RAC is calling for better priority for buses with a new survey revealing just half of regular public transport users believe buses in Perth are reliable – a 20 per cent drop over the last year.

According to RAC’s Public Transport Member Tracker, only 53 per cent of regular public transport users believe Perth buses are reliable – down from 74 per cent in 2020. Forty-three per cent of regular peak hour motorists would be more likely to use public transport if high-frequency buses had their own dedicated lanes.

It comes as the latest figures from the Public Transport Authority (PTA) show public transport use in March was still down by nearly 20 per cent compared to March 2019. RAC’s own analysis of traffic volumes in March also showed traffic across Perth main roads was up to 11 per cent higher compared to pre-pandemic levels.

RAC General Manager External Relations Will Golsby said giving more priority to buses was a low-cost way to encourage more people to return to public transport.

“The potential of Perth’s public transport system is limited if our buses are stuck in traffic. Increasing bus priority across popular routes would allow services to run more frequently and reliably, making them more appealing to commuters,” Mr Golsby said.

“The WA Government has taken important steps to enhance public transport, including investing in Perth’s rail network and introducing a two-zone cap on public transport fares, however more needs to be done to address the cost of congestion in our state, which before the pandemic was predicted to more than double to $3.6 billion a year by 2031.

“Research shows dedicated bus lanes can carry up to four times the number of people per hour compared to mixed traffic lanes with frequent buses.”

The PTA’s own analysis has shown bus lanes installed on Beaufort Street increased boardings on the 950-route by almost 40 per cent. Buses travelling during the morning peak experienced a 7.5 minute saving on travel time, while bus reliability improved by 65 per cent.

RAC is calling on the WA Government to develop and fund a bus priority plan that will deliver a network of bus lanes and other bus priority measures along high-frequency bus routes.

“In the right locations, smarter technology, bus priority corridors and even bus-only streets could also be extremely effective at helping reduce congestion in Perth,” Mr Golsby said.

“These measures would support current investment in our train network, helping to shape the future of Perth as a more connected and liveable city.”

Further information can be found in RAC’s Bus Priority Mobility Bulletin.


Media contact: Mikayla Wearne, 0401 703 719 or media@rac.com.au