn’t give you more evidence than sparse observations and anecdotal conversations.

Under the new Public Transport Operating Model, all the Wellington bus routes except the Airport Flyer should be run as part of the contracted units, which means that there should be more data flowing back to Greater Wellington and be visible to the public after the new bus contracts are expected to roll out in 2016/17. It’s unknown whether GWRC has any interest in tweaking the Eastbourne services before contracting the unit. Somehow, these buses weren’t considered within scope of the recent Hutt Valley Public Transport Review (PDF). Since the incumbent operator of commercial services get a like-for-like contract with a 12-year duration, it would seem sensible to do the analysis before issuing the contract.

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