Rail passengers rose again in the second quarter of 2022, however patronage remains 38.1 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

National patronage increased by 39.19 million passengers or 40.4 per cent for the period from March – June 2022 compared to the previous quarter, but remained 38.1 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

The urban rail network saw the largest increase in passengers, with a 41.5 per cent increase, which equated to an additional 32.59 million passenger journeys during the quarter.

Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Chief Executive Officer Caroline Wilkie said rising inflation and increasing petrol prices meant there had never been a better time to return to public transport as we emerge from winter.

“Public transport offers an affordable, convenient and sustainable option, making it a great choice as we all navigate the rising cost of living,” Ms Wilkie said.

“Rail has traditionally been the most popular transport mode for commuters and will be an essential part of ensuring the sustainable growth of our cities.

“Our passenger operators continue to support safe, accessible and convenient transport options for the community and it is important we welcome more people back to rail as the weather warms up.”

All jurisdictions recorded increases in passenger numbers during the quarter, although June’s national figures were down compared to May as some jurisdictions increased work from home arrangements in response to winter COVID concerns.

NSW and the ACT recorded the biggest rise, with patronage up 48.4 per cent or 22,761,782 passengers.

Victoria saw a 34.1 per cent or 10,611,520 increase in passengers, and Queensland patronage rose 48.1 per cent or 3,550,529 passengers.

South Australia’s passenger numbers also grew 27 per cent or 738,723 passengers, while Western Australia saw a 15.1 per cent or 1,336,552 increase in passengers during the quarter.

Patronage in New Zealand increased by 62.8 per cent or 1,840,042 passengers during the quarter. The quarter was 27.5 per cent down from the same time last year and 48.5 per cent below pre-COVID levels.

Increasing patronage was recorded against all rail modes, with urban rail having the greatest rise in numbers.


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