Confusion Over 24-hour Time

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14th December 2009, 01:21pm - Views: 891

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                Confusion over 24-hour Time in Australia

Monday 14 December 2009

Confusion over 24-hour Time

In the lead up to the busiest travel time of the year, Australians in record numbers will be

confronted with 24-hour time on tickets, timetables and schedules. Social Researcher Mark

McCrindle reveals the latest research on attitudes to 24-hour time in Australia today.

Aussies and 24 hour time: 20:00 v 8.00pm

Once called military time, 24 hour time is increasingly being used in Australia. While

24 hour time has been standard in most of Europe for decades, Australia has been a

late adopter of this move. However in a world of global connections, most timetables,

schedules, and tickets record 24 hour time, and increasingly time on our

technological devices only gives 24 hour time. 

“In Australia we have a foot in each camp when it comes to expressing the time. While

in the UK and Europe, every timetable is expressed in 24-hour time, in Australia public

transport timetables and tickets are in 12-hour time while all Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin

flight schedules and tickets are in 24-hour time” states Mark McCrindle.

Confusing for 1 in 10:

Almost 1 in 10 Australians (9.5%) cannot interpret or

understand 24-hour time

Evenly divided: 29% definitely prefer normal (12-hour time) although 31% prefer

schedules expressed in 24-hour format

Most Australians have adjusted: Most Australians can work with 24-hour time

(74% are comfortable with either) but amongst the 1 in 10 Aussies that are

bamboozled by it- it is a key source of angst.

Costly confusion: The biggest gripe is missing flights due to misreading or

misunderstanding 24-hour time (13:00 was often mistaken for 3:00pm, or 16:00 for


The hardest to interpret: The hardest times to interpret were those after 21:00 such

as 21:30 or 22:15 etc.

The way of the future: This research found that schedules, tickets, accommodation

information and timetables in Australia are increasingly being presented in 24-hour

format. This caters for overseas tourists who increasingly rely on 24-hour time, as

well as the international nature of travel and the need for international standards. So

the clock has started for 1 in 10 Australians who find it unintelligible.


Research method:

Scoping research and a national

survey of 462


from McCrindle Research’s proprietary, representative research


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