Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sector 2 Train Timetables - Massive Improvement!

Queensland Rail's sector 2 train timetables have been released, for implementation on the 20th January 2014. As BrizCommuter is currently on holiday, this is just a minor review. A more in-depth review will be available in a few weeks.

TransLink's webpage for sector 2 improvements:

Good news:
  • Peak improvements on Ferny Grove Line (every 7-8 mins), Shorncliffe Line (every 15 mins), Doomben Line (every 30 mins), and Gold Coast Line (additional trains added in some 15 mins gaps). 
  • 15 minute off-peak from approx. 6am to 8pm out to Ferny Grove, Coopers Plains, Northgate, and Cannon Hill.
  • Removal of late night and Sunday am hour gaps (now every 30 mins).
  • Expansion of 15 minute "shoulder-peak" services to Airport. 
  • Airport trains to serve all stations between Bowen Hills and Eagle Junction - big surprise! 
  • 30 mins weekday daytime off-peak to Doomben, with later operating hours. 
  • Improvements to counter-peak services where possible. 
  • All Gold Coast services to serve Beenleigh, Loganlea, Altandi (instead of Coopers Plains for better bus connections), and Park Road (for UQ). 
  • More sensible express pattern on Cleveland Line (Manly to Morningside). 
Bad news:
  • No 15 minute frequency on weekends. (Note: Melbourne now has 10 mins frequency on weekends!).
  • 15 minutes off-peak services expected to Manly didn't occur. 
  • Doomben Line hourly on Saturdays (even for races traffic), and still extinct on Sundays. 
  • Debatably worse peak service for some Beenleigh Line commuters. However, some may be able to use Gold Coast express services for part of the trip to decrease journey time. 
Overall, impressive improvements! Just a shame that high fares will prevent these excellent improvements from massively increasing public transport patronage. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Should go cards be sold on buses?

BrizCommuter has been recently contacted to plug a petition, and this petition appears to make pretty good sense. The petition is to request that go cards are sold on buses instead of paper tickets, and the link is below:

Given that BrizCommuter is often driven crazy by buses being delayed by passengers paying for paper tickets, then isn't it time that they are "encouraged" to switch to go cards. The "encouragement" is to sell a go card instead of paper ticket on buses. This should help almost eradicate paper ticket users - and thus makes common sense. It would also be ultimately cheaper for the passenger, and reduce bus delays, but may reduce TransLink's piggy bank slightly. Issues that can be foreseen are at what price should the go card be sold? Selling the go card at the usual price of $20 may be a problem if the passenger is short of change. However, selling a go card at less than around $15 could compromise the deposit designed to reduce people throwing away go cards after longer distance train journeys or the overpriced AirTrain.

Given that Melbourne has completely eradicated paper tickets, then it is laughable that Brisbane is still using paper tickets. Time to move into the 21st century!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Secure Carparking targets public transport users

Don't waste your money away driving!
With Brisbane having one of the most expensive public transport systems in the world, with poor service frequency, it is no surprise that at least one car parking company is targeting public transport users. Secure Carparking have been handing out flyers to public transport commuters exiting train and busway stations in Brisbane's CBD . However, interestingly one of the observed advertisements is actually based around saving time than money. Not surprisingly the ad fails to mention that driving instead of using public transport increases pollution, increased risk of risk of road trauma and death, increases stress, and requires concentration throughout the commute (instead of reading/texting/web surfing/looking out the window which you can do on public transport).

What about cost? Well it appears that Secure Carparking locks you into a minimum three month contract, at a minimum cost of $49/week. Based on BrizCommuter's car vs train comparison in January 2013, and assuming single vehicle occupancy, the addition of parking costs to car running costs would result in public transport still being far cheaper (at least $11/day for 40km weekday only commute). Also, if you take into account days when you be paying for parking and not using it (sickies, rostered days off, annual leave, etc), and the go cards 9 then free cap, then cost comparison is even worse for the driving to work option. Oh, and that $49/week is a minimum cost only available at certain car parks. No wonder that advert is based around time savings! But is it really worth paying at least $2,500 more per year for a (usually) faster car based commute?