Banyule’s Public Transport Paradox

I have been using our local public transport services for the two past months for my daily to journey to work and nothing makes sense to me anymore.

Like how the government has cut back on the bus services since there is too much congestion on the road. Hello!? Did I miss anything here or is this a stupid argument. If you want more people to leave their precious cars at home you need to give them more frequent services. Unless of course you expect them to skate to work, which only commuters in Scandinavia manage these days.

Anyway since I changed my job I am catching the bus from right around the corner where live to get to Rosanna train station. No, I don’t mind paying extra money to board the train in Zone 2 because I don’t actually have a choice. There is no bus to Heidelberg Station from where I live and I don’t want to drive the car to the station either because there is little parking there.

In the past two months the bus has only been on time once. It’s either too early (7 minutes was the biggest gap) which finds me sprinting up the hill alongside the bus and towards the actual bus stop in my office gear and high heels to make the driver aware that I want to get on. But of course the bus timetable states in large letters “timetable subject to traffic conditions” so I guess that makes it ok to give people a little more exercise or more reading time.

But the train is always late as well so I shouldn’t be complaining, really. Actually who needs a timetable anyway? Recently when I had the silly idea to try to get back to Rosanna from Hawthorn without going back to the City it took 2 trams, 2 buses and 90 minutes to reach my destination since there is no direct bus route. I also noticed that the times on the online Metlink journey planner did not correspond with the times on the bus stop. When I pointed this out in a phone call to the customer service person at Metlink, I was told that the times weren’t wrong, they were only incorrect! Just in time I stopped myself from having a discussion about the meaning of those two words with the operator. I do wonder however who trains these people to utter such total nonsense.

In the meantime my husband thinks I am going to be an unbearable, serial grumpy complainer by the time I reach 40. “But it’s not right!” I exclaim! Why does everyone act like public transport services are free and bad service delivery isn’t something we can change?

The icing on my public transport experience cake was a recent return trip home when I sat on the bus at Rosanna Station. The bus was idling at the bus stop, keys in the ignition and no driver in sight. It was also well past the scheduled departure time. A full ten minutes later the driver did emerge from the Rosanna library with his weekend reading material. Now seriously late he raced through the streets like a maniac and kept overshooting the stops so people had trouble getting off, closing doors on them too early and squashing  people.

So, here it is my big whine about PT in Banyule. There will be more I am sure. I don’t plan to ever drive my car to any job I can reach by PT and I do love reading books or catching up on my studies on the train or bus. Its much more relaxing than sitting in stop start traffic, a better use of my limited spare time and a much more efficient mode of transport than my car. On top of that I enjoy to start the day with a brisk walk to my bus stop taking in the fresh morning air and I even had some nice impromptu conversations with fellow commuters as well.

It seems to me very obvious that the promises made by the Baillieu Government at the last election to improve PT are empty. Where is the independent Public Transport Development Authority to plan, co-ordinate and manage our public transport system and demand for Melbourne. For Banyule to date there are just cuts in services and the ancient Hurstbridge train line that urgently needs an upgrade. Very disappointing indeed.

Read more about this topic in the local papers:
Congestion blamed for cuts to bus services
12 JAN 2012 BY SHAUN CAMPBELL

HAVE YOUR SAY: MP blows whistle on Eltham rail yard project delay
11 JAN 2012 @ BY SHAUN CAMPBELL

Traffic jams force cutbacks on northern bus routes
10 JAN 2012 BY MICHAEL HOWARD

YOUR SAY: Give us some space at Watsonia station
3 JAN 12 BY ADRIAN BERNECICH

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About Friends of Banyule Inc

President & Public Officer of Friends of Banyule Inc, a community not- for-profit organisation to enhance and protect the environmental assets of Banyule City. Currently fighting the proposed NE Link freeway through one of inner Melbourne's most ecologically sensitive areas and historical areas.
This entry was posted in Baillieu Government, Car Dependency, Hurstbridge rail line, Investment in Rail, Ne-Link Freeway, Public Transport, SmartBus, Trains, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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