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Use of Back Door on Buses

Sydney / New South Wales Transport Discussion

Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby Swift » Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:59 am

Another thing holding us back from advancement in boarding practise is a seemingly genuine conviction that the way things are done in Sydney is the best in the world and the rest of the world are just unenlightened to how good we do things here.
How can we think that when we are not even best in the nation?!!
It's a paradox in thinking approaching Schrödingers cat proportions.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby tonyp » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:13 am

Melbourne MMTB/MTA had a 20 year period of front door-only boarding from the 1970s to the 1990s after it introduced its new Z class tram, during the period of its last tussles with unions over conductors and before pre-paid fares (and later smartcards) came into being. I think they also had notions of the driver being able to collect fares as in a bus. The results are shown here (I don't want to post the photo directly in order to respect copyright):

http://tdu.to/a53518/75_spencerst_8oct1979_trevortriplow.jpg

It looks absolutely ridiculous on a tram doesn't it? Yet it's seen as perfectly normal if it's a bus in an English-speaking country. It's a scene I saw a number of times riding the Gong Shuttle the other day and that was without even having to pay fares! The photo on its own speaks volumes about the effect on dwell times and thus schedules.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby Swift » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:49 am

Shouldn't Australia, a country that prides itself on being an English speaking western country up there with the best, be ashamed of Eastern Europe being way ahead of the game and motivate us to at least catch up with them?
Oh that's right, they aren't English speaking countries, so they don't exist in our universe.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby neilrex » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:22 am

On a recent trip to Melbourne I noticed a lot of people getting into the back door of buses there.

This caused a lot of collisions with people trying to get off.

I also observed that only about 5% of the people getting on the back door, were using their mykis. Hmmm.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby tonyp » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:35 am

neilrex wrote:On a recent trip to Melbourne I noticed a lot of people getting into the back door of buses there.


Excellent. Was that Ryans or another operator?

neilrex wrote:This caused a lot of collisions with people trying to get off.


As on any mode, obviously one should wait for people to get off first. It has its opposite counterpart in NSW where people belatedly getting off through the front door collide with people getting on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-3ydX_GIkY

neilrex wrote:I also observed that only about 5% of the people getting on the back door, were using their mykis. Hmmm.

That's up to the government to ensure proper enforcement by RPOs. If enforcement is weak you can expect fare evasion.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby Swift » Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:42 pm


Now the herd clog the centre doorway instead! In this case, it would have saved time if they had entered through the front door while those disembarking used the centre doors.
The whole idea is ALL DOOR boarding, not choose which one to crowd!
It's going to be a hard slog training people.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby tonyp » Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:41 pm

Swift wrote:Now the herd clog the centre doorway instead! In this case, it would have saved time if they had entered through the front door while those disembarking used the centre doors.
The whole idea is ALL DOOR boarding, not choose which one to crowd!
It's going to be a hard slog training people.

This is a typical pattern with all-door loading on a bus. The centre (and back if fitted) doors are the most attractive access points because they're closer to the availability of seating and standing space. The centre door/s especially offers opportunities in both directions when you board. The front door on the other hand is a cramped space farthest from the accommodation and less attractive. This boarding pattern I've observed both in Europe and on the three door Carbridge buses at Sydney Airport (and also I recall on Sydney buses when they still had all-door loading). The truth is that both the Perth CATs and the Gong Shuttle buses need a third door - in between the axles, if it's not possible to get it behind the back axle due to unavailability of the appropriate RHD chassis at this stage.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby tonyp » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:28 pm

You can see the same pattern of boarding on Sydney buses in this video (after 6:05 and 6:45 minutes) during the last years of all-door boarding in the 1970s:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwtrW5AzOJw

The second bus loads that crowd in about 30 seconds flat, mainly through the centre door. Except in capacity, they were still basically run as "trams on tyres" in those years.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby Campbelltown busboy » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:53 pm

tonyp wrote:You can see the same pattern of boarding on Sydney buses in this video (after 6:05 and 6:45 minutes) during the last years of all-door boarding in the 1970s:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwtrW5AzOJw

The second bus loads that crowd in about 30 seconds flat, mainly through the centre door. Except in capacity, they were still basically run as "trams on tyres" in those years.
The last part of that video would of been taken in ether 1977 or 1978 as the buses that were showen doing the loading were MK1 O305s witch were the newest buses on the road back then
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby Frosty » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:34 am

I think I have the perfect solution for rear doors on buses and customers standing in the way not a traditional plug door but this plug door from a Manila train https://youtu.be/fBcjXK2K1XM This will scare living daylights out of people standing in the doorway or in it. I don't think it may conform to Australian Health and Safety regulations.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby Swift » Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:16 pm

Frosty wrote:I think I have the perfect solution for rear doors on buses and customers standing in the way not a traditional plug door but this plug door from a Manila train https://youtu.be/fBcjXK2K1XM .

Bring it to Sydney this instant. What a great behaviour modification device.

Back to centre doors on buses, I recently had an experience on Busways central coast where the driver let two PRIMARY school kids out the centre doors at their school but wouldn't open it for the adults at the next stop, which is a fairly major one at a shopping strip which also serves as a terminus for another service.
I was flabbergasted, so as I passed the driver to leave out the front door I asked if he was now authorised to let school children out the centre door to which he mumbled yeah as he turned his head away at the same time.
Did he expect no one to notice?!
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby tonyp » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:35 am

From some recent reading. In 1932 and 1935, Sydney's chief tram designer, Fergus Maclean, prepared two technical papers on tramcar design. In his September 1935 paper for IEA he wrote this:

In view of the disinclination of boarding passengers to proceed into areas remote from a door of public conveyances, particularly blind-end areas, but rather to take up a position reasonably close to a door, it is highly desirable to provide side-doors both at the ends and centre of a tramcar otherwise the difficulties in heavy loading and unloading, due to crowding and blockage of passage-ways at entrances and in obtaining even passenger distribution throughout the length of the car, are accentuated.


This represented the wisdom that had prevailed in Sydney for some time, even then, and that was to also be adopted internationally, particularly in continental Europe where it prevails to this day. All modern trams are now designed on this principle. At the time, Maclean was taking a quiet shot at the common tramcar designs of the time, such as the Melbourne Ws or the Adelaide H, where the doors were either only in the centre of the vehicle or at each end. Buses at the time, being saloon vehicles, generally had the doors at each end. Later, either in USA or UK, somebody decided it was a good idea to just have a front and centre door on buses, thus creating a blind-end area ("cave") at the back end. In continental Europe they generally opted for doors front, centre and rear along the principles expounded by Maclean.

We hear about the notion of handed-down wisdom of experience accumulated over generations. In Australian public transport we've converted that into the principle of binned wisdom.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby Swift » Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:17 am

What next, someone will discover they came up with a glitch free windows operating system during the art Deco era?
They seemed to be more advanced in many ways back then.. or am I mixing that with having more sense?
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby tonyp » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:21 am

Mr OCB has exceeded even his own usual high standards with this new video of Perth CAT operation where you see the Perth approach to passenger exchange and accessibility in full swing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zhio6oNgnRY

The first thing that strikes me is that it all seems so normal, yet in NSW it is somehow unattainable. If only services like the Gong Shuttle and UNSW buses could run like this! What you can't see in this video is that the buses also have next stop displays and announcements and there is a next-bus countdown timer at major stops. The Volgren-bodied buses also seem to me to be a far better design than e.g. those from Custom or certainly Bustech in terms of internal layout on the low floor and even the steps to the high floor aren't too bad, though they still have a deterrent effect.

There are a couple of CAT routes in this video, hence the reason there is more than one bus appearing at a time. The CATs generally in Perth (including services in Fremantle and Joondalup) are, like the Gong Shuttle, very very busy and with very high rate of turnover. They are a real test of bus design for high turnover work and unfortunately the typical Australian bus design places a constraint on this, being conceptualised more for suburban, low turnover work. To say that buses like these CATs need a third door behind the rear axle - and a fully low floor - is an understatement.

Note the Perth approach to accessibility - the electric ramp at the front door which is used quite willingly by drivers. In fact the level of driver courtesy in Perth is outstanding for a big city operation in Australia (it's normal in the country of course!). However, there is a downside as you can see in the video - the interlocking of the doors with the ramp, which can only be extended with the doors closed. The safety reason for this at the front door is obvious, but I don't think there is the same issue for the centre door and having it interlocked as well is a major issue for dwell time as you can see.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby neilrex » Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:41 pm

Swift wrote:
tonyp wrote: The whole idea is ALL DOOR boarding, not choose which one to crowd!
.


No, I disagree. Maybe it would work better, when there are 100 people trying to get on. But how many
stops does that happen ?

In the front and out the back ( or the middle ), should be the norm. Avoids head on collisions. Particularly now
that people have to faff around tagging off, and then watch your step getting off, the last thing I want
is to be barged into by some scamartist trying to get in the back door.

I've noticed that in both of the cities I frequent in China, they have just added signs on the side of the
bus telling users to get in the front and out the back. Except for a few old ladies sitting right
next to the driver, 99.5% of the users were already doing that. They don't seem to be keen on
all-door boarding, and that is even on their new BRT, with its gigantic stations, and which is
actually held up by the traffic lights even WORSE than the old routes which went down the same
street.

So I don't know what the new signs on the side of the buses are actually for. Maybe to show
foreigners what to do, except in these two cities you can easily go a month without spotting
a foreigner, so I dunno.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby tonyp » Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:40 pm

Some jurisdictions don't want to spend money on roving RPOs and they accept compromising their operational efficiency by running all their boarders past the driver. The serious operations with high-volume turnover use all-door passenger exchange. The general trend for decades on street transport has been towards all-door loading and away from the less efficient passenger flow method. On top of this, Australian bus operations have never used true passenger flow as the front door is still retained as an exit. This has been set in concrete by the use of low-entry buses with the ramp at the front door.

The superiority of all-door boarding has been the subject of much testing and measurement and Sydney practised it very succesfully for a century until the 1970s when they changed things on the buses, to their detriment.

Which buses have high passenger turnover? Many inner city services and circulator operations like the CATs and the Gong Shuttle. One of the major issues with Australian bus operations has been their poor efficiency with crowd handling, which means their capacity (pph) along any corridor is quite low. Since the tramway networks have been torn up, there is thus no mode to fill the capacity gap between buses and trains and everything has to stumble along until the rare investments in new tram and train lines come along.

The bottom line is that with all-door loading and multiple doors, buses are actually capable of considerably higher productivity to narrow that gap, but in Australia they're artificially constrained at a low capacity by outdated practices and inadequate engineering solutions.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby Swift » Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:08 pm

neilrex wrote:I've noticed that in both of the cities I frequent in China, they have just added signs on the side of the
bus telling users to get in the front and out the back.

In the 1990s I noticed internal signage showing the outline of a mark V Mercedes with a giant solid arrow going in the front and out the centre doorway. I am guessing they changed their minds on that policy as the stickers disappeared, plus no one seemed to heed what they were saying.

Now that passengers haven't been cultured to do that, it is a good start in getting them to enter through all doors as well as exiting out all the doors, as they currently do.
I believe there is still a net benefit to be gained from all door boarding and exit, as entry is slower than exiting due to a range of factors such as people being slower to get their cards out and making a decision where they want to sit and stand.
Spreading the load in entry is the most important benefit of all door entry, as that is generally the greatest factor in excessive dwell times, plus the centre and rear doorway have the greatest selection of seats immediately upon entry, thus resulting in people settling into a seat quickly and allowing others behind to get in quicker.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby Glen » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:09 pm

Am noticing CDC Hillsbus drivers getting much better at back door unloading. It's been quite a while since I've had a driver force me to exit by the front door.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby Swift » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:19 pm

The passengers have spoken by liberal use of the emergency door release!
Someone has to train the drivers properly. :twisted:
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby simonl » Wed May 03, 2017 6:58 pm

Saw an STA school service using all door boarding after school yesterday. Is this standard?
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby rogf24 » Wed May 03, 2017 7:06 pm

I don't think so, but allowing school kids to get on the back door but not adults (even UNSW on services) because of safety just puzzles me beyond belief if true. This is NSW though, what should we expect.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby Swift » Wed May 03, 2017 7:59 pm

A Busways driver recently allowed two school children out the centre door but kept it shut for adults at the next stop. Smh.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby tonyp » Wed May 03, 2017 8:41 pm

I understand that in NSW school bus drivers are required to check the pass of every child boarding. This is why they board through the front door.
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby simonl » Thu May 04, 2017 8:21 am

tonyp wrote:I understand that in NSW school bus drivers are required to check the pass of every child boarding. This is why they board through the front door.

Does this also combine with a "no child left behind" policy as exists in Brisbane?
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Re: Use of Back Door on Buses

Postby tonyp » Thu May 04, 2017 10:39 am

simonl wrote:Does this also combine with a "no child left behind" policy as exists in Brisbane?

I can only speak from country observations that they won't leave anybody behind for not having a pass. They will be handed a verbal reminder or a notice.
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