Sunday, August 23, 2015

New Hospital Transport Meltdown

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital - Car Park Full!
In November 2014, the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital opened. This replaced the adjacent Mater Children's Hospital and Royal Children's Hospital in Herston. One of the supposed advantages of it's location near Brisbane's South Bank was that it is close to "world class" (sic) public transport systems. Mater Hill busway station is almost opposite, and South bank train station is a 5 to 10 minute walk. Driving to the hospital's location is horrendous, the Mater Health Services (note: not Queensland Health) run parking is disgustingly expensive, but yet the hospital's car park is often full before 9am, causing massive problems for staff and patients alike.

So if driving and parking is so bad, why are staff and patients continuing to avoid public transport?
  • Public transport for parents, patients, and visitors is too expensive - a 4 zone return fare (peak inbound, off-peak outbound) for Mum, Dad, and little Jonny with his broken arm is $23.57, more expensive than Mater Health Services' extortionate parking fees ($22 for 2 to 3 hours). 
  • Public transport for staff is too expensive - a 3 zone return fare (peak inbound and outbound) is at $9.32, more expensive than staff parking ($9/day)!
  • Even during the peak, the majority of Brisbane's population is not served by high frequency public transport. This was not helped by Brisbane City Council's rejection of TransLink's bus network review which would have improved this situation considerably. 
  • For anyone working outside of 8am to 5pm shifts, even less of Brisbane is served by half-decent public transport. Thus most hospital shift workers with early starts, late finishes, and weekend shifts have infrequent or non-existent public transport options. Queensland Rail's recent tendency to close trains lines in the evening for track repairs doesn't help either. 
  • ...and finally, who wants to bring sick kids to hospital on public transport. 
Given the above, it is no surprise that unless Brisbane's public transport system is made cheaper, and has more of the population covered by high-frequency services, than staff, parents, and visitors will continue to drive to hospital instead of using public transport. It also looks like Mater Health Services will continue to profiteer from public patients misfortunes. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Ekka better (but TransLink still defrauding passengers)

Good news for Ekka 2015 

Brisbane City Council (Brisbane Transport) have at long last stopped running bus services to/from the Ekka that compete directly with train services. They have even noticed that RBWH busway station can be used by people visiting the Ekka! After many years of completely useless, wasteful, and air carrying bus services competing with train services, this ridiculous practice has finally stopped. Now can Brisbane City Council sort out the rest of their wasteful, inefficient, and confusing to use bus network?

Bad news for Ekka 2015

TransLink are still defrauding public transport users by charging peak fares on the Wednesday 12th August public holiday, despite running off-peak (weekend) public transport services in Brisbane. Shame on you TransLink!

Redlands public transport users had a weekend bus service (well, that generally means no bus service) on a Monday. Not much use for people in Redlands who work in Brisbane where it wasn't a public holiday. Only in Queensland!

Why can't the go card replicate the $3 one way / $6 return Ekka fare? It is just dumb when a paper ticket is cheaper than using a go card (especially on the "peak fares" Wednesday public holiday). Also, it is a bit difficult to purchase the paper Ekka tickets from closed station ticket offices on weekends!

Of course, unlike many other events at RNA showgrounds and various SE Queensland stadiums, why can't RNA just pay for free public transport to and from the Ekka? Given all the development at the showgrounds it is not like the RNA are lacking in money?

Completely non-public transport related - if toilets get demolished as part of the RNA redevelopment, it would be rather nice to add more toilets to replace them. This years Ekka is just one giant toilet queue (if you find one)!

And finally...

There are some new showbags this year:

  • Brisbane City Council bus showbag - 499 different versions, all full of air.
  • Queensland Rail showbag - contains a train set with a 3-car train, and a can of sardines.
  • TransLink showbag - costs $10, and has $2 worth of contents. No refunds!
  • Redlands bus showbag - not available on Mondays. 
  • RNA toilet showbag - useful for deposits when you can't find a toilet at the Ekka.