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I have made a number of observations related to my Melbourne trip.

1. The very low speed of metro buses in Melbourne. Most buses even on main roads did not get over 60kph. The buses should be able to run at upto 110kph on a main road to keep time and make the overall trip shorter.

2. The length of bus stops for loading passengers far too long at between 15 and 60 seconds!! The max stop time for a single person is 1 sec not 15 sec!

3. The very low frequency of metro buses in melb an every 30 min service is a rural bus service freq not urban. A lot of routes have this 30 min freq at peak hour!!! Peak hour bus freq should be at least every 5 mins!

4. The off peak loading on both metro buses and Metro trains is very poor. Much more needs to be done about this low usage. A bus should be able to fill its seats on every trip and have large standing loads at peak. Metro trains should always have a good standing load from for at least 75% of the total route.

5. Delays all too common on the metro trains. Buses on the other hand very close to time or early.

6. Metro train freq far too low to be useful every 15 mins off peak is just not going to cut it. Minimum should be 5 mins off peak day and 7 to 8 mins at night.

7. Metro train peak hour freq is also well below standard on most lines. This needs to come up to every 2 mins instead of every 9 to 18 mins!! No wonder the metro trains are sardine cans at peak there’s is not enough of them.

8. The metro train seating layout is very wrong in melb. Not enough rails and poles to hold onto and the seating layout makes moving down the train more difficult. Change the seating to longitudinal and add in a whole line of rails and poles down the middle of each carriage.

9. The lack of ticket offices at stations makes ticket purchase difficult and makes getting information difficult for new users. On most metro systems the ticket office is the 1st point of contact for a new mass transport user.

10. The state of cleanliness of stations and metro trains leaves a lot to be desired. Most trains and most stations I used where rather dirty and some even had the odour of public bathroom. Melbourne clean this mess up ASAP everyone will be happier for it.

11. Metro Station facilities are in need of upgrades. Most stations don’t have a full roof over all platforms and offer no air conditioned waiting areas on each platform for the rather long waits that tend to occur often in Melbourne.

12. Metro system security is very poor in melb. The ease in which a terror attack could be undertaken is shocking. Very few stations have any real way of stopping or monitoring in real time actions of any terrorist. This security GAP also makes the system a real haven for all kinds of criminals making it unsafe for all mass transport users. Melbourne needs to upgrade this security GAP before it’s too late.

13. The obsession about OHS in Melbourne is a real joke they don’t even clean the trains and stations properly let alone prevent criminals from doing there nasty business on the system. But they try to stop rail fans from having a look in a rail yard of taking pics at a station. This is very big double standards and should not be supported in any form. The locals and rail fans should not accept the OHS bull shit until the trains are clean and the crime greatly controlled or removed from the system.

14. The lack of 24 hour bus services makes late night travel very difficult resulting in many hour waits and cold and dark metro stations and bus stops. This also exposes users to increase crime risks.

15. The lack of expressway buses and direct main road bus services also makes longer bus trips far slower than they need to be for the distance covered which with poor freq can make a 20km trip ending up taking over 1 hour to complete.

16. The low amount of taxis in Melbourne also makes fast direct travel very difficult. The high cost of the fares which in some cases can be more costly than a 1 hour flight does not help mass transport users at all.

This list seems to a lot of people to be a big list of complaints but this is what a lot of other non Melbourne people will see and feel as well. But all is not lost in melb if the powers that be can fix this up to a world class system in the next 5 years or so.

If something big is not done very soon there will be total transport infrastructure meltdown in Melbourne within 5 years. The system just cannot cope with any more peak hour demand when it is being forced to. The govt that runs Melbourne needs to accept this and spend billions of USD to fix it up fast before its too late.

If your govt doesn’t do something about the Mass transport system then your current 17th best city rating will be toast and will drop to below 109th in the world within the next 10 years!!
 

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thaitransit seems to have succinctly summed up the many very topical public transport issues - not just for Melbourne, but also (unknowingly) Brisbane.
 

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Anyone can complain. Very few can offer workable solutions however. Melbounians aren't blind and don't need people from other countries to tell them that PT needs improvement.
 

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I think it is OK for an outside observer to give their opinion.

I have to admit, last time I was in Melbourne I was suprised at how dirty Flinders Street station was, and some of the trains looked in pretty poor condition. Also the fares were expensive, nearly double what I expected (I thought I had used the ticket machine wrong, and lined up to buy a ticket from a person, but it really was that much).
 

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I agree with *some* of the points, especially "delays are all too common on the trains". Every time I'm there I experience delayed trains, and usually because of some level crossing accident or incident. They really need to get rid of the countless level crossings. Level crossings are fine in the bush, but definitely not in a major city! And the trains *are* often dirty, grimy and smelly. I don't care if stations are dirty coz they're outdoors, but I hate being cooped up inside some filthy little carriage.
 

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I'd really love to see an outsiders point of view of Sydney's PT which I think is rather decent (despite what others say).
 

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^ Oh yes please! It would give me a nice insight into the positives and negatives of Sydney's PT network.
 

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I was last in Sydney properly in 2004, however, my girlfriend was over there in 2007 and her parents are going there in 4 days time so I'll get their feedback on it too!

Train Lines/Places travelled:
North Shore Line - Chatswood
Western Line - Parramatta
South Line/Bankstown (not sure which) - Lidcombe (transfer to Olympic shuttle)
Olympic shuttle
Eastern Suburbs - Bondi Junction
Airport/East Hills - Intl Terminal (girlfriend) and Domestic Terminal (myself)
City Circle - different destinations.
Bus from Bondi Junction to Bondi Beach
Manly Ferry

Positives
* Generally quite graffiti free/clean trains and buses.
* Transfer from Train to Bus painless enough at Bondi Junction due to frequency of services.
* Ferry service to Manly was an experience and a half
* City circle very frequent and handy to use.
* Lacks level crossings on most of the cityrail lines.

Improvements
#1. Ticket machines. Simplify and make them touch screen where not already done so.
#2. Improve the ferry frequency to Manly. 30 minutes just doesn't cut it.
#3. Train frequency to main centres is good but needs to be improved off-peak to minor stations. 30 minute frequency = not going to be used.
#4. Integrated ticketing needed. Very frustrating to transfer between modes at times without decent integrated ticketing and touch-on touch-off smartcards. The travelpass was handy enough but woe betide me if I chose to take public transport not run by the state!
#5. I thought the costs were a little on the high side and so did my other half in 2007, though they're more reasonable than Auckland's that's for sure.
#6. Scrap the guards on the train.
#7. I didn't feel particularly safe on public transport at night compared to London so additional security/railway personel at major stations would be handy.

Meh, I'm sure I could think of more, but those are some that really stood out from my time in Sydney.
 

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#1. Ticket machines. Simplify and make them touch screen where not already done so.
Have you tried using the new touch screen machines CityRail has now? They are infinitely more complex than the old ones where you just hit your station on the list, single/return and put the money in.

Svartmetall said:
#3. Train frequency to main centres is good but needs to be improved off-peak to minor stations. 30 minute frequency = not going to be used.
Be specific as to where.

Svartmetall said:
#7. I didn't feel particularly safe on public transport at night compared to London so additional security/railway personel at major stations would be handy.
CityRail employs far too many station staff, let alone needing to employ any more! :nuts:
 

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Have you tried using the new touch screen machines CityRail has now? They are infinitely more complex than the old ones where you just hit your station on the list, single/return and put the money in.
Perhaps I should be more specific then. Make all single fares zonal and solve the complexity! Then at least the ticket machines would be far more simplistic whether push button or touch screen!

Be specific as to where.
Most of the inner-west on a weekend. It must be most frustrating to have a 30 minute frequency in a rather built up part of Sydney (not that I did, however, I did observe this was a problem whilst waiting at Lidcombe)! Also, why is the East Hills line also 30 minutes at the weekend? I'd have thought there would be more demand in such an area, but perhaps I'm mistaken.

CityRail employs far too many station staff, let alone needing to employ any more! :nuts:
There has to be a way to ensure passenger safety at night. I'm not one who is usually intimidated, however, standing alone on a suburban platform with few buildings in sight is rather unnerving!
 

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Most of the inner-west on a weekend. It must be most frustrating to have a 30 minute frequency in a rather built up part of Sydney (not that I did, however, I did observe this was a problem whilst waiting at Lidcombe)! Also, why is the East Hills line also 30 minutes at the weekend? I'd have thought there would be more demand in such an area, but perhaps I'm mistaken.
Yeah, the Inner West weekend service is pretty poor - I've whinged about it on here before. Should be, at minimum, the same as the 15min service that is provided on weekdays. Would be ripe for metro-isation, except that trains to the South line (via Granville) use the local tracks now, and it still feeds into the City Circle.

East Hills is only 30min from Campbelltown etc on weekdays too, although there are locals every 15min from EH on weekdays (30 on weekends). Pretty useless - I have to use the East Hills line from Macarthur or Campbelltown to Sydney fairly regularily, but thankfully only in peak hour.
 

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Going back to Melbourne, I yawned before because of the "110 km/h buses" bit. Despite this, I actually agree with some of the points made by thaitransit. I think what's holding the Melbourne network back is the infrastructure. I won't detail all my gripes, but here are my biggest bugbears when it comes to Melbourne PT.
- Cleanliness. The trains are fine, from what I've seen, but the stations are filthy. The City Loop is fine, but Flinders Street is not.
- Maintenance. Look down any train line and you'll see wonky rails. Hasn't Connex (or whoever owns the track) heard of a tamping machine before? Wonky rails not only cause accidents (for obvious reasons, especially during hot weather) but they also prevent higher running speeds, which results in longer headways and more delays.
- Passenger information. How about redesigning the train map to show routes rather than ticketing zones, as the former is of higher importance to passengers.
- City Loop -- how about running the trains the same way through the loop all day?

I personally think Melbourne's ticketing system is very simple. All you do is choose a 1 or 2 zone ticket, and how long you're travelling for (two hours, one day, one week etc). Simple as that. Bangkok's fares on the other hand (IIRC) depend on the colour of the bus or train you're boarding. For example, if you get on a yellow bus with orange wheels it costs 50 cents while it's $1 if it's yellow bus with a red dotted stripe and swirls on the hubcaps. Now this is what I call complicated... having to remember five or six different fare structures. Obviously I am only making the colour schemes up, but hopefully you get my point.

As for the frequency and coverage of buses in Melbourne, trams perform the functions that buses would in other cities. And Melbourne's trams do run every few minutes in the CBD, and every 15-20 minutes out in the suburbs.

Trent
 

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I was last in Sydney properly in 2004, however, my girlfriend waort/East Hills - Intl Terminal (girlfriend) and Domestic Terminal (myself)
City Circle - different destinations.
Bus from Bondi Junction to Bondi Beach
Manly Ferry

Positives
* Generally quite graffiti free/clean trains and buses.
* Transfer from Train to Bus painless enough at Bondi Junction due to frequency of services.
* Ferry service to Manly was an experience and a half
* City circle very frequent and handy to use.
* Lacks level crossings on most of the cityrail lines.
.
#6. Scrap the guards on the train.
#7. I didn't feel particularly safe on public transport at night compared to London so additional security/railway personel at major stations would be handy.

Meh, I'm sure I could think of more, but those are some that really stood out from my time in Sydney.
The reason there are still guards on cityrail trains is for your safety, on most of the trains carriages they are monitored by security camera. As are all the stations on the network. There are help points at every station *clearly marked* which you can buzz if there is trouble, as there are in many of the carriages.

If you are concerned for your safety at night (some lines are worse than others) travel near the guards compartment which will always be in the middle of the current 8 car setups for suburban work.

As for being scared at a deserted station... Any unmanned station with no people around would be unnerving, at least cityrail lights their stations up like xmas trees to deter trouble.

mx
 
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