Sunday, May 26, 2019

Wanna win government in 2022? Do (or promise) these marginal seat public transport service upgrades.


Tomorrow is the Victorian state budget. I'll report on what it means for public transport services then. 

Today we'll think further ahead to the 2022 state election. While state Labor is riding high with a  comfortable majority, anything could happen in the next 3 1/2 years.

You'd think that adding a bus or train service would be faster than building a new station but the time differences between the two aren't as great as you might expect. As a minimum you need to recruit drivers. That may take a year's training for train. Bus driver training is faster but, especially if you're increasing peak service or expanding coverage into growth areas, you may still need to buy new buses and find accommodation for them.  Then there is planning time, likely community consultation, PTV's sometimes sclerotic internal processes and the government's budgetary cycle.

Add up all those and even a modest service upgrade may take two or more years. Putting on a new bus service is like a tough jail sentence for a multiple offender; planning and implementation time tends to be consecutive rather than concurrent years. Although they benefit the most people for the least expenditure, whole network reviews, where existing routes may be modified or replaced, have not been a recent priority, with the last big metropolitan one (Cranbourne) being implemented in 2016. 

So 2022 is sooner than you think. If this government wants to have better services running before the  election they will need to start planning now. 2020 will be almost too late. The long lead times for planning regular route upgrades is very different to the response to unplanned rail disruptions, where  replacement buses arrive within an hour or two after being requested.

The opposition has more time, since implementation if they win will be in 2024 at the earliest. However even they will need practical, costed and politically saleable plans at least a year before the election. These need to be derived from policy that is not just about opposing what the government does.  

You normally expect the first post-election budget to be tough, with spending cuts. That was true for the Howard government's 1996 budget and the Abbott government's 2014 budget. We're being told that tomorrow's state budget will similarly be tough. Not helped by sluggish stamp duty income and an unexpected (by many) federal election result.  Now is a politically good time to trim inefficiencies (including in public transport services) that inevitably accrete over any government.   


Map from VEC site

As we saw with last week's federal election, swings can be very different between seats and states. For Victoria there may be differences between inner Melbourne, outer Melbourne, regional cities and more rural areas. Coalition parties need more than their 'blue ribbon' rural, bayside and eastern metropolitan heartland to win office. Labor requires regional areas and south-eastern suburbs to swing. And, when they're strongest they may gain normally Liberal eastern suburbs seats.  

Psephologists often use election pendulums based on two party preferred votes for their analysis. They're a nice graphic that matches the seating pattern in the house. Pendulums are less helpful when there are strong minor party candidates. And politically effective governments can unexpectedly retain marginal seats while those thought safer can swing, possibly due to the influence of a popular independent or local issue. 

Notwithstanding the above we'll still use the pendulum to identify marginal government seats. Most of these will need to be won in 2022 for the government to hold or the opposition to win office. 

Below were the marginal government-held seats coming in to the 2018 election.  Many were centred on the Frankston train line. View the full list here



Below are the marginal government seats after the 2018 election, which the government won with an increased majority. The Frankston line seats are no longer marginal. Instead government marginals are concentrated in the middle to outer eastern suburbs. For example Bayswater, Mt Waverley, Box Hill, Ringwood, Burwood and (south-east fringe) Bass.  Plus some inner areas like Northcote, Richmond and Hawthorn where the Greens are strong. View the full list here


The above seats, particularly the middle to outer eastern districts, will be the political battlegrounds of 2022. Like the Frankston line was in 2010 and 2014. The Coalition will need those eastern seats (that have historically been fairly reliable) to regain government.   

You're a Liberal aiming for your first win in 12 years. You're Labor wishing to retain power.  You're a Green who doesn't think Labor have delivered. Or you're an independent wanting local issues to campaign on. If you're any it's time to browse this list of transport service upgrades to advocate for in your coveted seat.   

The routes referred to can be found on PTV's local area maps or streetdirectory.com.au . You can see their current timetables on PTV's website. There's repetition as many upgrades have benefits extending over three seats or more. Which makes them even more worth fighting for.

(This seat-by-seat list is quite long. Scroll to the end for the express version.) 


* Upgrade weekday interpeak trains to every 20 minutes
The current 30 minute frequency is amongst the worst on the network. A 20 minute frequency would bring weekdays into line with weekends and support 10 minute services to Ringwood. 

* Upgrade evening trains to every 20 minutes
The current 30 minute service is low for a major metropolitan line. Existing timetables reflect 1970s cutbacks and not modern travel patterns. Comparable lines in Sydney operate every 15 minutes at night. 

* Upgrade Sunday morning trains from every 30 minutes to every 20 minutes
Current timetables reflect past travel patterns. Population growth, densification and more early Sunday morning events make an upgrade worthwhile. Comparable lines in Sydney operate every 15 minutes on Sunday mornings. 

* Major bus network review in area with simpler, more direct and more frequent services seven days per week. Reroute 664 via Scoresby Rd to Knox City to fill a long-standing service gap on Scoresby Rd. Upgrade existing routes to 7 days/week, remove confusing deviations, add more direct routes and boost service frequencies.
Many areas around Knox were settled 40 years ago but are still waiting for a regular bus service. Existing services are indirect, infrequent and sometimes duplicate one another. Major roads (eg Scoresby Rd) have as little as one bus per day over their entire length. 

Hawthorn John Kennedy MP

* Upgrade weekday trains to operate every 10 minutes to Ringwood between the peaks
A frequency upgrade would bring Ringwood weekday train services into line with Dandenong and Frankston and what already runs on weekends to Ringwood. Current services are well used. Patronage will only increase as housing in the area becomes denser.  

* Simplify peak period train timetable on the Ringwood line
Current stopping patterns are confusing. Fewer stopping patterns, but greater frequency on each, will make trains easier to use and more reliable. 

* Upgrade evening trains to every 20 minutes
The current 30 minute service is low for a major metropolitan line. Existing timetables reflect 1970s cutbacks and not modern travel patterns. Comparable lines in Sydney operate every 15 minutes at night. 

* Upgrade Sunday morning trains from every 30 minutes to every 20 minutes
Current timetables reflect past travel patterns. Population growth, densification and more early Sunday morning events make an upgrade worthwhile. Comparable lines in Sydney operate every 15 minutes on Sunday mornings. 

* Improved frequencies and signal priority on trams 48, 70, 72 and 75
Population pressures are leading to overcrowding during both peak and off-peak periods. Increasing traffic is reducing tram travel speeds.  

* Upgrade bus route 624 to operate every 15 minutes to Caulfield on weekdays and better weekend frequency
Current 30 minute weekday frequency and hourly weekend service is low for a major cross-suburban route. Potentially useful service for Swinburne University and to link three train lines. 

* Extend bus route 734 to Caulfield Station to improve connectivity from Glen Iris
This short bus route extension would improve access to the Monash campus in Caulfield and other attractions including South Yarra and Chapel St. It would also provide a handy back-up during train disruptions. 

* Upgrade bus route 548 to provide improved connection to LaTrobe University and potentially extend to Camberwell. Extend operating hours and introduce Sunday service.
Existing service has potential to become a major cross-regional route but is currently infrequent. Currently few services exist between northern and eastern suburbs. 

* Upgrade bus route 609 to provide improved Chandler Hwy connection and extend all trips to Hawthorn Station. Operate 7 days per week.
Current route runs a few trips per day only. Upgrade would complete a missing link for which demand is demonstrated (refer to traffic volumes on Chandler Hwy). 

* Add Sunday service on all bus routes including Routes 285, 548 and 612 
Changing lifestyles, altered travel patterns and increased residential area densification call for 7 day service on all bus routes. 



* Immediate upgrade to Route 788 peak and summer services.
Upgrade would stop passengers being left behind during peak periods where buses come only every 40 minutes (see above). An enhanced summer timetable operates but only for four weeks over December-January which is too short. Outside that time weekend frequency is only every 80 minutes.

* Major upgrade to bus route 788, with service operating every 20 - 30 minutes seven days per week with earlier morning starts on weekends.
Without a train, bus route 788 is the Mornington Peninsula's only trunk public transport route.  Current frequencies are inadequate for this purpose, especially during peak times and on weekends. 

* New direct bus route along Melbourne Rd between Rye and at least Sorrento (possibly starting at Frankston as part of an upgraded Route 788 corridor).
Parts of Melbourne Rd are served only by the occasional and indirect Route 787. It has enough catchment and is sufficiently far from Route 788 to justify its own direct 7-day route. 

* Retimetable bus route 788 to better connect with trains at Frankston, particularly ex-city trains on Sunday mornings.
Route 788 is a long-distance service that attracts day trippers from Melbourne, particularly on weekends. However current wait times of 50 minutes on Sunday mornings make such travel unattractive. This was the result of the bus never being recoordinated when train times were changed. 

* 24 hour weekend operation of bus route 788 as part of upgraded Night Bus network at least as far as Rosebud.
Current Night bus services are provided by Route 970. Operating these as Route 788 would simplify the network and assist weekend travel, particuarly in summer. 

* Local bus network reform to straighten Route 787 for improved coverage, directness and hours of operation.
The existing route is highly indirect and misses many residential areas. Reform would improve access to buses and provide a 7 day service. 

* Extend bus route 782 to Flinders 7 days per week.
The current route finishes at Balnarring, making travel to Flinders only possible on weekdays. 


* Upgrade Mernda train line to operate every 10 minutes during the day
Extensions to South Morang and Mernda have increased line patronage. 'Turn up and go' train frequencies relieves pressure on nearby trams and provides area with a fast and frequent transport option. Existing 20 minute frequency is low for a train line through a continuously urban area. 

* Boost Mernda and Eltham evening train frequencies from every 30 to every 20 minutes
The current 30 minute service is low for a major metropolitan line. Existing timetables reflect 1970s cutbacks and not modern travel pattern. Comparable lines in Sydney operate every 15 minutes at night. 

* Boost Mernda and Eltham Sunday morning train frequency to 20 minutes
Current 40 minute service is worse than comparable length lines in the south and east (every 30 minutes). Changing lifestyle patterns have increased demand for early Sunday travel. Comparable lines in Sydney operate every 15 minutes on Sunday mornings. 

* Upgrade frequencies on tram routes 11 and 86, particularly during evenings, Sunday mornings and shoulder peak periods
Urban densification and changing travel patterns have increased demand for off-peak travel. Shoulder peak upgrades can relieve peak crowding by encouraging travel either side of the peaks. 

* Upgrade bus route 506 to operate longer hours and on Sundays to improve connections to Brunswick
Bus route is well used but does not run Sundays. Hours are shorter than metropolitan 'minimum standards' and do not suit modern lifestyle and travel patterns. Demand is likely to grow with increased population density in inner suburbs.  

* Upgrade bus route 508 to a SmartBus with increased frequency and hours of operation. Potentially extend to Ivanhoe to provide a stronger terminus.
Route is a major east-west link operating across the inner northern suburbs to Moonee Ponds via Brumswick. Upgrades would provide an improved feeder for trains and relieve parking pressures at stations. Catchment is undergoing population densification. 

* Increase weekend frequency on bus routes 510 and 567
These are popular direct bus routes but weekend frequency drops off. Upgrades would make a lot of cross-suburban trips easier and improve access to Northland shopping centre. 

* Extend weekend operating hours on Route 251 to improve access to Northland
Current services do not meet 'minimum standards' operating hours. Upgrade would improve connections to Northland Shopping Centre from the south. 

* Institute an upgraded Chandler Hwy bus to replace the current 609 and serve development.
Area is currently a public transport 'black hole'. Increasing density and development requires justifies improved service that would also benefit connectivity to the inner eastern suburbs. 

* Make bus routes simpler, more direct and more frequent 7 days/week with local bus network review.
Area has historic bus routes that have not changed for decades. Some timetables reflect old travel patterns. A review could make services more direct and provide strong termini for some routes that would increase patronage. 

Mt Waverley Mat Fregon MP

* Upgrade Glen Waverley train line to operate every 10 minutes during the day 
A frequency upgrade would relieve pressure on the busy Dandenong and Ringwood lines and allow improved connectivity to the Monash precinct. 

* Upgrade Glen Waverley train line to operate every 20 minutes on evenings and Sunday mornings.
Services are currently only every 30 minutes. This upgrade will make trains more useful for more trips over more of the day and week. Comparable lines in Sydney operate every 15 minutes at these times. 

* Upgrade bus route 733 to a SmartBus service between Box Hill and Clayton via Mt Waverley and Monash University with doubled frequency and extended operating hours.
This is a very busy route that has not had significant upgrades for 20 years despite increases in patronage due to higher density, university expansions and more students. The current half-hourly weekday and hourly Sunday timetable is inadequate for passenger demand. A SmartBus upgrade would fill a large gap and greatly improve access to the Monash employment precinct from the north and improve access to Box Hill station from the south, relieving pressure on parking. 

* Upgrade bus route 767 to operate every 15 minutes between Box Hill and Chadstone.
This is the only route that provides access to Deakin University from the south. Its current 30 minute daytime frequency is inadequate for this purpose. An upgrade to 15 minutes would greatly improve access to the campus and provide an improved feeder service to trains at Jordanville Station. 

* Upgrade bus route 737 to operate every 15-20 min weekdays and 20 min weekends between Monash University, Glen Waverley and Knox City.
This is another well-used bus route that operates only every 30 minutes on weekdays and 40 minutes on weekends. A frequency upgrade would greatly improve access to Monash University and Knox City, while relieving commuter parking pressure around Glen Waverley Station. Existing services have not been upgraded for decades despite population densification in the area. 

* Increase weekend frequency on 703 SmartBus to every 20 min. Also upgrade peak and evening service.
This is a busy route that can often get crowded. It serves a major role in providing access to Monash University to the north and west. 

* Add short trips to increase SmartBus Route 902's peak frequency to 7.5 minutes and weekend frequency to 15 minutes between Nunawading and Springvale South.
Nunawading to Springvale South is the busiest section of this orbital route. High passenger numbers can make punctuality poor and service uneven. Adding extra short trips caters for this demand and relieves parking pressure at stations including Nunawading, Glen Waverley and Springvale. 

* Extend bus route 734 to Caulfield and upgrade frequency to provide new connection between lines. 
This short bus route extension would improve access to the Monash campus in Caulfield and other attractions including South Yarra and Chapel St. It would also provide a handy back-up during train disruptions. 

* Make bus routes simpler, more direct and more frequent 7 days/week with local bus network review.
Bus routes, particularly east of Glen Waverley Station, are complex, infrequent and do not always 7 days per week. A review and implementation of same would ensure that bus services meet modern travel needs. 



Box Hill Paul Hamer MP

* Upgrade weekday trains to operate every 10 minutes to Ringwood between the peaks
A frequency upgrade would bring Ringwood weekday train services into line with Dandenong and Frankston and what already runs on weekends to Ringwood. Current services are well used.  This service would support the growth of Box Hill as a dense centre active all day and relieve parking pressure in the area.  

* Operate weeknight services from city every 10 minutes until 10pm. All services run with 6 car sets.
Limited timetables and the use of 3-car trains causes acute evening crowding on services departing Flinders St. This upgrade would increase weeknight services to be like those enjoyed by the Dandenong line. 

* Simplify peak period train timetable on the Ringwood line
Current stopping patterns are confusing. Fewer stopping patterns, but greater frequency on each, will make trains easier to use and more reliable. 

* Upgrade evening trains to every 20 minutes
The current 30 minute service is low for a major metropolitan line. Service upgrade would support night time activity at Box Hill. Existing timetables reflect 1970s cutbacks and not modern travel pattern. Comparable lines in Sydney operate every 15 minutes at night. 

* Upgrade Sunday morning trains from every 30 minutes to every 20 minutes
Current timetables reflect past travel patterns. Population growth, densification and more early Sunday morning events make an upgrade worthwhile. Comparable lines in Sydney operate every 15 minutes on Sunday mornings. 

* Improve shoulder peak, Sunday morning and evening services on tram route 109.
Service improvements are desirable given changing travel patterns and increasing population density along this route. 

* Upgrade Deakin University shuttle (Route 201) from every 20 to every 10 minutes.
The current 20 minute frequency shuttle does not mesh with trains every 15 minutes at Box Hill, leading to long waiting times. A shuttle frequency upgrade would boost the service enjoyed by other successful university shuttles (ie every 10 minutes or better like La Trobe's 301) and provide a 'turn up and go' service. Some resources for this upgrade can come from the confusing and unnecessary Route 768. 

* Upgrade bus route 733 to a SmartBus service between Box Hill and Clayton via Mt Waverley and Monash University with doubled frequency and extended operating hours.
This is a very busy route that has not had significant upgrades for 20 years despite increases in patronage due to higher density, university expansions and more students. The current half-hourly weekday and hourly Sunday timetable is inadequate for passenger demand. A SmartBus upgrade would fill a large gap and greatly improve access to the Monash employment precinct from the north and improve access to Box Hill station from the south, relieving pressure on parking. 

* Upgrade bus route 767 to operate every 15 minutes between Box Hill and Chadstone.
This is the only route that provides access to Deakin University from the south. Its current 30 minute daytime frequency is inadequate for this purpose. An upgrade to 15 minutes would greatly improve access to the campus and provide an improved feeder service to trains at Box Hill Station. 

* Increase frequency on bus routes 302 and 304. Upgrade evening service on Route 304 to finish at 9pm. 
The 302 and 304 corridor suffers acute overcrowding during peak times. Unlike bus routes in the Doncaster area (eg Route 907) it has not had a recent service upgrade. Extending Route 304's operating hours would improve access from the area to Doncaster Shoppingtown.  

* Increase weekend frequency on 703 SmartBus to every 20 min. Also upgrade peak and evening service.
As a major link to the Monash precinct, bus route 703 is well used and deserves further upgrades. 


* Add short trips to increase SmartBus Route 903's weekend frequency to 15 minutes between  Doncaster and Oakleigh South. Also provide Sunday service between 9pm and midnight.  
These short trips would cater for the high demand experienced along the busiest section of the Route 903 SmartBus. A consistent 15 minute weekend service would strengthen access to Box Hill and relieve parking pressure by making bus travel a viable alternative to driving. 

* Lengthen operating hours on bus routes 270 and 279 to at least 9pm on weekends.
Only requiring a few trips to be added, upgrades to 'minimum standards' would make these routes more useful, particularly on weekends where they finish very early. 

* Introduce Sunday service on routes 271, 284, 285, 612 and 766.
This upgrade would make buses useful for more trips to major centres such as Box Hill, Camberwell and Chadstone. It would ensure that all buses in the area operate 7 days per week and better suit modern travel patterns. 

* Commence new direct bus route along Canterbury Rd between Box Hill and Ringwood via Forest Hill Chase. Implement in conjunction with reviews of local routes such as 735, 736 and 765.
Canterbury Rd is a main road that lacks a strong bus service along it, though portions of several routes run along parts of it. A single Canterbury Rd route would make buses more direct and easier to understand, leading to increased patronage and better access to shops and trains. It would also allow improvements to other local bus services in the area. 

* Simplify bus routes in Blackburn North area with local review.
Current network is complex. A simpler network with more direct and frequent services would make buses more useful and improve access to stations. 


* Upgrade Sunday morning Pakenham line trains from hourly to every 20 minutes
Current Sunday morning frequency is hourly - the lowest on the metropolitan network. Line serves growth areas with little other transport. Upgrade would make local trains more versatile for a wide variety of trips. 

* Upgrade weekend evening Pakenham line trains from every 30 to every 20 minutes
Corridor is rapidly growing in population, with new housing often denser than older housing. 20 minute frequency reduces waiting times and provides a more attractive service. 

* Review the timetabling of the Stony Point train line and the Interisland ferry to improve connectivity in both travel directions on all days of the week and promote this as a travel option to Phillip Island.
Current train services only sometimes meet ferries. Reappraising train and ferry timetables would ensure as many services as possible connect to one another in both travel directions. Operate special buses to Frankston when there are line closures or works to ensure that reliable connections are maintained. This would improve access to Phillip island and potentially boost tourism. 

* Upgrade frequency on bus route 926 to 20 or 40 minutes and straighten route
Current 60 minute frequency is inadequate for direct bus route given wide spacing between stations on parallel railway line. Upgrade could be done in conjunction with network changes that make 926 more direct and improve coverage to new estates. 

* Improved coach services to Cowes and Wonthaggi especially on weekends
Higher frequency would provide more flexible travel options for residents and visitors. 
* Improved local bus network on Phillip Island with buses timed to meet ferries.
Current services are very infrequent and cover little of the island. Improved network should provide a basic 7-day service all year with possible additional service during peak tourist season. 

Ringwood Dustin Halse MP

* Upgrade weekday trains to operate every 10 minutes to Ringwood between the peaks
A frequency upgrade would bring Ringwood weekday train services into line with Dandenong and Frankston and what already runs on weekends to Ringwood. Current services are well used.  This service would support the growth of Box Hill as a dense centre active all day and relieve parking pressure in the area. 

* Operate weeknight services from city every 10 minutes until 10pm. All services run with 6 car sets.
Limited timetables and the use of 3-car trains causes acute evening crowding on services departing Flinders St. This upgrade would increase weeknight services to be like those enjoyed by the Dandenong line. 

* Simplify peak period train timetable on the Ringwood line
Current stopping patterns are confusing. Fewer stopping patterns, but greater frequency on each, will make trains easier to use and more reliable. 

* Upgrade evening trains to every 20 minutes
The current 30 minute service is low for a major metropolitan line. Service upgrade would support night time activity at Box Hill. Existing timetables reflect 1970s cutbacks and not modern travel pattern. Comparable lines in Sydney operate every 15 minutes at night. 

* Upgrade Sunday morning trains from every 30 minutes to every 20 minutes
Current timetables reflect past travel patterns. Population growth, densification and more early Sunday morning events make an upgrade worthwhile. Comparable lines in Sydney operate every 15 minutes on Sunday mornings. 

* Upgrade bus route 907 to operate every 10 minutes weekdays. Improve evening frequency to 20 min. Introduce 9pm - midnight Sunday evening frequency. Operate 24 hours on weekends as part of upgraded Night Network.
Route 907 is a busy bus service along a major corridor. Frequency and span upgrades would serve a densifying corridor as close in as Collingwood and as far out as Doncaster Rd. It also passes the fast-growing area around Doncaster Shoppingtown. 

* Lengthen weekend operating hours on routes 270 and 370.
Current operating hours are shorter than minimum standards. An extension to 9pm would make buses more useful for more trips. 

* Introduce Sunday service on bus route 271, even if it means reducing Saturday service to hourly
The current timetable has trips every 30 minutes on Saturday but no service on Sunday. The 30 minute Saturday service is perhaps excessive for the catchment. However a Sunday service is desirable, even if Saturday service must be reduced to pay for it. 

* Upgrade weekend service on bus route 670
Route 670 is a main road service with a 15 minute weekday service. Most of the route is away from the railway line. A weekend upgrade would improve access to shops at Ringwood, Croydon, Chirnside Park and Lilydale. 

* Split bus route 380 to simplify service. Extend Sunday evening service until 9pm.
The current route is confusing. It could revert to the previous arrangement where the northern half operated as one route number and the southern half on another route number. Buses could continue to through-route as now. Extending to the 9pm minimum standard finish time would make buses more useful in the area. 

* Commence new direct bus route along Canterbury Rd between Box Hill and Ringwood via Forest Hill Chase. Implement in conjunction with reviews of local routes.
Canterbury Rd is a main road that lacks a strong bus service along it, though portions of several routes run along parts of it. A single Canterbury Rd route would make buses more direct and easier to understand, leading to increased patronage and better access to shops and trains. It would also allow improvements to other local bus services in the area. 

* Operate Route 740 all the time, not just peak periods. Do in conjunction with local network review.
Area needs more direct and easy to understand full-time bus network. Having peak-only routes just adds confusion. 

* Add Ringwood - Frankston trips on SmartBus Route 901 to increase peak frequency. Also boost weekend frequency to 15 minutes.
This segment is the busiest portion of the Route 901 service. The improved weekend service would make buses a real travel alternative and relieve parking at major shopping centres such as Eastland and Knox City. 

* Local area network review to simplify routes and expand coverage in poorly served areas
Some areas around Ringwood have poor local bus coverage. Some routes may occasionally deviate, making the network hard to understand. Area has had little significant bus route reform in recent years. 


* Upgrade Glen Waverley train line to operate every 10 minutes during the day 
A frequency upgrade would relieve pressure on the busy Dandenong and Ringwood lines and allow improved connectivity to the Monash precinct. 

* Upgrade Glen Waverley train line to operate every 20 minutes on evenings and Sunday mornings.
Services are currently only every 30 minutes. This upgrade will make trains more useful for more trips over more of the day and week. Comparable lines in Sydney operate every 15 minutes at these times. 

* Improve shoulder peak, Sunday morning and evening services on tram routes 70 and 75.
Catchment is undergoing population densification along tram corridors. Service upgrade would better align trams with modern travel needs. 

* Improved frequencies and signal priority on tram 75.
Population pressures are leading to overcrowding during both peak and off-peak periods. Increasing traffic is reducing tram travel speeds.  

* Upgrade busy bus route 733 to a SmartBus service between Box Hill and Clayton via Mt Waverley and Monash University with doubled frequency and extended operating hours.
This is a very busy route that has not had significant upgrades for 20 years despite increases in patronage due to higher density, university expansions and more students. The current half-hourly weekday and hourly Sunday timetable is inadequate for passenger demand. A SmartBus upgrade would fill a large gap and greatly improve access to the Monash employment precinct from the north and improve access to Box Hill station from the south, relieving pressure on parking.

* Upgrade bus route 767 to operate every 15 minutes between Box Hill and Chadstone.
This is the only route that provides access to Deakin University from the south. Its current 30 minute daytime frequency is inadequate for this purpose. An upgrade to 15 minutes would greatly improve access to the campus and provide an improved feeder service to trains at Jordanville Station. 

* Upgrade Deakin University shuttle (Route 201) from every 20 to every 10 minutes.
The current 20 minute frequency shuttle does not mesh with trains every 15 minutes at Box Hill, leading to long waiting times. A shuttle frequency upgrade would boost the service enjoyed by other successful university shuttles (ie every 10 minutes or better like La Trobe's 301) and provide a 'turn up and go' service. Some resources for this upgrade can come from the confusing and unnecessary Route 768. 


* Add short trips to increase SmartBus Route 903's weekend frequency to 15 minutes between  Doncaster and Oakleigh South. Also provide Sunday service between 9pm and midnight.  
These short trips would cater for the high demand experienced along the busiest section of the Route 903 SmartBus. A consistent 15 minute weekend service would strengthen access to Box Hill and relieve parking pressure by making bus travel a viable alternative to driving.  

* Extend bus route 734 to Caulfield and upgrade frequency to provide new connection between lines. 
This short bus route extension would improve access to the Monash campus in Caulfield and other attractions including South Yarra and Chapel St. It would also provide a handy back-up during train disruptions. 

* Commence new direct bus route along Canterbury Rd between Box Hill and Ringwood via Forest Hill Chase. Implement in conjunction with reviews of local routes such as 735, 736 and 765.
Canterbury Rd is a main road that lacks a strong bus service along it, though portions of several routes run along parts of it. A single Canterbury Rd route would make buses more direct and easier to understand, leading to increased patronage and better access to shops and trains. It would also allow improvements to other local bus services in the area. 

* Introduce Sunday service on bus route 612 between Chadstone and Box Hill and Route 766 between Burwood and Box Hill.
Upgrade would support retail activity at Chadstone, Camberwell and Box Hill and provide residential areas with 7 day service. 

* Simplify bus route 736 by splitting route at Glen Waverley and operating as separate route numbers.
Low cost change would make a confusing and indirect bus route more understandable and encourage patronage. No change in service kilometres required. 


* Upgrade train frequencies, particularly on weekends
Current regional-style train frequencies are lower than what is required for a fast-growing suburban location. Upgrades would be a handy precursor to electrification. 

* New bus routes in growth areas
Melton is one of the fastest growing local government areas in Australia. It has had no extensions to its local bus routes despite this growth. This has led to thousands of homes being remote from any form of public transport. 

* Major bus network review in area with buses every 20 minutes or better Monday - Sunday to station via Coburns Rd and Station Rd.
This upgrade would make buses more useful for travel to major local destinations such as Melton Station and Woodgrove Shopping Centre. The frequencies suggested are like those operating in similar growth areas such as Werribee/Tarneit and Cranbourne that received new bus networks in 2015 and 2016. 

South Barwon Darren Cheeseman MP

* Upgrade Geelong line trains from every 40 minutes to every 20 minutes on weekends
Current demand for weekend trains on the Geelong line is high. Existing frequency is only half that of other lines a similar distance from Melbourne CBD, eg Pakenham. A 20 minute service would bring Geelong line train frequencies similar to that of electrified suburban lines.  

* Introduce new bus routes for Armstrongs Creek for coverage of growing residential areas
Residential area has had rapid recent growth with significant areas remote from bus services.  This places pressure on parking at stations like Waurn Ponds. 

* Upgrade local bus routes with longer hours of operation and better weekend frequencies, particularly to Torquay/Jan Juc over summer.
This change would better match service provision with likely demand and potentially relieve traffic pressures in the area by making bus travel a real option. 


* Upgrade Mernda train line to operate every 10 minutes during the day
Extensions to South Morang and Mernda have increased line patronage. 'Turn up and go' train frequencies relieves pressure on nearby trams and provides area with a fast and frequent transport option. Existing 20 minute frequency is low for a train line through a continuously urban area. 

* Boost Mernda and Eltham evening train frequencies from every 30 to every 20 minutes
The current 30 minute service is low for a major metropolitan line. Existing timetables reflect 1970s cutbacks and not modern travel pattern. Comparable lines in Sydney operate every 15 minutes at night. 

* Boost Mernda and Eltham Sunday morning train frequency to 20 minutes
Current 40 minute service is worse than comparable length lines in the south and east (every 30 minutes). Changing lifestyle patterns have increased demand for early Sunday travel. Comparable lines in Sydney operate every 15 minutes on Sunday mornings. 

* Improve shoulder peak, Sunday morning and evening services on tram routes.
These upgrades don't require additional trams to be purchased. However they better suit modern travel needs and accommodate the densification of housing in the area. 

* New 401-style frequent bus link from Clifton Hill station to Melbourne University.
Current access from Clifton Hill to Melbourne University requires taking a train the long way around the City Loop and changing to an (often crowded) tram. Like has occurred successfully with Route 401 from North Melbourne, a frequent express bus may relieve some pressure on train and tram services. 

* Introduce new Burnley St bus route from Victoria Gardens to Burnley Station possibly extending to Williams Rd and the South Yarra area.
There used to be a bus route (607) in the area but it was discontinued in the 1980s. However land use change and population densification may make it popular again in providing a north-south connection and feeder to Burnley station. 

* Increased frequency on Johnston St bus routes (200/207)
Current peak services are overcrowded. There have not been recent service upgrades. Catchment is undergoing population densification which is likely driving demand. 

* Upgrade bus route 907 to operate every 10 minutes weekdays. Improve evening frequency to 20 min. Introduce 9pm - midnight Sunday evening frequency. Operate 24 hours on weekends as part of upgraded Night Network. 
This would improve services to Collingwood along an important corridor. Having one bus route operate 24 hours would improve legibility compared to now where a Night Network operates with different routes and route numbers for buses. 

Summary

The above list is quite long. There's lots of repetition. What if you wanted only a few high-impact upgrades that benefit a lot of seats?  Here's my pick and the marginal seats that would gain (others would as well).

* Belgrave/Lilydale line service upgrade. Weekday interpeak trains increase to every 10 min to Ringwood and every 20 min to Belgrave and Lilydale similar to weekend timetable. Weeknight trains increase to every 10 min until 10pm to Ringwood. Evening and Sunday morning trains increase from every 30 to every 20 min. Benefits Bayswater, Hawthorn, Box Hill and Ringwood which are currently Labor held marginals. Would also benefit marginal Liberal-held seats of Croydon, Evelyn and Ferntree Gully.  

* Mernda line service upgrade. Weekday interpeak trains increase from every 20 min to every 10 min. Evening and Sunday morning trains increase to every 20 min from every 30-40 min. Benefits Northcote and Richmond (Labor marginals).  

* Box Hill, Deakin and Monash Uni precinct bus upgrade.  Upgrade 201 Box Hill - Deakin shuttle to every 10 min. Upgrade bus route 733 to SmartBus between Box Hill, Mt Waverley, Monash Uni and Clayton. Double frequency on Route 767 between Box Hill, Deakin Uni and Chadstone. Upgrade Route 737 bus between Monash Uni, Glen Waverley and Knox City. Benefits Mt Waverley, Burwood and Box Hill (Labor marginals) and Forest Hill (Liberal marginal). 

* Weekend bus boosts. New Sunday running and/or extra trips to give 7 day service at least hourly until 9pm on the following bus routes: 251, 270, 271, 279, 284, 285, 304, 370, 380, 506, 548, 612, 766 and 788. Benefits Hawthorn, Northcote, Burwood, Box Hill, Ringwood, Nepean (Labor marginals), Kew (Liberal marginal) and Brunswick (Green marginal). 

* Ease the squeeze peak upgrades. More trips on routes 200/207, 302/304, 703, 733 and 788 to address overcrowding during peaks. Benefits Box Hill, Burwood, Mt Waverley, Richmond and Nepean (all Labor marginals). Also Kew and Forest Hill (both Liberal marginals). 

* Tram service refresh. Shoulder peak, evening and weekend service upgrades on selected tram routes. Improve tram priority at slow spots and roll out more accessible stops. Benefits Northcote, Richmond, Box Hill, Hawthorn and Burwood (Labor marginals) and Kew, Caulfield and Forest Hill (Liberal marginals).  

* Key bus links program.  Extend bus route 734 to Caulfield. Upgrade frequencies and terminate routes 508, 548, 609 and 624 at more useful termini eg busy train stations. New Burnley St route in Richmond. New Canterbury Rd bus between Box Hill and Ringwood, with associated local network changes. Benefits Hawthorn, Northcote, Box Hill, Ringwood, Richmond, Burwood, Mt Waverley (Labor marginals). Also Kew, Caulfield and Forest Hill (Liberal marginals).

* Geelong and Ballarat line frequency upgrade. Increase weekend service to every 20 minutes on the Geelong line to as far as South Geelong and run more weekday interpeak and weekend trains at least to Bacchus Marsh.  Benefits Barwon and Melton (Labor marginals). 

* Pakenham catch-up train upgrade. Increase Sunday morning frequency from hourly to every 20 or 30 min. Upgrade weekend evening service from every 30 to every 20 min in conjunction with similar upgrades for Dandenong and Cranbourne. Benefits Bass (Labor marginal) and Gembrook (Liberal marginal).

Conclusion

The above are some suggested public transport service upgrades for all the marginal government-held seats in Victoria. Governments have sometimes introduced pre-election service upgrades. Notable examples occurred in 2006 (successful for the government) and 2010 (for buses - unsuccessful for the government as the big problems were with trains).  There were also significant (but low budget) bus network reforms in mid-2014, several months before that year's election.

NSW is a recent example of a government with a strong service agenda that two months ago won an election expected to be tight. Although some projects had troubles, the Berijiklian government could demonstrate a strong infrastructure and service expansion record, including doubling the number of stations with a 15 minute or better service in 2017 and proposing 14 000 extra bus services. That left the opposition with a weak transport offering apart from a populist free child travel policy that would likely increase crowding.

Victorians, in contrast, saw very little proposed on the service side in their November 2018 election campaign. While the government has been active in transport, it was all about infrastructure not service. Politically, this choice couldn't be faulted, with Labor winning an increased majority. However their task was made easier by an opposition that, apart from a few unofficial Edmund Carew tweets, failed to exploit the government's weakness and press a strong service agenda of its own.

In 2022, when people can no longer fit onto trains because the government blew its chance to  significantly revamp Metro train timetables in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the public may be less forgiving. Without increased service - on train, tram and bus - we're in for a rerun of the 2006 - 2010 era, when crowding increased and reliability plummeted. People couldn't get to work on time in the morning or back to daycare on time in the evening. And everyone remembers the political price that the then government paid for that in 2010!

What do you think about this list? Are there some things that should be in it? Should some be removed? Or maybe there's seats I've missed. Please let me know in the comments below. 

4 comments:

Tony Smith said...

Views from west:
1. Melton bus connections used to be good with everything coming in and going out again tied to hourly train arrivals. Admittedly hard to maintain when up and down trains are less coordinated but more reason to review.
2. 2015 PTV workshop at Torquay strongly advocated separating V/Line service to Anglesea, Lorne and Apollo Bay from Torquay services via a Koo Wee Rup-style interchange at Bellbrae, with the V/Line continuing on the Anglesea Road to Waurn Ponds station and shopping centre before continuing to central Geelong, likely with an additional intermediated stop at Freshwater Creek. Instead a recent V/Line route change has now extended the route by backtracking from Surf Coast Highway to Waurn Ponds shopping centre only, extending the trip time by around 15 minutes.

ANge said...

767 bus definitely needs to be more frequent. THis is the bus my children used to get to secondary school for 8 years. It intersects with Hughesdale station, runs via Chadstone shopping centre and past several schools to Deakin and PLC. IT has plenty of passengers, and would have more if it were more frequent, especially now that the Poath Road level crossing is gone.

Adz said...

Yes to the Burnley Street bus!! As a former resident of Richmond, the only north/south PT routes are the 246 bus along Hoddle St/Punt Road and the 78 tram on Church St. This leaves the middle and eastern sides of the suburb without any north/south services. Both these routes suffer from huge traffic congestion and I would assume that a Burnley St bus would also suffer. Traffic on Burnley St can stretch from Swan St to Bridge road during the peak, as this route funnels all traffic onto the MacRobertson bridge, the only other crossing of the Yarra between South Yarra and Toorak and the CityLink tollway.

If a bus was to run, there is little scope for separate running for the bus due to the narrow nature of the roads (inner city) unless parking was restricted on Burnley St (clearway or bus lane etc.) Also, if the bus was to run over the river, the bridge is only 3 lanes, with the northbound lanes permanently at 2 lanes (contra-flow).

Adz said...

PS - Forgot to mention, amazing summary Peter! Spot on with everything mentioned!