Researchers from UWA’s Planning and Transport Research Centre have dispelled claims Perth’s public transport system is in crisis in a study which takes the first comprehensive look at the city’s public transport use since 2004.
Previously unreleased figures show a 61 per cent growth in patronage over the past decade, compared with a 32 per cent population growth.
At the start of this year, commuter levels on the Fremantle line, Joondalup line, Mandurah line and Midland line had either remained the same or increased, compared with previous years.
But, commuter levels on the Armadale line had decreased significantly.
Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes said there were a number of factors which affected patronage across the Transperth network, not just on the Armadale line. These included security, two major railway shutdowns last year, bad weather and fewer CBD commuters.
‘Regardless of the reasons behind the patronage drop, we have never shied away from the fact that the Armadale line is one on which we face challenges,’ he said.
‘For this reason, we station a significant proportion of our security staff (about 400, including more than 260 transit officers) on the Armadale line. We are turning the corner on the rate of violent incidents when placed in the proper context of the number of passenger journeys.’
Mr Hynes said the number of assaults reported on the Armadale line (per million journeys) had dropped significantly between 2012 and 2013.
A Passenger Satisfaction Monitor survey found passengers on the Armadale line felt much safer than in previous years, he said.
‘In 2013, 73 per cent of passengers on the Armadale line said they felt safe on board at night, up from 51 per cent in 2012.’
The UWA report did find that catchment population and rail capacity were likely to affect commuter numbers rather than management policy.
Planning expert assistant professor Valeri� Paul compiled the first in a series of reports to be produced on planning and transport issues in Perth and across WA.
‘What we’ve found is that there’s no indication to support the assertion that commuters are ‘jumping off trains in record numbers due to crowding, among other reasons’.’
The figures show a 26 per cent per capita increase in boardings from 2004-2005 to 2011-2012 ” second only to Melbourne.
The Public Transport Authority’s Central Monitoring Room (CMR) is staffed 24/7.
It takes a direct feed from about 1500 cameras at stations and has immediate access to a further 8500 cameras inside railcars and buses.
In the event of an incident, passengers can press emergency call buttons which are on all trains and connect callers directly to the train driver, who can request immediate assistance if required.
There are duress buttons on every platform, connected directly to the CMR.
The PTA’s emergency incident number (9220 9999) is also staffed at all times.
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