Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Busway to RBWH - one year old

RBWH Busway Station
Happy 1st Birthday to the Inner Northern Busway to RBWH. The extension of the busway from RCH Herston to RBWH opened in August last year, and until the overcrowding issue was fixed in late February 2010, was one of TransLink's biggest stuff-ups.

Before the Inner Northern Busway opened between Roma Street and King George Square in 2008, the Inner Northern Busway service was somewhat sporadic, consisting of the 330, 333, 340, and 393. Frequency wasn't great,  with am peak outbound and pm peak inbound buses regularly filling to capacity with QUT Kelvin Grove students, leaving many students waiting on the platforms at QUT Kelvin Grove.

When the Inner Northern Busway opened to Roma Street and King George Square in 2008, the 66 bus route was created which ran from Wooloongabba to QUT Kelvin Grove. This reduced the overcrowding for QUT Kelvin Grove students. Unfortunately, the 393 bus which ran from Tenerife to Roma Street was stunted to Normanby. This reduced the bus service along the Inner Northern Busway to RCH Herston and RBWH. At RCH Herston, long waits between bus services became the norm, and overcrowding increased with many inbound pm peak buses filling to capacity at or before RCH Herston. Many hospital workers were also unable to board the outbound am peak buses to RCH Herston and RBWH because because they filled to capacity with QUT Students.

Roll on August 2009, the opening of the busway to RBWH, and the long awaited extension of the 66 to RBWH. Except the 66 wasn't extended to RBWH as expected. The increase in patronage at the newly opened RBWH busway station made the overcrowding problems even worse. Now many, if not most inbound pm peak 330, 333, and 340 buses filled to capacity at RBWH, resulting in passengers being left behind at both RBWH and RCH Herston. Average waits for an inbound pm peak service at RCH Herston was around 25 minutes, with reports of waits of more than 50 minutes! Just to add insult to injury, many empty out of service buses passed these frustrated commuters. Many users of RCH Herston stopped using public transport and went back to driving. The reputation of public transport for Herston hospital workers was severely damaged. Given that the Herston hospital campus has well known severe parking issues, this was a great opportunity to convert people to public transport wasted!

Finally, in late February 2010, TransLink eventually extended to 66 to RBWH. This almost instantly eliminated overcrowding and full buses at RBWH and RCH Herston. It also reduced the average waiting time for a bus at RBWH and RCH Herston to just a few minutes. However, the Inner Northern Busway is already close to requiring extra capacity, with the 66 often at capacity after departing QUT Kelvin Grove. In the university holidays when the 66's frequency is halved in the peaks, full buses are still regularly occurring.

BrizCommuter hopes that TransLink and Queensland Transport have learnt lessons from this stuff-up, and that in future enough services are planned and funded to use newly opened infrastructure.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately the 66 only runs every 10 minutes in peak hour and not at all on weekends. So for anyone from the northside trying to get to, for example, the Mater hospital or Brisbane State High, it can be a very long trip with multiple changes required. 10 minutes may not even sound like much but given that the journey usually includes a long wait for another suburban route AND the 10 minutes can be 15 or 20 at times - it is just too long.


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