The number of passengers using Ballarat and Wendouree stations has risen sharply in recent years according to newly available data.
More than three quarters of a million people used those stations in the last financial year, an increase of more than 26 per cent over a five-year stretch.
Data published in a blog post by Philip Mallis, a Melbourne transport planner, also showed Ballarat as the sixth busiest station in the state outside of the Metro system in the 2016/17 financial year.
He compiled the most and least used stations on the regional lines, as well as Melbourne’s metro stations -and tracked their usage over four years from the 2013/14 financial year.
The Geelong line proved the busiest, featuring five stops along its length within the top 10. Tarneit station had 887,566 passengers in 2016/17, the busiest of all stations after Southern Cross, the terminus, where there were 6,612,020 passengers in the 2016-17 financial year.
Within this context we are concerned about what is happening with the stations between Melton and the city and we know that’s going to slow us downNick Beale, Committee for Ballarat
Melton on the Ballarat line was the third most used at 726,339 passengers for the same year, while Ballarat itself was the sixth place with 604,115.
“For the regional stations, there were some interesting stats in there - seeing the new railway stations at Wyndham Vale and Tarneit and how well they are being used, and seeing the growth in regional centres like Ballarat and Geelong,” Mr Mallis said. “All the way up the Ballarat Line corridor, you can correlate the growth in patronage with the growth in development.”
The Courier has also obtained the most recent usage figure for both Ballarat and Wendouree stations, which shows passenger numbers stood at 624,474 and 151,356 respectively for the past financial year. This means combined growth now stands at more than 26 per cent for over the past five years.
For Nick Beales, the chair of the Committee for Ballarat, the data is more evidence of the scale of investment required for rail services to the city.
“This data completely supports Committee of Ballarat’s advocacy to both state and Federal politicians for the duplication and the fast rail between Melbourne and Ballarat.
“Within this context we are concerned about what is happening with the stations between Melton and the city and we know that’s going to slow us down.
“The area between Melton and Caroline Springs is going to clog up the freeway and more and more people will be looking to use the train.”
“I’d say these figures are going to increase rapidly in the near future.
“That’s a reason for quadrification [to allow stations to become part of the Metro network] up to at least Melton and probably Bacchus Marsh - which is what the Committee for Ballarat is advocating.”
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