NOTE: This post was meant to be written for 31 December 2014, but was delayed for numerous reasons.
Reflecting back on 2014
This blog received over 255 thousand views in 2014, a time during which:
- The rollout of Opal readers was completed, some paper tickets were phased out, and we were introduced to Opal Man.
- Plans for light rail from Parramatta were announced, as were Northern and Southern extensions to WestConnex. These are to be funded by the sale of the electricity distribution network via a 99 year lease.
- Light rail was extended to Dulwich Hill, while the CBD and South East Light Rail project both its capacity increase (from 9,000 passengers per hour to 13,500) and its cost increase (from $1.6bn to $2.1bn).
- New intercity trains were announced.
- Construction began on the North West Rail Link.
- Badgerys Creek was confirmed as the site of a new airport for Sydney, though a rail line to the new airport will come later.
Posts with the most views
- Paper tickets to be retired and replaced with Opal, 1 June 2014 (7,693 views)
- Badgerys Creek infrastructure and noise impacts, 16 April 2014 (6,969 views)
- Sydney maps: real and fictional, 12 February 2014 (3,484 view)
- Opal’s hidden gems, 31 January 2014 (3,008 views)
- Metro plan could cost more and Northern Beaches Rail Line in the planning, 3 February 2014 (2,818 views)
Opal and its rollout garnered a great deal of interest, particularly given the bulk of the rollout occurred during 2014. Most the posts with high traffic were also either original content (Sydney maps: real and fictional or Opal’s hidden gems), or covered specific current issues in greater detail than other media did (Badgerys Creek infrastructure and noise impacts or Metro plan could cost more and Northern Beaches Rail Line in the planning).
11 June was the single day with the highest traffic volumes, with 1,924 views. This was the day after the Asset sales to fund Sydney Rapid Transit post was published. That post was not the most viewed post, but was likely viewed many times on the home page, rather than as a specific post.
Posts with the most comments
- This week in transport (7 December 2014), 7 December 2014 (128 comments)
- This week in transport (30 March 2014), 30 March 2014 (121 comments)
- Metro plan could cost more and Northern Beaches Rail Line in the planning, 3 February 2014 (92 comments)
- Commentary: Why a 2nd Harbour road tunnel is a good thing, 22 November 2014 (63 comments)
- Asset sale to fund Sydney Rapid Transit, 10 June 2014 (60 comments)
The 7 December post was in relation to the CBD and South East Light Rail (CSELR), while the 30 March post was in relation to the North West Rail Link. All up, Sydney Rapid Transit was responsible for igniting debate in 3 of the top 5 commented on posts, while the other two were in relation to the CSELR and a future Northern extension to WestConnex. All are projects that are still for the most part in the planning stages, with construction either yet to begin or only recently having begun.
The most frequent commenters over the last year were Simon (140 comments), Ray (123 comments), QPP (84 comments), MrV (77 comments), JC (58 comments).
Thank you to all commenters for engaging in discussion. Comments are always welcome.
Posts with the most activity on social media
- Paper tickets to be retired and replaced with Opal, 1 June 2014 (42 shares on Facebook and 3 tweets on Twitter)
- Opal soon to be available on entire Sydney Trains network, 19 February 2014 (41 shares on Facebook and 1 tweet on Twitter)
- Comparing Opal to Myki and TCard, 29 January 2014 (21 shares on Facebook and 11 tweets on Twitter)
- Live Blog – All Stations Challenge (22 December 2014), 22 December 2014 (18 shares on Facebook and 15 tweets on Twitter)
- The cost of transport and fare setting, 10 January 2014 (24 shares on Facebook and 2 tweets on Twitter)
Opal was, again, the issue that got readers to share posts from this blog. All up there were 2,651 referrals to this blog from Twitter and 1,971 from Facebook during the past year. Together they represent about 1.8% of all views on this blog.
Terms with the most searches
- Rail map (1,064 searches)
- Badgerys Creek airport (966 searches)
- WestConnex (238 searches)
- Sydney transport blog (191 searches)
- Sydney trains (184 searches)
Over 100,000 referrals came from search engines, of which approximately 95% were anonymous searches. The remaining 5% of searches were ll quite different, so similar search terms (e.g. Badgerys Creek airport, Badgerys Creek airport flight path, Badgerys Creek airport noise map, etc) with more than 5 searches were added up. Various combinations of rail maps and Badgerys Creek airport each yielded the greatest number of searches. However, it is difficult to tell if these are a representative sample of all searches.
Looking forward to 2015
The first half of this new year will see the opening of the South West Rail Link (February), the NSW State election (March), and the start of construction on the CBD portion of the CSELR after the Centenary of Anzac Day (April). Changes to the CBD bus network are also set to be announced during this time.
The new year will also see the rollout of Opal Concession cards and ticket machines plus the start of construction on the M4 and M5 portions of WestConnex. Details are also awaited on which alignment is chosen for light rail from Parramatta and specific information on enhancements to be made to Western Sydney’s heavy rail network in order to expand network capacity once the Epping to Chatswood Rail Link is closed in 2018 to be integrated into the Sydney Rapid Transit network.