Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Buses, the poor cousins

Peter Parker has long written about public transport. His site now is https://melbourneontransit.blogspot.com/ It is mostly about buses and the mess that Melbourne's third tier of public transport, buses, has always been and is not being fixed. He often writes about easy solutions to complicated bus routes and at times about bus routes that could really be fixed by a minimal expenditure. At times he argues that money needs to be spent on bus route reform and improvement.

I think he should be a powerful head of a bus reform organisation within a government authority. However after praising him and what he does, you really need to be seriously interested in public transport or have a vested interest in a bus route to read his site. I normally skim read but pick up on bits and pieces.

Peter's recent post was about buses in the the area where Tradie Brother lives. While Peter didn't write about the routes Tradie Brother used when he lost his driving licence some time ago that runs from Frankston Station along Cranbourne Road either to Langwarrin or on to Cranbourne Station, he did stimulate me to look at the bus routes that Tradie Brother used and no doubt at times my nephew and nieces used when they were younger and lived at home.

The 790 runs from Frankston Station to Langwarrin. The 791 travels further to Cranbourne Station. While the aforesaid Peter can probably absorb a timetable in seconds, it takes me longer. I did look at the AM peak service and the Saturday service and both seemed just as messy as the daytime weekday service I really examined.

Both routes operate every forty minutes, so given one covers half the route of the other, it would be reasonable to expect a bus every twenty minutes from Frankston Station along Cranbourne Road.

Not so. They are spaced ten minutes apart and then thirty minutes apart. This goes on all day and so if anyone wants to travel as far as Langwarrin, it is either a ten minute wait or a thirty minute wait if I have my sums right. I wrote them down to be sure in my disbelief that such a thing could happen.

Oops. I just found another route, the 789 which makes it a nice ten minute service during the day.

Just one of  Melbourne's modern fleet of buses. Don't laugh too much. I remember these running in my adult years and they had conductors on board.

29 comments:

  1. I like buses, and often rely on them. As I have whinged often before our relatively recent redesign of the bus service was put in place by people who don't use them (and certainly don't need them). Bus patronage on my side of town (which won't get light rail for five years or more) has declined markedly.

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    1. Patronage figures provide a good argument to the appropriate department.

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  2. I used to take public transportation everyday to work - I am very happy to work in a suburb now and not have to rely on it...way to unreliable here!!

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    1. Annsterw, aside from a few large cities, America does not do public transport.

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  3. Slightly on topic: My sis-in-law was running to catch the bus a few days ago, fell, rolled both ankles and ended up in emergency.
    FYI: If you are ever looking for a topic to post on: I'd love to hear more about your stick vacuum:)

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    1. Sandra, you usually get to an age where you don't run to catch a bus and doggedly wait for the next one, as you sis-in-law perhaps should have done. I think you must have seen my comment on stick vacuum cleaners now.

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  4. PS She's married to my bro who had the transplant. They both ended up in wheel chairs.

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    1. Bugger. Neither can push each other around.

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  5. I don't like buses. They are ugly, lumpen, smelly and dangerous to the cars sharing the same streets. If we need more public transport, lets increase the trams and the train services.

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    1. I agree, but out in the 'burbs, buses are better because NO government anywhere is going to put tram lines down every street in suburbia. My idea would be train and/or tram lines radiating out from the city area to a "main stop" area where buses could then pick up and deliver passengers.

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    2. I'm with you Hels and there are many lines to extend.

      River, that is the idea but in a big city like Melbourne, we also need cross suburban trams and trains, not just radiating from the city.

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    3. Yes, cross suburban too. I forgot about that.

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  6. The last time I was on a bus was back in 1987!

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    1. Lee, that really is going back.

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  7. Are you kidding me? Those old buses, in Melbourne, in your adult years. And with conductors too! I haven't seen a bus like that since I last watched "On the Buses" with Reg Varney and co. I'm wondering about the different route numbers and whether those buses all travel the exact same streets. Main roads, probably but then they would each go separate ways around the suburbs and if you are a little out of the way, you would have to wait for whichever bus number came around and that would be more than ten minutes.
    Like us here in Adelaide, from the city along King William Street there are several buses with a 17- and they all go along KWS as far as Victoria Square, then the services branch out, with the 170; 171; 172; 178 all going to different suburbs. So for me to catch a 171 into or out of the city it's still a half hour wait if I just missed one because none of the other 17-s go along Fullarton Road which is where I need to go.

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    1. Quite true River. R's friend Marge Adams was a wide hipped bus conductor and somehow managed to walk along the narrow bus aisle to collect fares.

      Yes, at least one bus route I mentioned does deviate but after it goes past my brother's bus stop.

      I consider a half hour wait for a bus from the city to an inner suburb unreasonable. Just not good enough.

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  8. I hardly ever travel by bus, but when I do I always thank the driver and wish him/her a pleasant day. People find this funny; I think it's just politeness.

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    1. Here we are really supposed to leave the bus by the rear door, and I normally do and give the bus driver a wave in his or her large mirror. But many do get off using the front door and thank the driver. Tram drivers are much more locked away and may not even hear your thanks if you said it.

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  9. Love that bus, have seen that shape bus before in a TV show, same as what River says..
    Timetables for busses well some people would remember the times well others like me wouldn't.
    Used to catch a bus once in a while to school and back years ago of course.

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    1. Margaret, no doubt such information for River would be online. The bus does look good but so uncomfortable and belching out black smoke everywhere and the steering wheels were nearly horizontal to allow the driver to put muscle into turning the wheel at slow speeds.

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    2. Paper timetables are still available for the asking and I have quite a collection for anywhere I might want to go in Adelaide and suburbs. Trying to find anything online takes forever.

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  10. I seldom ride buses. There is a large network here in my city, but traffic makes them slow and unreliable when compared to rail.

    When I lived in the other house, the local council put a property tax increase on the ballot to fund bus service, and surprisingly it passed. 15 years later the system is still broke .

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    1. Travel, the car culture is just so strong in your country and in mine once you leave the city areas.

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  11. I hardly even use the bus here in Perth, if I go to the city, I prefer to drive to the station 10 min away, leave the car there and take the train to the city, another 10 min.
    During peak time I know the buses here run quite often, maybe every 10 min, but later on and in the evening they do drop to about 30 min, unless it's the very busy routes where the wait is shorter.

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    1. Sami, that is not a bad bus service and better than many places. I would do as you do, drive to the station.

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  12. I honestly can't remember the last time I used a bus Andrew, but if they looked like the one in your last post I might, it looks so cool 😀

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    1. Grace, if it didn't shake your bones to pieces.

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  13. As a child I had to take a forty-minute bus trip to school and again to get home every day of the school year, and we also took passenger buses to town from my village. Funny, I don't remember minding the school bus but I hated that passenger bus. The last time I was on one the seats had shrunk considerably and I felt like a sardine in a can!

    Our town has no buses; they were given up as unviable in the 90s, the most recent decade in which they were tried. It would be more economical for the municipalities to provide taxi chits than pay for a transit system. Seriously. Nevertheless, the current councils are trying again this fall. They are spending our municipal and provincial taxes to do so, and I expect it will fail again. We just have too few riders in a too-large, sprawling area.

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    1. Jenny, buses are not my favourite. Most councils here fund community buses to get older people around to where they have to go. I expect you are right about the taxi chits, and perhaps free bicycles for younger people.

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