Category Archives: Campaigns

Our final PT Problem of the Day for now: Buses along side streets = confusing, slow routes

Bus driving down a side street

Bus drivers have real difficulty manoeuvring their buses down side streets, between parked cars. Apart from slow trips, it also means journeys for passengers are along indirect routes and that services are confusing for first-time users.

A PTUA study last year found that on average, Melbourne bus routes were 70% longer than the most direct roads.

The answer is bus route reform, and upgrade of more services into Smartbus routes. Smartbuses run direct routes along arterial roads, with more frequent services than the average suburban bus. Unsurprisingly, passengers are jumping on board, with patronage increasingly rapidly.

This is the last in the PTUA’s Problem Of The Day series for now. Since April 2011 we’ve highlighted 150 different issues, many of which have been fixed after we raised them. This has also been a chance to bring attention to public transport issues often ignored by the operators and the government.

If you care about better public transport. Join the PTUA now. We rely entirely on member funding and enthusiastic volunteers to operate.

PT Problem of the Day: Regional Rail Link closure – lack of low-floor buses, and poor information

RRL closure: replacement buses lacking low-floor vehicles
RRL closure: no information for Sunbury/Sydenham line on screens at Flagstaff

The Sunbury, Ballarat and Bendigo lines have just had a two week closure for Regional Rail Link works.

While reports suggest the replacement services ran pretty smoothly, there were two issues of note that we’re highlighting:

Low-floor buses: PTV made a pledge that Ninety per cent of replacement buses will be Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant low floor buses. In each bus run, at least one DDA compliant bus will be available. This wasn’t the case. PTUA member Rod counted around half the buses he saw being high-floor models, and plenty of bus runs without a low-floor bus available — causing delays for any wheelchair users, and inconvenience for parents with prams and others with mobility problems.

Passenger information: As you can see, even though special Flemington Race trains were listed as an option for Werribee and Williamstown line passengers needing to get from Loop stations to North Melbourne, the Sunbury/Sydenham line information was completely blank… for the entire two week closure. Announcements were made frequently in peak hour, but less so outside peak, and are of limited use to those with hearing difficulties. It seems little has changed since the first major closure in mid-2011.

Help our campaign for better public transport. Join the PTUA now. We rely entirely on member funding and enthusiastic volunteers to operate.

Bus photo: Rod Swift.

PT Problem of the Day: Wrong #Myki information on some trams (can they tell a bus from a tram?)

Myki information for buses, found on a tram

On December 29th, Melbourne became a Myki-only city. You’d hope they’d have ensured all the information posted around the system would be as accurate as possible.

But this tram (number 205 if anybody from Yarra Trams is reading) got the wrong signage.

It’s clearly intended to be placed in a bus. Apart from mentioning that soon you will be able to top up your Myki via the bus driver, it also says you need to touch off — which may cause more confusion and delays, as you generally don’t have to touch off when alighting trams.

Most trams have a different version of this information that is more relevant to tram passengers. We hope those that got the wrong information will be corrected as soon as possible, to help assist those still confused by Myki.

Help our campaign for better public transport. Join the PTUA now. We rely entirely on member funding and enthusiastic volunteers to operate.

More about PT Problem Of The Day, including how you can contribute your photos.

Problem of the Day: No #Myki ticket sales on trams, no short term tickets at all

No ticket sales on trams, no short term tickets at all

As of Saturday, there is no way to buy or top-up a ticket on a tram, and at present not on buses either (although it will be eventually). And on the entire Melbourne public transport network, there is no single or short term ticket available at all.

This is already causing confusion for occasional users — both tourists and locals alike. We fear in many cases locals who usually drive will use it as an excuse not to try public transport.

It’s not just the $6 (full fare)/$3 (concession) card cost — it’s also the confusion of how much you have to load onto it (which must be slightly more than the fare you’ll incur, because for the card to be usable, the balance must stay above zero) and of course many people aren’t comfortable with buying a non-refundable, reusable card that they will only use once.

The answer is clear: the government must change the system and offer a single use (2-hour or daily) ticket, such as the paper tickets used alongside smartcards in Brisbane and Perth and most other cities around the world.

Sign our petition calling for single use tickets.

More PT Problem Of The Day photos.

PT Problem of the Day: Flinders Street clocks – iconic, but out of date

Flinders Street clocks

Flinders Street is Melbourne’s busiest station, and its clocks are not just historic icons, but also informative. Unlike modern screens such as those that replaced the clocks at Elizabeth Street, they can be seen from a distance, such as from across the street.

But their usefulness is limited because they are out of date: the Broadmeadows line was extended to Craigieburn in 2007; The St Albans line was extended to Sydenham in 2002, and again to Sunbury in November.

The Altona clock doesn’t show a time or platform, though this would be useful with the Altona Loop line (to Laverton) now running as a separate service at most times.

Four more clocks (not shown above) have times for the Burnley group of lines, but the Hurstbridge and South Morang lines don’t have a clock at all.

One might suspect heritage issues are a reason the clocks aren’t updated, but one shows “Pakenham and Cranbourne” — suburban trains only started running to Cranbourne in 1995 — and photos from the 1950s and 1970s show they have been revised from time to time as the rail network has developed.

Help our campaign for better public transport. Join the PTUA now. We rely entirely on member funding and enthusiastic volunteers to operate.

More PT Problem Of The Day photos.

PT Problem of the Day: Southland station needed urgently; promised at election, but still not underway

Still no station at Southland

Over the weekend, car parks at major shopping centres such as Southland, were packed with Christmas shoppers. The long search for a car spot resulted in some resorting to illegal parking, such as on grass verges.

It’s a reminder that there is still no funding and no announced start date for construction of Southland station. Despite its position right next to the Frankston line, a long walk from the closest stations, and poor bus connections (especially at weekends, when the shops are busiest) mean trains aren’t an option for most people.

As an article in The Age yesterday noted, the last election swung on public transport issues, particularly on the Frankston line. The government would do well to remember their promise and ensure Southland station is built as soon as possible.

PT Problem of the Day: No ticket sales or #Myki topup on trams from Dec 29th. Will fare evasion skyrocket?

Fare evasion warning / No ticket sales on trams

Most people would agree that preventing fare evasion is a matter of carrot and stick. The carrot is easy purchase of tickets; the stick is more consistent and regular ticket checks.

Instead we’ve gone backwards — particularly on trams. When there were tram conductors, it was almost certain your ticket would be checked, and you could easily buy one. When tram conductors were withdrawn, fare evasion rose dramatically.

From December 29th, there will be no ticket sales (or Myki topup) on trams at all — no option to pay your way once you board the tram. With ticket checks comparatively infrequent, particularly in the suburbs, there are real fears that fare evasion will go through the roof.

Sign our petition calling for a single use ticket option at MykiSingles.com

PT Problem of the Day: Are the new #Myki gates reliable enough?

Myki gates: not always reliable

The new Myki-only gates installed at stations are certainly more informative for Myki users than the old hybrid Metcard gates.

But they don’t seem any faster, and worse, they appear to suffer from reliability problems. We’ve had many sightings of individual gates going out of service, and recently some cases of entire banks of gates being inoperable in peak hour.

The first set of Myki-only gates was installed at Parliament back in October 2010 — one would hope they’d have ironed out any problems by now.

Picture: @TheMykiUser on Twitter

Sign our petition calling for a single use ticket option at MykiSingles.com

PT Problem of the Day: Cars parked in bus stops – inadequate signage and enforcement

POTD: Cars parked in bus stops

It’s all too common to see cars parked in bus stops, which means buses to have to stop in traffic — a potential safety risk for passengers, particularly those with limited mobility, and a cause of added traffic congestion.

The motorists pictured above might be oblivious to the law: if there are no Bus Zone signs, then you are not permitted to park within 20 metres of the approach side of a bus stop, nor within 10 metres of the departure side. (Rule 195, Road Safety Road Rules 2009).

Signage might help here, as might education of motorists, as well as enforcement, to make sure cars don’t continue park in bus stops.

Help our campaign for better public transport. Join the PTUA now. We rely entirely on member funding and enthusiastic volunteers to operate.

More about PT Problem Of The Day, including how you can contribute your photos.