Growing bus patronage and addressing transport disadvantage--The Melbourne experience

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - disadvantage, policy - social exclusion, mode - bus


Transportation policy, Transportation disadvantaged persons, Social factors, Social exclusion, Ridership, Patronage (Transit ridership), Modal shift, Melbourne (Australia), Level of service, Intracity bus transportation, Case studies, Bus transit


Melbourne's bus network serves two-thirds of the city's population but, until recently, has generally had very poor service levels. The Victorian government has recently embarked on programs to (1) extend a network of premium trunk routes to address a mass transit agenda and (2) upgrade local routes to safety net minimum service levels, to address a social transit agenda (reducing transport disadvantage and social exclusion). The paper reviews recent experience from the service upgrades to assess how effective they have been in terms of these agendas. Analysis of patronage growth trends and the impacts of these upgrade programs suggest reasonable minimum service levels are required to attract new riders in times of modal shift, and are effective at building social capital.


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