06 June 2010

Have your say about the new Metro timetable - take our survey

Metro has started using a new timetable. Use our survey to tell us what you think.

Take the survey now

Tell us what you think about the timetables impact of frequency, overcrowding and reliability. Does the new timetable connect well to buses and trams?

Or make a comment below.


Anonymous said...

Years back I regularly utilised public transport - mainly train. I am talking about 35 to 40 years ago. At that time it ran, as far as I could tell, with little in the way of problems. The trains were pretty much on time and maintenance was kept up. Apart from that, when trains were running, the stations were suitably manned. If the situation was still the same a lot more people would be inclined to use them and give safety in numbers.

I am now a shift worker living in an area that has no train service of its own - namely Rowville. I consider this area unlikely to ever see a train line. We do however have buses. The amazing 'Smart Bus'. Runs once a week, not overnight, takes up a full traffic lane for itself and is causing traffic to bank up in such a way that the intersection of Stud and Ferntree Gully Rds will soon choke and cause gridlock in a big way.

If this was a regular service 24 hrs a day I would use it to commute to and from work but I can get there or come home. NOT BOTH. And this same situation applies to many people I know.

With respect to the 'Smart Buses' I would really like to extend my congratulations to the desk jockey at Vicroads who thought up the idea of the bus lanes. I imagine his/her next brilliant idea will be to have someone walk in front of cars with a red flag.

I would also like to comment on your survey concerning the new train timetables etc. They badly need an additional section where the respondents can add their own comments - you may learn something to your advantage and that of the public transport travelling public.

Anonymous said...

I have filled out the simple survey, but it is a bit too simple.

For me, there is always the problem of deciding whether to use Lilydale line or Belgrave line on a checkbox survey. It is one line. The same problem comes when filling in Metro's own feedback form.

Even on a peak-standing train, I often get a seat: I am sufficiently old and greybearded that working girls in their 20s offer me a seat, and I have declined only once. That was last week, when the standee news hit the daily press, and I was trying to get a feel for it.

In this case, the timetable was largely determined before Metro, and it wasn't determined by Connex either: the control strings are held firmly by DoT, and it has some weird ideas.

In this case, more smokescreens, fluff and mirrors, signifying nothing.
As soon as services are quoted as 211 per week, it is an attempt to make nothing seem like something.
That means 40 per day, 20 per peak, 10 per peak-flow direction, and not all running in the peak, and not spread over all routes.

My own line gets nothing.

A contributor on the Pakenham line points out that the new timetable reduces
connectivity: the train and bus headways are not in harmony, so only every second one connects.

What really grates is Metro crowing 'we are moving the system to a proper metro, with consistent stopping patterns for greater reliability'. It isn't. DoT has now added the Werribee line to the list of routes where sometimes you go to the loop; sometimes you don't. Now the Dandenong line gets the treatment. There is no consistency in the stopping patterns on the Dandenong line.

In the earlier survey, I commented about the inconsistency of evening timetables, dating from when Kennett pitched Connex vs National Express: C lines got 40 min headways; NE lines got 30; charmed Sandringham (the traditional home route for railway managers) got 20. The minimum provision should be to bring 40 min headways to 30, and even that is not good enough.
All 30 min headways should go to 20, matching Sandringham, and matching daytime headways on most routes. Lilydale and Belgrave get only 30 min midweek offpeak. Metro has not done nearly enough to improve timetables at times when there is not a shortage of train or track capacity. DoT doesn't believe in doing it; its sole focus is on the tidal-flow peak-period traffic. Likewise, the 10 min offpeak headways to Werribee are not matched by other routes. It has been noted in many places that this is simply pork barelling for electrates held by Labor transport ministers.

As a separate issue, I have had my own running battle with DoT over the subject of double-deck trains. They remain the only way to increase capacity quickly over all routes for minimum infrastructure cost: 50% more capacity with no megabillion new tracks needed. VR has been dead against double-deck trains since 1964, when they became a success in Sydney. The attitude has been passed onto generations of managers, including all of current DoT. DoT so much hated the one experimental set (in use from 1992) that it had the set scrapped, and insisted on more low-capacity single-deck sets for the privatisation order. There would be no overcrowding issues today if a production fleet of double-deck sets had been ordered instead of the rough but reliable Xtrapolis and smooth but nonstopping Siemens sets.

What we need is genuine improvement, not more spin. DoT is not capable of supplying that: it wants gold-plated expensive projects, not system-wide improvements. The goverment is incompetent, believes what it is fed by DoT (which a Westminster government is supposed to do when fed by permanent apolitical departments). It adds its own level of blatant lying. The extension beyond Epping is not going to South Morang; it is going only to Mill Park North, and for excess money. Even more outrageous is the squandering of $50m to return one return trip per day to Maryborough, serving Creswick as the only intermediate station.


Anonymous said...

Although it is not in the survey I am writing about one of my concerns with the mykey system. I do not consider i should have to give my banking/credit union details in order to travel on public transport - one should be able to buy a ticket for cash. The ability of government to keep 'tabs' on every move its citizens make is not altogether desirable and mykey offers the ability to do this in the future. Nor do I consider it desirable that payments are directly linked to an account desirable for one's own budgeting.


Anonymous said...

Crapp! Late again!!

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with Roderick's comments. Throwing a few more services onto the existing network isn't something to spend millions crowing about. It's just maintenance. Governments should feel free to crow about real change, ie, the introduction of a much-needed metro system (calling your operator Metro isn't the same thing). It could be delivered without $30 billion tunnels (I made that number up but I know the proposed number is large) from no-where to no-where. What's needed is to elevate some rail sections, sink others just a few metres (a la Singapore) to rid us of 19thC level crossings. And for gawd's sake don't do it as a PPP! Keep the costs down and project on time by just doing it as a gov project like is done most other places in the world. And Rod's right, throw double-decker trains on at peak. Commuter behaviour will change when DoT shows us they care about getting us to and from our destinations at a 21stC pace. Frequency is key but so is speed of each appliance. People shouldn't have to stand for 45 mins as the journey just shouldn't take that long. With the 'new' timetable, my 5km commute still takes the same 20-mins on the train (av. every 17.5-min services), an astonishing 35 mins (on av. 10-min frequency) on the tram, about 18 mins on my bike (and I'm a snail), and an hour to walk. Unclogging our streets of cars will only happen when PT is the way faster option. There's no out of centre interconnection between train lines, the timetables and service notificatons of the three modes do not communicate, trams STILL don't control traffic lights (started hearing about this 25 years ago when I moved to Melbourne: just DO IT) and everything is so slow, slow, slow. Clearly DoT needs a huge refresh of people who have worked in systems that work. DoT desk jockies should be out one day a month working train station counters, providing information on the trams, helping people navigate the system. That way, 'improvements' like the Abbotsford St tram 'interchange' (it was in the past but was reconfigured some years back so that it is humanely impossible to interchange without a 10-minute wait) would never happen.

Anonymous said...

While I don't necessarily share Lou's big bro suspicions (You don't have to personalise your card and should be able to top-up in cash when/if the system is rolled out but perhaps not at the moment), I am stumped by the plans to get rid of paper tickets entirely. I've never been forced to buy a smartpass in a foreign country to hop on PT. It's the same deal with Citilink... nothing is really thought through for visitors. Myki's website does not list tourists as a customer group but all the announcements point to a phase out of all non-Myki tickets later this year (or whenever). I had a friend who visited from Scotland earlier this year and I emailed Myki to ask whether he needed to buy a pass and how that would work. The only message I ever received back was that my query would take 7 days to answer (still waiting, guys). I don't know where you could get accurate information, though, as the Myki website is full of typos and information that looks barely evolved from an in-house workshop whiteboard.

Anonymous said...

I won't be travelling by train especially at night. It is not safe.

Too much attention is directed towards ticket inspectors instead of passenger safety. I will also ensure my children do not use trains.

What price a life?


Anonymous said...

I still think 20 mins during the day and 30 mins at night is far too long to have to wait between trains. Bad anyway - but even worse when there's nowhere warm and peopled to wait, and no toilet to use.

And why are public phones being removed from more and more stations? I don't have a mobile and have noticed that there are fewer and fewer phones anywhere near stations.


Anonymous said...

Dear pt4me,
I found this survey impossible to complete as I don’t fit ‘the norm’. I use the train from Springvale station which means I use Cranbourne, Pakenham and Dandenong line trains and travel at irregular times. I have found the increase in the number of trains has substantially reduced the number of people standing – particularly on the Dandenong trains. The frequency of trains at peak hours is very impressive. So far a big tick but it is early days yet.