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Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Splited into 55A/C

Postby Swift » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:20 pm

tonyp wrote:
They seemed to be so grateful to be given two-door buses that I get the impression that TfNSW only normally gives one-door buses to outer metropolitan operators (?).

Single leaf centre doors are the standard of Busways on the Central Coast.
I would be grateful if they would use them anywhere besides interchanges. They seem to emulate Action's practises.
For some reason, The Entrance Red Bus Services specify front door only.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Splited into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:01 pm

Swift wrote:Single leaf centre doors are the standard of Busways on the Central Coast.
I would be grateful if they would use them anywhere besides interchanges. They seem to emulate Action's practises.
For some reason, The Entrance Red Bus Services specify front door only.

Casting my eye over the Premier fleet I see that the great majority of buses are single door (in a city of 300,000 people!), but maybe that reflects the low overall usage of buses. No wonder they think 2 doors on the shuttle buses is a treat for them. They told me that whenever they have to substitute a single-door bus, the drivers find the run's performance terrible. Just think how much better it would be if passengers could enter at both doors. Interestingly, they said TfNSW supplied the buses with door cameras as well. Most of the goods are there, they just won't come at that final logical step.

Anyway, PI are now in receipt from me of one of Mr OC Benz's "educational" videos on the Perth CATs! I'll give TfNSW one more day to reply and then take it up with them - that's where the initiative has to come from.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Splited into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:11 am

I have only a couple of interior shots on my camera which are nothing special but I took this one riding along Squires Way in Fairy Meadow showing the break between the clear windows and the AOA on the back half of the bus (complete with reflection)!

GongShuttleView.JPG
GongShuttleView.JPG (266.33 KiB) Viewed 2393 times


Very even-handed - tourists can sit in the front half and admire the view, locals, who've seen it all before, can sit in the back half and admire their own reflected beauty, apply make-up etc.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Splited into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:17 am

Just in the process of renewing my contact with TfNSW (I haven't had a response yet, so I've also sent them information from WA including a video and another video from Prague), I noticed when searching their website on Google a banner came up reading: "TfNSW - the customer is at the centre of everything we do". :lol: :lol: :lol:

In the case of the Gong shuttle, TfNSW is obviously at the centre of everything they do.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Splited into 55A/C

Postby Tonymercury » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:19 am

tonyp wrote:
Very even-handed - tourists can sit in the front half and admire the view, locals, who've seen it all before, can sit in the back half and admire their own reflected beauty, apply make-up etc.



'Lunchbox' will love that! Just to prove his point.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Splited into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:27 pm

A couple more items of interest. The first from 2009 when they had the first issue of buses, later replaced in 2013. Unfortunately I can't recall whether the current fleet have double-leaf centre doors and unfortunately the fleet lists page on this forum doesn't go into detail on the doors and there are no photos. Obviously I'd better start photographing on gong visits.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGJWFRWSAAs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qqAkiE2Ha0

Note that some buses have 80 passengers on them. There's a lot of discussion of the problems while ignoring the obvious reason, the elephant-in-the-room of passenger exchange. These buses in Prague don't have timetable issues due to passenger exchange problems, the running is pretty much the same whether the bus is full or empty:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6VF0_IOGOU

In spite of what the driver says in the first video, there is a public timetable available on the TfNSW website but it's difficult to uphold it in real operation (which is the issue the TWU bloke talks about in the second video). The bloke I spoke to in PI said to me that when the headways have gone pear-shaped they recommend crossing to the bus stop on the other side of the road and taking the bus in the opposite direction. The rationale is that, while it may be a longer trip, you may get to your stop sooner than the delayed bus in the shorter direction. But how are you supposed to know whether a bus in the shorter direction is just around the corner? Not really a sensible solution.

This fixation on on-time running is very unfair when the government doesn't provide the operating environment in which they can run on time. The same thing has happened with Melbourne trams too and Transdev lost their contract partly because of it. It's just stupidity.

As I said, I don't blame PI for any of this, it's TfNSW. I've contacted them again as I haven't heard back yet and will be doing some serious ass-kicking when I do. They're now in possession of a pile of information about the Perth CAT operation from me. I expect to be typically disappointed but you never know. It's the politicians' turn next. As the busiest bus operation I think this is an important precedent for all NSW bus operations.

Cult status lol:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_AaGnT3Jew
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Splited into 55A/C

Postby Daniel » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:13 pm

The newest 2014 Volgren Optimus are double leaf centre doors, whilst the older vehicles are all single leaf centre doors. I believe there is still one front door only vehicle, but this is more of a spare.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Splited into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:33 pm

Daniel wrote:The newest 2014 Volgren Optimus are double leaf centre doors, whilst the older vehicles are all single leaf centre doors. I believe there is still one front door only vehicle, but this is more of a spare.

Now that you mention it, if you look carefully at my window photo above, you can actually see reflected in the AOA the double leaf centre doors opening! So AOA does have a benefit - you don't have to bother photographing both sides of the bus interior. :lol:
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Splited into 55A/C

Postby burrumbus » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:06 pm

tonyp wrote:Just in the process of renewing my contact with TfNSW (I haven't had a response yet, so I've also sent them information from WA including a video and another video from Prague), I noticed when searching their website on Google a banner came up reading: "TfNSW - the customer is at the centre of everything we do". :lol: :lol: :lol:

In the case of the Gong shuttle, TfNSW is obviously at the centre of everything they do.

And interestingly tonyp the Gong is where the regional office of TFNSW is located.
The photo you posted showed graphically the effects AOA's have on proper visibility for the passenger(customer).Myself,I detest riding in buses with AOA'S.It just cuts down the experience on viewing the scenery outside whilst riding in a higher vehicle than a car.Especially at night.In my opinion AOA's should be banned from covering the windows at least.
I have seen buses allocated to tourist style services with AOA's.That's just plain ignorance on the part of the operators in allocating those vehicles to those services.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Splited into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:44 am

While I'm biding my time waiting for TfNSW to respond, here's a photo of the buses presumably permanently (as they're in their own livery) on charter from Dion's for UOW's own shuttle services to North Wollongong Station and Gwynneville/ Keiraville. These supplement the Gong shuttle for university students and visitors.

http://www.uow.edu.au/transport/shuttles/index.html

Image

I'm not sure if the buses shown here are entirely the ones currently listed in Fleet Lists as this UOW photo could be a couple of years old.

There are over 31,000 students at UOW which places it among the larger Australian universities.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Splited into 55A/C

Postby Fleet Lists » Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:04 pm

I am pretty sure they are the current buses as the TV plates are fairly recent issues. The on TV plates were only acquired this year.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Splited into 55A/C

Postby Swift » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:50 pm

While they look nice, dark blue is a terrible idea from a safety standpoint.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Splited into 55A/C

Postby rogf24 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:59 pm

Those newer UOW buses are hybrids.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Daniel » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:51 pm

One is a hybrid. Former demo unit in Perth.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:50 pm

Daniel wrote:One is a hybrid. Former demo unit in Perth.

So which one of them has electric drive?

From what I'm reading, TfNSW has no involvement in these buses? It seems like a private venture with UOW owning them and Dions operating and maintaining them under contract.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby burrumbus » Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:29 pm

tonyp wrote:
Daniel wrote:One is a hybrid. Former demo unit in Perth.

So which one of them has electric drive?

From what I'm reading, TfNSW has no involvement in these buses? It seems like a private venture with UOW owning them and Dions operating and maintaining them under contract.

Evening tonyp.Route 9 is a contract between University of Wollongong and Dion's Bus Service.Dions own the five buses used on the contract,but they are in UOW livery.Dions provide the buses and drivers.
Apparently there was something in the contract about the use of alternative power,hence Dions purchase of the hybrid bus.
Hope this helps.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:56 pm

What I'm angling at is whether there is a way to bypass TfNSW's restrictive bus specification if its a private arrangement between the university and the operator. Assuming the operator doesn't use them for any other public route service.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby burrumbus » Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:09 pm

tonyp wrote:What I'm angling at is whether there is a way to bypass TfNSW's restrictive bus specification if its a private arrangement between the university and the operator. Assuming the operator doesn't use them for any other public route service.

If a bus isn't for a TFNSW contract then an operator can spec a bus what ever way it likes,tonyp.If the operator has a TFNSW contract they have no choice but to tug the forlock to the TFNSW spec.But they also can not use their private contract or charter buses on the TFNSW contract work.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:56 pm

Well I got my feedback today in the form of a phone call from the Wollongong office of TfNSW.

The person was very friendly and obviously, because of their location, was intimately personally familiar with the Shuttle on a day to day basis. Yes, it is the busiest bus route in the state, averaging about 18,000 a day, they're very proud of the achievement, but yes it's absolutely overwhelmed and chaotic.

First they were defensive that PI suggested that the reason passengers were taken in through the front door only was that TfNSW made them count the entries. According to TfNSW, they asked PI to count the entries because they entered through the front door and wouldn't be asking them if they could enter through the other door too. It was starting to get a bit Kafkaesque at that point so we moved on.

Then I had to read between the lines because it was indirectly inferred that people couldn't enter through the middle door because of "safety " issues. People would rush through the door as it was closing, they tried with marshalls in Sydney and they don't consider it a success dadadada. There would be hidden code there too meaning that the union doesn't like it therefore they can't do it. I talked about cameras on the doors and the driver's CCTV display but even then the crowds are just too much apparently, regardless of what happens elsewhere etc.

Then I brought up the information I'd previously forwarded about Perth and that it was standard practice overseas (I sent them links to videos of all-door loading from Perth and Prague) and pointed out that there was no problem with multi-door entry on trams and yes they saw all that and they're willing to learn and listen to the customer dadadada and all those things will be forwarded to Sydney for them to look at [and place in the round file?]. It was explained that TfNSW was only at the beginning of the learning curve and had a long way to go. I should have pointed out that the state government has 85 years experience with bus operation and should have learnt a thing or three by now, but by this stage I was having trouble getting a word in through the friendly but non-committal chatter.

Finally as the last straw held up by the drowning man I said they'd probably need artics quite soon if the other methods can't be used and they said yes all those things will be considered dadadada (I imagine the door issue would sink that one because it would be even less "safe" for them).

Nothing unexpected really. I'm mulling over whether to go to MP level but I know that will simply be circulated through TfNSW to produce even more dadadada. The other strategy is whether to take up with my transport academic contact in UOW whether something innovative could be tried with the UOW operation. They use marshalls at the university stop for that apparently - but for the purpose of keeping the students in an orderly queue through the front door FMD!! :roll: I can imagine that even with the UOW operation it would probably hit a snag because it's run by Dions and again the industry/union-entrenched attitude about back doors might arise from the management or drivers or both.

This is obviously something quite stubbornly institutionally entrenched that we have to deal with in NSW. I can see now why they're taking the tram option for other corridors (at 18,000 a day they'd be going for tram in Europe too, but not before getting the best out of buses). But for the Gong shuttle trams aren't an option because the route is too difficult to retrospectively engineer a tramway through, due to hills, acute-angled turns, motorway sections etc. One of the traditional European operations (or the old NSW tramways) would possibly be professionally-equipped to find a solution, but the current Australian method of using consultants and the sedate straight-line French tramway method would not work. I did plot some tram routes through greater Wollongong/Shellharbour some years ago but it works best on the north-south axis. On the east-west corridors, Wollongong is very challenging.

So there we have it - an apt symbol of typical bumbling bus operation in NSW. Even when something is stunningly successful they manage to make a dog's breakfast of it.

The good news is that the term "world class" was not used by TfNSW in the conversation, so the reputation of any other system was not harmed in the making of this complaint.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Tonymercury » Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:31 am

And the rest of the good news is that TonyP's garden now has an adequate supply of fertiliser for the next decade or so.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:16 am

Tonymercury wrote:And the rest of the good news is that TonyP's garden now has an adequate supply of fertiliser for the next decade or so.

Yes well, fair dinkum, the drift of the conversation was that, first of all, it was dominated by the TfNSW person defending themselves against the shocking inference by PI that the chaos was TfNSW's fault. They wanted names so that they could talk to the company - presumably not so that they could solve the problem, but to convey the message that loose lips sink ships. I said I didn't want to get anybody into trouble and that PI were very friendly and helpful and it wasn't a complaint against them but against TfNSW. After that the conversation was friendly blah blah blah and I had trouble getting my other points into the flow of words coming from the other end.

The old passenger flow system doesn't work when the going gets busy. This basic point has to sink into the Australian bus industry's head (WA, who already know, excepted). It's also not enough to have 2 doors on a 12 metre bus in this type of operation. Internal "caves" are a real issue in a vehicle when there are large crowds constantly exchanging and there needs to be another door behind the rear axle. Failing this, at least the Carbridge solution of two doors between the axles minimises the problem of the rear "cave". But then of course, unlike Carbridge, the rest of the bus industry in NSW (TfNSW, operators and drivers are all culprits) are quite evidently going to continue resisting boarding through doors other than the front. An interesting comment during the conversation was that TfNSW didn't consider the marshall-supervision system trialled in Sydney a success.

For the 55A/C it looks like the problem - caused almost entirely by the passenger exchange issue - won't get solved. They've had pretty-much 60 years to deal with this issue which hit them during the tram to bus changeover (but which they chose to ignore back then). There's no tram solution in the offing for this Wollongong service and it will have to somehow bumble on. The only add-ons I see them as being able to adopt within these constraints are increased frequency and/or artics. If this isn't a systemic failure I don't know what is.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Swift » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:24 am

Would some 2112ST clones be a dream come true?
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:53 am

Swift wrote:Would some 2112ST clones be a dream come true?

Possibly this would be a solution:

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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Swift » Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:04 am

That brings the concept of making buses more like a tram, one step further. :lol:
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Fleet Lists » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:51 pm

Swift wrote:Would some 2112ST clones be a dream come true?

You complain about meaningless terms - most people would have no idea what 2112ST means.
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