Despite increasing precautions in some parts of the country, July commuter data has seen a majority of public transport reach 50% of pre-CV19 capacity.

While there is a perception that “everyone is at home”, travel data shows that this is not the case, with Sydney Trains alone facilitating almost 6.1million journeys for essential workers during the height of lockdown in April. This has grown to over 15.4 million journeys in July, as more Sydneysiders return to the office and their regular social lives.

Several studies have shown that Australian workers are more or just as productive working at home as they are in the office (more so than their UK and US counterparts). However, most Australians are also eager to return to the office, with 18 to 30-year olds keener than most.

Remote work productivity has had unintended consequences, such as loss of social interaction, collaboration, and team culture. The overwhelming preference from Aussie workers moving forward will be flexibility, with a focus on hybrid work from home / office routines. As a result, we will continue to see more people return to our transit networks, especially as we move into the spring and summer months.


July data released by Transport of NSW, shows that TorchMedia’s Sydney portfolio of Trains, Light Rail, Ferries and Northwest Metro have increased a further 21% month on month from June. Audiences on the Sydney Light Rail network in July increased 29% from June 2020 patronage, showing the return to this mode and continued uptake of this new network for commuters. Sydney Trains commuters also averaged more than 500,000 daily trips during early July, proving how essential trains are to Sydney’s commute.

ACT Transit patronage has continued its steady recovery, with the Canberra Light Rail reaching 50% of pre-CV19 capacity with a 16% month on month growth (June to July). Queensland Rail passenger levels also continues to climb, reaching 4.6 million trips in July (approximately 48% of typical audience levels for South-East Queensland).


Even amid stage 4 lockdowns in Melbourne, our transit partners at Metro Trains Melbourne continue to provide essential transit services for the city. During the first week of August, train and tram trips in Melbourne’s CBD were still operating at approximately 10% of normal capacity, showing how vital public transport services remain for essential workers during the lockdowns.


The most recent Google Community Mobility Report shows that while there is still an average 35% difference in pre-CV19 movements for key transport hubs across ACT, NSW & QLD, the difference between the various states is starting to widen. Melbourne’s outbreak and subsequent lockdown have left Victoria dropping further behind the other states in terms of recovering audience movements.

The latest figures by state are as follows (depicting difference from pre-CV19 baseline):

  • ACT 36%
  • NSW 38%
  • QLD 30%
  • VIC 75%
  • SA 22%
  • WA 25%

TorchMedia is proud of the essential service our transit partners continue to provide across the Eastern Seaboard and we will continue to shine a light on audience recovery and the changing commuter journey.