The number of Perth buses running late has hit a record high, as the Public Transport Authority admits there needs to be a "fresh approach" to tackle the city's public transport crush.
PTA chief executive Reece Waldock conceded this week that Perth's record commuter growth had forced the authority to explore a range of new options, including better designed trains and multi-storey carparks at train stations.
Recent figures show train boardings in Perth have doubled in the past eight years (from 30 million to 60 million a year) and bus boardings have increased 40 per cent (from 58 million to 80 million).
When asked during a parliamentary committee hearing how the PTA would handle more passengers, Mr Waldock said the authority would look to buy trains with "different features" such as extra doors to load and unload passengers faster.
He also flagged multistorey carparks as the next step for park-and-ride facilities at train stations.
Although 3168 bays had been created in recent years, taking the total to 18,000, Mr Waldock said the growth was unsustainable.
"The time is running out where we just pump the system full of car bays," he said.
With multistorey carpark bays costing three times as much to build as standard bays, Mr Waldock said parking costs for commuters would need to be increased to $20 a day. Current fee-paying parking facilities cost $2 a day.
The pressure on the system is also evident in Transperth figures showing that three in every 10 buses run late. Buses are expected to leave a stop within four minutes of timetabled departure times.
But only 71 per cent of bus serv-ices met this deadline in May, compared with 85 per cent at the same time last year.
The State Government has blamed traffic congestion caused by roadworks but the Transport Workers Union believes bus time-tables have become unrealistic and do not reflect congestion and the volume of traffic on the roads.
TWU organiser Kevin Starr said it was impossible for drivers to meet many timetables.
"We all know Perth has changed and traffic volumes have increased," he said. "In many cases, timetables have not changed and they are now nothing more than false advertising. It's time the authorities got real and came up with timetables that are truly reflective of the actual situation."
Shadow transport minister Ken Travers said the pressure on Perth's public transport was directly related to the Barnett Government's inability to invest in the system.
"They don't realise that you need to make investment decisions well in advance," he said.
Acting Transport Minister Kim Hames said the biggest factor affecting bus punctuality was traffic congestion caused by the high level of road works in and around the city and on major road arteries.
"Many of these works, such as those on Great Eastern Highway and the Kwinana Freeway, will ultimately deliver better transport outcomes for all road users, including buses," Dr Hames said.
"It's important to note that any delay in the CBD is very likely to have a flow-on effect in the suburbs, given most bus routes run to and from the CBD."