Saturday, July 30, 2005

A timetable feast

With the opening of Perth's new Thornlie line and service improvements on some of the others, a host of new train and bus timetables have appeared on the Transperth site.

You have until August 8 to view both old and new timetables.

The timetables show four major improvements to Perth train services:

1. 15 minute (or better) clockface service at nearly all stations 7 days a week.

The only stations with lesser service are Loch St, Grant St and Thornlie (on Sundays). Some south-eastern stations have four trains an hour but these are not clockface on Sundays. Before this change only two lines and a small minority of stations received a 15 min service on Sundays.

2. More peak express services on all lines.

Instead of an ABAB alternating pattern of peak and stopping services, there are now more expresses between 'all stations' services. At major stations service headways can be down to 4 minutes but as high as 20 minutes for smaller stations. Perth is a two-track system so expresses cannot overtake stopping trains as occurs on the longer Melbourne lines.

3. Travel times on the Armadale line reduced by up to 5 minutes, with express services running 7 days a week.

This is achieved by stopping Thornlie services at all inner stations to permit express running on Armadale trains.

4. The opening of the Thornlie line. Services are every 15 minutes Monday - Saturday and 30 minutes on Sundays and evenings.

The '15 min x 7day' running is nationally singificant for several reasons. (i) Perth now has consistently higher service levels than other Australian cities, (ii) Apart from some exceptions on the Armadale line, Perth effectively has a '7 day timetable' with consistent service frequencies and depature times and (iii) these improvements were achieved in a city that bans much Sunday trading (reaffirmed by referendum earlier this year).

Transperth is to be congratulated for this substantial improvement to train services which has grown the network while making rail services faster and more frequent.

Now onto buses. Many bus timetables have changed. Thornlie Station is now shown, with one route (228) now starting there. Apart from that there was no wholesale truncation of routes at Thornlie (instead of Cannington), probably due to the desirability of direct services to Cannington via Carousel.

Perth makes extensive use of circular route feeder buses serving stations along the Armadale line. 231/232 was the best of these, with what is effectively a 15 min service through the staggering of two 30 min routes. This achieves the desirable aim of having every train met by a bus.

(this message appeared earlier but was revised after the new Armadale timetable came out)

No comments: