Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Newmarket Go Slow?

SE Queensland's public transport network is excelling itself with slow progress at the moment - nearly 1 year late Next Generation Rollingstock trains, the 7 months late Moreton Bay Rail Link, Cross River Rail planning going around in circles, and of course the ongoing incompetence of Brisbane City Council's bus network. So lets through another one into the mix - Newmarket station accessibility upgrade.

BrizCommuter first reported on this upgrade back in early March, when strange things started appearing at Newmarket station, and of course Queensland Rail (QR) had failed to inform customers of what was going on. The strange things turned out to be constriction of temporary side platforms, so that ageing island platform can be refurbished with a new lift and bridge. So how long does it take to build a temporary platform? A few weeks? No, QR have managed to take over half a year and counting. In fact the construction has been so slow that it has become a discussion point laughing stock of passing Ferny Grove Line commuters.
Newmarket's still incomplete temporary platforms - 3 months ago!
In the mean time in Melbourne, surface tracks on the Frankston Line were closed, a deep cutting dug out, new track, bridges, and sub-surface stations constructed, and trains started running again in just 37 days.
Fast construction in Melbourne
In the Banana state, nothing happens quickly!

Friday, August 26, 2016

PityGlider - BCC getting more farcical

Artists impression of Brisbane City Council
For many years, BrizCommuter has been reporting on the incompetence of Brisbane City Council's (BCC) inefficient and confusing bus network, operated by their subsidiary Brisbane Transport. Things took an even more farcical turn this week when Deputy Mayor Cr Adrian Schrinner threatened to cancel the Maroon CityGlider, bus route, over poor old BCC having to pay $10m for some roadworks ahead of the construction of a casino that will bring in $$$ of rates and trade to Brisbane.

The laughable thing about Cr Adrian Schrinner's dummy spit, is the Maroon CityGlider was an unnecessary political promotional stunt in the first place. So what is wrong with the Maroon CityGlider?

  • It duplicates existing high frequency bus routes including the route 385 (The Gap BUZ) throughout most of it's route. 
  • It uses different stop locations to the route 385, causing confusion to passengers.
  • By duplicating the 385 route through Paddington instead of travelling via Redhill/Waterworks Rd, it leaves the highly populated Redhill/Waterworks Rd without a high frequency bus service. 
  • It was a political stunt ahead of a council election, that ignored any existing network planning, and thus added even more inefficiency to Brisbane's bus network.
  • It follows a bizarre route, and mainly carries air between Wooloongabba and Langlands Park (the Southern terminus). 
  • It doesn't stop at Wooloongabba busway station after events at the Gabba - BrizCommuter has yet to work out how to catch a bus from the Gabba after an event as there are no signs or information! 
Just to make Cr Schrinner look more of a fool, BCC rejected TransLink's bus network review in 2013, leaving Brisbane with it's messy, confusing, and inefficient bus network. Due to BCC's own incompetence in not resolving busway congestion with bus network reform, BCC now want to spend $1.5b+ on the totally unnecessary Brisbane Metro Subway System. Yes, $1.5b, and bit more than the $10m you are having  dummy spit over Cr Schrinner? Brisbane's bus network operations urgently need to be removed by BCC's control, as due to BCC councillors political self interest, Brisbane "The New World City" is looking more like Brisbane "The Farcical Backwater". 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Too much expresso?

It seems that QR like serving up expresso, so much that those trying to travel outbound to or from Oxford Park, Grovely, and Keperra in todays am peak, might as well have stayed in bed.
3 outbound Ferny Grove services were effectively cancelled for users trying to start or finish their journeys to or from the above mentioned stations. With two consecutive trains expressed, this created a gap between services of 45 minutes instead of the timetabled 15 minute frequency. Most of the affected travellers would have been school children, who shouldn't really be left to wait around on train platforms for longer than necessary.  

Whilst it could be argued that by expressing these services reduced the impact on the majority of users travelling inbound, BrizCommuter thinks that QR were serving up too much expresso this morning. 

Oh, and just to add, one of the inbound trains that ran late, was one of the dreaded 3-car unit services, with reportedly hundreds of passengers left behind at inner Ferny Grove Line stations yet again as the train was full.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Still doing the go card rort?

...unless you travel short distances a lot. 
Back in 2014, BrizCommuter wrote his most popular blog post "Doing the go card rort" which has helped many a commuter (mainly long distance commuters) to know how to reduce their weekly public transport costs on Brisbane's overpriced public transport system. The post was also picked up by the media on many an occasion. The go card rort is possible due to the "9 then free" fare structure, and lack of zone based daily and weekly capping.

So with new fares in January 2017, and the replacement of "9 then free" with "8 then 50%", is the go card rort still possible? In this scenario, BrizCommuter looks at the three rort scenarios for a (new) 5 zone/(old) 13 zone commuter such as Nerang or Landsborough to Brisbane Central. With no rorting, and 10 peak journeys, the weekly cost will be $92.88.

The Easy Rort

This involves one lunch time one zone off-peak journey on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. This will result in 50% fare journeys from Wednesday evening (inclusive).

Weekly Cost = $85.08
Weekly Saving = $7.80

The Pro Rort

This involves two one zone off-peak journeys on Monday and Tuesday. Maybe during morning tea, and lunch. 50% fare journeys from Wednesday morning (inclusive).

Weekly Cost = $82.48
Weekly Saving = $10.40

The Extreme Rort

This involves three one zone off-peak journeys on Monday and two on Tuesday. Maybe during morning and afternoon tea, and lunch. 50% fare journeys from the peak journey home on Tuesday (inclusive).
2.56x5= 12.8

Weekly Cost = $79.88
Weekly Saving = $13 (over $600 saving a year)


Whilst the new fare system was designed to reduce the rorting that was occurring with the go card system, doing the go card rort will still be possible for longer distance commuters after the change to "8 then 50%" in January 2017. As the savings by doing the rort are far less than the old fare structure, then it is likely that only the keen or miserly will continue to do the rort. However, this continues to show the new fare structure is simply re-arrangeing the deck chairs on the Titanic, and that a account based fare system that allows for daily and weekly zone based capping is urgently required for Brisbane and SE Queensland.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Locked Out at Enoggera!

Some commuters at Enoggera train station had a bit of a shock last week when they found themselves locked out of their favourite parking spot. A plot of vacant private land near to the train station has become a popular parking spot, as the stations car park often fills up to capacity quite early in the am peak (along with most other Ferny Grove Line stations). After a few years of no activity, the owners of the land have finally got around to blocking off the land. With lots of displaced cars, this will add to pressure of street parking on streets around the train station, something that is sadly all too common in Brisbane. So what is the problem with car parking at Enoggera train station, and other train stations in Brisbane?

Not enough parking spaces - purveyors of bad city planning - Brisbane City Council, have banned the addition of station car parking within a set distance of Brisbane's CBD. Thus the demand outstrips supply, resulting in street parking chaos, and forcing many commuters to drive to work instead, adding to congestion on roads.

Not enough feeder buses - purveyors of bad transport planning - Brisbane City Council (starting to see a trend?) have resisted reforming the bus network. Thus rather than having buses feed the train network, the buses try and compete with the train network. Given that just one Ferny Grove Line train service has the same capacity as all of Brisbane Transport's competing bus routes in the am peak, it is obvious that passengers prefer to use the train when they have the choice.

White elephant bus interchange - as above, Enoggera has a large, and largely under-used bus interchange. Frequent feeder bus services from Northern suburbs (e.g. along Old Northern Road corridor) should feed into either Enoggera or Mitchelton bus interchanges. This would take considerable pressure of parking. This plan was knocked back by Brisbane City Council during TransLink's bus network review in 2013.

To conclude, the lack of feeder buses and station parking is causing a lot of pain for commuters and residents around train stations. Much of this is due to failed Brisbane City Council policies. It is time that Brisbane City Council are removed from transport planning.