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Use of urban public transport in Australia
Total passenger travel in the urban areas of Australia has grown remarkably - almost nine-fold over the past 50 years, to some 180 billion passenger km (graph 22.33). Almost all that growth came from cars and 'other' road vehicles (mostly light commercial vehicles used for private travel, and motorcycles).
In 1995 private road vehicles represented about 93% of city passenger transport. Urban public transport is a minor component of city transport.
Graph 22.34 shows the decline that occurred in urban rail passenger transport in the period 1945 to 1980. Since 1980 all three modes of transport (bus, rail and other) have shown steady increases.
Since 1975, rail has been moving fewer passengers than the 'other' category of urban passenger transport (mostly light commercial vehicles used for private travel, as well as motorcycles).
Graph 22.35 shows the long-run pattern of urban public transport passenger journeys, in Sydney and Melbourne since 1900 and in Brisbane since 1920. It shows the number of passenger journeys on public transport reached a peak in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane just after World War II. However, after the war the growth shifted to car ownership, and urban public transport declined until the early-1980s. The early-1980s saw the end of this downward trend. Rising petrol prices and increasing traffic congestion are thought to have been factors contributing to renewed growth in use of urban public transport in the 1980s.
However, the use of urban public transport is still only a small component of total passenger transport, the largest component being travel by private car.
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