Friday, August 29, 2008

Commuters' fit of peak as Melbourne trains fill up

FEELING a bit squashed? It's probably because an extra 100,000 Melburnians a day have squeezed on to our public transport system in the past year.

Metlink figures for an average weekday show 1.5 million commuters jam trains, trams and buses, with packed-out peak times dragging out to almost six hours a day.

While morning and afternoon peaks are the most crowded, some of the biggest hourly increases have come outside peak, as strap-hangers try to avoid the crush.

The shift has prompted calls for increasing trip frequency and capacity across the day, as well as 24-hour public transport, as more people leave their cars at home.

Last year to July, Melbourne's commuters took an average 1.5 million trips a day -- up from 1.4 million in 2006-07. Of those trips, trains carry 45.2 per cent, while trams take 35.5 per cent and buses 19.3 per cent.

And exclusive hour-by-hour figures show pre-7am travel leapt 15 per cent, with more big jumps after evening peak.

Across the day, Connex figures show it is the Sydenham line that carries the most passengers, followed by Werribee, Pakenham/Cranbourne, Epping and Frankston...

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