Exploring the impact of the ‘Free before 7’ campaign on reducing overcrowding on Melbourne’s trains

Melbourne rail ridership has grown over 40 per cent in the last 3 years. Peak overcrowding is endemic and limits performance and the economic and environmental benefits which rail provides. In 2007/early 2008 an “early bird” free fares before 7am program was introduced to encourage peak travellers to travel earlier to reduce critical peak demand. This paper takes an independent view of the performance of the program. The program cost $A 6 million per annum in lost fares and 8-9,000 passengers/weekday use the scheme. Some 23 per cent of these have shifted the time of travel (around 2,000 to 2,600 passengers) by an average of 42 mins. This has reduced demand in the peak by 1.2 per cent-1.5 per cent and is the equivalent of 2.5-5 peak train loads. Demand growth during this period has far outweighed this effect so overloading rose after early bird was introduced. Its effect was to reduce the scale of increased overloading. Overall the program pays for itself by providing relief equivalent to 2.5 to 5 peak trains. Economic benefits are likely to be higher. When considering alternatives there is no equivalent measure which could be implemented at such a cost so quickly.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 13p (session Tues 1A)
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 32

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01384782
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 22 2012 4:55PM