Victorian bus stop patronage

Usage of bus stops in Victoria for 2015-16

One thing that we don’t do very well in Victoria is open transport data.

For some reason, there has seldom been a period of time over the past few decades when comprehensive, consistent and up-to-date data has been available for transport in this state. This contrasts with places like the UK, which has a dedicated agency and website for releasing, managing and updating transport data.

However, there are a few exceptions.

In 2017, PTV released a large amount of bus stop usage data for Melbourne and some regional centres. This only covered 2015-16 but is a very interesting dataset.

Unfortunately, because no comparable public data is available in the same format and with the same methodology, this provides us little more than a brief snapshot of what the bus patronage picture looks like at a particular period of time.

Nevertheless, I have converted the raw data into a mappable format (see below for details) and come up with this interactive map showing daily bus stop patronage across Victoria for 2015-16.

The Map

The tools used to make this map are:

  • QGIS 3.4
  • Mapbox
  • Microsoft Excel
  • OpenStreetMap
  • Notepad++

The data used is in the next section below.

In a nutshell, the process to create this map was:

  1. Download the bus stop patronage data and bus stop location data from the Victorian Government’s data portal
  2. Download bus route data for Melbourne and relevant Victorian locations from OpenStreetMap using
  3. Clean up patronage data in QGIS (I may have missed some, but there are a lot of ‘default’ myki locations for different regions of Melbourne and Victoria that I had to remove)
  4. Perform a geospatial join of bus stop locations (using X,Y coordinates) and patronage information
  5. Load new combined data into Mapbox
  6. Styled and coded using Mapbox

Some observations about the data:

  • You can see the well-used trunk and orbital Smartbus routes, e.g. 200/207 through Abbotsford, 903 around the suburbs
  • Station interchanges show up very easily
  • High usage at Huntingdale Station and Monash University (Clayton)
  • Interchanges with the route 19 tram along Sydney Road and route 86 tram along High Street/Plenty Road show up
  • Differences between school and non-school weekdays are quite significant at some locations

The Data

Links to all the data used or referenced are below:

The data notes for the Bus Boardings and Alightings at Bus Stops is worth reading to understand how these numbers are arrived at:

“All data has been weighted post hoc to ensure that is representative for each route, direction and day type for the 7:00am to 7:00pm period. This results in a sample that is representative of all scheduled trips within the survey period for a typical Weekday. This was an attempt to build a consistent picture of an average day across the network. The data collected is designed to represent a ‘typical’ weekday, Saturday, Sunday in the broadest sense of the word; it is not a true average created over many days. Rather it is a snapshot of a single or couple of days, with all the risks regarding seasonality that entails.”