Saturday, October 27, 2007

Transport snippets from the past

Highlights from a stack of newspaper clippings given to me:

Unknown 13 August 1981: State Government decides to cancel off-peak train service to Altona. Service will be restricted to five trains in the morning and afternoon peaks. Government had previously announced the line would be scapped after the Lonie Report recommended its closure.

Unknown 15 August 1981: Advertisement from VicRail advising of reduced St Kilda and Port Melbourne train services from Sunday August 23. A 25 minute headway will operate with no service after 7:30pm or on Sundays. 100 people protest against the cuts at Middle Park Station.

Unknown 19 August 1981: Some peak hour rail services cut due to a shortage of guards.

Unknown 11 February 1981: State Cabinet approves 6 month trials of two new cross-town bus services. These include Nunawading - Glen Waverley - Springvale - Edithvale (current route 888) and Glen Waverley - Vermont - Ringwood (current route 742). Previously six bus changes were required to travel along Springvale Road. The 888 timetable includes service from 7am to 7pm weekdays and 7am to 7am Saturdays with a 30 minute frequency.

Unknown 13 November 1981: Transport Regulation Board advertises for operators to run Healesville - Lilydale, Stony Point - Frankston and Mornington - Frankston bus services (which replace closed VicRail services).

Unknown 8 April 1981: Article reports on patronage success of 888 and 742 cross-town bus routes.

Geelong Advertiser 17 March 1983: Reports on the success of the recently-formed Geelong Transit System. The key components included:

- A 60 cent flat 2-hour free-transfer fare
- Restoration of service frequency to 1968 levels (off-peak increased from 40 to 30 minutes)
- A CBD interchange (formed by giving up parking spaces in Moorabool St) with passenger information centre
- Through routing via the CBD
- Uniform livery, stops, passenger information and marketing

Ministry of Transport officials were sent from Melbourne to assist passengers and hand out timetables. Patronage was up 6% in the first month.

Unknown 1984: GTS patronage up 30% in past year. Reports on the success of the GTS model (which was a trial) and its proposed extension to Bendigo and Warrnambool.

Unknown 10 December 1984: Full-page newspaper advertisement promoting Bendigo Bus. 'Go Bus' features include a 60 cent flat free-transfer fare, improved services, new livery and better information.

Unknown 24 February 1987: Minister Tom Roper announces new services for over 100 000 outer suburban dwellers. Areas to gain service include Mitcham, Dandenong, Ringwood North, Cranbourne, South Morang, Mill Park, Craigieburn, Sunbury and Melton. Public housing estates in Craigieburn, Coolaroo, Gladstone Park and Westmeadows will also receive service.

Unknown 12 May 1987: Government press releases advising of bus service upgrades throughout Melbourne suburbs. These included a reallocation of services towards outer suburbs and new early evening services (mostly between 6:30 and 8pm).

Unknown 20 May 1987: Bus service review study and residents survey recommends improved routes, less duplication and extended service to new trip generators in the southern suburbs. Announced changes include improvements between Brighton, Bentleigh and Monash Uni, early evening services for train commuters and weekend services.

Unknown 4 December 1987: Government announces $9.5m bus expansion program. Includes (i) Additional weekend bus services from 5 December on 85 routes. Finishing time for major shopping centre services extended from 1pm to 5pm Saturdays to coincide with extended trading. (ii) Routes 693 and 732 extended to 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights for 6 month trial period. (iii) Six month trial of Sunday services proposed to start February 1988.

Unknown 3 March 1988: Supreme court setback for Minister Kennan's restructuring of the private bus industry ('The Waverley Transit' case where the government awarded a contract for a Box Hill route to Quinces).

Unknown 10 March 1988: In a large advertisement, MTA (The Met) calls for tenders for Melbourne private bus routes. Claims retendering will free money for service improvements.

Unknown 17 April 1988: Campaign sheet from Bus Proprieters' Association attacking the MTA bus tendering plans, claiming it is nationalisation by stealth (the Met bus routes were exempt from tendering).

Truck & Bus Transportation September 1988: Article from Kevin Norris giving the Bus Proprieters' Association discussing the Waverley Transit cour case and government plans to tender private bus routes.

Unknown 29 September 1988: Full-page advertisement from the Bus Proprieters' Association further attacking the MTA tendering plans.

Herald 15 December 1988: Full-page article describing the Waverley Transit/Driver case.

Sunday Age 20 December 1989: Plans for 15% cuts to Melbourne bus services across 100 routes, to come into effect in February 1990. Proposals for the abolition of 30 routes and the downgrading of 130 others, with no services after 7pm, after 1pm Saturdays or on Sundays. Some operators would have their main routes scrapped. Removed services include the Gardenvale - City bus route (605), Sunday coverage of Mornington, and a 60% reduction on the Moonee Ponds - Alphington route (508).

Ringwood Post 19 September 1990: Front-page article on 'The Bus Crisis'. Invicta and Ventura cancel services after 7pm weeknights and on Saturday afternoons after PTC payments were reduced. However Quinces services would remain unchanged.

National Bus Company brochure c1995: Introduces new NBC services after takeover from the Met. Promotes its more frequent mini-bus services that go off the main roads to serve residential streets. Aims to double off-peak service frequencies and promotes the company's own section fares.