Monday, April 1, 2013

Brisbane = public transport Hicksville?

The last two blog posts have slated Brisbane City Council's poor bus design over the last few decades (with a bit of recently added TransLink input). Unfortunately, TransLink's revolutionary (but not entirely perfect) improvements to the bus network were abandoned. This was partially due to mass public hysteria, quickly followed by mass politician and union hysteria. Here is a case study, looking at just one bus stop, where BrizCommuter happened to come across a protest sign - click photo to enlarge.

Click to enlarge

This bus stop is located in Enoggera, just off Wardell Street. It is only served during weekday daytime, with no services in the evenings or weekends. Two low frequency routes currently serve this stop - 361 (Mitchelton to City via everywhere), and 372 (Ashgrove to City via everywhere).

In the TransLink network review, these two routes were both "cut" or "replaced", but with new routes replacing them. All services were removed from this particular bus stop. What alternative options would there have been for users of "Lloyd-North-30" bus stop, if the TransLink network review had come into fruition (frequencies given are Mon-Fri daytime off-peak)?
  • Ferny Grove Line (Enoggera Station) - 737m walk - every 15 minutes
  • New F7 bus (Mitchelton to CBD via Ashgrove) -  162m to 442m walk - every 15 minutes
  • New S114 bus (existing route 390) - 448m walk - probably every 15 minutes 
  • New S110 bus (Mitchelton to Ashgrove via everywhere) - 307m walk - unknown frequency
  • New S210 bus (Chermside to Indooroopilly) -  162m to 442m walk - unknown frequency
Additionally, the the peak there were also plans for:
  • P110 and P111 express buses (Albany Creek to CBD) - 531m walk - unknown frequency
So, anyone using Lloyd - North - 30 was not exactly going to be massively disadvantaged. However TransLink's review did not have any information on which stops on Wardell Street would have been observed by routes F7 and S210. The best case scenario would be 2 bus routes within 170m walk, 2 more bus routes within 450m walk, and a frequent train line (plus peak express buses) within 740m walk. The worst case scenario would have been 1 bus route within 310m walk, 3 more bus routes within 450m walk, and a train line (plus peak express buses) within 750m walk.

Most able bodied people should have no problem walking any of these distances. Primary school children should also be capable of walking (preferably with supervision) to the 4 stops within 450m walk. This leaves the elderly and disabled, who in most cases should be able to manage the 307m walk to the route S110 stop. If not, there is always the pre-booked Council Cabs alternative. The S110 route would have served two shopping centres, and lets face it, you'll walk considerably further than 307m around a supermarket do your shopping! Of course, it is unknown if this particular stop is even used by any elderly or disabled passengers.

So for the benefit of an extra frequent bus route serving this suburb, less confusing route options, consistent CBD bus stops for services to this suburbs, and more network efficiency (i.e. lower fares), the negatives of the closure of "Lloyd-North-30" bus stop are minimal.

Elsewhere in Brisbane

Brisbane bus users?
This example has been repeated right across Brisbane. It seems many Brisbanites, when reviewing TransLink's route changes were able to read "route .... is cut", but were then not able to read "route ... will be replaced by routes ... ". Whilst TransLink's consultation information was somewhat lacking, it seems that many did not even bother reading or understanding the information that TransLink made available.

An example below, is an article from last weeks Southern Star newspaper about the "epitome of waste" route 161 - "Campaign coordinator Diane Deem said news of the binned review came as a relief for hundreds of residents who would have been left without a viable transport option". The route 161 was actually planned to be replaced with another route, the S407. The S407 allowed interchange at Garden City to access to CBD via high frequency SE Busway services, and additionally gave direct access to Sunnybank, Coopers Plains, and other SE Suburbs. Not exactly an un-viable replacement was it Diane?

A minority of passengers would have been genuinely worse off due to the TransLink network review, and would thus have good reason to complain. However, BrizCommuter expects that the vast majority of bus users would have been advantaged. Due to the public and political hysteria over the planned changes (verging on selfish, ill-informed, and even quite stupid in some instances), TransLink's network review was canned with responsibility passed onto Brisbane City Council. Major bus network improvements such as frequent services for the first time to Centenary Suburbs, Wynnum Road, Yeronga, and North West Suburbs may now not come into fruition. CBD bus stop locations may remain confusing. Bus fares may continue to be the world's second most expensive, due to continuing inefficiency.

We will now have to wait and see if Brisbane City Council's bus network review will continue with its inefficiency and confusion, so as to not upset any irrational pitchfork wielding Brisbanites.

Update 07/04/2013

Click to enlarge
One of BrizCommuter's readers Garvin has printed out part of the above blog post, and placed it at the bus stop in question. BrizCommuter took a photo of the result. Maybe, some more sensible rebukes should be added at quite a few bus stops where protest signs have gone up?


  1. Do you mind if I use your information to post at that stop?

    I have seen quite a few of these notices, 'protesting' the changes, but as I have read and discussed on here some of the changes, I am aware of the alternatives, and it pisses me off to see that the alternatives are not posted to give a fair and balanced view of what was going to occur.

    So I would like to be able to post your information at that stop as a counter-argument.

  2. Garvin - feel free, it would quite amusing for reality posters to be put up next to protest posters. However, given the abandonment of TransLink's changes it is probably a bit too late.

  3. Mission has been accomplished :)

  4. On a related note about public transport, looks like Cross River Rail is dead in the water:

  5. In the spirit of false advertising on this subject, I saw another one of these a few days ago at Mains Road Park and Ride inbound.

    Posters plastered everywhere telling how routes were going to be cut. No mention that instead of the 130 and 140, both those services were going to be part of the frequent route. So in effect just a name change to represent the concept of frequent routes.

    As we have surmised on here, information about express routes and pre paids was going to come later.

    More mis-representational advertising.

  6. A minority of passengers would have been genuinely worse off due to the TransLink network.

  7. And this should have seen adjustments to the plans, not just dumping it and leaving with the rubbish we have with the bcc review.

  8. Hey There.

    Does anyone know exactly how the BCC have consulted with the public? They promote their use of 'great communty consultation' - but nowhere have I seen any info on how they've garnered community feedback!


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