Thursday, 29 August 2013

Transperth’s Service Change Proposal for Beaufort St corridor, Morley and Embleton

Transperth is planning to introduce two new bus routes, the 950 and 348, to replace the 21, 22 78 and 79, and is inviting public comment. There is consultation at Morley Galleria, today and on Saturday.
Route 950 is to operate between Morley Bus Stn and QEII Medical Centre, via Beaufort St, Esplanade Busport, and the University of Western Australia (UWA).
It is to be the most frequent single bus route in Perth, with headways proposed to be every 3 to 4 minutes during weekday peak hour, 7-8 minutes during weekday off-peak/midday, and every 10 minutes during the day on weekends, with evening headways to vary between 15 and 30 minutes throughout the week. Services are proposed to start operating earlier, and finish later, with frequent services also provided for a longer part of the day. Additional services will operate between Esplanade Busport and UWA during peak hour, with headways to be as small as every 1 to 2 minutes.
Routes 67 and 68 (Perth to Mirrabooka), 23 (Perth to Claremont), 102 (Perth to Cottesloe) and 107 (Perth to Fremantle) will operate alongside the 950. The 950 will be operated primarily using low-floor accessible buses, although older high-floor buses will be used for some peak hour trips.
Since the 950 includes the whole routes of the 22, 78 and 79, these routes will be withdrawn.
The 21 will also be withdrawn, but the section of the route in Embleton will be replaced by the 348. The 348 will run from Morley Bus Stn to Bayswater via Embleton, following the 48. To access the CBD, passengers from Embleton must transfer either to the 950 at Morley (taking the 48, 341, 348 or 955), or a Midland Line train at Bayswater (taking the 48 and 348). A few stops on Lindley St and Priestly St, currently only served by the 21, will not be served by buses anymore, but alternative bus stops are available close by.
The 48 and 348 will be frequency co-ordinated, with buses every 20 minutes during weekday peak hour, half an hour on weekday middays and Saturdays, and every 60-90 minutes on Sundays.
It is encouraging to see routes like the 950 being introduced in Perth. The phenomenal frequency of this route is testament to the high demand for public transport in parts of Perth, and the appetite for even more service. Services will be simplified, as there will be one bus route available that is very frequent and operates early in the morning and late into the night.
Some passengers will have to transfer or walk further to access public transport that was previously very close, or destinations that previously could be accessed on one bus. Examples include Embleton passengers wishing to access Beaufort St or the CBD, or passengers bound for UWA or QEII Medical Centre arriving at Wellington St Bus Stn (in this case the option of a direct ride between Wellington St and UWA/QEII was taken away a while ago for CBD roadworks, but it appeared as if that ride would be restored after construction finished). However, this is balanced by the one seat ride between Morley/Beaufort St and UWA/QEII now possible thanks to through routing. Removing the 21 reduces the clutter of infrequent routes in Embleton, and in any case it is now easier to access Bayswater Stn. As an aside, I wonder if peak hour Midland Line services will be increased any time soon, as there may not be enough room on already crowded trains to accommodate more Embleton passengers in peak hour.
It is encouraging that the span of services is widening, with earlier and later services proposed for the 950. With Northbridge and Mt Lawley on the route, it 24 hour service might be considerable, although this probably won’t be implemented, since the 4am trains and Nightrider buses were cancelled in June. While the 348 doesn’t appear to be proposed to operate at night, but this is in line with current 21 services, and anyway the whole route of the 348 will get night services on the 48.
In line with routes that start with a 9 and end with a 0 (the 920 and 940), perhaps the 950 should be limited stop. The current 66 route will not be changed, and it is unclear what role the 66 would play, as the 950 would run far more frequently than the 66. Perhaps the 950 could become an all-day version of the 66, providing fast, limited-stop service to Morley.
On the other hand, Beaufort St’s urban fabric is quite fine grained, and a limited stop 950 would not likely serve the Beaufort St corridor adequately. The 67 and 68 would have to run much more frequently  to serve local demand, and short-turns would be necessary since travel demand on Grand Promenade and in Bedford is much lower than demand on Beaufort St.
A peak hour only, or weekday only, limited stop 950 might work, but it could unnecessarily complicate matters, undoing the simplification done by uniting Morley to Perth via Beaufort St services under a single route number. I think that route 66 services should be bolstered to every 5 minutes during peak hour, with 950 frequencies reduced to every 5 minutes during peak hour if funding is scarce.
66s and 950s every 10 minutes on weekday middays are a possibility, although having two services all day could be a complexity (even if a small one). Therefore, extending the special route number 66’s service outside of peak hours, where many riders are commuters and make the same trip daily, and into the interpeak when more spontaneous non-work/education trips are made, may reduce the sheer simplicity that encourages spontaneous use of public transport.
There would arguably also be a lower proportion of people travelling from Morley, or the suburbs beyond, right into the CBD, and more people accessing or moving around the small-scale café, dining and entertainment precinct along Beaufort St, including suburbs such as Mt Lawley, Inglewood and Highgate. Long distances between stops would insufficiently cover the Beaufort St strip.
The 60-90 minute frequency of combined 48 and 348 services through Embleton are interesting. Firstly, the current service headway of the 48 on Sundays is 90 minutes, so logically speaking inserting a 348 to create a 60 minutes gap between a 48 and 348 would produce a 30 minute gap between the 348 and another 48. This range of frequencies from every 30 minutes to every 90 minutes is unnecessarily complicated and could bear simplifying.
I would suggest increasing the frequency of the 48 to every hour, as will that of the 43 and 55, so that Sunday frequency on Guildford Rd is an even 20 minutes. The 43 could be replaced with a 41 and 42, for a consistent 15 minute headway throughout the week, although this is not really necessary. It would be possible to run the 348 every hour on Sundays, leading to consistent 30 minute headway throughout the week, although again you wouldn’t necessarily have to run the 348 on Sundays, as an hourly frequency on the 48 is still simple and par for the course for Sunday services away from major PT corridors.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

2nd June Service Changes

Today some time and route changes occurred to Transperth bus routes.
The 32, 33, 38, 39, 70, 72, 75, 201, 202, 203, 281, 282, 283 and 284 have time changes.
The Circleroute, 510 and 511 will use Barry Marshall Parade to access Murdoch University, joining the 206, 207, 850, and 851, which already use that bus-only road. This should increase the speed and punctuality of services.
The 72 will receive extra evening services. The 10 minute frequency service from Perth will continue until 6:50pm, and there will be buses every 15 minutes leaving the Busport to Curtin University until 9:05pm.
It is good to see the speed, reliability and frequency of buses increased in Today's changes

Sunday, 5 May 2013

5 May Service Changes

Route 170 will undergo time changes and have a new timed stop at Corbel St/Tudor Av Nth.
Routes 176, 177, 179, 208, 210, and 211 will undergo time changes.
Route 205 will be renumbered to route 200, and will undergo minor time changes.
Route 206 will undergo time changes, have extra timed stops at Sugarwood Dr/Garden St and Langford Av/Nicholson Rd, and have its route to Murdoch Uni changed to use new bus lanes on Barry Marshal Parade.
Route 207 will undergo time changes, have an extra timed stop at Garden St/Nicholson Rd, and have its route to Murdoch Uni changed to use new bus lanes on Barry Marshal Parade.
An enhanced frequent service corridor along Shepparton Rd and Albany Hwy will be created. Service will be every 5 minutes between Westfield Carousel and the Busport in the peak, 7-8 minutes between Carousel and Perth and 15 minutes from Thornlie Square SC in during weekday midday, every 15 minutes until 9:15 pm and 30 minutes until 11:15 pm as far as Thornlie on week nights. Service will be every 30 minutes on Saturdays and hourly on Sundays between Perth and Thornlie.
Consequently, the 212 will see 42 extra city-bound services (2 earlier and 2 later), and 40 extra outbound services (1 earlier and 2 later). Many will terminate at Carousel and a few terminate at Thornlie Station.
I think that the stark difference between weekday and weekend services is unnecessary- there should be extra short 212s increasing frequency to every 15 minutes on Saturdays and 30 minutes on Sundays up to Carousel, in line with Northern suburbs frequent service corridors, as well as the 501 and 507.
The 205 could also have stayed the same number, with the 200 route number used for Carousel short 212s (and 209 for Thornlie short runs?), but 200 is a bit far from 212 or 210, and in any case would the 205 number would likely have been used for another route (could the 205 have been the 204? Or would that be used too?).
The 214 will be absorbed into the 517, as one route going from Murdoch to Thronlie via Southern River, improving connectivity for passengers.
Route 423 will gain a trip, leaving Stirling Stn at 2:22pm and arriving at Warwick Stn at 3:22pm.
The 425 will undergo time changes, and increase its weekday interpeak frequency to 30 minutes.
The 441 and 442 will also have time changes, weekday midday frequency increases to 30 minutes, and depart from Stand 3 at Warwick Stn now.
Routes 443 and 444 will have time changes, weekday midday frequency increases to every 30 minutes too, and will depart from Stand 4 at Warwick Stn.
The 445 and 446 will, like the above routes, time changes, weekday interpeak frequency increases to every half-hour, and depart from Stand 5 at Warwick Stn.
It is encouraging to see the move to half-hourly midday services that I advocated on weekdays.
The 447 will have time changes and a movement to Stand 2 at Warwick Stn, to be joined by the 344 and 371.
Route 518 will operate along Barry Marshal Parade to Murdoch Uni.
The 519, 850, and 851 will undergo time changes and travel along Barry Marshall Parade to Murdoch University.
New bus priority to Murdoch Uni is good news for buses, but it looks not all services have time changes. The increased speed of segregated bus operation, the good news, should have been accompanied with quicker bus timetables, unless if the aim was to increase reliability.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Abbott and Rail

[apologies for any bias in this]

Perth's PT narrative has taken an interesting twist.
Tony Abbott won't fund...
Rewind to just before the last state election. The Liberal and Labor parties have been outbidding each other on public transport promises for the election. Labour's Metronet plan, promising up to six new railway lines, including the centrepiece North and South Circle and Ellenbrook Lines, was countered by the Liberal party plan to build MAX light rail to Mirrabooka along Alexander Dr, and an underground railway to the Airport, and beyond to Forrestfield. The Liberals won that election, so their transport plans should go ahead.

... MAX light rail.
Colin Barnett's plan did rely on federal funding, requiring 50% of MAX, and 80% of the Airport line costs in Commonwealth funding. Mark McGowan's labour planned to fund Metronet entirely from the state budget, but to be fair, where could we find the money? The Commonwealth should be willing enough to fund public transport; after all, its patronage is rising, and it is useful for saving the environment, growing the economy and transporting all.

The thing is... Colin's federal Liberal counterpart, Tony Abbott, announced recently that if he was elected he would not fund urban rail, only roads. Abbott, when questioned in Melbourne about funding their 9km Metro tunnel, said:

“The commonwealth government has a long history of funding roads.

“We have no history of funding urban rail and I think it is important that we stick to our knitting and the commonwealth’s knitting when it comes to funding infrastructure is roads."

Abbott may not have even had WA in mind, but this has enormous implications for Western Australia. If federal Liberal wins the upcoming election, one of state Liberal's cornerstones will be jeopardised.

Julia Gillard, being a member of the opposite party, was not unwilling to chastise Barnett:

Last week on her visit to Perth, Prime Minister Julia Gillard poured cold water on Mr Barnett’s hopes, saying the Premier was not in a position to make promises about Federal funding.

“Premier Barnett would have to go through proper assessment processes.

“Now, I can’t tell you what the outcome of those proper, rigorous assessment processes would be. He needs to put forward his proposals.”

However, she is the Prime Ministerial candidate more favourable to Colin Barnett and state Liberal's transport policies. The possibility of federal funding is better than nothing.

In fact, Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese was proud of funding the Perth City Link project, and his party was not afraid to place a large article as an election ad in the West Australian. The ads contents are found here, I believe.

Colin Barnett responded to Abbott, saying that it was true the Federal government traditionally has only funded roads...

“However, given the current Federal (Labor) Government’s support of $236 million for rail infrastructure at the Perth City Link and $3 million towards planning of the MAX light rail project, we expect that future Federal governments, whether Liberal or Labor, would consider the benefits of funding such important transport initiatives based on merit,” Mr Barnett said.

“We will continue efforts with the Federal Government to deliver this important project for the people of WA.”

The prospect of Barnett failing to deliver on transport promises is especially troubling, considering that the Liberal party has traditionally been averse to public transport. The Ellenbrook Line promise was abandoned, and State Liberal opponents would jump on another undelivered transport project, criticising Barnett as untrustworthy.  Ben Wyatt already started with this:

“Mr Abbott has, well before the September Federal election, confirmed that any Federal Government he leads will not contribute to urban rail.

“The Liberal Party spent millions of dollars during the election campaign telling Western Australians that both MAX light rail and the airport line were ‘fully funded’ and ‘fully costed’.

“The WA election was less than a month ago and already Colin Barnett has walked away from his promised timeline to deliver his key election promises and Tony Abbott has confirmed that not one cent will come from any Federal Government he leads.”

Other Premiers are not pleased with Tony Abbott either. Victorian Premier Dennis Napthine, whom Abbott's comments referred to directly, said:

''We will actively and strongly pursue Infrastructure Australia and federal government funding for all three of these important projects whether it's Julia Gillard as prime minister or Tony Abbott as prime minister.''

This is especially prescient, as Tony Abbott pledged $1.5 billion to another tunnel across inner Melbourne, but one containing a road: The East-West Link. It has a Cost-Benefit ratio of only 0.7, meaning that the cost of building it is more than the calculated benefits from it.

The Queensland Liberal-National party was not happy with Tony Abbott either. They listed the underground Cross River Rail line, similar to Melbourne's tunnel, as one of their top three priorities. Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson said:

"Without Federal funding these projects cannot proceed.

"We are lobbying both the federal Coalition and federal Labor ahead of the next election to get the best deal possible for Queenslanders."

Abbott's refusal to fund urban rail runs counter to a previous commitment to $750 million towards the Moreton Bay Link.

As far as I know, NSW Liberal is going it alone with its North West Rail Link, as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), making it immune to Abbott's announcement. As we will see later, this is an example Barnett could follow.

It may not be a bad idea for Tony Abbott to suggest that urban rail should remain a state responsibility, but he should remain consistent with roads. His pledge of $1.5 billion for the East-West Link, as well as $1.5 billion for the WestConnex in Sydney, is not consistent. He will fund urban roads, but not rail. This makes no sense, as in urban environments, rail offers more capacity than roads, resulting in greater economic benefits, and very little environmental impact. Urban rail is a wiser investment than urban roads.

Adam Bandt, Melbourne Greens MP, had something to say:

''If Tony Abbott is elected, it will be a disaster for inner-city Melbourne. 
''The suburbs that we love and that make Melbourne consistently one of the world's most liveable cities will be turned into a rat's nest of on and off ramps.
''To suggest the federal government doesn't have a role in building public transport in major cities like Melbourne is 19th century thinking.''

The state and federal branches of the Liberal party are at odds with each other when it comes to transport. This is a very important issue, in Perth and in other cities. Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese took Abbott's comments as an opportunity to speak, claiming Abbott had "turned his back on long-suffering commuters":

“After much ducking and weaving, Mr Abbott has again confirmed his and the Coalition’s historical opposition to Federal engagement in urban public transport.

“Such an unbalanced approach would lead to more gridlock, worsening congestion and a poorer quality of life in our cities.

“While today’s announcement is extraordinary, it is not a surprising one. The attitude towards public transport is the great divide in Australian politics between Labor and the Coalition.”

It is not completely accurate to say that the Coalition has a problem with public transport. Many state Liberal branches have attempted to shake their public transport legacy, appearing perfectly happy with public transport. WA and NSW in particular are big advocates of PT. It is the Federal part of the Liberals that dislikes public transport. It has failed to transform into a political option in touch with today and the future, and is still stuck in the past, with a 'more roads' attitude. There is a fracture between State and Federal Liberal evident.

So what options are available for Colin Barnett, and any other state Premier's feeling shafted by Tony Abbott?

Well there is the opportunity for Tony Abbott to leverage his ability to change his mind (what he says is 'not always gospel truth'), and backflip on urban rail, to save a few fellow Liberals.

In the absence of that, there are still other avenues. States can build rail without Federal help, to follow NSW's example. If the states cannot fund rail from their own pockets, they can enter into a PPP, or otherwise employ the large land value gains around train stations.

As a train station is built, land near it becomes much more desirable, due to the benefits of convenient public transport. There is a natural tendency to build TODs near train stations. Governments can tap into this with land value capture, though various taxes allowing the government to get a cut of any land value gains, since they paid for the rail infrastructure causing the gain.

Professor Peter Newman of Curtin University is a proponent of land value capture. He believes that the whole cost of rail projects could potentially be funded through a land tax around stations.

"I don't think [Mr Barnett] has any alternative. Having Federal involvement will make it happen quicker, but no Federal involvement will propel us into doing more with value capture - using land around the train line to help fund it."

Funding options Professor Newman proposes in his Three Mode Plan include taxes (10% rate) on the increased value of residential and commercial properties, fees for commercial ($5 per working day) and retail ($5 day), and a 1% tax on the value of land sales around train stations.

In short, transport politics is getting interesting.

Sources -

Saturday, 20 April 2013

21 April Service changes

There are many service changes due for the 21 April, across the eastern and northern service areas of Transperth.

Routes 36, 40, 285, 286, 287, 288, 291, 293, 294, 296, 297, 298, 299, 310, 311, 312, 314, 315, 324, 325, 381, 402, 403, 404, 424, 427 and 428 will undergo time changes.
Routes 40, 297, 388, 402, 403, 404 and 456 will operate additional trips.
Routes 16, 21, 22, 60, 66, 67, 68, 293, 295, 296, 299, and 428 will undergo route changes.
Routes 291 and 298 will change timetable numbers.
Route 450 will become a fully accessible bus.

One of the biggest changes to bus services this round will be the route change to the 16, 21, 22, 60, 67 and 68, for inbound trips, to take advantage of the two-waying of Beaufort St. Due to delays in City of Vincent works between Brisbane St and Newcastle St, and the completion of City of Perth works making William St too narrow for buses, according to Transperth.
The 16 and 60 will turn from William St left to Bulwer St, right to Brisbane St, left to Stirling St, right to Newcastle St, left to Beaufort St, right to Wellington St, and left to William St to continue to the Busport.
The 21, 22, 66, 67 and 68 will turn from Beaufort St left to Bulwer St , right to Brisbane St, left to Stirling St, right to Newcastle St, left to Beaufort St, right to Wellington St, and left to William St to continue to the Busport.

A very big improvement here is for the Great Eastern Highway corridor. Up to Coolgardie Av, there will be buses every 5 minutes during peak hour in the peak direction, 10 minutes during midday weekdays, 15 minutes until 9:15 pm on weeknights, and every 30 minutes until 11:15 pm on weeknights, and all day on Saturdays and Sundays.
Not only will frequency be increased, but speed too. Bus priority measures have been upgraded as part of the Great Eastern Highway widening, with some peak hour services being sped up by 7 minutes.
The 293, 295, 296 and 299 will change routing to operate from the Busport, directly along Mill St to reach St Georges Tce, to ensure consistency in the routing of Great Eastern Highway buses.

The 291 will move from the Eastern 109 timetable to the Eastern 98, and the 298 from Eastern 109 to Eastern 108.
The 297 will see extra trips, with the frequency increased to every hour at weekday midday, and every half-hour during the afternoon peak, with earlier and later services added.

The 381's sole Fremantle-bound trip will depart Warwick 4 minutes earlier.
The Wanneroo Rd Corridor will gain an earlier trip, with a short 388 departing Amelia St at 5:08 am, and arrriving at Wellington St bus station at 5:38 am.
The 402 will also gain an early morning trip, leaving Stirling at 5:08 am.
The 403 will gain a relatively early Sunday morning trip, leaving Wellington St at 8:45 am.
The 404 will gain an extra weekday morning trip departing the Waterloo St/Royal St terminal at 6:35 am.
The frequency co-ordination on Loftus St between the 402, 403 and 404 has been modified. Even though the combined routes reach a frequency of 4bph from Monday to Saturday, they were only co-ordinated in the outbound direction on weekdays. Inbound weekday services, as well as all Saturday services, were bunched to some degree (7-23 or 8-22 rather than 15-15 intervals). After the changes, at all times and directions mentioned service will be at even 15 minute headways, except for inbound on weekdays where there will be 20-10 headways, which seems odd, unless if I'm missing something.
The 428 will undergo a route change, so that it goes directly from Karrinyup Rd to Jones St, rather than deviating through Roselea estate.
The 451 will be withdrawn, as it was run only on a trial basis.
Using the resources from the 451 withdrawal, the 456 will be expanded to a 7 day a week service, with weekday service every 20 minutes during peak hour, and every 30 minutes the rest of the day. The route will also change, from the Seacrest and St Helier Drs route to a Howland Rd, Lacepede Dr and St Helier Dr.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

8 April 2013 Changes

Starting on Monday 8 there will be route changes for the 41, 42, 43, 47, 48, and 55.
Old 41, 42, 43, 47, 48, 55
route (the timetable map
is missing route 47)
City-bound services will use Beaufort St, between Newcastle St and Wellington St, then use Wellington St to access the existing route at William St. This is because the aforementioned stretch of Beaufort St will become two-way.
New 41, 42, 43, 47, 48, 55 route
Beaufort St buses (21, 22, 66, 67, 68) will continue to travel to the city on William St, because the part of Beaufort St between Newcastle St and Brisbane St, under the City of Vincent's jurisdiction, is not two-way yet. It is anticipated to go two-way on 21 April, at which point the Beaufort St corridor buses should be diverted there.
Services from the city will not be affected as they already use Barrack St.
Barrack St is planned to go two-way, as far as I know, but bus priority needs, and the general fact that Barrack St is three-lanes wide rather than the four lanes on Beaufort St, have delayed the project.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

31 March 2013 changes

On Sunday the 31 March, several changes are due for the Transperth bus network.


There will be an improved frequent service corridor along Flinders St, with, as well as existing 15-minutely weekday service, co-ordinated 15-minute service on Saturdays, and 30 minute service on Sundays.

The 354 and 870 will have additional morning peak services, and time changes.
The 370, previously a weekend-only route, will receive a weekday afternoon counter-peak trip, leaving Mirrabooka at 5:48pm.

The 365 will have two extra late morning peak shoulder services, leaving Kingsway SC at 8:37 am and 9:07 am, and time changes.

The 371 will see significant frequency upgrades. Peak hour frequency will be increased to every 10 minutes. Midday weekday frequency increases to every 15 minutes across the whole route, where previously only the section from Mirrabooka to Warwick had 15-minutely buses, through the use of short trips, and buses ran half-hourly from Mirrabooka to Morley. Weekend frequency will be increased to every half-hour.

The old 391
It's a pity that on Saturdays, the 371 still finishes at 7pm, and the half-hourly 371s are bunched with the half-hourly 415s (they are only a minute apart leaving Mirrabooka westbound on Ravenswood Dr, and five minutes apart eastbound, going to Mirrabooka), where a frequent corridor with 15 minute service could be implemented.

The 372 will have an extra late morning peak shoulder bus, leaving Landsdale Rd/Dunlop Ent at 9:15 am, and time changes.

Routes 376, 377, 378 and 379 will undergo time changes.

The 391 will undergo a route change in Banksia Grove, to serve new developments.
The new 391

The frequency of the 467 on weekday middays will be increased to every 30 minutes.

The 480 leaving Marmion Av/Santorini Prom at 7:42 am will be converted into a 490D leaving Marmion AV before Cinnabar Dr at 7:36 am.

The 481, 482, 483 and 484 will receive extra weekday trips to Clarkson train station.


On weekdays, there will be additional 106s, and additional 111s to Perth.

The 160 will have time changes.

The 501 will undergo major frequency upgrades. Frequency will increase from every 30 minutes on Saturdays, and hourly on Sundays, to every 15 minutes on Saturdays, and 30 minutes on Sundays.

Route 940 will have an extra earlier trip to Perth, leaving Hamilton Hill Hall at 5:36am (the previous first trip is at 5:51am)