Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dude, where's my 6-car unit?

Quite a few commuters may have had a shock in the last week when their previous cushy ride on a spacious 6-car train was replaced by a 3-car unit with standing room only. Trains that have reportedly been converted to 3-car services include the 8:21am from Mitchelton to Roma Street, and the 5:42pm expresso from Bowen Hills to Cleveland. Some Ipswich and Caboolture Line services on the new timetable have also been observed running with 3-car units. BrizCommuter is surprised at this, as it was thought that there should be enough trains to run the new timetables, particularly in the less intensive pm peak.

BrizCommuter travelled on the 8:21am from Mitchelton on Friday (the quietest working day for train loadings), and there were around 20-25 standing passengers per carriage. It could be possible that mid-week this service could get uncomfortably busy (although only for a short period), adding to commuter misery of this service running after an unacceptable 17 minute service gap. If this service is not returned to being a 6-car service by the busier Q3 2011/12, then this service could leave passengers behind on the platform. Lets hope that the busier 3-car services are given priority to be converted (back) to 6-car services once new trains are delivered. 

It seems that poor old QR are having to try and make the most out of limited resources yet again thanks to the Queenland Government's lack of public transport spending - in this case a train delivery program that cannot keep up with demand for new train services (despite the Queensland Government's apparent efforts to limit public transport patronage increases). Also, are there any other issues such as maintenance, that are putting are larger number of trains than usual out of service?

With a 3-car unit only being delivered every month, BrizCommuter can now understand why the phase two timetable "improvements" will not be happening until sometime in 2012 - there will simply not be enough trains for an improved timetable on the suburban tracks (Ferny Grove, Shorncliffe, Airport, Doomben, Cleveland, Beenleigh, & Gold Coast Lines) for some time. Of course it would be nice if TransLink could communicate this information to frustrated commuters. Stating that new timetables will be in action in "late 2011", and then going all quiet about the delay is extremely rude of TransLink! 

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