Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 World Fare Comparison - Part 3

Too infrequent!
In part 1 and 2 of BrizCommuter's 2013 World Fare Comparison we saw that Brisbane is one of the most expensive public transport systems in the world during during the peak fare period. Does Brisbane fare any better during the off-peak? Again, we look at the 5 cities that had the highest peak single train fares for a 5km journey. Currency conversions are as of between 23rd and 27th December 2012. Fares are as of 7th January 2013.

5km off-peak single train fare / daily maximum

Oslo - $4.65 / $12.93
Stockholm - $3.67 / $16.88
Liverpool - $3.65  / $5.46
London - $3.27 / $10.91
Brisbane - $3.08 / $27.72

5km off-peak single bus fare / daily maximum

Oslo - $4.65 / $12.93
Stockholm - $3.65 / $16.88
Liverpool -  $3.11 / $5.46
Brisbane - $3.08 / $27.72
London - $2.18 / $6.86

Brisbane thankfully fares better in the off-peak than during the peak for single journeys, due to the 20% go card off-peak discount. Brisbane is also cheaper than Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney for a single 5km off-peak train journey. However, the lack of daily ticketing options means that it is possible to rack up a higher total daily fare in Brisbane than anywhere else in the world at $27.72 for multiple 5km journeys. Compare this to Melbourne's maximum of $7 on weekdays, and $3.50 on weekends! It should also be noted that Brisbane's single off-peak fares for 5km journeys are still more expensive than peak fares in all North American and Asian cities, as well as Perth and Auckland.

Off-peak train frequency (midday weekday and weekend) at 5km from CBD

London - 2.5 to 5 minutes
Liverpool - 5 to 15 minutes
Stockholm - 7.5 to 15 minutes
Oslo - 7.5 to 15 minutes
Brisbane - 6 to 30 minutes

The reduction in off-peak fares is thankful due to Brisbane's "third-world" off-peak train frequencies. Off-peak frequencies in Brisbane (per line) vary between every 15 minutes (Ferny Grove Line) to none existent (Doomben Line), with typical service frequencies of a train every 30 minutes. Many stations at approx. 5km from the CBD are served by more than one train line, thus aiding Brisbane's figures in the comparison.

Whilst many parts of Brisbane are served by half-decent peak bus frequencies, if you live away from a busway or major road corridor, you may be lucky to even see a bus during the off-peak. Thus Brisbane's off peak fares can still be considered poor value for money by many public transport users.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2013 World Fare Comparison - Part 2

London Underground - better value for money than QR?
Last updated 01/01/2013 8pm

Part 1 of BrizCommuter's 2013 World Fare Comparison looked at the cost of the cheapest available single peak fare for a 5km train journey. Brisbane fared terribly, being the world's third most expensive city for such a journey.  Only Oslo and London (Underground /Overground) were more expensive. In part 2 of BrizCommuter's 2013 World Fare Comparison, we take a look at other ticketing options and factors in the 5 most expensive cities for a 5km rail journey. These include - weekly maximum train fares, daily maximum train fares, peak train frequency, refund policy, and bus fares.

Weekly maximum train fares (5km journeys)

London - $47.26 (7 day ticket)
Stockholm - $44.02 (7 day ticket)
Oslo - $37.92 (7 day ticket)
Brisbane - $34.65 (9 journey week cap)
Liverpool - $22.08 (7 day train only ticket) / $25.04 (7 day bus/train/ferry ticket)

For weekly maximum train fares, the go card's "9 journey then free" cap helps a little bit, by moving Brisbane into 4th place out of these five cities. Brisbane is also the only city in this comparison without a 7 day zone based ticketing option.

Daily maximum train fares (5km journeys)

Brisbane - $34.65 (9 journey week cap)
Stockholm - $16.88 (24 hour ticket)
London - $13.06 (daily peak cap)
Oslo - $12.93 (24 hour ticket)
Liverpool - $5.60 (day ticket)

Brisbane is the only city in this comparison without a daily ticketing option. This moves Brisbane into 1st place for the world's most expensive transport system. In fact, the maximum fare possible in Brisbane is more than double the nearest competitor!

Peak train frequency (at 5km from CBD)

London - 2 to 5 minutes
Oslo - 7.5 to 15 minutes
Liverpool - 5 to 15 minutes
Stockholm - 7.5 to 15 minutes
Brisbane - 3 to 23 minutes*

Peak train frequencies in Brisbane are pot luck on which station you use, and at what time. Of the five cities featured, Brisbane is the only city with peak service gaps of more than 15 minutes at stations approx. 5km from the CBD. This potentially makes Brisbane's peak train fares the worst value for money in the world. In fact, as Brisbane's peak fare period starts from 2am, there are plenty of service gaps between trains of 30 minutes within the peak fare period at stations approx. 5km from the CBD.

Refund Policy

London - Full fare refund if delayed more than 15 minutes (Underground)/ 30 minutes (Overground)
Oslo - Free taxi if delayed more than 20 minutes
Stockholm - Free taxi if delayed more than 20 minutes
Liverpool - Full fare refund if delayed more than 30 minutes
Brisbane - None

Brisbane is the only city amongst these five cities to not have a refund policy due to delays. Brisbane thus has the world's most expensive public transport system without a refund policy!

Bus fares (peak single 5km journey)

Oslo - $4.65
Brisbane - $3.85
Stockholm - $3.67
Liverpool - $3.11
London - $2.18

Many cities around the world have cheaper bus fares than train fares. This list includes London, thus Brisbane is the world's second most expensive city in the world on which to travel 5km by bus in the peak period. Ouch!

In part 3 of the World Fare Comparison - 2013, BrizCommuter will take a look at off-peak fares.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2013 World Fare Comparison - Part 1

Go card or Myki - which costs more?
Last updated 29/12/2012 7am.

It is the time of year again when BrizCommuter compares train fares between different cities around the world. For 2013, the LNP Queensland Government and TransLink have increased fares in SE Queensland by an extortionate 7.5%. This is being touted as half of the previous ALP Government's planned 15% fare rise, but as a Rail Back on Track member recently stated, the halving of the fare rise is "like a thug only threatening to break one leg instead of two".

Cities well known for their high cost of living, such as Tokyo, Moscow, London, Stockholm, and Oslo have again been included. Also, the top ten most liveable cities are also included in the list. For this fare comparison we are looking at a 5km train or light rail journey from an inner suburb to the city centre (CBD), using the cheapest available adult peak single fare (this can include up to 10 multi-trip tickets, but not weekly or other season tickets). Exchange rates are as of the 23rd December 2012. Fares are as of the 7th January 2013.

Top 10 most expensive:

Oslo - $4.65
London (Underground/Overground) - $4.35 (Note: National Rail fares $3.73)
Brisbane - $3.85
Stockholm - $3.67
Liverpool - $3.65 (Note: Similar to most other UK cities with rail systems)
Sydney - $3.60
Helsinki - $3.54
Melbourne - $3.50
Adelaide - $3.19
Lausanne - $3.15

Selected other cities:

Berlin - $3.04
Toronto - $2.90
Calgary - $2.90
Ottawa - $2.76
Auckland - $2.70
Vienna - $2.53
Vancouver - $2.42
Portland - $2.40
NYC (Subway) - $2.16
Seattle - $2.16
Perth - $2.03
Tokyo (Japan Rail) - $1.71
Paris - $1.61
Los Angeles - $1.44
Moscow - $0.83
Hong Kong - $0.73
Shanghai - $0.61

Not surprisingly since Brisbane (and SE Queensland) have had fare rises far in excess of the CPI for the last few years, it continues to be among the world's most expensive public transport systems. For a single peak train journey, Brisbane is the third most expensive city in the world, and the most expensive in Australia! Public transport patronage will thus continue to be stunted due to excessively high prices deterring the use of Brisbane's trains, buses, and ferries. In part 2 of this blog post, BrizCommuter will look at the top 5 cities in more detail - weekly fares, daily fares, service frequency, value for money, bus fares, and refund policies.

Last year's fare comparison:
2013 World Fare Comparison - Part 2:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Brisbane - a 1960s theme park!

A new theme park has opened in SE Queensland in time for the school holidays, and BrizCommuter has kindly posted the advert below:
Download to get 0% off entry fee!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Transit Officers spoil Santa Express

Transit Officers?
For the last few years, Queensland Rail (QR) have run the family friendly "Santa Express" train around the QR CityTrain network before Christmas as an additional train service. MrsCommuter and BabyCommuter went to a ride on the Santa Express when it visited the Ferny Grove Line on Monday, and much enjoyed the experience, until...

...TransLink managed to spoil the show. Now with 4 trains an hour per direction on the Ferny Grove Line, there are plenty of trains which TransLink Transit Officers could have stung for ticket checks. These trains are often full of ticketless drunk natives, drug addicts, and the worst of all - middle aged aisle seat hoggers. But instead of targeting a normal train service, like a pack of Dementors circling around the Hogwarts Express, the Transit Officers decided to spoil the family fun atmosphere of the Santa Express by performing a ticket check on family groups. The attitude of the officers was described by some passengers as very rude. TransLink, do your Transit Officers not have higher priorities?

Whilst on the subject of Santa, this is BrizCommuter's letter to Queensland Rail's Santa.

Dear Santa,

BrizCommuter has been a good boy this year, and would like some nice presents. Thanks for the 15 minute off-peak services on the Ferny Grove Line, but can you please extend this to other lines, weekends, and early evenings. Please can you also get rid of those annoying late evening and Sunday morning hour service gaps. I would also really like a new frequent peak timetable which TransLink promised would occur in 2011. Oh, and finally, please tell TransLink to stop increasing the fares, or I will asking for a car next Christmas!



PS: Thanks a lot QR for closing the Ferny Grove Line on one of the busiest Christmas shopping weekends!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

SEQ Bus Network Review - Stage 2

Phase 2 of the SEQ Bus Network Review is now in the public consultation stage on TransLink's website. The well written webpage is here (make sure you read all of the further information links). Most TransLink SEQ bus routes have been listed at the bottom of the page. Clicking on a route opens up a box containing the routes value for money, average patronage, and suggested changes. Below are a few screenshots showing two different bus routes (popular rail alternative route 390, and air moving route 393):

For routes with changes suggested, a link to a feedback form is created. One key question is badly worded. "What bus route do you normally travel on?" should be replaced by "Which route would you like to comment on?". However, aside from that the form is good and allows for free text feedback. You can even leave your details for TransLink to provide feedback on route changes. 

Having perused many of the routes, it seems that as expected, we aren't going to see a revolutionary network change as is planned for Auckland. It seems that the existing mess will just receive some tinkering in a bid to make for a more cost efficient and less confusing network, with only a few steps towards the "trunk and feeder" network that Brisbane requires. It is disappointing that there appears to no plans to use the rail network as part of the "trunk", with increased rail frequencies providing a network backbone as occurs in many cities such as Perth. It is also disappointing that the massively resource wasting and bus route duplicating "Maroon CityGlider" is still planned to go ahead. Whilst BrizCommuter is happy to see that more services are planned for the more overcrowded bus routes, BrizCommuter is concerned about the many planned service reductions in evenings and weekends - public transport is a public service and leaving swathes of SE Queensland with only a weekday daytime bus service is not acceptable. The future still looks bleak for those who live away from major transport corridors in SE Queensland's vast urban sprawl. Make sure you provide feedback for all affected routes you use by the 16th December 2012!