Re: Interesting Question
  David McLoughlin

Richard Youl wrote:

> Why is Sydney's heavy rail patronage much higher than Melbourne's'?

I've been thinking of that since I read the article and comments on
Daniel's blog at weekend. I think one question Daniel might also have asked
is "Why is Sydney's bus patronage much higher than Melbourne's?" I think
the two are related and they are also related to Melbourne's trams.

Buses are relegated to a minor role in Melbourne's inner and
middle-distance suburbs because of the extensive tramway system which
performs the role that buses do in most of Sydney's equivalent suburbs;
and, indeed, trams once did perform that role in Sydney. If Melbourne's
trams were replaced with buses, I suspect bus patronage in Melbourne would
more than double from its present 100 million annually, but it would not
increase by the 205 million annual trips at present taken on trams. Much of
the suburban tram patronage would likely go to adjacent rail lines/stations
where these exist (in many places), while the inner-city tram patronage
would be replaced with walking.

Sydney's trains are very very good, which encourages patronage seven days a
week. Melbourne's trains are OK but fall well short of the service Sydney's
trains provide line by line. Sydney's buses are OK, but Melbourne's trams
are very good by comparison with Sydney's buses; one reason Melbourne's
tram patronage has doubled since 2000. Melbourne's trams could be
excellent but they are held back by still running to the same timetables as
the 1990s despite doubling of patronage; and by the lack of traffic
priority, two issues that could easily be fixed but never are.

I throw this into Daniel's mix as someone very familiar with both cities
and the public transport and as a fairly frequent user in both cities until
this Lockdown arrived.

david mcloughlin, New Zealand
"A handsome and clever man who, despite his undoubted intelligence and even
charm, managed to be an excruciating bore, buttonholing one and inexorably
imparting information on subjects one was only too happy to know nothing
about." -- Diana Mitford.