18 April 2007

More bus fiddling

| johnboy
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The ABC informs us that in their ongoing efforts to discourage casual bus use the ACT Government is going to fiddle with the timetables again and try and force users to pre-pay tickets.

Validation systems seem to work well in Europe, why not here?

UPDATED: Thanks to SGS I can point you at the new timetable. Worth checking out and commenting on if you’re one of the poor bastards who can’t afford your own transport.

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Deadmandrinking2:29 pm 20 Apr 07

Screw it, I’m walking.

they’ve done nothing to fix the over crowding here, its ridiculous, any time i try to catch the 315 after school, its so over crowded that myself and about 20 other people cant get on. and i know i’m not the only one who’s emailed action about this, asking for them to have a larger bus on this service, but have they listened or done anything about it? Of course not! Which means that i have to wait another half an hour (because i just miss the previous 315 by one or two minutes..) for a bus home, which is ridiculous, some of us have afterschool jobs, and cant just get their half an hour late, and blame it on the bus!

And we’ve also emailed action, because my little brother can get a school bus TO school, but can he get one home? nope! And he’s even getting harrased by a couple of people on there, and theres even enough numbers for it!

action have a pamphlet on display at the interchanges listing affected bus routes.

its prob online at their website as well.

And they wonder why people are still using their cars….

partner occasionally does some work in the Area of Calvary hospital, and at the moment, if she is aske ot work in the midddle of the day, it’s around 3 hours travel time due to shity services.

At least the 43 has been returned to service between west belc. and belco. during the day

Samuel Gordon-Stewart3:46 pm 19 Apr 07

Now is probably one of the best times to bombard Hargreaves/TAMS/ACTION with route proposals as my sources tell me work is starting on a replacement for the current (and updated) timetable. Bombarding them with what you want before they make up their minds and get bogged down in the administrative side of setting up a new “network” would be wise.

Al, I have sent a few requests for bus changes through the Action website [although not regarding Majura Rd] and get the same response each time — we’ll think about it. There are no bus services from Gungahlin to Russell, either, so maybe I’ll try the Hargreaves email for that.

Hargreaves told the Gungahlin meeting the other night that the reason there are no bus services down Majura Rd to Brindabella Park is that not a single person has asked for one.
So Gungahlin folk who are sick of the Majura Rd parking lot, you know what to do:
When questioned about converting the Flemington Road bus lane to a T2, he said “It isn’t already? It will be by Monday.” That was last Monday – but maybe they have to order the signs in…?

I recently decided to start catching the bus again as I was tired of fighting for a carpark in Woden. Strangely enough, gross inattention to the timetable has made things very pleasant — as has the fact that the bus interchange is only a few minutes’ walk from my apartment.

I knew the move to the city would be worth it, somehow!

Interesting that they haven’t touched Gungahlin services, considering they are probably the most lacking.

It doesn’t seem to be money alone that slows down bus queues, it’s the people who only have a $20 note, don’t know what they want or where they want to go.

Main thing I dislike about buses here is that they are so packed with schoolkids that you’re being squashed by schoolbags for 20 minutes each morning, then can’t seem to make your way to the front of the bus to get off.

will check out the new timetables – since the last change its been impossible to get a bus up & down northbourne ave at lunch time.

pre-changes you could get a bus every 10 minutes or so. currently looking at 30min wait at best.

its not people paying for fare when they get on the bus holding them up, its the people who ask the driver where the bus goes because they’re too lazy to go read the sign at the platform.

as for that “new” timetable, I don’t know why they bothered. they hardly brought back any services. I liked it when buses with 3 numbers came every half hour, and buses with 2 came every hour. it was easy to remember and reliable.

At the moment I’m lucky if my bus bothers to turn up at all.

I might actually consider using a bus during the day now, good work ACTION.

However I won’t ever use one when I need to be at a certain place within minutes of bus timetable times.

Actually, as a “once in a blue moon” bus user, I tend to use the prepaid tickets anyway. Partially ’cause they’re still acceptable by the system three years later, and partially because, if I need to catch a bus in a hurry, I don’t have to piss-fart around looking for change.

My daughter catches a bus to school – not a school bus as there isn’t one in the morning from our suburb to her school.

Several times she has been left (with at least 20 other kids from near our street) at the the stop because the bus is too full.

I have asked ACTION, via their website, why they haven’t put on a morning school bus to her school as there are the numbers to run it – given that there is one in the afternoon.

I’ve heard nothing.

The fact that they have left children and the eldery stranded at stops indicates a shitty system. I highly doubt the new timetable for my suburb will be any better than before.

ACTION refuse to take constructive criticism.

As for the pre-paid tickets, well that’s been going on for over 2 decades.

Thank God I don’t have to catch a bus to drop my other kids off or to go to work. I’d be travelling at least 3hrs.

ACTION needs to listen to the consumer and quit shafting the public with pathetic timetables.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart11:28 pm 18 Apr 07

Do you catch the bus Johnboy? Not trying to put anyone down or be a smart-arse or anything like that. I(m just curious is all. My car finally *broke down* i.e wont drive in anything other than 3rd gear, and i have been forced to catch the bus for the last few weeks. I think pre paid tickets are much easier, and having travelled round Europe would tend to agree that they work pretty well

Samuel Gordon-Stewart10:05 pm 18 Apr 07

ACTION have been running ads on commercial radio for the last few weeks trying to tell everyone how wonderful pre-paid bus tickets are. Trouble is, anybody who is serious about using the buses already uses pre-paid tickets, and people who just need to catch them on a once-off basis will use cash (or more correctly, get on the bus and ask “How much to Woden?”.

As for the timetables, I find the timing of the announcement curious. Tuesday morning 2CC’s Mike Jeffreys read out the following email I sent to another 2CC announcer:

Hi Mike,

Some interesting news from ACTION. It would appear that the government want ACTION to come up with a new set of timetables to expand services in the middle of the day, before the end of the school holidays. Considering that it generally takes months of wrangling between the Transport Workers Union and ACTION for any timetable change to occur, I find the deadline amusing, none the less the plan makes sense.

At the moment a lot of drivers have a split shift where they spend a couple hours on “depot duties”, then go home for a while, and come back for the evening peak period. The plan is to turn the depot duties in to extra buses during the day. There are a few issues with making the new shifts work as ACTION have sold quite a few buses, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a new timetable by the end of next month.

That information, when I wrote it on Monday was purely based on unofficial noise and was likely to change at any moment. Good to see ACTION follow through on a rumour for a change.

Pre-pay tickets are great to use, and practically every shopping centre has an outlet. While they will have to maintain cash tickets for the occasional user and those without the money to outlay (an adult ten ride is $22 – not much you may say, but there are weeks when I for one don’t have a spare $20 in my pocket).

Haven’t noticed any extra slowness with cash ‘per se’, more that people paying cash don’t always have the correct fare (eg because they don’t know how much to pay, are tourists or new bus users etc). ALSO you can’t get return tickets! Which is weird.

swissbignose7:19 pm 18 Apr 07

Admittedly, I’ve only lived in Canberra for the past thirty years. English wasn’t the first language that I spoke, but I always interpretted “force” to mean “there are no alternatives”.

The M7 in Sydney *forces* you to have an e-tag (or pay an administration fee if you pay after the event). Parking meters *force* you to have the exact change or pay more than required.

Your argument would have been fair if ACTION had double its cash fare compared withe pre-purchase fare or stated that it would no longer be possible to pay cash when travelling on a bus.

ACTION are continuing to need to be subsidised by the ACT Government, because expenditure exceeds revenue. So they cut costs by cutting routes, and it doesn’t work. So they try to find ways to raise revenue without necessarily raising prices.

It’s just business.

(But no one is being forced to do nothing.)

It all depends what you think an ACT Government Minister means when they say: “Also we’re having a big push on pre-paid tickets”

How exactly is swiss incorrect Johnboy?

Such touching naivete… do you live round here?

swissbignose6:18 pm 18 Apr 07

“Force users to use pre-pay tickets”.

The article didn’t actually say that. It mentioned that it was going to have a push to encourage more people to use pre-pay tickets. Two logical reasons here… it locks in funding quicker, and makes money when commuters lose/misplace/damage/forget about their tickets.

And the second reason is probably a time efficiency concern – just like the article says.

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