Bus Passengers – 2020 Fast Facts

Fast facts about the bus industry can be accessed by using the above quick-links. These statistics were last updated and verified in October 2020.

In 2015-16 the bus and coach sector nationally accounted for just 5% or 21.6 billion passenger kilometres (pkm) private cars accounted for 64% or 279.1 billion pkm.

Bus and coach nationally represent around 57% of public transport pkm.

Between 1974 and 2016, car passenger kilometres have risen nationally on average 3.0% per annum, compared with 4.7% for bus/coach and 1.5% per annum for rail.

In terms of pkm in Australia’s capital cities, buses contribute 4% (7.13 billion pkm) to the capital city passenger transport task, whilst heavy rail contributes 6% (12.14 billion pkm).

In absolute terms urban bus passenger kilometres has risen on average 2.3% per annum between 1976 and 2015. Rail use and the private car have each risen 3.0% on average per annum during the same period.

Amongst the five largest capitals, the average annual growth rate has been highest in Melbourne (4.6%), followed by Brisbane (4.6%), Sydney (1.6%), Adelaide (1.4%) and Perth (1.2%). Brisbane’s success has been attributable to the staged opening of their dedicated busway network.

The main non-discretionary trip purpose made by Australians (the journey-to-work) is dominated Australia-wide by car (79%) where the majority of this is by sole occupancy vehicles, as opposed to pooled or shared trips.

Research suggests that there is a statistically significant relationships between household income, trip rates, and the risk of social exclusion, and estimated the value of additional trips for the adult population to be just under $20 per trip, a figure which is estimated to decline with increasing household income levels.

Considering a unit trip value of $18.50 (2016 prices) for regional route bus users and assuming a regional town route cost of $120 per hour, the break-even boarding rate (in terms of user social inclusion benefits) would be 6.5 passengers per service hour.