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West-Australian "Amazing Race"

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West-Australian "Amazing Race"

Postby Merc1107 » Mon May 21, 2018 2:10 pm

Link to article

The West Australian wrote:The frequently derided Perth public transport system has proved the big winner in The Weekend West’s third amazing race through the peak-hour streets of the metropolitan area.

First conducted in 2010, the race involved four competitors leaving from a designated location in four suburbs and using different modes of transport to travel to the city.

This year, the electric bicycle joined the race, taking on the car, public transport and the standard bike.

The competitors left about 7.45am from Noranda, Warwick, Murdoch and Cannington.

This year, the race was undertaken in conjunction with the Department of Transport and the “finishing line” was outside its office in William Street in the CBD.

The train won on three routes, including a comprehensive victory from Warwick where it was almost twice as fast as every other mode.

Warwick car driver Natalie Richards reported bumper-to-bumper traffic for most of the journey and “my speedo rarely went above 60km/h”.

“The most disheartening thing was crawling along the freeway while trains and motorbikes zipped by, knowing there was nothing I could do about it,” she said.

The only route where public transport lost was from Noranda, where our commuter had to change buses in Morley.

The electric bike proved faster than the standard bike on two routes, however, the e-biker experienced a mechanical fault on the Murdoch route.

On all routes, the car and bike had similar times, separated by just a few minutes.

Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes said the results proved that public transport was one of the best options for Perth commuters.

“Our passengers — the people who actually use public transport in this city — think so too,” he said. “For a number of years, Transperth’s passenger satisfaction monitor has indicated nine in 10 of our passengers are either satisfied or very satisfied with our services.

We tested bikes, electric bikes, buses, trains and cars from four locations across Perth in an Amazing Race-style competition to see which mode of transport will get you to the CBD fastest
The frequently derided Perth public transport system has proved the big winner in The Weekend West’s third amazing race through the peak-hour streets of the metropolitan area.

First conducted in 2010, the race involved four competitors leaving from a designated location in four suburbs and using different modes of transport to travel to the city.

This year, the electric bicycle joined the race, taking on the car, public transport and the standard bike.

The competitors left about 7.45am from Noranda, Warwick, Murdoch and Cannington.

Participants in “The Amazing Race” included commuters who took the train, cycled, drove and caught the bus.
This year, the race was undertaken in conjunction with the Department of Transport and the “finishing line” was outside its office in William Street in the CBD.

The train won on three routes, including a comprehensive victory from Warwick where it was almost twice as fast as every other mode.

Warwick car driver Natalie Richards reported bumper-to-bumper traffic for most of the journey and “my speedo rarely went above 60km/h”.

“The most disheartening thing was crawling along the freeway while trains and motorbikes zipped by, knowing there was nothing I could do about it,” she said.

The only route where public transport lost was from Noranda, where our commuter had to change buses in Morley.

The electric bike proved faster than the standard bike on two routes, however, the e-biker experienced a mechanical fault on the Murdoch route.

On all routes, the car and bike had similar times, separated by just a few minutes.

Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes said the results proved that public transport was one of the best options for Perth commuters.

“Our passengers — the people who actually use public transport in this city — think so too,” he said. “For a number of years, Transperth’s passenger satisfaction monitor has indicated nine in 10 of our passengers are either satisfied or very satisfied with our services.

“As the participants in the amazing race would have realised, catching public transport can often lead to time savings, but there are other benefits too.

“In the most recent Canstar City Trains survey, the independent satisfaction monitor not only found Perth passengers had the best service (for the fifth survey running) but those who commute to and from work using Transperth trains spend an average of $33 a week which, depending on their travel journey, is the lowest in the nation.”

Mr Hynes also said that a 2015 Australasian Railway Association survey had found that Perth commuters could save $10,000 a year by using public transport.

“Transperth buses, trains and ferries are also the safest and best way for commuters to multi-task and use technology, read a book, catch up on work emails or a blog or watch a Netflix show while on the move,” he said.

“That’s not something that can be done while behind the wheel, so even if a journey on public transport takes more time, it’s time that can be spent on leisure activities and relaxing, rather than the stress of battling peak-hour traffic.

“Public transport is also congestion-busting, taking drivers off busy roads and transporting them far more efficiently than private cars.”


I feel this kind of publicity is exactly the type of thing needed to encourage people to at least try out the public transport in their area. Here, of course, lies the issue... I take the mindset at Transperth is letting passengers figure out journeys through their own research or using the JourneyPlanner (which sometimes suggests strange modal changes; changing buses when either route takes the same journey), rather than through extensive advertising and public promotion campaigns. This isn't an issue for existing customers, but instead for new customers.
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Re: West-Australian "Amazing Race"

Postby tonyp » Wed May 23, 2018 6:41 am

Channel 7 Perth did a couple of separate stories a few years back comparing the door-to-door journey to the city by public transport vs car and public transport won both times, even when there was bus/train modal interchange involved. In my experience, the multi-mode journey works better in Perth than in any other Australian city and is up to best European standards, due to trips on both modes being generally both frequent and fast - which is the trick to running a system based on modal interchange.

Then on the other hand you get this:

https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/wa/car ... 22b7d2131b

I wonder about the accuracy of it as the traffic in Perth I find terrible. I wonder if they're based on off-peak car journeys? One of the defining images in Perth is the cars in gridlock on the motorways with the trains streaking past in the median at high speed.
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Re: West-Australian "Amazing Race"

Postby PaxInfo » Wed May 23, 2018 7:37 am

A major problem with these sorts of comparisons is that the majority of jobs in Perth are not in the CBD. And most people do not live on top of train stations. You can get any result you want if you skew the origins and destinations.

Thanks to the good bus/train frequency and coordination public transport in Perth can perform well for trips involving a bus - train trips, ie from a residential suburb away from a station to the CBD. This is not necessarily the case in other Australian cities.

Add another bus transfer or an indirect train transfer (there being no suburban train interchange hubs as there are in Sydney) and public transport loses all its time advantage. Although a minor time disadvantage for public transport is probably still not major as unless crowding is very severe riding is less stressful than driving in traffic (especially if one gets a seat). The main exceptions are time-critical trips, particularly those involving fixed time childrens pick ups/drop offs (to/from school or childcare) where even a 20 min advantage of driving might be decisive.

The other factor prevalent in Perth is the dispersion of employment. The CBD is the single biggest employment hub but accounts for only a minority of jobs. The rest are not so much at suburban hubs with train stations (Eg Paramatta and Box Hill) but more likely to be at Balcatta, Osborne Park, Wangara, Welshpool, Kewdale, Malaga, O'Connor etc. Even many local shopping centres are well off the rail network. At best the average resident will need to take 2 buses. At worst there may be three or four vehicles involved in the trip.

There may be public transport to such areas but it will typically be an hourly bus route or an occasional deviation such as these few trips on the 344 to the Malaga industrial area http://www.transperth.wa.gov.au/timetab ... 170716.pdf To be fair many out of town industrial parks in UK or Europe have similar quality service levels but it would be interesting to compare the relative number jobs in such places compared to those on better routes. Driving can easily be 3 times faster than PT for such commutes, even if they were possible on the latter at all.

Therefore blanket statements about public transport being good or bad for commuting is incredibly place dependent and not at all helpful.
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Re: West-Australian "Amazing Race"

Postby tonyp » Wed May 23, 2018 9:52 am

PaxInfo wrote:Therefore blanket statements about public transport being good or bad for commuting is incredibly place dependent and not at all helpful.

It's helpful precisely to the extent that the CBD is the single biggest employment/activity hub and thus of most interest to more people. For all of those suburban workplaces (with the notable exception of universities) there is a general assumption among Australians that you drive there anyway, so a public transport comparison is not of such interest.

It's not only the CBD that public transport has an advantage in. I often do checks on a lot of those whinge pieces about driving and the traffic that appear in the media and even in a lot of cross-suburban examples the journey is quicker by public transport. One was about a schoolteacher who drove from home in Alkimos to school in Secret Harbour and complained about how it took her hours in the traffic. I checked the Transperth journey planner and her trip would have been much quicker, even considering that interchange of two buses (one at the home end, one at the work end) and train were involved! In another, a Curtin University academic made outrageous claims about how long it would take him to get to work using public transport, based on a wild assumption. Again a journey planner check found that it takes less than half the time of his claim. In that piece, Peter Newman, no less, and the ABC, who ran the story, accepted his claim uncritically without fact checking! The list goes on. Perth public transport is fantastic, but, like anywhere, obviously weaker on trying to cater for myriad cross-suburban journeys.

From experience, the biggest incentive to using public transport in Perth is the unpleasant experience of driving among some of Australia's worst drivers (or is that Victoria, Queensland ...?) and some seriously bad traffic management - from which the buses also suffer unfortunately.
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Re: West-Australian "Amazing Race"

Postby sylar » Wed May 23, 2018 10:46 am

WA has a lot of lazy people who are too attached to their cars and throw up numerous excuses against using public transport yet they rather sit in gridlock on the freeways during peek hour....go figure. My car spends 99% of the week locked up in the garage as I prefer the excellent public transport options over driving (I mainly use bus services) and the car gets used on the weekends. It dosn't surprise me the ABC running stories without checking the facts or undertaking a trial run on public transport in response to the claims made.

Although Perth has some of the best quality Freeways, Highways and Roads in the country it's speed zones are truly a disaster, back in the 90's and earlier it was 60km or 70km for majority of suburban roads and 100km or 110km for highways and freeways, fast forward to now the speed zones are all over the place and there is no consistency with some roads having numerous different speed limits in a single stretch. One example being Ennis Ave / Mandurah Road Hwy between Rockingham and Mandurah which fluctuates frequently between 100km, 80km and 70km, realistically the highway should just be 80km for the entire stretch and people wanting to do 110km without stopping can use the Kwinana Fwy.

As for Australia's quality of drivers...... although Perth has had the worst drivers tag for a long while, being a regular viewer of Dashcam Owners Australia I believe all states have the same level of worst drivers due to common issue which is clearly evident in all the videos.
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Re: West-Australian "Amazing Race"

Postby Merc1107 » Thu May 24, 2018 10:50 am

tonyp wrote:I often do checks on a lot of those whinge pieces about driving and the traffic that appear in the media and even in a lot of cross-suburban examples the journey is quicker by public transport. One was about a schoolteacher who drove from home in Alkimos to school in Secret Harbour and complained about how it took her hours in the traffic. I checked the Transperth journey planner and her trip would have been much quicker, even considering that interchange of two buses (one at the home end, one at the work end) and train were involved!

Off-peak trips can work out where there is actually a bus->train (or vice-versa) connection at each end. If, for instance, you wish to travel from somewhere within Perth's southern suburbs to Mandurah (the same presumably holds for the NSR traveling north), the only train connection feeder buses have is a train to Perth (or from Perth for outbound services). In some instances, you face up to 15 minutes wait for a train upon arrival. If one factors in hourly feeders and the inflexibility they offer for passengers, then yes, there is another disadvantage, that's just how it is in a sprawling city. :?

Peak trips to almost anywhere, however, are quite easily accomplished.
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Re: West-Australian "Amazing Race"

Postby Perth Jaywalker » Fri May 25, 2018 4:12 pm

PaxInfo wrote:Therefore blanket statements about public transport being good or bad for commuting is incredibly place dependent and not at all helpful.

Absolutely. The time difference between different modes is strongly dependent on origin, destination (especially the proximity of each to bus stations and train lines), time of day, weather, school holidays, roadworks, accidents, etc. Thus, for a specified origin and destination, the only way to properly make a comparison is to run the race many times throughout the year and give the results to a statistician, and even then, we can only make conclusions on that specific choice of origin and destination. The "amazing race" is a sample of size 1 in time (and 4 in space). If they performed the race again on other days, almost certainly the results would fluctuate.

Now if ModeA beats ModeB by say 5 minutes on average, but the fluctuation in the time differences is about 10 minutes, then it would be wrong to conclude that ModeA is superior to ModeB. Note also the use of weasel words in news articles, like "many", "often", "most", etc. Exactly how many is "many", how often is "often", what proportion is "most"?

These things being said, my unscientific gut tells me that the anecdotal "train beats car on freeway" is true for someone living near the rail line heading into the city. To properly test this, one would measure a probability distribution for the average traffic speed on the freeway (taking samples over many days during the hours one is interested in) and see where the average train speed (presumed constant) sits in comparison.

Finally, a door-to-door comparison is the most practical, because it measures "how long between when I leave the house and when I am able to start work at the destination". If driving, this would include the time it takes to find a park and walk to the destination. If cycling makes you very sweaty and you need to shower at the destination, this would include the time it takes to shower.
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Re: West-Australian "Amazing Race"

Postby tonyp » Fri May 25, 2018 5:03 pm

Perth Jaywalker wrote:These things being said, my unscientific gut tells me that the anecdotal "train beats car on freeway" is true for someone living near the rail line heading into the city. To properly test this, one would measure a probability distribution for the average traffic speed on the freeway (taking samples over many days during the hours one is interested in) and see where the average train speed (presumed constant) sits in comparison.

Finally, a door-to-door comparison is the most practical, because it measures "how long between when I leave the house and when I am able to start work at the destination". If driving, this would include the time it takes to find a park and walk to the destination.

This is the exact experiment that channel 7 did twice with 2 or 3 years in between. (I have provided the story links somewhere here in the past iirc.) A very small, one-off sample of course, but was door to door and involved one party walking to the bus stop from home, waiting for the bus, transferring at the station to the train and then walking at the city end to a specific work address (away from a station) and the other party driving from their home garage to a city carpark, then walking to the same office. The public transport journey won by several minutes both times. The major problem on the car journey was traffic on the motorway and a minor issue of finding a space in the parking station. It was the car driver who arrived at the destination all hot, stressed and bothered!

Yes, it's a complex comparison, but using public transport in Perth is such a pleasant experience compared to driving (more so than in any other city in Australia) and your hands and mind are free to do other things during the journey - that factor must be considered in addition to journey time.
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Re: West-Australian "Amazing Race"

Postby Pinza » Sat May 26, 2018 3:03 pm

My plane landed at T3/4 at 11:35 on Thursday morning, I waited approx 5 mins and then caught a 40 to the bus port, a 5 min walk to Elizabeth quay, Tain to warnboro at 12:39 and finally the 13:21 568 home arriving at 13:55.

Everything connected and as tonyp points out a much more pleasant experience than driving, albeit about an hour longer. I can name several more painless bus/train connected trips with the kids and I would advise anyone new to Perth to experience travelling by transperth and while is undoubtedly has its issues. I.e. very slow to alter services to take in new house build areas and estates, it is a great model for other cities to follow.
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Re: West-Australian "Amazing Race"

Postby Squiddy » Sat May 26, 2018 4:38 pm

Yeah Transperth has pretty great services but does have significant travel time issues in places. Travelling from places that aren't easily accessible by train can take forever (since the fastest route often involves catching a feeder route to the station anyway, so it can be an incredibly indirect route) so it's easy to see why most people opt to take the car instead. I'm strongly of the opinion the PTA need to focus heavily on investing in the high-frequency services such as the 950 and 960. They're very good but pretty under-utilised imo. I reckon some sort of branding/advertising of these services like similar BRT-lite services around the world will do a good amount to increase patronage on these services which will in turn justify increased funding in infrastructure such as bus lanes and bus priority signals which will mean that one day we might not have to rely on trains for these sorts of comparisons!
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Re: West-Australian "Amazing Race"

Postby Pinza » Sat May 26, 2018 6:26 pm

They had a similar problem in England a few years ago from Heathrow airport to the west of London. There was no dedicated rail service and the 6 lane motorway/freeway (3 lane east/west) was gridlocked fornmost of the day. The govt of the day decided instead of building more lanes (which was previous governments policies, which only forced more cars and therefore eventually a bigger gridlock) decided to dedicate the inner lanes to buses only and traffic control at either end. It was extremely unpopular at first and had to be ‘policed’ quite hard but combined with the inner London car tax and purpose built rail line alongside it eventually worked out well.
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Re: West-Australian "Amazing Race"

Postby tonyp » Sun May 27, 2018 9:21 am

I located the second channel 7 "great race" film, which refers also to their 2012 story:

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

There is also a thread here discussing some of these issues:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=84899
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