Friday, March 08, 2019

Flashback Friday: Service success stories since 2005

Melbourne on Transit has been covering public transport service issues for nearly 14 years. The political context, operating environment and expectations of the network were different in 2005. For example the rail network had only just commenced its most recent patronage growth phase. And what was left of the bus network after the deep service cuts of the early 1990s, was starting to show tentative signs of revival.

Today, using 2005 posts as references, I'll list some of the service successes, large and small, we've had since.

 * June 10 2005 How to transfer to a SmartBus discussed the train-bus transfer arrangements at Chelsea station to the then fairly new 888/889 SmartBus. A poor bus stop location made interchange difficult, with three roads needing to be crossed.  The successor route, the 902 orbital, now stops at a very convenient spot just metres from the station exit.

* June 11 2005 Harmonised and clockface timetables commented on the uneven connection times if trains and buses operated at incompatible frequencies as was common back then. Progress has been made when bus networks have been reviewed. And the ten minute trains now on some lines during the day make consulting a timetable much less important.

* July 17 2005 Getting to Watergardens Shopping Centre by train Did you know that back then there were no direct paths and one had to step over a fallen fence in a field to reach the shopping centre from the train? This situation is much better now with a developed town centre now clustered around the station.

* July 24 2005 Bus info by SMS mentioned a trial in the UK. Now people have Smartphones and real time information is more common. But issues with data accuracy and disruption information remain.

* August 3 2005 Passenger information old new and improvised featured a handwritten bus stop timetable at Elsternwick. This was a remnant of an era when no one seemed to be in control of bus information and timetables at stops were rare. But within a couple of years the Metlink signage project would install flags, stop-specific timetables and route maps at thousands of bus stops around the network. In conjunction with service improvements this led to substantial patronage growth.

* October 16 2005 Timetable tidbits had a brief item announcing $44m in funding for new and improved bus routes. This was a precursor to the much larger Meeting Our Transport Challenges program announced the following year. The latter resulted in most suburbs getting 7 day public transport until 9pm. Service upgrades for routes between and within regional cities were announced the following month.

* December 17 2005 Good news on V/Line - Metlink fare integration heralded the integration of fares between city and country. No longer would country people need to buy a separate ticket if they needed to make connections in the city. And the separate Route 788 fares mentioned have long been incorporated into the myki zone system.

* December 22 2005 Merry Christmas and good luck catching the bus highlighted how much of a gamble bus travel was over the December-January period. This is because public holiday service on buses was rare, without a network standard existing.  Reduced service summer timetables, in some cases operating for much of January, were also often in force. Things are much better now. The MOTC program has largely (but not entirely) standardised public holiday arrangements and relatively few routes (operated by Kastoria, Moonee Valley and Ventura) remain with reduced summer timetables.

Are there any improvements since 2005 that I've missed? If so please leave them in the comments below.

You might enjoy these well-regarded books on transport topics

Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit Steven Higashide NEW!

The Public City: Essays in honour of Paul Mees Gleeson & Beza

A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, Institutions (Access Quintet Book 4) David Levinson

Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking about Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives Jarrett Walker

Transport for Suburbia: Beyond the Automobile Age Paul Mees

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1 comment:

Daniel said...

I had a go at a similar topic last year: progress on peak shoulder train services, use of short trains (leading to crowding), peak crowding, and as you noted, suburban bus service spans.