Monday, January 19, 2015

Why I whinge about our trams

From the balcony it is quite clear to me how the tram system is running. In the two or three weeks after Christmas, trams glided past The Highrise, unhurried and relaxed. Before Christmas was very different. The trams sped around the curve below at high speed, no doubt trying to catch up time to the timetable.

I remember public announcements on trams before Christmas, that the timetables had been altered and may not match details at tram stops, but the service had not been reduced and the pre Christmas timetable was in effect to deal with different traffic conditions. What different traffic conditions? A fool can tell you that the timetable would allow more time for trams to make their trips, given the extra activity and people out and about shopping pre Christmas.

But no. I had a look at a timetable for earlier in the year and the current online timetable at the time and unbelievably Yarra Trams reduced the times for trams to make their trips. That is, say our trams leave the University terminus at a certain time, and pass The Highrise a certain number of minutes later. In the lead up to the busy Christmas period, this time was reduced. Extraordinary. Who would have thought that would work?

Now, the performance results depot by depot from Yarra Trams have published for the month of December. Generally the results were good, with the exception of two depots. And guess what? They are the two depots that run the St Kilda Road trams. Frankly, the results were appalling. A pre Christmas timetable to deal with different traffic conditions? Really? #YarraTramsFail

Take a look for yourself. I expect the Department of Transport insists on the foreign owned private operator publishing such damming statistics. The first one is Malvern Depot, the second Glenhuntly Depot. Wow, they dip below a line. Does that mean Myki card holders get some compensation?

Yarra Trams are very busy making improvements to the system, so they tell us often enough, but not too much happens to improve the service in St Kilda Road where in the evening tram after tram arrives at the Toorak Road tram stop, too full to pick up any of the waiting crowds. I see it every evening when I am home and observing the happenings below The Highrise.

The graph on the right is the one to note. The blue line is an average across the tram system, the tan line is for trams along St Kilda Road.





25 comments:

  1. Andrew I can say my public transport is very reliable but it has to be living in that big conurbation to avoid traffic jams. I believe at tour place people prefer cars in the city. In my place it has changed recently but public transport is so crowded too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosia, I am sure your system is more efficient than ours. Yours has some pressure to perform well by so many users. Ours does not have as much.

      Delete
  2. The paradox in Sydney over Christmas is that there are more people around retail areas and at the same time there are fewer cars and buses on the road otherwise because of school and other holidays. This I think is the rationale for transport authorities to decree shorter trips. What happens then in Sydney is that train and bus drivers unilaterally drop stations and stops from their routes during trips when they fall behind time in order to reach their destination according to punctuality targets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Victor, exactly how it is here. All quite predictable, yet it seems to be a surprise every year to our transport authorities.

      Delete
  3. Our buses run on a severely reduced time-table between Christmas and New Year. And are severely underpatronised as well. Which is given as a rationale for the cuts. I suspect that more people would use them if they were more convenient. Waiting up to an hour for the next bus is a HUGE disincentive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC, that is absurd waiting time. To attract customers it needs to be a maximum of a 20 minute interval. 15 minutes would be preferable.

      Delete
    2. Outside peak hours an hour wait between buses to the city centres is the rule rather than the exception. It is worse on weekends, and holiday periods.

      Delete
  4. We have two routes for buses in this small town where I live but they are quite expensive to ride. I've never ridden as they go nowhere I want to go. I used to ride the bus in Corvallis when I lived there and had no car for a decade or two, and life was hard. Waits for buses were long and we were allowed only what we could carry and sit on our laps on the bus. So one to two bag grocery shop trips was all that could be done and the time frame to do it, compared to, if one had a car, would be a ten minute trip to the store, with car, then back, but on the city bus, that task time would be half a day, due to convoluted routes and drivers skipping stops if they were behind. I was thrilled to finally purchase a junkard car for under $200, to be able finally to leave town and have autonomy. That was the entirety of my experience with public transport since it is not widespread in Oregon, outside of Portland and maybe Eugene.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strayer, I don't blame you for your preference. As good as I thought Portland public transport is, a correspondent informed me she always has issues when she uses the trams/streetcars.

      Delete
  5. I'm so glad I don't have to rely on the tram system - it doesn't seem to have worked for years.
    Strayer mentioned drivers missing stops - wasn't that a problem with the train system recently? Supposedly so their figures would look good??
    Cathy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cathy, for us with many trams passing by, it isn't too bad. It is at the ends of the lines where people suffer the most. Indeed, that is what our trains do, skip stations. Of course it is usually known in advance by passengers, but that is little consolation. The worst situation is when it is an infrequent service such as on the Upfield line where a 20 min wait will change to 40 min wait.

      Delete
  6. Any computer tech worth his salt can print results that favour the system, they may be true, they may not. hmmm?
    And 81.31% is the best punctuality in 5 years? Let's hope it all improves, but don't hold your breath.
    We were informed of reduced bus services before Christmas, well I didn't notice any difference, but now we have whole new timetables beginning next Sunday and not only are the times different, but we've lost and entire early morning run. Our route is changed, will be similar to what it was when I first moved here, but ending in a different street, so getting to my K's place now will mean crossing two main streets to connect with her bus which also has a 'renewed' timetable. Oh wait, that's wrong. I'll have to cross those streets on my way home from K's to get to my 'new' bus stop.
    There never seems to be any easy solution for public transport.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, I also have no doubt the figures are doctored to make performance look better. Good luck with your bus changes. I am sure you will work it all out eventually.

      Delete
  7. Have just read Strayer's comment, which reminds me of Port Pirie. They have one bus, which meanders around the city and suburbs at no particular timetable. You just pick a stop and wait for it. One more reason to never go back there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember your PP bus experience vividly, River.

      Delete
  8. At least you have trams, we don't. We use public transport now if we go into town because the parking is so ridiculously expensive. We drive to either the train station or bus station and then ride into town. the bus service is every 15 mins and the trains run frequently during peak hours and then every 30 mins. We try to go and return when school kids and work commuters are not using the transport. We don't have any complaints but I believe work commuters find it hard to get on overcrowded buses and if they are full they don't stop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane, and isn't it more relaxing to use public transport without the stress of city driving, parking and being cross about how much parking costs. Yes, certainly avoid school times. I remember a Brisbane photo of many buses queued on a bus only roadway leaving the city in a peak hour.

      Delete
  9. Those trams with be the death of you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WA, just sorting out my retirement form of transport.

      Delete
  10. Andrew, I think you have to stop looking down on the tram 'situation' below the Highrise or the only thing to rise (?) will be your blood pressure :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, I enjoy getting cross with the incompetents.

      Delete
  11. Come here try out Public Transport and you will take the next plane home ! It's a mess !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gattina, generally in Europe public transport is good. What is the real issue in Brussels?

      Delete
  12. I love your trams. You don't really need a car to get around Melbourne and that's how it should be in every city.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bill, I do like them and they are pretty good, but I would never let the public transport company rest on its laurels.

      Delete