Saturday, May 30, 2009

Known Headways

I think this is the correct pair of words. I like known headways. What I take it to mean is that a public transport vehicle will run at certain predictable intervals.

An example would be when we lived in Balaclava and often used the train. I knew that in the AM peak, the train was every ten minutes and ran on the hour, so 8.00, 8.10, 8.20, 8.30 etc.

Later in the day when the fifteen minute service started, it was .03, .18, .33, 48. This went on until the afternoon peak service started.

I also knew that it was a thirteen minute trip to the city, and so I could also roughly calculate what time the train would be at other stations if needed to travel from them. I knew these times in bothe directions, for both peaks and day time services and weekend daytime services. I rarely needed a timetable.

The day service is the same, but the AM service has changed and it no longer has known headways.

From 6.47AM the gaps are, 14 mins, 13, 13, 11, 10, 9, 9, 8, 10, 9, 10, 8, and 9, where we reach 9.00AM.

The same goes for trams. I used to be a regular user of the now re-numbered route 69. At Balaclava Railway Station, the trams were evenly spaced. Now look at the AM peak.

8 mins, 8, 9, 10, 10, 15, 16, 15, 10, 14 etc.

It is clear to me that in the past, the service was matched to a timetable. Surely a good thing. Now, the service is matched to......well I don't what, possibly $$$.

Do feel free to point out why it may be a good thing and that there is some benefit to the travelling public.


  1. "An example would be when we lived in Balaclava..."

    No, that's 'Known Headwear' not 'Known Headway'.

  2. What is this 'train service' and 'timetable' of which you speak?
    Isn't it a case of stand around on a platform and wait for the first one to turn up?

  3. My local rail line is the Eastern Suburbs line which is probably the best in Sydney. It has a 3/5 minutes frequency at peak times and a 15 minutes frequency off peak and seems to keep to it reasonably well.

    The local bus service has a timetable too but the actual 'service' remains a mystery to me.

  4. Ideally you'd keep the regular intervals, but they changed it to wedge another train or two in there. They had to do it; that line gets really crowded.

    At some stage they're going to need to bite the bullet and completely re-write it. Maybe something like every 7.5 or 8 minutes, so it's more predictable.

  5. my trains come every 20 mins all day long, until whatever time at night they go to half hourly. As for the trams, I have never looked at the timetable, I just turn up and hope for the best!!

  6. Clever Brian.

    And even then Jayne, you might not squeeze on. But you can always use your 'move along' device.

    That is good Victor. Sadly every time I have caught weekend train from the 'Cross' in either direction, there has been a foul up somewhere.

    Some trains more crowded perhaps Daniel because of the irregular intervals. Not so much now, but they used to pull the Sandy line trains off at the drop of a hat, I guess to provide service on longer lines.

    That would be the Upfield line I guess Fenz? From what I see, they don't get too crowded. 30 mins at night is too long. Someone once said to me about trams, you should we able to see one approaching in the distance as one is fading into the distance. As it is, often two approaching after the last has well and truly disappeared over the horizon.

  7. I know the 109 is a 12-minute service, and now I know what it's called, Thank You Andrew.
    and I know that the 40-minute KH of the Scarybee bus is a bitch if you are a minute late.
    I also know that the whole thing will go to hell when you get the MYKI system. Travellers swipe card ON to begin the travel distance charged, but have to hold card in hand to swipe OFF and stop the charging.
    Sounds simple? HA!

  8. And Brownie, when fifty people are getting off a tram at one stop, what happens then? The 109, well 42, used to be a twelve minute service but in between there would be a tram to Deepdene, making it a six minute service to that point. Then the Deepdene's were eliminated and I thought it went to an eight minute service. Now you say, it is only twelve. Not good. Of course I shall have to go into stalking mode to discover why you are so familiar with that tram route.

  9. Dear friend lives Balwyn.
    Thats how I knew that shelter with the iron lace.

    The MYKI people haven't figured out how that exit swipe works in massed travel.
    For the $30 billion dollars MYKI has cost, the govt could have just made travel FREE.

  10. A dear never mentioned friend. I hear Balwyn Calling.

  11. That Whitehorse Rd tram has schoolgirls sitting on the floor making it very hard to move off the tram.
    I had to stand right on their horrible schoolbags hoping to break costly toys.

    I'm watching the soccer.

  12. Knowing when a train/tram/bus is due, how late it's running, why it's running late and the distance between it and the previous/following one WILL NEVER dictate when the next will arrive.

    As for the headways themselves, there should be plenty of action along St Kilda Rd, Balaclava Rd and Dandenong Rd in a month or two.

  13. Ann, it used to be the worst you did was squash their lunch. Now you smash their laptops, haha.

    What Rob? They are going to fix all the broken tracks?