PATRONAGE on one of the major V/Line bus routes in the Wimmera increased by about 50 per cent in the 12 months to April.
V/Line figures show that between July 2016 and April 2017, 2124 people used V/Line's coach service between Horsham and Ararat, which travels via Murtoa and Rupanyup. From July 2017 to April this year, the figure increased to 3178 passengers.
Patronage also increased between Ararat and Dimboola. More than 4200 people used that route between July 2016 and April 17. That figure rose to 5139 in the same period in 2017-18.
However the number of people using V/Line services between Melbourne and Bordertown – a route that includes Ararat, Horsham, Dimboola and Nhill – has decreased from April 2017.
V/Line runs four services from Melbourne to Bordertown, and four in the other direction. More than 15,600 people used the former services from July 2016 to April 2017. In 2017-18, 13,014 travellers used these services.
For the Bordertown to Melbourne passage, patronage was 20,554 in 2016-17. In the following period, it decreased to 18,655.
V/Line has three coach lines servicing Horsham: a line to and from Nhill; and ones between Adelaide and Melbourne, and Adelaide and Geelong.
The Nhill line has 15 services between Nhill and Horsham a week. The Adelaide-Melbourne line has five services each week that include Horsham, and the Adelaide-Geelong line has nine.
The Mail-Times asked V/Line to provide data for the average number of travellers using V/Line bus and/or train services to Ballarat, to Ararat, and to Horsham.
The organisation responded with data for the average weekday and weekend alights at Ballarat and Ararat.
It said its data did not drill down to coach stops, meaning figures were not available for Horsham. The Mail-Times asked how V/Line knew how many services to run in a given week if there was no record of how many people were using them.
The authority replied to say it could provide corridor statistics, as opposed to data for a single stop.
It said V/Line and Public Transport Victoria measured patronage across the coach services to determine demand and future priorities.
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