05 March 2010

Is Balaclava Station the worst in Melbourne?

The Mayor of Port Phillip has nominated Balaclava Station as possibly the worst in Melbourne. What do you think? What other stations in Melbourne could rival Balaclava as the worst in town?

What’s wrong with Balaclava station?

  1. Not DDA compliant – in other words, poor access for disabled

  2. Narrow platforms

  3. The lane ways leading up to the pedestrian ramps are dark, dirty and uninviting, especially at night.

Is there another station that you think is worse than Balaclava?


Anonymous said...

I really hate Richmond Station, it is the busiest station outside the CBD, but has a real third-world feel to its entrances, lots of concrete and traffic and nowhere to park your bike, the MCG side entrance is only open when there are large events on at the MCG, too bad if you live in East Melbourne and don't feel like tangling with Hoddle St before your walk through the park. It has tiny, unintelligible signage and the staff always seem to be depressed and unable to help with anything beyond the most basic, frequently-asked questions. One set of steps from platforms only takes you to other platforms not the exit, the layout is (IMHO) poor and the surrounding land use is really not conduicive to late-night walking around - a big railway bridge with poor lighting, some car hire places, a pub, Hoddle St traffic, some destination shops but not much convenience retail or residential within sight lines of the station exits. The whole thing feels unfriendly and third-class. Not sure if it is worse than Balaclava though. It is a lot worse than Clifton Hill, even though Clifton Hill is less busy.

One thing that made Richmond Station less nasty last time I was there was a jokey bloke with a strong accent (I forget what sort, maybe Irish?) on the mike, hamming it up about how many minutes late each train was running, and encouraging people to cheer up, have a drink, relax etc, he was really quite funny and people were smiling at each other, which helped us all feel less cross that we were all going to be late. So maybe comedy announcers are what's needed at this time of crisis, and after the comedy festival they could do a bit of hiring of out-of-work comedians?! (yes i am joking)

The pedestrian underpass under Burnley Station is also quite nasty, always smells of urine, but for some reason that station doesn't feel as alienating as Richmond to me.

Victoria Park's ramps can be scary at night but once you are on the platform itself it doesn't feel so unsafe, it is fairly high up so I suppose visible from below

The rest in this area aren't too bad, though the people around East Richmond all say, "yeah we've got a station, but most of the trains don't stop there"

Is that useful?


Anonymous said...

Yarraville, because Jeff filled in the pedestrian underpass, and sometimes you have to wait 10 minutes for 4 trains before you can cross the tracks to walk home, or get to your platform.

Anonymous said...

Personally, have an issue with most stations where it is impossible to access without walking through the car park - not a great example to set when I have kids with me, not to mention the speed that people fly through at!
Personal Yuk factor has to go to Dandenong at night though!

Ming said...

Despite being a relatively new station, the staff at Watergardens manage to make the whole place a simply appalling place to be. Morose, uninterested and on occasions rude when asked the most basic of questions. Then, just about every station on the Sydenham line is ghastly, and certainly not the place to be after dark.

Anonymous said...

Hands down for me is South Kensington. I walk a longer distance to Newmarket on the Craigieburn line as I do not feel at all safe waiting or arriving there. The last time I used the station was a couple of weeks after the announced Myki launch and I noticed that the card readers were covered in what looked like years of muck. It's a grim place forgotten by anyone who cares.

Agree with the poster who said anywhere on the Sydenham line is fairly ordinary (with the exception of the new North Melbourne station which is well staffed, sparkling and, with the exceptions of vertiginous escalators and seeming absence of network maps and timetables, the model of what all our stations should be). We call Middle Footscray station 'Sudan' as the general ambience on a hot day makes it difficult to imagine you are standing in the first world. All line stations are squalid in the extreme, places where one regularly witnesses antisocial if not criminal behaviour, and where there is rarely anyone to hear you scream. After all that has happened in Melbourne's west recently I'm stunned that we are left alone without security on station platforms and rarely see a policing or staffing presence on trains.

The key issue for me is not to spend millions on glass and chrome but to have every station staffed and cleaned, and every platform postered with current readable train and connecting transit timetables and network and local area maps.

Anonymous said...

Really disgusting and frightening at night

Tolchok said...

I actually thought Balaclava station was fine (except for the frequency of delays and cancellations on the line), and I travelled to and from it (or Windsor station) at least 5 days a week for almost 2 years.

Richmond station I quite like as well - especially because of the quite often jovial and jockular people on the microphones (as mentioned).

South Kensington station does have a bit of a stark feel to it, but is still serviceable (I catch A LOT of public transport for my job, so have visited all three of these stations between 50 and many hundreds of times).

Camberwell station middle platform, and Footscray station platform to Williamstown and Werribee seem not to be level or even (which is bad when trying to get a pram (or just a young child) on and off the train - the gaps between the train and platform seem to get bigger, and the height also larger one end of the platform).

I personally do not like Flagstaff station, although have only used it less than a dozen times, so might have just had bad luck. It seems to smell like urine every time I am there, but again - I have only been there infrequently.

I know when travelling between appointments, I have seen some bad stations, but these are generally because of the surrounding neighbourhood, and can not think of any that are truly terrible. Funnily, my least favourite station would have to be the new North Melb station. I preferred how it worked before, something about the new overpass (and frequency of vlines/ freights causing delays) seem to stuff up my public transport flow... not really sure why, but most times I have been behind schedule, I have been stuck in Nth Melb.