Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bus blockage

If I need to go anywhere west of Swanston Street in town, I catch a bus rather than an overcrowded tram. It doesn't seem to matter what time of the day now, trams are crowded. It wasn't like that when we first moved here in 2002. A bus was a poor option back then.

Really, the bus is still a poor option. Buses are a bit quieter than ten years ago, but still rough riding and rattly. I would get a tram if I knew I could get a seat. If I am on my own, I pick and choose trams, like today when coming home, I waited for a not too busy tram with aircon, as it was 32 degrees, in the eighties in the old money.

But I caught a bus into town. It took forever to travel from Crown to Bourke Street. There is absolutely no favouritism for buses once over Queens Bridge at Flinders Street.  A little before there is some favouritism with a bus only lane and then the bus is allowed to travel along the tram lines. The last time I went into town by bus, last week, a building construction company had taken over the very short section of bus only lane. The whole trip by bus through South Bank is very slow, with so many turns.

That is nothing compared to travelling to Prahran by bus, as I did yesterday. I really got the hat trick.

St Kilda Road is, by official standards, a boulevard. From one side to the centre it is footpath, nature strip,  parking lane, two lanes of traffic, a grassed median strip, a parking lane, a single traffic lane and a tram lane. It repeats to the other side. The bus travels in the single centre traffic lane, which at intersections widens without parked cars to allow vehicles to turn right. But the lane widths are narrow and if a car in a right turn lane is not really over to the right while waiting for a turn arrow, the bus can't get past.


A picture tells a thousand words. In this case, the bus can get past the right turning red car, but so often they cannot. The bus sits there facing a green light, with traffic behind it, unable to move because of the right turning car. The lights will go red and the red car will get the green arrow, then the lights for the cross street will go green, and then eventually once that cycle has finished, the bus can proceed.



There are three intersections where this can happen in St Kilda Road, and I copped them all. While there is some priority for trams along St Kilda Road, the section from the Arts Centre to Commercial Road is atrocious for public transport, with buses getting blocked, narrow and dangerous tram safety zones for passengers, and no platform stops, not even at the the major Domain Interchange, which I suspect is not being rebuilt as we wait eternally for an announcement on the construction of Metro Underground. I can't wait for Premier Baillieu's pre election announcements, like his last ones, reconstruction of Balaclava Station and construction of Southland Station.What happened?


If you are in the outer 'burbs and don't even have a bus, blocked or otherwise, near you, you have my sympathy, but this is all about me.


13 comments:

  1. I don't often disagree with you. But if I was prime minister I would ban petrol-spewing buses altogether and demand that our cities use electric trams, trains and anything else inventive and clean.

    Think of all that extra employment, putting trams lines BACK into those cities that pulled them out. Or expanding those cities' train networks.

    Vote for me, Hels, for prime minister!!!

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    Replies
    1. Colin3:25 pm

      Hels!
      Well you have a good idea. But would PM Gillard really get rid of those "petrol-spewing buses", that could lose Union Votes.
      Would the Victorian Premier try also?
      After all they do get people to work and the extra expense of better trams and train service - I think not. Imagine the added conjestion, already bad enough, if roads were closed!!! Road rage, temper tantrums, nah, just replace the buses with the non-spewing variety, but they, the politicans and so-called bureaucrats wouldn't have enough brains to think of that.
      Sorry until you come up with a better solution, I can't vote for you!

      Delete
    2. Hels, I am sure we on the same page. I only use the buses because they are not as busy. While I am spoilt by reasonably good public transport, the trams need to be better.

      Delete
    3. Colin, wouldn't the bus drivers become tram drivers of the expanded services? There is a role for buses, but not in the congested inner city areas. Twenty years ago I would have agreed with you that trams cause traffic congestion. Now, it is more likely that a tram is delayed by traffic congestion. While it may be frustrating to be stuck behind a tram, remember that there could be 100 people on the tram, and it is preferable that they are in one vehicle than 100.

      Delete
  2. I'll vote for Hels. Some people, I imagine, have the capacity to start with a vision and deliver on the detail.
    Working backwards from a definition, such people would be neither bureaucrats nor politicians.

    Infrastructure. Jobs. Priorities. Dreams. Action. Sanity. Common sense.
    All pipe dreams, of course. All of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FC, it sad now that so few have a vision for the future and only react.

      Delete
  3. I have no choice when it comes to using buses. I have to get to work and home again and the tram only runs through the city from and to the wrong direction. I used to quite enjoy the odd bus trip when I didn't have to be on them four times a day. Well twice a day, but four buses. It's very tiring, all that waiting at bus stops.

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    Replies
    1. River, it really is a pain that you have to catch two buses to work. It must be quite a chunk out of your day. I hope it mostly goes right, but I am sure it does not always.

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  4. I have heard that our public transport system here in the west is pretty good, but I never use it even though the train station is only five mins away, it just seems easier to drive. Oh la! I'm such a bad environmentalist....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, we hear this about your transport system often. Not only do you seem to do it better, you do it cheaper as well. I like using public transport because there is always someone or something to see that you never do in a car.

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  5. I hate buses, they freak me out. Not sure how electricity is any better for the environs than petrol/diesel.

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    Replies
    1. Fen, it is the amount of pollution. Even brown coal generated electricity is not as polluting to power trams and trains as the diesel pollution from buses.

      Delete
    2. ah well there you go! I must take more notice of this sort of thing.

      Delete

Whenever I wish I was young again, I am sobered by memories of algebra.