Thursday, February 05, 2015

Insane Ideas 10

A few weeks ago, I posted a first draft of Jarf's Bus Plan.

Here it is. All 48.03MB of it.

Of course, over the last few weeks I've been refining it. It's mostly been for clarity, although some route changes have been included for good measure.

Draft two will be coming in the near future. Stay tuned... ;)

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Insanity 29

Brimbank's new bus network is now in week six of operation.

Five out of six weeks, I have had the same travel pattern on at least one day: 425 to Watergardens, 420 to Brimbank Shopping Centre, 424 to Main Road West (returning home).

On four occasions, always just before 2pm on a Tuesday, I have noticed the same 50-something woman board the 424 bus. Today was no exception.

Every single time, she asks the driver if the bus goes anywhere near Kurung Drive - which it doesn't. Each time, she is advised to take the bus to St Albans, and change to the 425.

She then always begins a small rant, with the other passengers on board. "They" shouldn't have changed the bus routes, she says. "They" made the timetables more confusing. "They" made it harder for her to visit her daughter in Kings Park.

(Does she even know who "they" are?)

And then every time, she gets off the bus in Albanvale and goes home, seemingly abandoning her plans.

I've been tempted at least once to counteract her incessant nagging with a logical, drawn-out argument.

The bus routes were changed for a reason: to reduce duplication, which in turn frees up money to extend the operating span of most routes.

There's no point complaining to the bus driver, because the operator had very little say in planning the new network.

And who the hell cares if you don't have a direct bus to Kings Park any more, when you ask about it but never actually go there?!

People confuse me.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Insanity 28

July 27, 2014 was an historic day for the City of Brimbank. Its bus network, which had been almost completely untouched since 2002, underwent a major overhaul.

A number of bus routes were removed, a number were added. Others were chopped and changed, sections of various routes being attached to sections of other routes.

The end result? The bus network looks almost nothing like it did just one day prior.

Of course, such widespread change doesn't come without criticism. There are a large number of people complaining that some areas now have a little less service coverage, or have lost direct routes to some destinations.

In my opinion? It's not perfect, but it's a lot better.

Routes are mostly now much more straightforward. There are no ridiculously long sections of overlapping services. Service frequency is relatively unchanged for most routes, although there are some routes that are more frequent than previously, and some that are less so. But most routes now run for longer each day, which is an overall improvement.

There are always winners and losers when it comes to bus service changes. I am a winner when it comes to walking distance - travelling to my most frequent destination now only requires half as much walking. Although I lose on a massive scale when it comes to service frequency, with 50% less services to my nearest train station throughout the week.

Such is life. I'm not going to complain, because I can see the plus side of it all. Most of the time I now only need to know one bus timetable, rather than three.

But most importantly, the government didn't back down, even in the face of harsh opposition.

That is the biggest plus for everyone. And something that we need more of.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Insane Ideas 9

Wow, four months. I'm absolutely useless. Now, time for a blatant cross-post.

Part of my public transport plan involves using freeways to provide express and limited stop bus routes.

At the moment I'm focusing on the West Gate Freeway, as such:

234 - Flinders Street station to Brooklyn Park+Ride (via Southbank)
235 - Queen Victoria Market to Altona (via Altona Gate)
236 - Queen Victoria Market to Laverton (via Altona Gate)

Routes 234 and 235 would operate from 5am until midnight every day, every 5 minutes in peak, 10 minutes counter-peak, 15 minutes off-peak and weekends, and 30 minutes at night (after 9pm). Every second 235 would terminate at Altona North (Paisley) along with all services after 8pm. Route 236 would operate every 10 minutes counter-peak and 30 minutes off-peak until 8pm, on weekdays only.

To implement the routes, a new Park+Ride facility would need to be constructed opposite Little Boundary Road with 1100 parking spaces, for cars coming off the Princes Freeway (although the adjacent freeway interchange could also be altered to allow for cars coming off the Ring Road); along with the extension of Grieve Parade over the rail line. The three routes would also stop at Todd Road and Williamstown Road, using new stops on the freeway.

The Park+Ride route was purposely selected to run through Southbank - it's perceived as difficult to get there by public transport, so people continue to drive there (in large numbers from Wyndham, as there are lots of low to mid-skilled jobs in the area).

Having a constant visual reminder in the form of a bus zooming past every five minutes in a bus lane on the freeway, taking just 25 minutes in peak, might encourage people to consider a mode switch half way through their trip (half way being better than nothing at all) with the added bonus of free parking.

In addition, because options for cross-suburban travel between the western and northern suburbs are severely limited, two new limited stop routes would be introduced, running along the Ring Road:

540 - Altona Gate to Greensborough
541 - Altona Gate to Broadmeadows

The routes would stop only at Boundary Road, Fitzgerald Road, Ballarat Road, Furlong Road, Sunshine Avenue, Keilor Park Drive, Westfield Airport West, Broadmeadows station (541), Sydney Road (540), Edgars Road (540), Dalton Road (540), Plenty Road (540), Civic Drive (540) and Greensborough station (540) using newly constructed stops along the freeway. At each stop there would be connecting buses/trams to surrounding areas.

The 541 would be a temporary route, pending electrification of the Newport-Sunshine-Broadmeadows rail line following construction of a new freight line, after which time its viability would be reassessed. Both routes would run every 10 minutes in peak, and 20 minutes off-peak and weekends until 10pm.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Insane Ideas 8

The East Gippsland region, being the most sparsely populated area of the state, is currently poorly connected to the rest of the state - by road, and especially by public transport. However, it's one of Victoria's most amazing tourist regions and has plenty of untapped potential.

My ultimate goal is to encourage further development and significant population growth in the region, by improving transport access. In conjunction with targeted road upgrades as well as an upgrade of the Bairnsdale rail line to support hourly services, I propose a complete overhaul of the region's bus network, as such:

The first step is to finish sealing a number of roads in the region. The predominant requirements for my public transport network would be Bonang Highway to Bonang, and Gap Road to Bendoc.

Then sections of the rail line would be upgraded, in particular by duplicating the remaining single track sections as far as Traralgon, and then providing passing loops west of Rosedale, south of Stratford, and near Lindenow (all 30 minutes apart). The Bairnsdale service would stop at Pakenham, Warragul, Moe, Morwell and Traralgon, and then all stations.

And then the new bus network could be introduced in stages:

Stage 1 introduces the bulk of routes out of Bairnsdale:
  • 600 - Bairnsdale to Canberra, once daily with an additional service terminating at Bombala [two buses]
  • 601 - Bairnsdale to Batemans Bay, once daily with an additional service terminating at Eden [two buses]
  • 602 - Bairnsdale to Mallacoota, five times daily [two buses]
  • 603 - Bairnsdale to Bemm River, four times daily [two buses]
  • 604 - Bairnsdale to Marlo, every two hours [two buses]
  • 606 - Bairnsdale to Gelantipy, twice daily with an additional service terminating at Buchan [one bus]
  • 607 - Bairnsdale to Omeo, twice daily [one bus]
  • 630-632 - Bairnsdale Town Services, hourly [two buses]
  • 640 - Bairnsdale to Lakes Entrance, hourly [two buses]
  • 642-645 - Lakes Entrance Town Services, hourly [two buses]
Stage 2 adds the Sale and Stratford areas, and expands the Bairnsdale area:
  • 610 - Sale to Traralgon via Maffra, every two hours [two buses]
  • 611 - Maffra to Stratford (including town services), every two hours [one bus]
  • 620-623 - Sale Town Services, hourly [two buses]
  • 625 - Sale to Loch Sport, four times daily [one bus]
  • 626 - Sale to Seaspray, four times daily [one bus]
  • 627 - Sale to Yarram, four times daily [one bus]
  • 635 - Bairnsdale to Paynesville, every two hours
  • 636 - Bairnsdale to Newlands Arm, every two hours [one bus for both routes]
  • 641 - Bairnsdale to Metung, every two hours [one bus]
Stage 3 completes the trunk network:
  • 605 - Orbost to Bendoc via Bonang, twice daily [one bus]
  • 612 - Maffra to Stratford via Briagolong, twice daily
  • 618 - Bairnsdale to Stratford via Meerlieu, twice daily
  • 619 - Bairnsdale to Dargo, twice daily with an additional service terminating at Lindenow [one bus for three routes]
Additional upgrades could follow later, dependent on patronage levels. In particular I would consider:
  • All town services to half-hourly [six additional buses]
  • 605 to three times daily [no additional buses]
  • 610 to hourly [one additional bus]
  • 611 to hourly [no additional buses]
  • 625, 626 to hourly [two additional buses]
  • 635, 636 to hourly [two additional buses]
  • 640 to half hourly [one additional bus]
  • 641 to hourly [no additional buses]
  • New route 613 between Maffra, Tinamba and Newry, every two hours
    • Through-routes with upgraded 612 (de-linked from 618/619) [one additional bus]
Maybe a bit crazy, but that's how the world works for me... :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Insane Ideas 7

Sometimes I really hate how lazy I am when it comes to updating this. My poor, neglected, practically dying blog turned eight years old last month. And this is also my 100th post!

So to celebrate, here's a quick snippet from my metro plan, focusing on Rowville. In an ideal world Rowville as a whole would simply be transported into a parallel universe, where it could be safely nuked.

But since this is the real world, I've had to force myself to focus specifically on completely destroying the epic failures that are the 681/682, 691, and Telebus.

In short, all of the routes are deleted and restarted from scratch although some of the replacement routes bear resemblence to what is currently there. The section of the 691 between Stud Park and Waverley Gardens would initially be added to an extended 631, but probably changed at a later stage of bus reviews.

There are three proposed local routes in the area (down from an insane six), all running between Stud Park and Ferntree Gully, with one extending to Boronia as the 691 currently does. By building a small section of road to extend Palmerston Road through to Grange Drive (in Lysterfield, on the 636), overall service coverage is improved by a small amount - although it's currently not too bad anyway.

However, the main improvement is really by rationalising the number of routes, and allowing for direct rail access at all times of the day from all areas. The area 7 and 8 Telebuses currently take 25 and 30 minutes respectively between Stud Park and Ferntree Gully, and only operate all the way there in peak times - with area 7 also having no services to Ferntree Gully in the morning and area 9 having no direct services there at all. The 691 also takes 30 minutes. Each of my three proposed routes would also take 30 minutes from Stud Park to Ferntree Gully, with the 635 taking an additional 15 minutes to Boronia.

As for the bus fleet requirement: as far as I can tell from confusing timetables, areas 7, 8 and 9 currently require five vehicles in peak, 691 requires six buses in peak and 681/682 require a total of four - for an overall total of 15 buses.

Deducting one bus to add onto the 631 at its current frequency leaves 14 buses for the three routes. Say they were to be allocated as follows - 635 using five buses, and 636/637 using a combined seven, with two left over. 635 would be an approximately 100 minute run time with five minutes layover at either end, and 636/637 would be a total 140 minute run time with five minutes layover at either end - meaning instead of having routes overlapping with each other running at completely random times, it appears to be quite possible to run all three routes every 20 minutes in peak with two fewer buses.

And then over time, since they'd no longer be diverting in and out of backstreets, it'd even be possible to replace the shitty little Dennis Darts with some real buses...

That's a win in itself...duh. More Ivecos would be awesome, too.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Insanity 28

So, in June I spent two marvellous weeks in Queensland. I totally want to go back there now... :(

BT #325 (Volvo B10M mk 3/Austral Metroliner) at Kelvin Grove, 17/06/13.

QR EMU #22 at South Brisbane, 17/06/13.

Caboolture #1 (Mercedes-Benz O500LE/Northcoast Downtown) at Caboolture, 19/06/13.

Kangaroo #73 (Denning Phoenix LF/Custom Coaches CB60 Evo II) at Caboolture, 19/06/13.

Hornibrook #151 (Scania K280UB/Volgren CR228L) at Redcliffe, 19/06/13.

Park Ridge #16 (Scania L94UB/Bustech) at Garden City, 21/06/13.

BT #314 (Volvo B10M mk 3/Austral Metroliner) drives through a puddle at Garden City, 21/06/13.

CityCat "Barrambin" leaving South Bank, 22/06/13.

Veolia #370 (Mercedes-Benz O500LE/Custom Coaches CB60 Evo II) at Cleveland, 23/06/13.

Mount Gravatt "Milton" (Volvo B7RLE/Custom Coaches CB60 Evo II) at Capalaba, 23/06/13.

Only 36.5 hours until I'm in Sydney again, though... :D

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Insanity 27

Wow, over two months. I'm truly hopeless.

I was in Sydney again for two weeks. Much of that time was spent doing things other than gunzelling, however... *cough*

Hmm, I really need to get back into it...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Insanity 26

Unfortunately I haven't been doing much actual gunzelling in the last month.
So here are a few more pics from February... :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Insanity 25

So, it's been nearly six weeks since my last update. I knew I'd slip up.

So here are some photos from my insanely-long trip to Sydney, from the gunzelling I managed to fit in between all of my other activities...:

Busways #571 (Mercedes-Benz O405/Custom Coaches 510) at Mount Druitt, 15/01/2013.

STA #3950 (Volvo B10BLE/Phoenix Orana) at Milsons Point, 15/01/2013.

MV Borrowdale at Milsons Point, 15/01/2013.

TransdevTSL #109 (Scania K230UB/Volgren CR228L) at Hornsby, 17/01/2013.

TransdevTSL #135 (Iveco Metro/Volgren CR228L) at Hornsby, 17/01/2013.

TransdevTSL #138 (Iveco Metro/Bustech) at Hornsby, 17/01/2013.

Forest m/o 9496 (Mercedes-Benz O500LE/Custom Coaches CB60 Evo II) at Chatswood, 21/01/2013.

Metro Light Rail (Variotram) at Wentworth Park, 22/01/2013.

Premier m/o 7645 (Scania L94IB/Custom Coaches 510) at Crown St, Wollongong, 30/01/2013.

Green's m/o 895 (Iveco Metro/Custom Coaches CB60 Evo II) at Keira St, Wollongong, 30/01/2013.

Premier 4752MO (Volvo B7RLE/Custom Coaches CB50) at Port Kembla, 30/01/2013.

Veolia #649 (Cummins 844.03/Volgren) at Wynyard, 02/02/2013.

Hillsbus m/o 6041 (Volvo B7RLE/Volgren CR228L) at Wynyard, 03/02/2013.

Busways #1048 (Bustech CDi) at Blacktown, 04/02/2013.

Tangara set T81 at Seven Hills, 04/02/2013.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 777-200LR with Singapore Airlines A380-800 at Sydney Airport, 05/02/2013.

Qantas Jetconnect Boeing 737-800 taxiing at Sydney Airport, 05/02/2013.

Overview of Sydney Airport, 05/02/2013. 

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Insanity 24

So, it's 2013 now. So far it's been a good great year, but I'll have to see how the next 360 days play out. :)

Even though this blog is supposed to be about gunzelling, I figure my loyal followers bored readers want to know at least something about me. So there are two new pages in the menu off to your right to take up a few minutes of your time. Maybe you'll learn a bit about just how insane I really am.

So, New Years Eve went as follows:

I was busy elsewhere, doing somewhat important things, when I received a phone call from my mother around 9:30pm. She had to practically beg me to go somewhere with her for NYE. I reluctantly (and stupidly) agreed. So after taking a few seconds to arrange someone to finish my work for me, I returned to Jarf Manor (a 400 metre/five minute walk away).

Just before 10pm, we (my mother, her partner and myself) leave in the car. My mother is trying to think of a train station to park at, and I recommend Sunshine. She is reluctant at first, and seems convinced that the car will get broken into if it's left unattended there for even a few seconds. I have to constantly tell her she's just paranoid, and that it will be fine.

So we park at Sunshine just on 10:15pm. There are at least a hundred people on the platform waiting for the 10:29pm train. The train eventually arrives a minute early. It is already fairly full, but we squeeze in. My mother seems displeased that she will have to stand all the way into the CBD. The train sits at Sunshine, eventually leaving two minutes late. And as it gets further down the line, it gets later and later, and significantly more packed. It arrives at Flinders Street seven minutes behind schedule. After a brief stop (less than a minute), it departs again.

I had suggested using Parliament to avoid the massive crowds at Flinders Street; we arrive there at 11:01pm, just one minute behind. We take a leisurely walk out of Parliament station, where again my mother is displeased that she has to use such a steep escalator (she really needs to stop complaining!).

Rather than walking to Birrarung Marr as originally planned, my mother decides she wants to stay around Treasury Gardens as it's not too packed. Sure, I figure, at least the crowds won't annoy the shit out of me. A rather uneventful 45 minutes passes before midnight. The fireworks that followed were fairly uninspiring, even if they did go on for about ten minutes.

So, around 12:15am, we all decide we're bored and want to go home. Parliament station is already closed and Flinders Street will be ridiculously overcrowded, so we all walk to Jolimont. We get to Jolimont just after 12:30am; the PID says the next train is 27 minutes away. I sit down, and begin to send lots of text messages. But, in typical Metro fashion, a train pulls in less than ten minutes later. We get to Flinders Street at 12:50am.

By now, trains to Sunbury are running roughly every 10-15 minutes, so the next one shouldn't be too far away. So we wait. And wait. And wait more as two Craigieburns and an Upfield depart. The brutal "MOVE DOWN THE PLATFORM!!!" announcements every 30 seconds are starting to hurt my head and I want to hit someone over the head with a brick. A Sunbury train finally arrives into the platform at 1:02am. I'm already standing near the platform edge, so I force through the doors and literally pounce into a seat. The train, now almost completely packed in the front half, sits around for a few more minutes, before finally departing at 1:06am.

The trip back to Sunshine is uneventful, and we get off the train at 1:33am. As expected, after three hours the car is still there in one piece. The drive home is quicker than expected, meaning I am safely back in front of the computer by 1:50am.

But even though I had always planned to be asleep by 2am, at 4am I'm still awake...figures.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Insane Ideas 6

This is, by far, the most extensive plan I've ever posted on here: a review of every single bus route in the City of Wyndham.

First of all, it's predicated on Regional Rail Link being built, with a couple of infill stations (at Davis Rd and Sayers Rd).

Second, some route numbers clash with existing routes, but my complete metro bus plan has some fairly significant renumbering as areas are reviewed. So don't worry too much about the exact numbers.

Third, it removes many of the oddities that exist in the present network, specifically route 446 which is an annoying mess, completely eliminates loops and one-way routes, and makes the network more direct overall.

So, route by route:

Route 421 St Albans - Caroline Springs - Williams Landing
  • Every 20 mins between 6am and 9pm (11pm between St Albans and Caroline Springs)
  • Vehicle requirement: 6 (3 from Werribee depot, remaining 3 from Sunshine depot)
Route 430 Werribee Station - Werribee Park Zoo
  • Every 30 mins between 9am and 5pm (during zoo opening times)
  • Vehicle requirement: 1 (midi bus)
Routes 431 & 432 Werribee Station - Wyndham Cove
  • Each every 40 mins between 6am and 10pm
  • Services through-route at Wyndham Cove
  • Vehicle requirement: 3 (midi buses)
Route 433 Werribee - Riverwalk Estate
Route 434 Werribee - Hoppers Crossing
  • Each every 20 mins between 6am and 10pm
  • Services through-route at Werribee
  • Vehicle requirement: 4 (midi buses)
Routes 435, 436 & 437 Werribee - Manor Lakes
  • Each every 20 mins between 6am and 11pm
  • Routes 435 and 436 combine to provide a 10 minute frequency along Greaves St
  • Vehicle requirement: 8
Route 441 Hoppers Crossing - Werribee Plaza - Werribee
Route 442 Hoppers Crossing - Werribee Plaza - Davis Road
Route 448 Davis Road - Tarneit
  • Each every 20 mins between 6am and 11pm
  • Routes 441 and 442 combine to provide a 10 minute frequency along Heaths Rd
  • Routes 442 and 448 through-route at Davis Road
  • Vehicle requirement: 7
Route 443 Werribee - Werribee Plaza - Hoppers Crossing
Route 444 Werribee - Werribee Plaza - Sayers Road
  • Each every 20 mins between 6am and 11pm
  • Routes combine to provide a 10 minute frequency along Market St and Shaws Rd
  • Route 444 could potentially be extended north-west to Eynesbury and Melton
  • Vehicle requirement: 6
Route 445 Hoppers Crossing - Werribee Plaza - Truganina - Williams Landing
  • Every 20 mins between 6am and 11pm
  • Vehicle requirement: 4
Route 446 Tarneit - Williams Landing
  • Every 20 mins between 6am and 11pm
  • Vehicle requirement: 2
Route 447 Tarneit - Hoppers Crossing - Werribee
  • Every 20 mins between 6am and 11pm
  • Could potentially be extended north to Caroline Springs
  • Vehicle requirement: 4
Route 450 Williams Landing - Hoppers Crossing - Werribee Plaza - Werribee - Manor Lakes
  • Every 15 mins peak, 20 mins off-peak between 6am and midnight
  • Runs express between Hoppers Crossing and Werribee Plaza
  • Potential to upgrade to a 900-series route (943 and 944 left vacant)
  • Vehicle requirement: 9 peak (2 articulated), 6 off-peak
Route 451 Williams Landing - Hoppers Crossing
  • Every 20 mins between 6am and 11pm
  • Vehicle requirement: 3
Route 452 Williams Landing - Sanctuary Lakes
Route 453 Williams Landing - Laverton
Route 454 Laverton - Saltwater Promenade
  • Each every 20 mins between 6am and 11pm
  • Routes 452 and 453 through-route at Williams Landing, routes 453 and 454 through-route at Laverton
  • Vehicle requirement: 7
Route 459 Williams Landing - Laverton North
  • Every 30 mins between 5am and 7pm
  • Vehicle requirement: 2
Route 490 Werribee - Manor Lakes - Bacchus Marsh
  • Every 60 mins (40 mins peak) between 6am and 9pm
  • Vehicle requirement: 3 (all from Bacchus Marsh depot)
Route 902 Green Orbital Smartbus (Werribee - Chelsea)
  • Every 10 mins, 24 hours a day
  • Vehicle requirement: at least 60 (but irrelevant to this particular review)
Route 940 Watergardens - Caroline Springs - Werribee
  • Every 10 mins between 6am and 9pm (24 hours a day between Watergardens and Caroline Springs)
  • Vehicle requirement: 14 (7 from Werribee depot, 7 from Sunshine depot)
To summarise, the local vehicle requirement increases to 70. Four of those can be transferred from Altona depot, as they will no longer run the 413 and 416.

Werribee depot currently has 56 buses that are potentially suitable for route work (of which some are currently school/charter buses), although since some school services will still need to run, 46 is probably a more plausible number of buses actually available. That means an additional 20 buses are needed to run the complete network (of which 12 are full-size buses and 8 are midis), although implementation could be staged on some routes (ie. route 450 could run at a 20 minute frequency in peak rather than every 15 mins, 940 could be introduced with a 20 minute frequency, minor routes like the 433, 434 could run every 40 minutes, etc.).

Yep. Insane... :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Insanity 23

Now for some pics from September:



Friday, September 14, 2012

Insanity 22

Again, apologies for the lack of updates. A few pics from August. :)