Travel Patterns of Urban Linear Ferry Passengers: Analysis of Smart Card Fare Data for Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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Soltani, Ali
Tanko, Michael
Burke, Matthew I
Farid, Reza
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Urban linear ferry systems are an emerging form of public transport in cities worldwide. This paper investigates travel behavior of passengers using CityCat ferries in Brisbane, Australia. We investigate 1,675,821 ferry trip fare transactions made over a six month period using smart cards. Despite use of small vessels and only offering one main route around 2.3% of all paid public transport journeys in the city are made on CityCat and related cross-river ferries. The ferries are used more for commuting and university trips during the weekday with significant patronage in the am and pm peak periods. They have consistent use on weekend days. Despite strong use most users are infrequent patrons, suggesting that leisure travel is a significant component of the system. Key terminals with high use rates include those where transfer to cross-river ferry services is possible. The system offers single-stop cross-river travel at many points. But only 15.8% of paid trips in March 2013 were made this way with 84.2% of trips going further up or downriver. Integration with other buses and trains is significant, with around 15% of all ferry journeys linked to another public transport mode. Further investigation into how users are accessing terminals as well as interactions with other modes of public transport is suggested. With expansion planned, the CityCat system has potential to contribute further to the city’s public transport task. Converting a large number of infrequent riders to more habitual use could increase the system’s patronage.

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Transportation Research Record

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Soltani et al., Travel Patterns of Urban Linear Ferry Passengers: Analysis of Smart Card Fare Data for Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Transportation Research Record, Vol. 2535, pp. 79-87. Copyright 2015 Transportation Research Board, published by Sage Publications. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.

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