Will people use more public transport if its available?

Many will not according to the survey reported in the SMH today.

It found 74 per cent of people in NSW are “mostly travelling by car”. Almost 60 per cent of all respondents would not travel more on public transport even if services were improved.

The poll of 1010 people, taken last week, found that only 13 per cent of people “mostly travel by public transport”. Another 13 per cent use public transport and car about the same amount. Of that 26 per cent, about 55 per cent said they would not catch public transport more often if services were improved.

…A spokeswoman for the Transport Minister, John Watkins, said the results “defy logic and experience”. Tens of thousands more people were travelling on trains as reliability improved under the new timetable and petrol prices went up, she said.

Of course “tens of thousands” more people is well within the 40+ percent of the population who would use more. Given that for large classes of people public transport may be awkward people with kids, disabled elderly etc 40% is probably a pretty good segment where improvements can be made.

The other point is what does the question about “if services were improved” mean? Is it existing services becoming more reliable or that there are more services? For me I would only use more public transport (I either walk or catch a bus to work) only if there was more routes to different places I want to go the quality of service is sufficient, just not the destinations. For others though the issue is time. If you want to work late there may be no services available.

As I discussed in earlier threads on public transport, the issue holding many people back is the fact that there isn’t the services not just the quality (although that’s an issue also). Most likely I think the survey is badly flawed as it’s not at all clear what it really means.

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2 Responses to Will people use more public transport if its available?

  1. […] Update: Pedaller asks a few questions, as does Steve Edney. […]

  2. Gareth says:

    Manchester has a typical problem with public transport; exceptionally expensive and not as helpful as you would expect

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