Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp is calling out the Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance for misleading Newcastle commuters about increased patronage figures on the Newcastle bus network since the new timetable was introduced by Keolis Downer.
Bus Patronage - a Comparison of Monthly Opal Trips by Operator and by Contract Area released by Transport for NSW reveals that patronage on buses in Newcastle has decreased, which directly contradicts the Minister’s assertions in Parliament that patronage has increased.
On 6 March 2018 Andrew Constance told the Parliament “I took the January 2017 patronage numbers and compared them to January 2018. In January 2017, the patronage numbers were 304,330. In January of this year they were 319,360”, but the figures released by own department show that the in January 2018 there was only 300,000 Opal trips.
The figures reveal a drop in patronage; for the month of January 2017 there were 304,000 Opal trips whereas in January 2018, there were only 300,000. In February, with the new timetable in effect for the whole month, patronage decreased from 402,000 in 2017 to 394,000 in 2018, a reduction of 8,000 Opal trips.
Since the introduction of the new timetable there have been 2,000 fewer Opal trips per week on the network. The release for the data comes after Mr Crakanthorp raised questions in the NSW Parliament about bus patronage figures last week.
With the release of the data, Keolis Downer and the Minister are attempting to skew the figures by adding in a range of different trip types, however the Opal card data does not lie.
Since the start of the year, Mr Crakanthorp’s office has been inundated with calls about Keolis Downer’s new network, with many commuters advising they are no longer using the service.
Quotes attributable to Member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp
“Commuters are voting with their feet and abandoning the service. It’s time for the Minister to listen to what the customers are asking for and restore the services.”
“The Opal data doesn’t lie. Newcastle commuters are walking away from a bus system that no longer services their needs.”
“The Minister has been fudging figures but the reality is that it no longer works and the Minister needs to acknowledge this and demand that his private operator undertake a comprehensive review of the network.”