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Transperth High Frequency Bus Services

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Transperth High Frequency Bus Services

Postby Mr OC Benz » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:34 pm

High Frequency Bus Services: 910 930 935 950 960 970 990

Following on from initial advertising of the 960 High Frequency service via Transperth's Facebook and Instagram page, there is now a dedicated page on the Transperth website for high frequency buses, including (finally!) the criteria used to define them.

From now on, I'd probably say this is the go to thread for discussion related to current and known planned high frequency services (fantasy ideas should be posted in this section), with the exception of the two most talked about routes, 950 and 960 which have their own exclusive threads.

Transperth website wrote:What Makes it a High Frequency Bus Service?

Our high frequency buses are fully accessible services that run at a higher frequency compared to our regular services.

Not just any bus can be part of our high frequency fleet. Every route that meets the criteria will be renumbered to a 900 series bus and as a minimum, will run at least:

  • Every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday
  • Every 15 minutes between 8am and 7pm on Saturdays
  • Every 15 minutes between 9am and 7pm on Sundays.
All of our high frequency services also have a special blue timetable which you can pick up from any of our InfoCentres or next time you catch one of these buses.
Image


A few of my thoughts on the page. It's a good start, however there's a few things that I think could be improved on:
  • There's no map to indicate where these services actually go. The closest is probably the Transperth Zone Map which shows the train lines and highlights the high frequency routes, but it's a pretty poor attempt at it. The map at the bare minimum should include - high frequency bus routes, train lines and key transfer points to other local bus services.
  • I don't think referring to the online timetables is adequate enough. Perhaps a frequency summary table (especially for the periods outside of the high frequency criteria) to indicate what service levels are like after-hours as well as first and last bus times would be beneficial given the high frequency criteria only applies for the daytime.
  • The CircleRoute is omitted, but should probably be included on the basis it was renumbered into the 900-series range and that on the same basis as the 935, parts of the route meet the criteria for each day type.
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Re: Transperth High Frequency Bus Services

Postby Bus Suggestions » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:02 pm

OK first reply. On the Transperth website TP say this:
Launched on 9 October 2017, Route 960 is the newest high frequency service

Isn't the 970 equal? It was also launched with the 9 October changes.
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Re: Transperth High Frequency Bus Services

Postby PaxInfo » Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:47 am

It's a good concept but unfortunately there's errors and omissions that both understate and overstate the service. In more detail:

1. Needs to be sold as a multimodal high frequency network, not just bus since seamless transfer and more destinations is a big advantage of high frequency. So you'd include just about all the train network. The transition from route-based to network-based thinking is something that many transit agencies have yet to fully master (although Transperth beats most others in Australia on this point).

2. A map is essential - both online and printed. The online version could be switchable to allow frequent weekday services to also be shown - discussed later. The printed version could include different line colours or styles differentiating frequent 7 day vs frequent 5 day services. The printed version would be both a brochure and signage at frequent network stations and stops. It would definitely include a table showing route, time of day and frequency for each frequent route as suggested before.

3. Some frequency claims are false over the entire route. Eg 935 from the airport is only a 30 min frequency, with approx 60 min gaps around 6pm. A frequent service is intended to build trust that the service is frequent enough to turn up & go. 935 meets that only from Belmont in. 960 has a similar error - frequency to Mirrabooka is only 20 - 30 min - only the Curtin - Edith Cowan section qualifies. Minor wording would fix this. And maps would have a washed out or dotted line for the less frequent portions of these routes.

4. 15 min is a reasonable cut off for a frequent service but isn't necessarily quite turn up and go for the hurried. Many of the routes offer a 7.5 or 10 min all day weekday service frequency. A way need to be found to promote this, otherwise say it's 15 min undersells the service offered. Maybe thicker lines on a map.

5. More could have been made of the long operating hours of these routes - eg service at least every 30 min until midnight 7 night a week (or whatever is the case for all routes - some still finish early Sunday eg 930)

6. The example banner for the 960 (every 5 min in peak) is probably the wrong message. A lot of Transperth routes run good peak frequencies (eg 10 min) so a 5 min peak service is not a game changer. The thing that is is the frequent all day service 7 days/week. Especially given that these routes are designed to run through areas where there is high all-day demand and serve a variety of trips. So their message should be something like every 5 - 15 min all day 7 days/week or similar.

7. Transperth run quite a few routes that offer a 15 min all day service on weekdays, with a lower service on weekends. They may be two or more routes timed together to intensively serve a common section. Every 15 min or better 5 days is weaker than every 15 min or better 7 days but is still worth marketing as a 5 day frequent service. I'd suggest a clickable option on a frequent network map (eg [ ] Also show Mon - Fri frequent service). You could also include a second listing below the frequent all week services. The Circle route is most conspicuous but it also includes services to Ellenbrook and some other cross-suburban routes including to busy all-day destinations.

I would give their current effort a 3/10. Full marks for concept but terrible execution. But it could very easily be brought up to 7/10 with the above fixes.
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Re: Transperth High Frequency Bus Services

Postby tonyp » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:46 am

I'd regard turn up and go as when you see the next vehicle approaching! Otherwise it's turn up and miss your connection. If you can't see it coming then you need the journey planner or timetable/s and that's not TUAG. In tram days they used to call it "always a tram in sight".

15 minutes is a very low-threshold definition of "high frequency". It seems to me so far that one of the nice things about Perth PT is that many services (train and bus) regularly run at 15 minute headways, which is about as much as you'd want to wait before you reach for your car keys or at least have to plan to leave for the stop at a specific time. I'd regard high frequency as something more like 5 or 7 minutes at the most and some of those routes do achieve that in peak periods at least.

Of course, not to complain too much, this is better than services in a lot of Australian cities or interurban areas that are an hour apart or worse. Mind you, I do wonder why Perth route 40 slips back to an hour apart at the airport particularly on Sunday/holidays. That's a bit rough. If that's all the service they think the airport deserves, how will they expect to fill those trains when they come?
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Re: Transperth High Frequency Bus Services

Postby Merc1107 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:50 am

tonyp wrote:I'd regard turn up and go as when you see the next vehicle approaching! Otherwise it's turn up and miss your connection. If you can't see it coming then you need the journey planner or timetable/s and that's not TUAG. In tram days they used to call it "always a tram in sight".
That's an interesting idea, although I'd expect passengers who regularly use a given route to be familiar with the approximate frequencies. Assuming the 15-min frequency doesn't change about on the clockface each hour (i.e. a :15 departure becoming :18, then :21 the next hour, and so on), passengers will know how long it takes them to get to their stop, and can arrive with a minute or two to spare.

A local route I use has 15min weekday frequencies in both directions. I know if I leave right now, it'll take me ten minutes to get to the stop, and the chances are a bus will be there within moments of my arrival (and will likely be 2-3mins late).
Even if I miss that bus, waiting an extra 15 minutes is nothing when I consider it could be up to an hour before the next feeder to the railway station.

I suspect, however, you are speaking more in terms of someone who is not familiar with a given area. In which case, yes, there could be issues for those pressed for time.
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Re: Transperth High Frequency Bus Services

Postby Mr OC Benz » Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:24 pm

Bus Suggestions wrote:OK first reply. On the Transperth website TP say this:
Launched on 9 October 2017, Route 960 is the newest high frequency service

Isn't the 970 equal? It was also launched with the 9 October changes.

I'd say they're focusing on highlighting the significance of the 960. It's pretty much a new route from scratch (apart from the conversion of 885/888 limited stops to an all stops 960). Whereas the 970 just replaced/merged existing routes and hence already has an established patronage base. It also serves more key attractions than the 970.

I think it's important that the focus of this is to highlight the routes where you can guarantee a bus is coming soon, any day of the week. If we start to get our heads too deep into what the specifics should be, then the criteria will become too complicated that the travelling public won't take any notice. There are lots of routes that provide a "high frequency" on weekdays, after all, this is when most people travel. But weekend and night frequencies are often very poor.

Credit where credit is due though, at least they are not using fancy (and entirely misleading) spin like "turn up and go", "rapid" or "no timetable needed" to describe the services. Just plain speaking "High Frequency" which you could say is somewhat loosely defined to allow flexibility, but still advertises its good intentions without being too misleading or overstating. It's widely consistent of the sort of advertising that is used in North America and Europe. And by North American and Australian standards, using 15 minutes as the definition is acceptable and understandable given the impracticalities of being able to commit to anything greater than that on many routes given the built form and lower density of our cities. However, you could definitely not get away with going for a lower threshold (Que: Sydney Metrobus, Hobart and Adelaide).

In saying the above, PaxInfo does make an interesting point about "underselling" the frequent network given the fact that alot of Transperth routes run good peak frequencies and even most of these high frequency routes operate good off-peak weekday frequencies too. But again, a line on the criteria needs to be drawn somewhere. Perhaps a bigger emphasis on the "at least every..." would be better.

FYI, worth noting that for these high frequency services, with the exception of the 910, the rest exceed the minimum 15 min standard during the weekday off peak for at least sections of the route.
- 910 = 15 mins off peak / 7-8 mins peak (half the route is supplemented by route 111 services, possibly explaining the lower than average frequencies)
- 930 = 7-8 mins off peak / 5 mins peak
- 935 = 10 mins off peak / 5 mins peak
- 950 = 7-8 mins off peak / 1-4 mins peak (half the route supplemented by Route 66 Limited Stops in the peak)
- 960 = 10 mins off peak / 5 mins peak
- 970 = 10 mins off peak / 5 mins peak (route supplemented by Route 370 Limited Stops in the peak)
- 990 = 7-8 mins off peak / 5 mins peak
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Re: Transperth High Frequency Bus Services

Postby Merc1107 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:15 pm

Mr OC Benz wrote:910 = 15 mins off peak / 7-8 mins peak (half the route is supplemented by route 111 services, possibly explaining the lower than average frequencies)
Furthermore, from 1500hrs, (roughly) every second 910 is the short working service terminating in Applecross. From 1700-1730hrs, departures are every five minutes, with four of those services being the short working.
The 111 runs every 15 minutes, with a period of 10 minute frequencies between 1600 and 1707hrs.

I did a quick side-by-side check of the 111 and 910 timetables at a common timing point (Canning Hwy / Ogilvie Rd). Frequency between the two varies between 2 and 12 minutes during the afternoon peak.
If you then factor in the other routes serving part of Canning Highway (114, 115, 150 & 160), the areas with the most pickup and set-down are extremely well catered for.
Mr OC Benz wrote:In saying the above, PaxInfo does make an interesting point about "underselling" the frequent network given the fact that alot of Transperth routes run good peak frequencies and even most of these high frequency routes operate good off-peak weekday frequencies too.
I suppose this thought is on the same track, but I think most naturally expect almost any suburban service to have "good frequency" (i.e. every 15 minutes) during peak.

It is all well and good boasting about "5 min frequency during peak," but what about off-peak, weekends and nights? People don't lock themselves away off peak. These same people aren't going to use public transport during the above periods unless they know they can get home again easily (i.e. the bus service actually operates, and doesn't require a lengthy wait).
I say this because this very issue has prevented me from using PT off-peak before; the amount of waiting around at times just isn't worth your while.
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Re: Transperth High Frequency Bus Services

Postby tonyp » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:17 pm

Mr OC Benz wrote: at least they are not using fancy (and entirely misleading) spin like "turn up and go", "rapid" or "no timetable needed" to describe the services.

Spoken like somebody who's spent time in Sydney. :wink: You forgot "world class".

Mr OC Benz wrote:
FYI, worth noting that for these high frequency services, with the exception of the 910, the rest exceed the minimum 15 min standard during the weekday off peak for at least sections of the route.
- 910 = 15 mins off peak / 7-8 mins peak (half the route is supplemented by route 111 services, possibly explaining the lower than average frequencies)
- 930 = 7-8 mins off peak / 5 mins peak
- 935 = 10 mins off peak / 5 mins peak
- 950 = 7-8 mins off peak / 1-4 mins peak (half the route supplemented by Route 66 Limited Stops in the peak)
- 960 = 10 mins off peak / 5 mins peak
- 970 = 10 mins off peak / 5 mins peak (route supplemented by Route 370 Limited Stops in the peak)
- 990 = 7-8 mins off peak / 5 mins peak

These are good - much nearer what I'd expect of the claim.
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Re: Transperth High Frequency Bus Services

Postby Shoudy Chen » Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:18 pm

I know that 990 buses run 7-8 min off peak between Glendalough & Scarborough but why does it have every 15 mins departing from Perth Busport? It's quite same to 930 with every 7-8 min from EQBS to Cannington off Peak, and 15 min to Thornlie.
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Re: Transperth High Frequency Bus Services

Postby TP1173 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:41 pm

Shoudy Chen wrote:I know that 990 buses run 7-8 min off peak between Glendalough & Scarborough but why does it have every 15 mins departing from Perth Busport? It's quite same to 930 with every 7-8 min from EQBS to Cannington off Peak, and 15 min to Thornlie.


With the 990, the reason for every 7-8mins between Glendalough and Scarborough Beach is more than likely because of the number of patrons that feed the services from the Mandurah Line. Furthermore, the rest of the route from Glendalough to Perth is already serviced by the 15 (which operates every 15mins) and the 402.
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Re: Transperth High Frequency Bus Services

Postby Mr OC Benz » Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:15 pm

Yep, the routing east of Glendalough has more overlapping of catchment areas (15, 402, 403, 404 etc) than the western sector where it is the only route choice for much of its catchment area. Give it time, the eastern section will no doubt get a frequency boost as infill development ramps up through Mt Hawthorn. But I've rarely seen a "busy" 990 on this section. On the other-hand, Osborne Park and Innaloo generate a lot of patronage from all the commercial, retail and light industrial areas, so particularly in the peaks along this section, the 990 can be quite busy in both directions (hence reflective of its 5 min peak frequency operating in both directions).

For the 930, it's purely demand. There isn't much between Carousel and Thornlie to justify frequency increases in the off-peak anytime soon. The exception being short trips between 2:30-3:30pm ex-Perth (and return 3:30-4:30pm ex-Thornlie) which were extended last year to cater for high demand from school students that transfer from other services (particularly around Cannington heading south of Thornlie).
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