Monday, February 7, 2011

Richlands - the mediocrity continues!

Richlands - secret train services!
One of the biggest improvements to public transport in Brisbane for some time has occurred in the last few weeks. But with the possible exception of Rail Back On Track members, most commuters would be hard pressed to know what this improvement is, as TransLink appear to have kept it a secret.

The opening of the Richlands Line has extended the weekday daytime Corinda service to Richlands, providing a 15 minute off-peak service to Darra. But that is only a fraction of the improvements. Evening and weekends only used to have a 30 minute service on the Ipswich Line. With the addition of the Richlands services running every 30 minutes, stations from Milton to Darra now have a 15 minute (well actually 14-16 minute) off-peak service during the evenings and weekends. Hopefully this will the first move towards a systemwide inner-suburban 15 minute off-peak frequency - we can only hope!

So why haven't TransLink and QR advertised this significant service improvement. Do they want to save the good news until the draft 2011 timetables are put into action (expected in March 2011, but who knows when)? Maybe they are concerned about a few inconsistencies to the interim timetable, and limited opening hours of Richlands? Issues aside, it would still be possible to advertise the improvements, even with a nod to the upcoming 2011 timetable without being misleading e.g "Now more frequent train services during evenings and weekends between CBD and Darra, further improvements coming soon".

Instead of publishing a new Ipswich timetable including the new Richlands services, QR and TransLink have published a separate interim Richlands timetable. So, for example a passenger from stations between Darra and Milton may look at the Ipswich timetable, and not know of the existence of many extra services. Maybe there isn't enough space on the timetable to fit in the peak Richlands shuttle services? QR timetables have been known to have a much shorter lifespan, including the March 2008 Ferny Grove timetable which was "adjusted" after a few days, so the short timetable lifespan isn't really an excuse.

Finally, despite QR having years to prepare for the opening of the Richlands Line, many trains do not have Richlands available as a destination on the front of the train. This would not happen anywhere else in the world, so why does mediocrity continue to be acceptable in Queensland?

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