Last week TransLink announced changes to New Farm bus routes. The link to this page is below:
The most significant change is that the popular and useful route 196 will become a high frequency "Buz" route. This is excellent news for public transport users in Merthyr and New Farm who do not live close the the excellent 199 route. BrizCommuter occasionally uses the 196 to get to and from exams, and the old (in)frequency often made BrizCommuter walk a kilometer to/from 199 stops instead.
Some have questioned as to whether either the newly Buz'ed 196 or the 199 should be permanently be routed via Ivory Street, which misses out the slow journey through the Fortitude Valley's congested traffic lights. Unfortunately this routing also makes for an unattractive interchange between Fortitude Valley station and the appropriate bus stop on Brunswick Street. A fine line has to balanced between passengers wanting fast access between the CBD and New Farm, and those wanting to travel between Fortitude Valley and New Farm. BrizCommuter thinks that both the 196 and 199 need to provide a via Valley service at least every 15 minutes off-peak, and every 10 minutes peak. Extra services (such as the alternate 199s as it runs every 5 minutes in peaks), can use the Ivory Street route. The 199 already almost achieves this ideal.
TransLink provided a community consultation event on the 19th April, but timed it during the working day, and only gave 3 days notice. Possibly due to some lobbying, the website information was eventually provided on Monday 18th, with feedback possible via the web. TransLink are moving along the right path with ever increasing community consultation, but need to be more consistent in the process. Community consultation events need to be announced with sufficient notice, and should be at the most useful times for the majority of affected users. Website information, and internet feedback mechanisms need to be provided at the same time that the community consultation events are announced. Evidence and reasoning behind moves that may inconvenience users should also be provided. Finally, response to customer feedback needs to be published.