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Perth Compared with other cities

General Transport Discussion not specific to one state

Perth Compared with other cities

Postby tonyp » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:54 am

Swift wrote:Yep, Artarmon is in the cruel situation where it is sandwiched by PT trunks but continues to be a black hole in the employment areas that lie between. it used to be at least partially filled by the small family operator, but the large concerns that now rule the roost have no time to provide what is needed in such a locale.

Onto trains, I caught an inner west service from Central to Strathfield and was shocked at how slowly the train creeped along there. I guess I am used to riding the expresses along that corridor but really?? It should be named the Inner West Dawdler!

They were considering a metro station at Artarmon industrial area but it was dropped.

Yes, inner west is one of those lines that could naturally be considered for conversion for metro if Sydney Trains doesn't lift its game. Homebush to Central is 12.7 km with 11 intermediate stops and it takes 27 minutes. On the Perth legacy lines the same journey takes:

Perth to Mosman Park, 13.5 km, 11 stops, 21 minutes
Perth to Maddington, 17.7 km (that's 5 km further), 11 stops, 23 minutes
Perth to East Guildford, 14 km, 11 stops, 20 minutes
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Re: Parramatta light rail

Postby Linto63 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:05 pm

Fleet Lists wrote:We are getting totally off the subject - this has nothing to do with Parramatta Light Rail.
Oh come on, this provides a perfect opportunity for Tony to get out the hobby-horse, telling us all for the 7000th time how Perth transport system is superior to Sydney's. :roll:
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Re: Parramatta light rail

Postby tonyp » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:58 am

Linto63 wrote:
Fleet Lists wrote:We are getting totally off the subject - this has nothing to do with Parramatta Light Rail.
Oh come on, this provides a perfect opportunity for Tony to get out the hobby-horse, telling us all for the 7000th time how Perth transport system is superior to Sydney's. :roll:

It's part of a general theme that any railed mode (train or tram) in Sydney runs too slowly, even when it's in its own right of way. This undermines its effectiveness. It will be the same for the Parramatta light rail. You need benchmarks to measure this performance against.
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Re: Parramatta light rail

Postby Swift » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:39 am

Linto63 wrote:Oh come on, this provides a perfect opportunity for Tony to get out the hobby-horse, telling us all for the 7000th time how Perth transport system is superior to Sydney's. :roll:

And it seems you still don't want to take it in.
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Re: Parramatta light rail

Postby tonyp » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:00 pm

It's not actually about childishly "proving" that some other city's transport is "superior" to Sydney's, it's about benchmarking. The benchmark in this case happens to be Perth. It could as well be Adelaide or Melbourne or somewhere else.

For several years I've been compiling information on tram and train journey times in equivalent operating environments in order to establish what sort of performance should be possible in NSW. Equivalent means that the parameters must be similar in terms of line profile (curves, gradients), traffic, number of stops between any two points etc. Self-evidently, I don't set out to compare the high-speed outer end of the Mandurah line with one stop, for example, with Berowra to Woy Woy and its curves and grades and a few stops.

For trams I collected most of my data from Czech Republic tram systems, with some reference to other well-performing European systems where the data is available. Fortunately, I've been able to add GCLR as a local benchmark because it achieves performance close to those European examples. There are so many very high-performing European rail systems that I prefer not to use those as examples for commuter rail performance, opting instead for what an Australian system can achieve. Perth happens to be the best example. The comparisons have a serious purpose to inform the discussion on future transport here.

That's why, for example, I've been informing TfNSW that, not only does CSELR, need to achieve an end to end journey of under 25 minutes (compared to the 35 minutes or longer that they're suggesting), but that it's also quite feasible to achieve that because plenty of other tram systems do so in similar operating environments. Either we accept this "too slow" thing in NSW as something that will go on forever and then wonder why everybody drives, or we actively fight against it and seek improvement.
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Re: Parramatta light rail

Postby simonl » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:27 pm

If Perth is so frigging awesome in their transit systems, how come their mode share is so much below Sydney's? Density is a major factor obviously.
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Re: Parramatta light rail

Postby tonyp » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:54 pm

simonl wrote:If Perth is so frigging awesome in their transit systems, how come their mode share is so much below Sydney's? Density is a major factor obviously.

Image
(from Charting Transport)

If you know your Australian cities you'll know that it's easier to drive and park in the smaller cities. It's the rate at which Perth has clawed back public transport patronage that's been striking. Rail patronage has grown 700% in Perth from 1990 to 2013 compared with 25% in Sydney. Journey speeds have been one of the key factors in attracting people back. Bus patronage has grown 50% in the same period compared to 10% in Sydney.
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Re: Parramatta light rail

Postby simonl » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:20 pm

Yes well in 1990 Perth only had 3 diesel railway lines. Now it has 5 electric ones.

Totally agree about the speed being a factor - that's one of the reasons for electrification.

That chart shows my point actually - Perth's growth is off a pretty low base.
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby Merc1107 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:11 pm

Interesting to see the long-term downward trend in public transport mode share in Perth up until the mid-1990s.

I'd put forth the idea that privatisation (in addition to two new heavy rail lines roughly 13yrs apart, and population growth) were the reason public transport is used more today than it has been previously. Consider pre-privatisation the sorts of routes that existed (i.e. amalgamations of several routes into one, serving numerous areas with minimal resources), the "core departures" operational theory, abysmal frequencies, limited operating hours, ridiculously indirect services.
The state was literally being driven broke by the Government-run Transperth, and as a friend of mine often repeats, "It couldn't be relied upon."

Today vehicle utilisation is much greater than in the past, and you can generally rely on the system to provide predictable service all days of the week in most instances (even if you have to wait an hour for a bus).
Getting across town is easier now, but overall I feel the system is still too city-centric.

I haven't experience service interstate (barring Darwin), but understand integration and connectivity is poor.
The level of service in Darwin is exceptional given the relatively small population. If only they'd make the frequencies more concrete - one service can have as many as six different frequencies in the span of an hour. Additionally, timing point enforcement AND reducing the amount of route time would help (some routes have far too much slack in them - even if the driver does 30km/h they're still held up at timing points). But I digress!
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby tonyp » Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:52 pm

Quality starts from the top down and, if Transperth was once not so good, they must have undergone a revolution since. Only part of the improvement can be attributed to privatisation as some of thè same operators also service other states and the quality isn't as good. This is because the agencies elsewhere aren't doing a good job keeping it all together. PTA/Transperth now seem to run a very tight ship. The other area where Perth is better than any other Australian city is accessibility. The electric ramps on buses are brilliant and the trains are the only ones in Australia where wheelchairs can be run on and off without assistance.

As for the train services, it's a stroke of genius, not only to run them at close headways, but also at very high average speeds, even on the legacy lines. Journeys in Perth are typically anything from 5 to 20 minutes (and typically 10 minutes) faster than journeys with the same parameters in Sydney. This has enormous benefits for attracting people from cars. I think commuters value journey time more than anything else apart from frequency.
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby PaxInfo » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:08 am

Another critical matter in Perth's case was a near continuous program of bus service and network improvements since about 1998.
This has continued under both parties. Even (and arguably especially) under the Liberals who preferred bus services to rail infrastructure.

This coincided roughly with when bus operations were contracted out (but, critically, network planning wasn't).

Before then there were some bus extensions to new suburbs and a new network feeding the Joondalup line. However
Northern Suburbs Transit System routes were typically only every 30 - 60 min off-peak and ran parallel to the line,
making travel other than to stations (at which there were typically no shops) difficult.

In other parts of Perth the typical bus route then had very limited weekend service, was only useful for travel into the CBD
and tended to terminate in the middle of nowhere. There were also often different routes on weekends and buses running at close
intervals then long gaps along common corridors. Only one route ran every 15 min or better (106 between Perth and Fremantle) on
weekdays.

Changes from c1998 progressively simplified and restructured the bus network to form more versatile tangential and circle routes that fed radial train
lines and increased frequencies to 15 min on all major corridors. Weekend services were also upgraded and made clockface. Hence you
could get to many more places (not just the CBD) on bus.

This is completely the opposite to Canberra in the 1990s which saw its basic bus frequencies cut from 30 to 60 min and 7 day routes dismantled
in favour of a separate and confusing weekend network. Canberra had better buses than at the start of the decade than Perth but was markedly
inferior at the decade's end. This is consistent with the trends in the graph presented before.
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby tonyp » Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:11 am

PaxInfo wrote:Changes from c1998 progressively simplified and restructured the bus network to form more versatile tangential and circle routes that fed radial train
lines and increased frequencies to 15 min on all major corridors. Weekend services were also upgraded and made clockface. Hence you
could get to many more places (not just the CBD) on bus.

On a rough count, unless I'm mistaken, only about 25% of Perth bus routes pass through the CBD. Most of them are cross-regional and feeders. The network is predicated on interchange, European-style.

The strongest use of buses into the CBD is on corridors that don't yet have rail, notably the N and NE. One of the biggest benefits of increased frequencies is that, not just train journeys on their own, but combined bus-train journeys are often very fast, certainly faster than driving in peak hours. It's possible have a fast journey in Perth even with interchange, something that is pretty much unparalleled in any other Australian city.

Which reminds me that another quality in Perth is the extremely close convenience of bus-train interchanges in Perth, often under cover as well.
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby PaxInfo » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:01 pm

tonyp wrote:
PaxInfo wrote:Changes from c1998 progressively simplified and restructured the bus network to form more versatile tangential and circle routes that fed radial train
lines and increased frequencies to 15 min on all major corridors. Weekend services were also upgraded and made clockface. Hence you
could get to many more places (not just the CBD) on bus.

On a rough count, unless I'm mistaken, only about 25% of Perth bus routes pass through the CBD. Most of them are cross-regional and feeders.


That sounds about right. Suburbs within about 10km of the CBD get their own direct bus to the city (which typically terminates at a major trip generator, train station or shopping centre (back street termini are a dying breed). People further out usually need to get a bus to a station (unless they're on one of the longer main road routes eg Perth - Fremantle or Perth - Thornlie).

Whereas Adelaide & Brisbane seem to have direct CBD buses from many suburbs further out than 10km but almost no circumferential routes. Often their main bus corridors are every 15 min vs 30 min for their trains, so even if you did want to change the network to be more like Perth's you're not necessarily going to connect to a frequent train (or have much incentive to run 15 min services on local bus routes).
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby simonl » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:17 pm

You aren't wrong about Brisbane. At least they've gone to 15 minute weekday daytime frequencies on the inner parts of most lines. To Cannon Hill, Coopers Plains and Ferny Grove. Corinda has been extended to Darra and made 7 day 15 minute frequency.

It's a shame that they won't go to 15 minute rail frequencies in the weekends and evenings any time soon.
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby PoweredByCNG » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:55 am

I should add that Perth has several factors that negatively influence public transport use.

1. The cost of registering a vehicle is lower in Western Australia when compared to other states.

2. The lower density outside of the Perth CBD means that parking is generally not considered to be a problem.

3. The lower traffic density, particularly further away from the Perth CBD, combined with limited bus priority measures means that public transport transit times are often not competitive with private car transit times, unless a significant portion of the trip is on a train service.

4. The lack of toll roads means that long-distance travel by public transport is not seen as price-competitive, especially if the travel is required during peak periods.

5. The set zone boundaries means that in some cases, the price of short distance travel is not competitive.
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby PaxInfo » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:20 am

PoweredByCNG wrote:I should add that Perth has several factors that negatively influence public transport use.

1. The cost of registering a vehicle is lower in Western Australia when compared to other states.

2. The lower density outside of the Perth CBD means that parking is generally not considered to be a problem.

3. The lower traffic density, particularly further away from the Perth CBD, combined with limited bus priority measures means that public transport transit times are often not competitive with private car transit times, unless a significant portion of the trip is on a train service.

4. The lack of toll roads means that long-distance travel by public transport is not seen as price-competitive, especially if the travel is required during peak periods.

5. The set zone boundaries means that in some cases, the price of short distance travel is not competitive.


I would add:

6. The nation's highest car ownership rates (and incomes). There aren't huge low income non-car owning populations like you have in Sydney or Melbourne. Even 1 car households are rarer.

7. A predominantly post-1960s urban form (based on drive-in shopping centres, limited access roads and curved local streets that make pedestrian permeability poor and direct bus routes difficult). Reurbanisation of old inner suburbs has been less than eastern states cities and autopia starts only a few kilometres from the CBD.

8. A mismatch between transport hubs and activity hubs (the railway stations with the best transport access rarely have activity at them, particularly on the newer lines. While there are attempts at development around stations the outcome isn't as good as in older centres in Sydney or Melbourne. If you want to choose a car-free lifestyle, there are many suburbs in Melbourne or Sydney that would be adequate (due to historic development around transport). Whereas in Perth you need to choose between being able to walk to the train, beach or shops and can rarely get all three. Perth doesn't have much of Sydney, Melbourne or even Adelaide's low-car inner city living culture. But it has improved service to the traces that exist (Beaufort St, Vic Park etc) with the roll out of 900-series bus routes in the inner 10km ring (although night services aren't yet quite as good as trams in Melbourne or buses in Sydney or Brisbane).

9. Jobs that apart from the CBD are located in 'transport deserts' with free parking (eg Balcatta, Osborne Park, Malaga, etc). Ditto for shopping where stand-alone shopping centres surrounded by parking are dominant and have largely replaced strip centres which outside a few inner suburbs are closed, struggling or non-existent. Except for CBD commutes, the typical work trip by public transport is likely to be bus + train + bus which is uncompetitive with free parking. Transperth has countered by improving services to those suburban job concentrations that public transport may have a hope - eg the bigger suburban universities and hospitals like Curtin, Murdoch, QEII, UWA.

Generally speaking the factors that increase public transport usage in Perth are due to internal factors (eg good infrastructure and service planning and operation) whereas those that depress it are external factors to do with the city's development patterns.

In a nutshell, Perth has a good public transport system in a bad city for it. Whereas some other places have a city better than the public transport in it.
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby tonyp » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:41 am

^^^
Both of you have made many good points. The remarkable thing though is the extent to which Perth's public transport has clawed back mode share in the face of such an overwhelming environment mitigating against public transport use. Only Melbourne has made anywhere near such gains among all the state capitals, but Melbourne's public transport isn't so good - the trend seems to have come about as a result of the growing congestion of a megacity. People are coming back to PT in Melbourne (and Sydney) out of desperation because traffic is so bad. In Perth they've been enticed to it by modernisation and very good service provision and in spite of the relative ease of the driving option.
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby Swift » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:37 pm

No Scanias. Many would view that as a plus. Scania's refusal (arms folded, eyes shut, mouth downcast and head shaking) to offer a Voith option may be working against them here. :P
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby tonyp » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:16 pm

In terms of the subject of what has made public transport so attractive to the car-oriented populace, I don't think the average member of the public would know or care what a Voith or a Scania was if they fell over it.

To me it seems that what makes Transperth buses attractive is that they're new(ish) and clean and smoothly driven. From the perspective of Fremantle's intimate cafe strip, where great numbers of them pass through, they're surprisingly quiet and unobtrusive too. They almost undermine the argument for trams on that score. The Volgren body also has a good layout inside.

I would certainly like to see the Scania N series in Perth as one of only two manufacturers offering fully low floor (as opposed to low entry) chassis in Australia. That would be the next best engineering innovation for the buses that would improve their functionality as public transport vehicles. It would also help keep Perth in the forefront of best practice exemplars kn Australia.
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby Swift » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:46 pm

At least the N series offers a flat floor, even if the engine is rougher than 100 grit wet and dry sand paper. Problem is, no one will choose that model. They all want to dish out yet another K series and all too many with that Bustech layout with a centre exit step reminiscent of Verona Rupes (Google it).

Perth seem to have the nicest presentation with their buses, even after years in service. A Sydney bus already looks knocked about after about a month! What does tat tell you about the difference in cultures?
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby Bus Suggestions » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:41 am

tonyp wrote:To me it seems that what makes Transperth buses attractive is that they're new(ish) and clean and smoothly driven. From the perspective of Fremantle's intimate cafe strip, where great numbers of them pass through, they're surprisingly quiet and unobtrusive too. They almost undermine the argument for trams on that score. The Volgren body also has a good layout inside.

I quite dearly agree on this point. The buses in service now look brand-spanking new, though some of them were built 1999. From pictures that I see, Transperth, or at least the operators, keep them in the best condition of any bus I have seen.
tonyp wrote:I would certainly like to see the Scania N series in Perth as one of only two manufacturers offering fully low floor (as opposed to low entry) chassis in Australia. That would be the next best engineering innovation for the buses that would improve their functionality as public transport vehicles. It would also help keep Perth in the forefront of best practice examples in Australia.

I agree. The fleet is about 98% NON-HIGH-FLOOR. A full low-floor will mean that the buses are 100% accessible.

Frequency is also an important factor in transport services. In weekdays, services are reasonable to extremely well. 950 in peak is timetabled for every 4 mins peak, but runs up to every minute! Like Ventura/Transdev/CDC/PT> SmartBus, Transperth is introducing its own high-frequency routes, with 10 already up and running at 15 mins or less during weekdays, and 7am-7pm weekends. As I've experienced myself, the Transperth High Frequency routes seem to be more reliable than SmartBus.
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby Merc1107 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:09 am

A friendly reminder that we do have *a* Scania L94UA CNG demonstrator... Not that it goes out particularly much, given its entirely lacklustre performance these days (Try 0 to about 15km/h in about 10 seconds) compared to new, but it still exists nonetheless.

I would certainly disagree with the notion that buses locally are "smoothly driven." Many drivers do anything but, and aren't necessarily trained by people who know better and could stop these bad driving habits forming.
Anything from tap-dancing on the accelerator, making multiple braking application, driving over curbs and roundabouts, pulling into stops poorly and more happens quite regularly on a daily basis. There are plenty of good drivers, but an equal (or greater) number of drivers that don't give an iota's worth of attention.
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby Swift » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:02 am

^^Can you imagine if we still had Leyland semi automatic gearboxes? I used to think automatics were a copout and unnecessary dumbing down move away from semi automatics, but now fully understand it. Autos can be mistreated, though, especially in the lockup stage!!
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby tonyp » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:36 am

Merc1107 wrote:A friendly reminder that we do have *a* Scania L94UA CNG demonstrator... Not that it goes out particularly much, given its entirely lacklustre performance these days (Try 0 to about 15km/h in about 10 seconds) compared to new, but it still exists nonetheless.

Well the other alternative low-floor in RHD is MAN Lions City (I believe the performance of the Iveco Citelis in Perth wasn't too satisfactory). It's not just accessibility that's the issue, it's the efficient processing and distribution of passengers. Typically on a low-entry you get standees in particular bunching up on the low floor and not moving up the stairs. No great problem in a half empty bus, but in a packed one it can prevent the bus loading up fully and people getting left behind at the stop. Also in general, any stairs in the aisles of a city transit vehicle are very undesirable. Trams and trains now don't have them, buses in Europe don't have them (most citybuses there have been fully low floor for over 20 years).

Merc1107 wrote:I would certainly disagree with the notion that buses locally are "smoothly driven." Many drivers do anything but, and aren't necessarily trained by people who know better and could stop these bad driving habits forming.
Anything from tap-dancing on the accelerator, making multiple braking application, driving over curbs and roundabouts, pulling into stops poorly and more happens quite regularly on a daily basis. There are plenty of good drivers, but an equal (or greater) number of drivers that don't give an iota's worth of attention.

OK, well even though I've been using the Transperth buses a lot this year, maybe I haven't had enough exposure yet! My perspective is from having lived in Sydney most of my life where the government buses are just wild and you spend the journey thrown about like a pea in a tin! The privates are driven more sedately and I would hope generally that private contracting is something that can ensure better driving standards. Perhaps that's something that should feature more strongly in the customer experience category and thus be a consideration at contract renewal time.

I too have been enjoying the close frequencies of the bus services but these unfortunately peter out a little in late evening and Sundays. Nothing like arriving at Perth airport on a Sunday evening to find that the two routes, 40 and 935, are scheduled to depart at the same time an hour apart, instead of being spread 30 minutes apart. I've become speedy gonzales at the baggage carousel! If you do make the bus though, the trip is almost as fast as a taxi. More good points with the system than the few small neglected points.

I think possibly more work is needed on increasing bus priority in bad traffic - identify the pinch points and get bus lanes and priority lights through them. Perth's traffic management in general is as bad as its public transport is good. Having some of those big CBD carparks closed and redeveloped with useful development, notably residential, would be a great benefit on several fronts.
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Re: Perth Compared with other cities

Postby Merc1107 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:25 am

tonyp wrote:I believe the performance of the Iveco Citelis in Perth wasn't too satisfactory

3002 still gets around a bit too, but for a demonstrator to be delivered a year or so later than expected (then experience significant reliability issues, and not be a particularly brisk vehicle), it was definitely a flop. From an accessibility standpoint, its superb. As is the emissions-performance on that 8L or so CNG engine.

I suspect outside perspective is everything when it comes to how we rate driver's. What I consider "poor driving" may be streets ahead of some drivers in other cities.
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