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2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

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2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby JRBUS123 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:23 pm

Hi all

As we are approaching the end of the year, I thought I'd reflect on what has been a big year for Public Transport. Now I might not have all the info straight away but I'll be editing this across the next few days. If there's any I've missed please let me know

Update list as of 7/1/18

- The last Ansair MkII ran its final services (I don't know if there were any more doing services) running various shifts for Transdev (including some on Weekends) in a AOA for MRP

- The Metro Tunnel started construction (and this has been a big thing for Public Transport this year). Some names of Stations have been announced already (such a ANZAC station, Town Hall Station and State Library Station)

- Ventura sent 4 buses to Papua New Guinea in support of the Ginigoada Foundation’s women-only bus project (supported by the U.N.) More on this story below
https://www.busnews.com.au/industry-new ... ses-to-png

- I've got a lot to say about Dysons. It has certainly been a big year for them
• Firstly, the group celebrated this year as they have been running for over 65 years. Collins Dyson also received OAM (check Dysons 2017 thread for more information)
• Dysons have taken over many regional areas (to list them: Omeo, Shepparton and the Corowa-Albury/Wodonga route).
• Dysons have also been a real assister in regular rail replacements, tram replacements, the Level Crossing Removal projects and of course the Transdev problem (which is still ongoing). Dysons have done a brilliant job this year. Well done to them :D :D

- (In brief) Ventura introduced live tracking systems for their V/Line services showing the very exact location of the bus.

- Transdev had an operational issues crisis with TSV inspecting and forcing over 100 buses off the road through crisis 1 and then again through crisis 2 (but this time with less buses) This resulted to many replacement buses happening from companies such as Dysons, Ventura, Sita, Nuline, Bayside Coaches, Rockleigh Tours, Kastoria, CDC Melbourne, CDC Geelong and CDC Ballarat, Mitchell Transit, Broadmeadows Bus Services, Crown, Mees, McHarry's, Driver Bus Lines (it's quite a long list). This event I should still ongoing

- A proposal for a busway from Doncaster to the City, issued by Transdev, was given to the State Government but was then later rejected (and their plan was never given the green light). Later onwards when the North East Link plan was announced the Government made a new plan of the Busway, which is different but sort of similar to Transdev's original plan. The move aims to cut travel times by about 30%.
(NOTE: Thank you to Man 16.242 (our moderator) for the error I made which he corrected. Cheers!)

- There have been a lot of new buses that have commenced service (in particular from Dysons and Ventura). More Optares were ordered from Transdev to replace the Designline minis that were running the 280/282

- Of course therehave also been some new routes introduced such as the 343 (from Diamond Creek to Greensborough) and there have been some improvements in bus journeys such as the Plenty Valley bus network

- Of course there is an ongoing progress of grade separation program with associated works, rail substitutions and rebuilt stations which is still current as to now.

- 2017 was the opening of Southland Station. This is the first new suburban station on the Frankston line since Kananook (as reported).

- Some changed timetables for Metro trains including the restoration of interpeak direct CBD services for Altona

- There were some V/Line timetable changes which included additional services and boosted weekend frequencies!

- There have been some upgrades to Gisborne area (which includes car park upgrades at Gisborne Station)

- visions to Night Coaches to regional cities in Victoria providing more flexible travel!

- Increased services on CDC route Route 606, an upgrade to Transdev route 246 on Sundays (15 minute frequency) , CBD rerouting and abolition of summer timetable for CDC route 605.

- Major restructuring of services along Ballarat Rd including the truncation of 216 at Sunshine and a new 426 / 456 Ballarat Rd corridor timed to meet trains. Although both routes 216 and 426 are run by Transdev 456 does not (this is ran by Sita) and have been timetabled to provide evenly spaced services that connect with trains. Caroline Springs Town Centre gains midnight service for first time. Rerouting of 461 for increased coverage.

- There have been some Sunshine area changes (listed below).
• Route 420 gains Sunday service (which will come at certain times every 20 minutes)
• New route: Route 422 Sunshine - Deer Park North commences (this route is the same alignment as old route 451 which runs from Roxburgh Park to Broadmeadows Railway Station ).

- There has been a change of operator and a revised ferry timetable for French Island

- Current operators of Metro Trains and Yarra Trams confirmed in refranchising

- Organisational matters including creation of Transport for Victoria

- opening of a new station at Caroline Springs in January as well as upgrades to route 460.

- January saw the new Ballarat network which followed with all night buses in March for White Night Ballarat. I'll mention also that during the Melbourne White Night festival the 907 ran all night (with a 30 min frequency)

- The introduction of new tram route 58 (from West Coburg to Toorak)

- Rollout of the first E2 class trams in May.

- 2017 also marked the end of P classes on peak hour services to Bacchus Marsh & Wydnham Vale in August. Now there is a New N class livery.

- Transdev opened a third brand new depot based in Thomastown in late March. All the Smartbuses based in the Tullamarine Bus Depot transferred to there (Thomastown also operates a few non-Smartbus routes particularly such as 250 and 251)

- Transdev acquired two buses from Panorama for use on the Train Replacements. Surprisingly they were not used at certain time during both crisis and onnrsil replacements instead of covering bus replacement shifts

- CDC moved into their new Victorian head office based in Wyndham ahead of merging the Altona & Werribee depots early next year. Brilliant show for them during the Avalon air show this year

- Cranbourne Transit's bought a second batch of Scania K310UBs. This saw the ex Sita B10Bs that they acquired end up heading to Mt Buller for the snow season after the major network upgrades at the end of 2016.

- Ventura also introduced live tracking on routes operated by the Heidelberg West depot.

Any other information (there might've been more I missed) just let me know and I'll add it down to this list. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far :) Comments are welcome if you too want to reflect in what has been a massive year of 2017 (eg; what did you think was the best network upgrade or new route that came into effect this year)

Hope you all had good Christmas and have a safe and happy new year!
Cheers, JRBUS123
Last edited by JRBUS123 on Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:50 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby PaxInfo » Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:59 am

JRBUS123 wrote:Any other information (and I assume there is more) just let me know and I'll add it down to this list :)
Kind regards, JRBUS123


A few more major happenings:

* Ongoing progress of grade separation program with associated works, rail substitutions and rebuilt stations

* The opening of Southland Station. The first new suburban station on the Frankston line since Kananook

* Some changed timetables for Metro trains including the restoration of interpeak direct CBD services for Altona

* V/Line timetable changes including additional services and boosted weekend frequencies

* Upgrades in Gisborne

* Revisions to Night Coaches to regional cities providing more flexible travel

* More services on Route 606, Sunday upgrade on 246 (to 15 min frequency), CBD rerouting and abolition of summer timetable on 605

* Major restructuring of services along Ballarat Rd including the truncation of 216 at Sunshine and a new 426 / 456 Ballarat Rd corridor timed to meet trains. A novel feature is that the two routes are run by different operators and have been timetabled to provide evenly spaced services that connect with trains. Caroline Springs Town Centre gains midnight service for first time. Rerouting of 461 for increased coverage.

* Sunshine area changes including: Route 420 gains Sunday service every 20 min. Route 422 Sunshine - Deer Park North commences (same alignment as old 451).

* Change of operator and a revised ferry timetable for French Island

* Current operators of Metro Trains and Yarra Trams confirmed in refranchising

* Organisational matters including creation of Transport for Victoria
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby JRBUS123 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:15 am

PaxInfo wrote:
JRBUS123 wrote:Any other information (and I assume there is more) just let me know and I'll add it down to this list :)
Kind regards, JRBUS123


A few more major happenings:

* Ongoing progress of grade separation program with associated works, rail substitutions and rebuilt stations

* The opening of Southland Station. The first new suburban station on the Frankston line since Kananook

* Some changed timetables for Metro trains including the restoration of interpeak direct CBD services for Altona

* V/Line timetable changes including additional services and boosted weekend frequencies

* Upgrades in Gisborne

* Revisions to Night Coaches to regional cities providing more flexible travel

* More services on Route 606, Sunday upgrade on 246 (to 15 min frequency), CBD rerouting and abolition of summer timetable on 605

* Major restructuring of services along Ballarat Rd including the truncation of 216 at Sunshine and a new 426 / 456 Ballarat Rd corridor timed to meet trains. A novel feature is that the two routes are run by different operators and have been timetabled to provide evenly spaced services that connect with trains. Caroline Springs Town Centre gains midnight service for first time. Rerouting of 461 for increased coverage.

* Sunshine area changes including: Route 420 gains Sunday service every 20 min. Route 422 Sunshine - Deer Park North commences (same alignment as old 451).

* Change of operator and a revised ferry timetable for French Island

* Current operators of Metro Trains and Yarra Trams confirmed in refranchising

* Organisational matters including creation of Transport for Victoria


Cheers PaxInfo on that. Some interesting ones I did not know myself.


Also to add I can mention about the State Government planning on opening new contracts for more frequent services, better timetables and more. The only contract not affected is Transdev who has currently got another 3 years (or possibly another 6) of their contract. I just hope the Givernment tries tendering that will end up costing the bus companies $1 billion to run it as I think it will just make things worse for people who often or regularly take this service.
Last edited by JRBUS123 on Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby Craig » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:22 am

Surprised you both left out the opening of the new station at Caroline Springs in January, coinciding with upgrades to the 460.

January also saw the new Ballarat network introduced, followed by all night buses in March for White Night Ballarat.

The introduction of the 58 tram and the new alignment along Toorak Rd West during the Metro Tunnel Works is even more significant that the associated 605 changes PaxInfo touched on.

Rollout of the first E2s in May.

End of P classes on peak hour services to Bacchus Marsh & Wydnham Vale in August. New N class livery.

End of the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle (Driver Group) at the end of August.

Transev opening a third new depot at Thomastown in March deserves a mention in a horror year for them.

CDC moving their new Victorian head office into the Wyndham depot ahead of merging the Altona & Werribee depots early next year. Also a successful Avalon Airshow for them.

Cranbourne Transit's second batch of Scania K310UBs which saw the ex Sita B10Bs head to Mt Buller for the snow season after the major network upgrades at the end of 2016.

I'll probably think of something else later....

Kind Regards


Craig :-)
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby Craig » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:36 am

A few more...

New Warragul and Drouin network, replacing town buses that ran just a few token off-peak trips. but a funding shortfall with trips finishing by 5pm.

Longer weekday span for local routes in Traralgon along with some other route revisions in the LaTrobe Valley.

Ventura's 833 extended from Carrum Downs to Carrum via Sandhurst. 823 minor route change in Brighton East.

SkyBus operating to Avalon for the first time, taking over the Sita route from Melbourne in Feburary and Avalon Airport Transfers route in July, followed by a new Docklands and Southbank route. And most recently expanding onto the Gold Coast taking over the Surfside airport and theme park shuttles.

Kind Regards


Craig :-)
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby JRBUS123 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:29 pm

Thank you all for the info so far. Big list definitely already. If there is anything you want to comment about 2017 I welcome that. This is all about reflecting on what's been a big year of Public Transport and from receiving the extra information (and possibly even more!) I can say it has definitely been a big one for this state.
Kind regards, JRBUS123
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby Mike M » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:31 am

Some random thoughts about 2017.

V/Line - more new trains, many extra services, a big year.

Metro - a handful of extra services this year, not good enough to cope with ever increasing demand. What are they doing with their extra Xtrapolis trains?

Yarra Trams - no additional services to cope with increasing passenger demand. One new tram a month is an inadequate fleet replacement programme.

Buses - some modest improvements in certain areas. One that really got me was the new Warragul network that finishes running at 5.00pm. How pointless is that? Going by the number of buses I see running around Southeastern suburbs with single digit loads I can't help feeling that better value for money could be obtained for the amount spent.

Apart from another above inflation fare increase it will be interesting to see what 2018 brings. There is a real need for better Metro & Yarra Trams services. And of course an election in November will no doubt bring out assorted promises from both parties.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby Heihachi_73 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:16 am

What is Metro doing with their new batch of X'Trapolis trains? Leaving them unused in the sidings while trains continue to run every 30 or 40 minutes off-peak while stopping all stations to make up for being so infrequent in the first place, and making sure every other line is still stuck with Comeng trains, with bugger-all seats and the most annoying door handles imaginable.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby krustyklo » Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:46 pm

What is Metro doing with their new batch of X'Trapolis trains? Leaving them unused in the sidings while trains continue to run every 30 or 40 minutes off-peak while stopping all stations to make up for being so infrequent in the first place, and making sure every other line is still stuck with Comeng trains, with bugger-all seats and the most annoying door handles imaginable.

The only 30 or 40 minute service times are weekday evenings (some routes from 8pm and all routes after 10pm), weekend evenings, and a.m. Sunday trains until 9.30am. Seems a bit harsh given they are mostly 20 minutes or better most of the time.

As for Xtrapolis trains, every time I've used the Frankston line in the past 6 months, I've usually been on an Xtrapolis. Possibly just lucky but slightly contradicts those who like to claim the PT operators sit on their hands and do nothing. Certainly I would argue for more effort to widen their route availability but am guessing that those sorts of projects are in hiatus until the completion of Melbourne Metro and the new train fleet associated with that is introduced. I would suspect around that time the Comengs would start to be retired with the introduction of the new trains, and an effort put in to widening Xtrapolis availability to compensate. However, it does seem Xtrapolis trains might not exactly be overworked in the mean time unless new services are introduced in any quantity on the Clifton Hill and Burnley group. Certainly their existence would be useful in helping justify starting to train more drivers and run 10 minute weekday services on the Burnley group at least as far as Ringwood, and possibly to South Morang and Greensborough once the duplication at Heidelberg is complete. Although even then, more frequent services are run with the existing fleet in peak hour, so maybe not except for a few as maintenance cover.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby Mike M » Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:06 pm

We still get plenty of Comengs & Siemens on the Frankston line but yes, there are more Xtrapolis workings. Considering that it is some time since any additional services were added to the Burnley & Clifton Hill groups of lines they have do something with them.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby crakening » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:29 pm

The 30 minute frequencies are a joke given patronage levels. It is common to see trains standing room in the early evening and on weekends during these times, even on lines that aren't busy. Peak hours - sure, but when Sydney can run trains to high frequencies right through to last service, there is no excuse for Melbourne. A recent study showed service per capita has fallen in the last couple of years, and this isn't surprising given how service improvements on a large scale have ceased despite enormous population growth.

I would expect significant service increases on the Clifton Hill group in the coming year or so, as the Heidelberg duplication and Mernda extensions come online. If there aren't, it will be a total disaster. The South Morang is currently probably the most overcrowded train line (2nd after Craigieburn in the survey, although Craigieburn received additional services) on the network, and Hurstbridge is not far behind. They have also not received service increases in over five years. Unknown if 10 minute services will be rolled out, it does not appear to be on the agenda (Metro Tunnel shows services every 20 mins beyond West Footscray post Metro Tunnel...which will be worse than Auckland or Adelaide by then). On the South Morang line especially, there are no network restrictions for 10 min services, and off-peak patronage seems to be pretty solid. There may be piecemeal service increases on other lines, but again, it does not seem like anything is really planned for the near future, luckily some new tollways are being fast-tracked.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby Heihachi_73 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:33 am

Every 30 minutes should be the average off-peak timetable for a semi-regional service such as Geelong or Bacchus Marsh, not a suburban 'metro' train. When I was thinking about the new X'Traps I was more thinking about the remaining lines where they still don't roam, notably Sunbury, Craigieburn and Upfield, which seem to get more than their fair share of Comeng trains while the Siemens trains seem to dominate the South Yarra side, with them still not being allowed on the Burnley/Clifton Hill groups and all.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby notch » Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:43 pm

To counter the whinging:

Unless you suddenly magic a bunch of drivers out of nowhere and I'd like to think the armchair experts up above would see the inherent problems with underskilled drivers or fatigued staff, you're not going to get frequencies less than the 3-4 minutes at 9pm on a Sunday to cart all of 5 passengers.

The type of trains allocated on the southside is fairly much related to where the maintenance depots are: Craigieburn looks after the Comeng fleet, Newport maintains Siemens, and with through running between Frankston and Williamstown/Laverton on weekdays, that's what you'll get.

Bear in mind there have been four six-car Comeng sets placed into long-term storage recentky plus an increased mid-term refurbishment program for Comenges as well as a couple of overhaul programs with XTrapolises, so there is a bit less capacity with the new IRS trains than foamers think.

South Meringue and Hurstbridge will get less of a boost from duplicating Heidelberg-Rosanna than people at home dribbling over PIDS think - and if and when moving block comes in, (trials are supposed to start between Epping and South Morang in 2019) it won't do much.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby Mike M » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:36 pm

improvement
notch wrote:To counter the whinging:

Unless you suddenly magic a bunch of drivers out of nowhere and I'd like to think the armchair experts up above would see the inherent problems with underskilled drivers or fatigued staff, you're not going to get frequencies less than the 3-4 minutes at 9pm on a Sunday to cart all of 5 passengers.

The type of trains allocated on the southside is fairly much related to where the maintenance depots are: Craigieburn looks after the Comeng fleet, Newport maintains Siemens, and with through running between Frankston and Williamstown/Laverton on weekdays, that's what you'll get.

Bear in mind there have been four six-car Comeng sets placed into long-term storage recentky plus an increased mid-term refurbishment program for Comenges as well as a couple of overhaul programs with XTrapolises, so there is a bit less capacity with the new IRS trains than foamers think.

South Meringue and Hurstbridge will get less of a boost from duplicating Heidelberg-Rosanna than people at home dribbling over PIDS think - and if and when moving block comes in, (trials are supposed to start between Epping and South Morang in 2019) it won't do much.


I don't think that I have ever seen a train leaving the City at 9pm on Sunday or any other night with only 5 passengers! At the current 30 minute frequency on most lines they are more likely to be carrying standing loads.

Peak hour services are severely constrained by the capacity of the network but there is plenty of scope for improvements to off peak, evening & weekend services. Of course more drivers have to be recruited & trained which takes time & it is the responsibility of the government to provide funding to Metro for that purpose, or at least it should be!
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby crakening » Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:56 pm

Given Melbourne grows by the population of Canberra every 3-4 years, I don't think finding and funding additional staff for service improvements should be a massive issue, plus, given the fact that billions are spent on capital projects, there must be some amount of money to spend actually providing service. It is an altitude problem - looking in the weeds, there are always specific technical or operational reasons why nothing can be done or ever improved. Building tollways is never an issue, however.

When Pakenham and Cranbourne trains are running half hourly in the evenings with heavy standing loads while trains sit idle, I don't think it's really 'whinging', and relatively empty lines like South Morang and Sunbury are similar. Sydney can do far better than that, while also having additional staff onboard.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby notch » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:09 am

It's whinging, plain and simple - expecting trains or services to be overserviced just to satisfy armchair transport experts untested anecdotal evidence regardless of the reality that exists that a train in a siding can't just magic into a service, nor should it.

There are greater, far greater issues than a gunzel seeing a train in a siding and going all Angry of Mayfair on it...
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby Mike M » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:17 am

notch wrote:It's whinging, plain and simple - expecting trains or services to be overserviced just to satisfy armchair transport experts untested anecdotal evidence regardless of the reality that exists that a train in a siding can't just magic into a service, nor should it.

There are greater, far greater issues than a gunzel seeing a train in a siding and going all Angry of Mayfair on it...

No it isn't. It's just an expectation that service levels need to be improved to meet present day demand.

And cheap shots about armchair experts & gunzels do nothing to support your point of view.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby Heihachi_73 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:43 pm

notch wrote:It's whinging, plain and simple - expecting trains or services to be overserviced just to satisfy armchair transport experts untested anecdotal evidence regardless of the reality that exists that a train in a siding can't just magic into a service, nor should it.

There are greater, far greater issues than a gunzel seeing a train in a siding and going all Angry of Mayfair on it...

If you call having two trains an hour or three trains in two hours on a suburban rail line "overserviced."
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby krustyklo » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:01 pm

If you call having two trains an hour or three trains in two hours on a suburban rail line "overserviced."

Actually, given the expense of running trains, half hourly at quiet times is fine. Late at night, half hourly is actually pretty decent compared to either waiting for a taxi to show up or buses which quit service at 9pm. And I say this not as some person who can't afford a car (I can and have), nor as some person who rides concession, but as a full time working, full fare passenger. i.e., the sort of person who has options if my expectations aren't met. And whatever my status as an armchair expert (I don't tend to use an armchair), the reality is whether I am prepared to put my time and money into the current level of service provision - which I mostly am.
And I am interested in when trains or trams have a 40 minute frequency nowadays. I mean, it was pretty quietly introduced, but Sunday night services run every half an hour on all lines nowadays until midnight. Looking at the timetables, Hurstbridge to Eltham has a 40 minute service, but this is largely due to the single line, the expense of doubling it through the complex (i.e., expensive) section between Eltham and Diamond Creek, and the small catchment served. Sunday mornings until 9.30am / 10am is the other time. Whilst there is an argument 10am is a bit late nowadays for the increased frequency to start, before 9am every 40 minutes is probably pretty reasonable.
Whilst I think notch is a bit dismissive of the experiences of those who use the system, I would agree with him that the current frequencies are about right on the fixed rail network for the likely traffic on offer. I doubt there is much latent demand for hugely increased frequency at 8am Sunday morning, or even 3am Sunday morning after a big night out. I think people often forget even a 3 carriage train is not a cheap thing to run with not many people on board, even compared to a bus.
As I've argued in the past, if the money is there to be spent, better bus services are probably the lowest hanging fruit at present. Hourly services on weekends need to be improved, indeed improving Smartbus frequencies in selected parts of the route (ie, through Chadstone on the 903) is probably a quicker and more productive way of spending money than trains every 20 minutes at 3am in the morning on the rail network. Frankly, until every genuinely metropolitan bus route runs every 20 minutes on a weekday, and at least every 30 minutes on the weekend in order to take people to the station; then increased evening services or overnight services or even Sunday morning before 9am services are a waste of money.
Fire away.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby Mike M » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:32 am

Sorry, but we will just have to agree to disagree about frequencies on early & evening morning train services. I don't think that patronage on the outer reaches of the Hurstbridge line is a good example to quote, it's hardly Melbourne's busiest. The standing loads regularly carried on the Dandenong & Frankston lines when 30 minute services are running are a better example. I also note that with recent changes in Sydney many services that operate at 15 minute frequencies during the day now continue at that level until at least 11pm 7 days a week. In comparison we have services that run at 10 minute frequencies until 7pm on weekends then reduce to every 30 after that. Does our train usage suddenly drop by 2/3 after that time? I don't think so.

I do agree with most of what you say about bus services although I do believe that we could get better value for money out of what is currently spent on them. I see too many buses running around the South Eastern suburbs where I live carrying a handful of passengers. Resources could be redirected to improving services where there is proven demand or potential rather than providing minimal service levels on routes that hardly anyone uses.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby burrumbus » Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:39 pm

I think the train frequencies are on the light side after 7pm until about the 10pm mark.I have ridden the Pakenham/Cranbourne and Cragieburn lines up until the 10pm mark midweek and especially on the weekends and the patronage levels are still great with full decks ex the City.Perhaps upgrade to 20 minutes.As we all know most of the lines need additional peak hour frequency.
I agree with Mike re the value for money provided by many bus routes with minimal patronage.The patronage numbers provided on the list on another thread here really proove that.I think that many services need to be reworked to provide frequent corridor services where there is potential.Many other services could be converted to on demand or small buses,or a good number just discontinued.Many bus services in the metro area just don't have the current or potential patronage to justify 20 minute weekday/30 minute weekend services.Wasted money that could be used to provide services which have the potential for good patronage.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby E.L.Wood » Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:45 pm

also Ventura introduced live tracking on routes operated by the Ivanhoe(Heidelberg West)Depot http://venturabus.com.au/ivanhoe-live-t ... ce-routes/
yolo seems to be a bit of a trend!
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby krustyklo » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:51 pm

Sorry, but we will just have to agree to disagree about frequencies on early & evening morning train services. I don't think that patronage on the outer reaches of the Hurstbridge line is a good example to quote, it's hardly Melbourne's busiest. The standing loads regularly carried on the Dandenong & Frankston lines when 30 minute services are running are a better example. I also note that with recent changes in Sydney many services that operate at 15 minute frequencies during the day now continue at that level until at least 11pm 7 days a week. In comparison we have services that run at 10 minute frequencies until 7pm on weekends then reduce to every 30 after that. Does our train usage suddenly drop by 2/3 after that time? I don't think so.

I'm happy to accept that if there are particular routes / times where trains are running every 30 minutes with standees on a regular basis, then there is some justification for frequency improvements. And I agree that a sudden jump from 10 minutely services to every 30 may need some more thought. However, the other interpretation is that in the hour before 7pm, every 10 minutes is too generous rather than after 7pm is too meagre. I don't use those lines on a frequent basis to be able to comment. The same argument is about whether demand suddenly triples around 10am. There is probably an argument for ramping up and down, even if it means rearranging existing resources just after 10am / just before 7pm to facilitate this (in answer to Notch's argument about not being able to pull drivers from thin air).

I think part of the issue is that people make blanket statements about improving frequencies across the board at times when things are a bit quiet in many places. Yet nobody seems to acknowledge the increased frequencies on the Burnley group on weekday evenings as an example of providing a localised solution to a localised problem without resorting to "but two lines are busy at 8pm so we need 10 minute services on all lines at that time". It has always been the thing that put me off the PTUA "10 minutes" campaign - not all services need to be run every 10 minutes at all times, but equally there are much fewer that only need to be hourly than currently are. At the end of the day those services have to be paid for by you and me as taxpayers. I'm happy to do so, but it needs to be justified.

I agree with Mike re the value for money provided by many bus routes with minimal patronage.The patronage numbers provided on the list on another thread here really prove that.I think that many services need to be reworked to provide frequent corridor services where there is potential.Many other services could be converted to on demand or small buses,or a good number just discontinued.Many bus services in the metro area just don't have the current or potential patronage to justify 20 minute weekday/30 minute weekend services.Wasted money that could be used to provide services which have the potential for good patronage.


Is the problem that the majority of services run infrequently genuinely don't have the demand to justify anything better (and hence are likely candidates for alternative ways of providing transport cost effectively for the small demand on offer), or is it that the services are so unattractive that potential users rightly turn their nose up and drive? What proportion of services are in each category? Gut feeling is that whilst there are services that need to be culled (some of which I described in the other thread), many more probably could attract a decent patronage if the frequency was sufficient. A good example of this would be the example of some sections of the Smartbus routes.

Using the section of 902 nearest to me, prior to the introduction of the 902 Sherbourne Rd was served by the 513 running every 30 minutes in peak hour, every 40 minutes off peak, and every 80 minutes off peak. It also took a deviation via St Helena Rd to get to Greensborough. Para Rd was served by the 293 which runs every 20 minutes in the peak, 30 off peak, hourly on Saturdays and 2 hourly on Sundays. Eltham to Shoppingtown was served by the 281 which ran every 30 minutes on weekdays, every hour on Saturdays and no service on Sundays. It was also indirect in that it ran via Templestowe and High St (same as the truncated version does now). If memory serves correctly (arguable), the 281 was never overly full at the Eltham end (and often seemingly ran empty on Saturdays), the 513 was never overly full (and similar to 281 on weekends), but the 293 was busy in peak hour and had semi-respectable loads off peak without being full (now abstracted by the 901 and 902). On weekends there were more users than now but reflective of the poor frequency in that it wasn't anywhere near full.

Post the 902, Greensborough to Eltham is now quite busy with many stops to pick up / drop off in peak hour, Eltham to Porter St is even busier with many people travelling through Eltham and often leaves Eltham with a full seated load, and along Williamsons Rd has standees in peak hour. Even off peak and especially weekends 902 buses along this section have the majority of seats taken along this stretch despite the half hourly frequency. This one section of route easily carries 4 times the previous loads from the others on weekdays, and well over double on weekends (compared to largely empty buses) in the same sections covered due to the direct journeys offered over the previous routes and increased frequency. In fact I'd argue weekend patronage is the hidden success story of the Smartbus network's improved routes and frequencies even more so than weekdays based purely on anecdotal observation, certainly around my area.

Before people jump up and down with counter-examples, sure one could point to the poor old 901 through Plenty, or <insert other example here>. However, the interesting part about the Plenty section is that it has had a slow increase in patronage over the 5 years since its introduction, and it is in effect a convenient positioning move anyway as the sections both sides carry OK loads, especially given it doesn't serve as many major activity centres as the other routes. Others can comment on other parts.

Personally, my "armchair" solution is that if there is money available for improvements, it needs to be targetted in areas rather than one route here/ one route there. Public transport is attractive as a network, hence my questioning of spending yet more money on train / tram improvements to the exclusion of thinking about how people GET to the station. The millions of dollars spent on car park upgrades are really just spent on peak hour capacity - railway station car parks are ghost towns on weekends in my area. Excellent for learner drivers to practice, not so much a good use of taxpayer dollars. A better use of PT spending money, and car park upgrade money, would be to increase weekday / weekend frequencies (preferably in an area which has a car park upgrade proposed - it can even be a pork barrel electorate for all I care to prove the concept and start a virtuous spiral) on local bus routes in a given area so all can benefit, not just those who drive to the station before 7.30am. Do it as a 2 year trial and build the multi million dollar car park after that if it fails and there is still the need. Sort of like a Plenty Valley network review / improvement in an established area with currently crappy services (even if the services are only crappy outside peak hour). Run a minimum 10-15 minute service in peak hour and 20 minutely at all other times. If the cost recovery justifies it, put the saved money from better cost recovery into expanding services adjacent to those improved.

Incremental improvements don't justify further incremental improvements from the PTV or politicians. The Smartbus network was a big bang that had a big positive effect on Melbourne bus travel. Similar things need to happen to improve bus patronage and utilisation by culling poorly used services and putting those and additional resources into big bang improvements in as big an area as the funding will allow. Then using the savings from improved cost recovery to increase the size of the area. Seemingly there is some sympathy for this view in light of big bang network reviews in Werribee, Wollert / Epping North, Plenty Valley, and Cranbourne. From my few trips on the 20 minute peak hour services on the 385 it seems to have had a positive effect already compared to the previous half hourly 520 / 572. Let's extend that effect to existing services.

To use my local / semi-local area - cull the weekend 513 services between Eltham and Rosanna via Greensborough. At every 80 minutes it would be quicker to walk to another route or the Hurstbridge line. Anyone who can drive already is. Or if that is too much, Eltham to Greensborough has better travel options that are being used over the 513. Cull the 385 trips to Whittlesea - every 80 minutes off peak is pointless, and the peak hour ones run at similar times to the 382 anyway.
I'm not sure whether to also cull the 513 Lower Plenty services as well or upgrade them. The route has some duplication with the 901 and 902 at the eastern end but these don't synchronise on weekends nor is it a particularly convenient interchange (the PTV planner suggests travelling to Templestowe, crossing the road, and waiting 9 minutes). However, the 582 also runs along the populated part of this section of route north of the Fitzsimons Lane roundabout to Eltham, and runs every 20 minutes, so it may well be there is few people likely to travel along the 513 section from Lower Plenty to Eltham anyway given the overlap with better services. If the resources went into an improved 517 then that may well be enough despite the indirect routing. In fact, on the weekend the PTV planner suggests more journeys from the Yallambie MacDonalds to Eltham via the 517 to Greensborough and 513 / 902 / train to Eltham anyway.
Lastly, cull the 293 Sunday services. Might as well do the Saturday ones as well - the hourly service runs empty. Most of the route duplicates other routes or is walkable to the 901 / 902 or the station. If the 901 / 902 can be made to synchronise a quick interchange that would be sufficient.

Without doing the sums, I previously calculated 1 bus saved on the 385 cull. A look at the 513 timetable suggests 2 buses saved by culling the 513 loops (3 if you also eliminate the traffic jammed Rosanna to Heidelberg section, but I don't know how many people use it to comment), 1.5 293 buses on Saturday and 0.75 on Sunday.

If we live in fantasyland and assume buses are transferrable between companies, running the Sunday 517/566 every 40 minutes and the 564/9 every 20 instead of this odd 20/40 arrangement would be a good use of those resources extending the area covered by similar frequencies on the Plenty Valley / Epping - Wollert networks to Mill Park North as well as providing an improved Sunday service to Yallambie to replace the lost 513.

However, feel free to improve any area you like - the principle is the same.
<grabs tin hat and retreats to bunker>
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby Mike M » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:14 pm

Tin hat & bunker not required! You clearly know your home area inside out & a lot of what you are suggesting supports my thought that existing resources could be better used. I would be concerned if protecting the operational territories of bus companies is an impediment to change.

I was surprised that station car parks in your area are lightly used at weekends. Naturally they are not as busy as during the week but that certainly isn't the case here in the South East suburbs. The problem with bus services to stations is that no matter how good they are most people will still prefer to drive. It gives them a flexibility that a bus service never can. There is nothing more frustrating than to get off a train that is a couple of minutes late & see your bus disappearing up the road with a 20 minute or more wait until the next one.

As far as train services go you can't have one size fits all for service levels as advocated by the PTUA but some need improvement while others are more than adequate.
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Re: 2017 review of Public Transport: Victoria

Postby burrumbus » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:08 pm

No need for a tin hat and bunker from me either krustyklo !!!!.I think everybody appreciates your insights .I'd agree with Mike again.The railway carparks do fill up rapidly on the weekends on the Cranbourne/Pakenham line.Perhaps a lower income demographic in the far South East with more shift workers filling the carparks than in the North.??
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