PUBLIC transport use in the Hunter is still well below what it was pre-coronavirus with ticketing data revealing COVID-19's staggering impact on passenger numbers.
Transport for NSW's latest data shows that patronage across the region's modes in December was between 16 and 45 per cent less than the same month a year earlier.
The Stockton ferry is closest to normal, while the Sydney-Newcastle train line remains worst affected.
The release of the month's figures also allows for a yearly comparison between 2020 and the virus-free 2019.
On the Central Coast and Newcastle train line - the region's busiest transport service - there were 9 million passenger trips recorded last year, less than half the 18.6 million taken the year prior.
December patronage was 45 per cent less than the same month a year earlier.
There were 568,000 trips on the Hunter line in 2020, down from 1.03 million the year prior. Patronage on that line in December was 40 per cent less than a year earlier.
Patronage on all transport modes dropped significantly during the height of the pandemic last year, but especially on the Newcastle light rail line as office workers took to working from home.
About 650,000 trips were recorded in 2020, down from 1.09 million the year prior - which actually had about seven less operating weeks as the trams did not begin carrying passengers until mid-February.
There was about 40 per cent fewer trips taken in December than the same month a year earlier.
For comparison, there was 55 per cent fewer trips recorded on Sydney's Dulwich Hill light rail line.
On the Keolis Downer-run Newcastle Transport bus network, December patronage was about 30 per cent less than what it was the same time a year earlier.
About 248,500 trips were recorded last month, down from 351,000 a year earlier. Patronage dropped from 4.77 million trips in 2019 to little more than 3 million last year.
The Stockton ferry carried 366,000 passengers in 2020, down from 550,000 the year prior.
Last month, there were 34,812 trips taken on the harbour route, about 16 per cent fewer than the same month a year earlier.