Monday, January 28, 2019


I was never expecting to write this, but Melbourne on Transit is back!

Greater freedom due to an employment change, the cessation of other local transport blogs and (not least) encouragement from others all made a return enticing. Even the challenge of maintaining an adequate posting frequency has lessened by having available items from another transport writing activity I’ve recently commenced. More on that later.

I’ll not attempt to catch up on the missing 7 years in this post. But I will say the following:

On the large infrastructure side a lot has happened. In 2015 we saw the opening of the Regional Rail Link via Tarneit; the biggest rail infrastructure project since the City Loop. Numerous rail/road grade separations have occurred or are under construction (videos linked on backdated posts). The transformative Melbourne Metro is being built after a political contest on its alignment. And both political parties took large rail agendas to last year’s state election.

Whereas on the service side it’s been quiet. Concerns about tram crowding and the lack of buses in new suburbs are not just anecdotes but backed by facts. Service kilometres per capita is declining (unlike a decade ago). Trips are being added but not at a rate that matches our high population growth. Willingness to reform local bus networks increased after 2012, peaked in 2015 and declined soon after, leaving many areas with inefficient routes reflecting past travel needs.

We’ve also seen changes in the political complexion of the state government, the style in which public transport have been administered and the extent to which network reforms have been able to be implemented. While exceptions exist, Coalition governments haven't been generous with service funding yet still approved major reformed bus networks in some areas. Whereas Labor comes with a list of routes it wishes to introduce and may spend more.  However it can be timid towards wider network and timetable reform, especially if there is the risk of some people being disadvantaged.  The preceding comments apply to governments between 2010 and 2018; with a new minister it is too soon to see if the above still applies.  Overall, political commitment to building new infrastructure (not all of which has been without controversy) has increased in the last seven years while interest in how we are using what we’ve got (including network planning matters affecting patronage, efficiency and service levels) has declined.

What can you look forward to in the revived Melbourne on Transit? The material referred to before is the Timetable Tuesday series on the Urban Happiness Facebook group. I started it late last year. Each week it looks at the service aspects of a selected bus, tram or train service in Melbourne. Currently few people see it because it only appears as an easily buried post on a closed limited audience group. Appearance here should give it a wider audience.  I’ll post several Timetable Tuesdays per week until we catch up. In between Tuesdays I may occasionally post on other topics.

That’s all from me. Enjoy the read and don’t hesitate to comment below!


Marcus W said...

Great to see you back - I've been following the "Timetable Tuesday" series and thought it deserved a wider audience! said...

Welcome back! said...

Can you do commuting from koo wee rup

Peter Parker said...

Koo Wee Rup - Good idea. I'll add it to the list.