If V/Line became V/Bus

 
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
I'm interested in any ideas that make coaches and buses more attractive to passengers.

Look at what the UK road transport industry is doing.

Leather seats in coaches and even double-deck buses where previously vandalism at the back upstairs resulted in moquette being replaced by hard plastic.  Limited introduction of 2+1 seating again including on some double deckers both for route service and long distance coaches.  Hot and cold drinks (no alcohol) plus cold food both permitted to be consumed aboard and in some cases sold by a host/ess.  Reclining seats.  Even "sleeper coaches" now with single and double beds for overnight service (minimal privacy but complimentary onesie and blanket provided.    Compulsory CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) for drivers which includes driving, customer service and emergency management skills.

We can make so many improvements across the board.  Too many of our drivers ("Coach Captain" seems an incongruous and unnecessarily grandiose title) are surly and hide behind rules which can sometimes be applied in an arbitrary manner.  

We can improve seating.  We can make big improvements in welcome and customer service.  We can permit the consumption of cold food with non-alcoholic hot / cold drinks and can provide litter bags to reduce any impact on the operator's cleaning requirements.  Driving standards are generally good already and better than in some other nations I know about including those off-islands somewhat SE of Mallacoota Wink  And if Mr. Revenue wants to take this discussion further off-board I'm happy to do so by PM or even face to face.  

I'm not the World's Expert.  My expectations are generally fair and reasonable rather than extreme and unrealistic.  I don't expect Champagne when I pay beer-money fares.  But I am the most important person any coach (or bus, or rail) operator could ever hope to meet - I am a potential customer.  

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  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
For my 2 cents worth I regularly use V-Line buses and I think they're pretty good.

My only real annoyance is getting on a bus on a Sunday night (when it's reasonably full) and nobody will move their bag off to give you a seat.  It's very rude.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
For my 2 cents worth I regularly use V-Line buses and I think they're pretty good.

My only real annoyance is getting on a bus on a Sunday night (when it's reasonably full) and nobody will move their bag off to give you a seat.  It's very rude.
don_dunstan
Pick your target...

Move through the bus and the seat with the likeliest bag, simply drop yourself into the seat as I do. There are no pleasantries from me...direct action is the best course of action.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Pick your target...

Move through the bus and the seat with the likeliest bag, simply drop yourself into the seat as I do. There are no pleasantries from me...direct action is the best course of action.
The Vinelander

At one stage I was so cheesed off I was going to email or call Trotters Coaches (the contractor) and ask them if drivers on services originating from Hamilton could remind people not to put bags on seats.  The last time it happened to me I loudly asked if someone could please give me a seat and they did so that's my strategy from now on.  As much as I sympathise with people not wanting someone sitting next to them it's just too bad - drive your car if you don't want to share with other people.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Having to share a twin-seat is part and parcel of public transport most of the time.  Many of us have an option to drive if we really can't stomach a stranger sitting next to us.  It happens in the air as well; on a flight from Melbourne to Singapore I witnessed an altercation between a passenger and cabin crew along the lines of "I booked this seat online because there was an empty seat next to it - I'm not having anyone sit that close to me".  The offender was eventually removed from the flight before take-off after yelling something like "I'm not paying to have someone else's sweaty a%%e touching mine" and refusing all reasonable requests to calm down and be seated.
  Revenue Chief Commissioner

Thailand would come a close second, but I never got anything but a crap-box coach in Thailand.
"raudteejaam"


I wonder if there is a difference between what operators consider important and what customers consider important. For example, if you had a 15 year old coach with 1+2 seating and a free bottle of water and snack provided as you boarded at Southern Cross, vs a brand new coach with 2+2 seating (eg. sort of like the product we have now), then I wonder which customers would prefer? Do 'normal' people notice the age of the coach, or are they focused on how clean it is?

It's really easy to go and spend money on new vehicles, but is that necessarily what the customer wants? Would they rather have the money spent on coaches with extra room? (and older vehicles).

Also, in the same way that V/Line has two train markets (short haul and long haul), there might need to be a distinction made for short haul and long haul buses...for someone travelling up to two hours perhaps the current product offering is ok. For long haul trips, then something a bit better should be considered (eg. the overnight coach to Mildura - although I understand that most people on that coach alight within the interurban area - which provides more room for other passengers once they get off.

I'm flying Air Asia next week - I can choose to register to get an empty seat next to me - which I only pay for if there is one available (eg. if the flight is full, no luck).  Something to consider here? Pay another $5 and we V/Line will guarantee you an empty seat next to you if there is room available. Only for long distance buses of course.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Pay another $5 and we V/Line will guarantee you an empty seat next to you if there is room available. Only for long distance buses of course.

An interesting concept but how would it work if casual passengers were picked up at wayside stops?  Not all services are reservable and those which are sometimes refuse unbooked passengers seemingly at the whim of the driver despite having plenty of seats available.  But if someone had boarded, paid the $5 and then additional business was offered would V/Line refuse a waiting passenger offering perhaps a $20 fare for the sake of $5?


I wonder which customers would prefer?


At the least a well-presented vehicle and welcoming and smartly-presented driver.  Age cannot always be determined from appearance and so long as both vehicle and driver are fit for purpose then everything else comes in second.

2+1 seating could be investigated for vehicles normally used on routes where traffic levels are suitable; it makes no sense to re-seat a coach to 2+1 if it needs to be used on a mix of business some of which requires 50 seats or more.  For journeys over 2 hours water should be provided and so should a toilet.  For journeys of that length the option to purchase a snack pack or take your own cold food on board should be available.  A complimentary snack pack might be welcomed but won't be taken up by everyone.  As it imposes additional costs such a service should aim to be cost-neutral.
  raudteejaam Junior Train Controller

I wonder if there is a difference between what operators consider important and what customers consider important. For example, if you had a 15 year old coach with 1+2 seating and a free bottle of water and snack provided as you boarded at Southern Cross, vs a brand new coach with 2+2 seating (eg. sort of like the product we have now), then I wonder which customers would prefer? Do 'normal' people notice the age of the coach, or are they focused on how clean it is?

It's really easy to go and spend money on new vehicles, but is that necessarily what the customer wants? Would they rather have the money spent on coaches with extra room? (and older vehicles).

Also, in the same way that V/Line has two train markets (short haul and long haul), there might need to be a distinction made for short haul and long haul buses...for someone travelling up to two hours perhaps the current product offering is ok. For long haul trips, then something a bit better should be considered (eg. the overnight coach to Mildura - although I understand that most people on that coach alight within the interurban area - which provides more room for other passengers once they get off.

I'm flying Air Asia next week - I can choose to register to get an empty seat next to me - which I only pay for if there is one available (eg. if the flight is full, no luck).  Something to consider here? Pay another $5 and we V/Line will guarantee you an empty seat next to you if there is room available. Only for long distance buses of course.
Revenue
For me, vehicle age is irrelevant, it's more how well it's been maintained.

The crapboxes in Thailand I referred to looked good on the outside, but the inside was a mess. Dirty windows with scratches, seats with stains, broken seat backs, cracked plastics, missing tray tables. That sort of thing. It's no fun sitting in a seat that doesn't recline when it should; or worse, reclines when you don't want it to! Or springs that stick up at you from the bottom of the seat.

I'd say most people think more about visual and comfort aspects, and less of the mechanics and age. So long as I am comfortable and the vehicle, be it train, plane, bus or whatever, is mechanically sound, I don't care if it rolled off the assembly line last week or 20 years ago.

I'd love to see some 2+1 coaches getting around, but I don't think the economics of it appeals to operators; except for perhaps marketing direct as a luxurious coach for corporate work.
  raudteejaam Junior Train Controller

2+1 seating could be investigated for vehicles normally used on routes where traffic levels are suitable; it makes no sense to re-seat a coach to 2+1 if it needs to be used on a mix of business some of which requires 50 seats or more.  For journeys over 2 hours water should be provided and so should a toilet.  For journeys of that length the option to purchase a snack pack or take your own cold food on board should be available.  A complimentary snack pack might be welcomed but won't be taken up by everyone.  As it imposes additional costs such a service should aim to be cost-neutral.
Gwiwer

V/Line will never go for a snack pack, complimentary or otherwise. It's not in their interest to provide such a thing, as it starts cutting in to profits and adds unnecessary work for the driver.

It's worth remembering that places where the snack pack/drinks are available are mostly places where competition between bus companies exists on routes. EG, if you take go to the Istanbul bus station (the "Otogar") and look for a ticket to go to Ankara, you'll be met with a thousand touts competing for your business, hence companies start offering these extras to entice people on to their coaches. V/line, on the other hand, doesn't have competition from other operators, realistically. Hence, they've got little reason to offer such frivolity.
  xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong
Interstate coach services (example Firefly) have timetabled into their timetables 30+ minute rest stop breaks every 4 hours or so.
And they don't provide complimentary 'snack packs' (as far as I am aware).

There are hardly any V/Line intrastate coach services (purely within Victoria) of 4 hours or more, so rest stops aren't necessary.

But of those listed as V/Line interstate services of 4 hours or more, Melbourne to Adelaide-Daylink for example http://www.vline.com.au/pdf/timetables/adelaide-melbourne.pdf/adelaide-melbourne,  30+ minute rest stops are provided. So there is no need to provide complimentary 'snack packs'.

Added value products are really only worth considering for services that include Business/First class seating, and V/Line does not offer Business/First class options on their coach services.
  Turbo Thomas Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne


  Revenue Chief Commissioner

V/Line will never go for a snack pack, complimentary or otherwise. It's not in their interest to provide such a thing, as it starts cutting in to profits and adds unnecessary work for the driver.

It's worth remembering that places where the snack pack/drinks are available are mostly places where competition between bus companies exists on routes. EG, if you take go to the Istanbul bus station (the "Otogar") and look for a ticket to go to Ankara, you'll be met with a thousand touts competing for your business, hence companies start offering these extras to entice people on to their coaches. V/line, on the other hand, doesn't have competition from other operators, realistically. Hence, they've got little reason to offer such frivolity.
"raudteejaam"


Yes, but if you can attract more people to the service, and generate revenue, then that has some advantages. I'm not talking about food with any kind of expiry date or anything that requires any special storage requirements. I'm talking about something that can be kept in the bus or at Southern Cross. The question is whether the act of giving a person a bottle of water, and a little pack that has some cheese and crackers and a chocolate biscuit in it makes the service more attractive. Yes, it is more work for drivers or station staff, but it also means that the driver has a positive interaction with the customer. That's really the point of this - it provides the operator with the ability to provide a good customer service experience.  What's the cost going to be? A few dollars at most - and if you are targetting long distance customers (who pay higher fares) then that's a pretty small amount really.

I'm not suggesting water and snack packs for journeys that are short - but rather for long distance journeys where customers don't have access to the amenities that you might find on a long distance train.

V/Line might not be in competition with other bus companies, but it is absolutely in competition with private cars, and even planes on some routes. Public transport has to stop thinking it is a monopoly - it's actually competing with a whole range of other modes - and having it's smeg kicked for certain types of travel.

As to whether a rest stop is necessary or desirable - shouldn't that be a decision based on customer feedback or trialled to test customer reaction? If you run a bus express from Mildura to Melbourne (with a driver change), you can do it in less than six hours. Most V/Line services (via Swan Hill or Bendigo) take more than seven. If you add a thirty minute stop is that something that customers want? If you stop somewhere that has lunch boxes for sale - can you drop it to 15 mins? If you stop at Bendigo and say to customers that you have the option of getting off there for a break and catching the next train, how many would switch across.

Now I think of it - that would be a really interesting experiment - if you offer customers a coach from an outer regional area, via a station on the RFR network into the city - what proportion would switch to the train vs stay on the bus for a faster journey.

In regard to 2+1 seating, you wouldn't have to do the whole coach - if you did a section of it, then you might be able to strike a balance between capacity and comfort (knowing that one person occupying two seats in 2+2 seating is still pretty good).

So how about this? For long haul coaches:

- Increase the average age permitted for buses, but set much high standards for cleanliness and refurbishment.
- Arrange buses with a combination of 1+2 and 2+2 seating
- Provide a bottle of water and small selection of snacks
- Let customers pay for an empty seat next to them (subject to availability)
- Make driver expectations clearer (for both staff and customers - so everyone knows what they should expect)
- Remove restrictions on eating/drinking other than alcohol, hot food/drinks.
- Work with kiosks and local businesses to sell snack packs suitable for consumption  on buses
- At key interchange points, ensure that station staff assist passengers and greet them in an appropriate manner.

Removing a sense of unease for some occasional travellers is really important.  If there is someone waiting at the door of the bus who greets the passenger, checks their ticket, hands them a bottle of water and snack and tells them what time they can expect to arrive at their destination - that's a really good service.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
For long haul coaches:- Increase the average age permitted for buses, but set much high standards for cleanliness and refurbishment.

Yes on all counts but still with an upper age limit on vehicle and the minimum acceptable standards and requirements clearly defined.  

- Arrange buses with a combination of 1+2 and 2+2 seating

In principle yes but only where it will not be likely to impact service provision such as requiring a duplicate coach and driver or prevent the use of the vehicle elsewhere

- Provide a bottle of water and small selection of snacks

Availability of water should be regarded as a fundamental human need and not an option.  I'd be happy to have snack packs offered on a cost-neutral basis but depending upon the contents they could be offered on a complimentary basis.  Don't forget to add rubbish bags or make the snack bag dual-function to be used for litter as well.

- Let customers pay for an empty seat next to them (subject to availability)

They can do this already by paying two fares.  I don't see any need to complicate things further.  If you have 2+1 seating then at least some of those who prefer a single seat will get one anyway so the problem (if it is one, which by and large I don't think it is) goes away.

- Make driver expectations clearer (for both staff and customers - so everyone knows what they should expect)

Yes in terms of expecting a reasonable greeting, assistance if required, announcements about stops, connections and any emergency events, regular unannounced driver assessment against set criteria and with assessment of driving skills included.

- Remove restrictions on eating/drinking other than alcohol, hot food/drinks.

This needs to be all or nothing.  It applies to every coach on the road who ever operates it or it doesn't.  It does not need to apply to route buses unless in use for rail replacement because passenger trip times are typically much shorter but if it did there may be fewer instances of driver : passenger friction.  Small rubbish bags could be provided which as noted above could contain snack items when first presented.  The passenger is then free to choose when to eat (which is important to some) and what rather than rely on a rushed pit-stop at a rural cafe offering sometimes nothing better than dim sims and chips.  Many coach journeys operate across reasonable meal times and with passengers aboard for in excess of two hours.  Not all currently provide any form of comfort stop.

- Work with kiosks and local businesses to sell snack packs suitable for consumption  on buses

Interesting suggestion but would it not be easier to allow passengers to simply select what they want, have it bagged and taken on board?

- At key interchange points, ensure that station staff assist passengers and greet them in an appropriate manner.

Agree entirely.  Trains and coaches may be run by different operators but are run under the same brand and should appear to the user to be a seamless operation with uniformly high standards applied whether you're in Bendigo, Bateman's Bay or Bemm River.
  trainbrain Deputy Commissioner

By Law coach drivers must have a half hour break after five hours of driving, as they are on Log Book time, if we fail to do this hefty fines apply..............out of the drivers pocket plus demerit points................
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
When you take account of the demands of driving passengers to a timetable often on rural roads with hazards ranging from road-trains to roos that half-hour in five is very minimal.  Having worked in the industry for some years under UK and European regs (and therefore with compulsory tachographs) I can tell you how unrefreshing that can sometimes be, welcome though it is.

Nothing in my comments above is intended in any way to detract from the need for driver's rest periods.   The 30-minute comfort stop cannot be abandoned in exchange for food being permitted on board; the two are complementary not mutually exclusive.
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner





So how about this? For long haul coaches:

- Increase the average age permitted for buses, but set much high standards for cleanliness and refurbishment.
- Arrange buses with a combination of 1+2 and 2+2 seating
- Provide a bottle of water and small selection of snacks
- Let customers pay for an empty seat next to them (subject to availability)
- Make driver expectations clearer (for both staff and customers - so everyone knows what they should expect)
- Remove restrictions on eating/drinking other than alcohol, hot food/drinks.
- Work with kiosks and local businesses to sell snack packs suitable for consumption  on buses
- At key interchange points, ensure that station staff assist passengers and greet them in an appropriate manner.

Removing a sense of unease for some occasional travellers is really important.  If there is someone waiting at the door of the bus who greets the passenger, checks their ticket, hands them a bottle of water and snack and tells them what time they can expect to arrive at their destination - that's a really good service.
Revenue
This seems to be getting a bit out of hand as a wish list for the performance of V/Line coaches.  I say before any of these items is requested of bus operator contractors, that each and every one of these points be introduced on the trains that V/Line operates themselves.  If it's good enough for passengers in one area, it's good enough in another.  The fare is the same.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Some of those points are already met and others irrelevant to rail operations.  The remainder are of course worthy aims.

Water is available, or should be, on all V/Line trains (except the Harris cars?) whether or not a snack bar is open.  Some of those trains are of quite a fair age already.  Presentation is sometimes below par.

There is no restriction on eating or drinking (other than alcohol) on board trains.  When you consider that some V/Line trains make journeys of barely an hour end to end but some coaches are on the road for half the day the discrepancy in conditions stands out.  If as Revenue suggests there is no actual restriction on eating aboard coaches then I don't know a single driver aware of that fact; most will make it perfectly clear that so far as they are concerned (and the driver is the one responsible for the vehicle) it is not.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
My only thought on making V-Line buses (and indeed, V-Line itself) more popular would be to more actively market country destinations to Melbourne people.  It appears to me that country people are well aware of their local V-Line services but Melbourne people planning a day away will usually turn to their car; the situation has changed in recent years with V-Line seeking to target Melbourne people particularly with destinations like Goldfields, Echuca, etc.  You do occasionally come across their glossy marketing and the website is also full of suggestions for people who might not have a clue where to go.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
There still exists a myth among some people that "You can't get there by train".  I've heard it suggested too many times.  It's true that you can't get to the majority of Victorian country towns by train (though you can get to a substantial number of them by V/Line service) but "received wisdom" is as damaging to the industry as anything when people suggest it's impossible to get to Bendigo by train.  

Trust me it happens.  I worked for some years in public transport in Melbourne and fielded enquiries every working day about how to get to regional cities.  On one occasion a family had actually walked out of Spencer Street station (as it then was) and claimed there was no train to Sovereign Hill.  True - there isn't - but there is to Ballarat and V/Line offer a good package for Sovereign Hill as well.  If they were told by station staff that there was no way to get there by train what hope does V/Line have of winning such business?
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
My only thought on making V-Line buses (and indeed, V-Line itself) more popular would be to more actively market country destinations to Melbourne people.  It appears to me that country people are well aware of their local V-Line services but Melbourne people planning a day away will usually turn to their car; the situation has changed in recent years with V-Line seeking to target Melbourne people particularly with destinations like Goldfields, Echuca, etc.  You do occasionally come across their glossy marketing and the website is also full of suggestions for people who might not have a clue where to go.
don_dunstan
I am having a similar argument with my local MP up here in NSW with regard to the NSW DIscovery Pass, it is only available for overseas tourists. Whilst my MP agrees with me (she actually acknowledges several points I raise in my correspondence) all I am getting is a stock-standard response from the Minister.

Why not start making public transport more available for locals, and start making domestic tourism more attractive.

One thing I noted to my MP was that by making the NSW Discovery Pass accessible to Australians it would encourage domestic tourism, stimulate regional economies, and pour monies into local regional communities.

Why am I raising this here in this thread?

There used to be a "Victoria Pass", unlimitted travel on all V/Line services (within Victoria, but including Albury) which no longer exists.

This should be reinstated, and actively promoted. Get people - whether the be Melburnians, Victorians, Australians, or overseas visitors - to try several destinations around Victoria, but market is as attactive on the basis that they can just decide to go somewhere on a whim and they can get there. Echuca one night, Melbourne the next, Warrnambool the next two, Melbourne the next, Bairnsdale the next, and so on.

Make it attractive to people and they will use it. I like these unlimitted travel passes, as it enables me to make trips I wouldn't otherwise make, so it is at zero cost to the railway, but it WILL stimulate local economies, as I will be spending money at my destination, money I would not have spent if I had not made the trip.

Dave
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Yes, but if you can attract more people to the service, and generate revenue, then that has some advantages. I'm not talking about food with any kind of expiry date or anything that requires any special storage requirements. I'm talking about something that can be kept in the bus or at Southern Cross. The question is whether the act of giving a person a bottle of water, and a little pack that has some cheese and crackers and a chocolate biscuit in it makes the service more attractive. Yes, it is more work for drivers or station staff, but it also means that the driver has a positive interaction with the customer. That's really the point of this - it provides the operator with the ability to provide a good customer service experience.  What's the cost going to be? A few dollars at most - and if you are targetting long distance customers (who pay higher fares) then that's a pretty small amount really.

I'm not suggesting water and snack packs for journeys that are short - but rather for long distance journeys where customers don't have access to the amenities that you might find on a long distance train.

V/Line might not be in competition with other bus companies, but it is absolutely in competition with private cars, and even planes on some routes. Public transport has to stop thinking it is a monopoly - it's actually competing with a whole range of other modes - and having it's smeg kicked for certain types of travel.

As to whether a rest stop is necessary or desirable - shouldn't that be a decision based on customer feedback or trialled to test customer reaction? If you run a bus express from Mildura to Melbourne (with a driver change), you can do it in less than six hours. Most V/Line services (via Swan Hill or Bendigo) take more than seven. If you add a thirty minute stop is that something that customers want? If you stop somewhere that has lunch boxes for sale - can you drop it to 15 mins? If you stop at Bendigo and say to customers that you have the option of getting off there for a break and catching the next train, how many would switch across.

Now I think of it - that would be a really interesting experiment - if you offer customers a coach from an outer regional area, via a station on the RFR network into the city - what proportion would switch to the train vs stay on the bus for a faster journey.

In regard to 2+1 seating, you wouldn't have to do the whole coach - if you did a section of it, then you might be able to strike a balance between capacity and comfort (knowing that one person occupying two seats in 2+2 seating is still pretty good).

So how about this? For long haul coaches:

- Increase the average age permitted for buses, but set much high standards for cleanliness and refurbishment.
- Arrange buses with a combination of 1+2 and 2+2 seating
- Provide a bottle of water and small selection of snacks
- Let customers pay for an empty seat next to them (subject to availability)
- Make driver expectations clearer (for both staff and customers - so everyone knows what they should expect)
- Remove restrictions on eating/drinking other than alcohol, hot food/drinks.
- Work with kiosks and local businesses to sell snack packs suitable for consumption  on buses
- At key interchange points, ensure that station staff assist passengers and greet them in an appropriate manner.

Removing a sense of unease for some occasional travellers is really important.  If there is someone waiting at the door of the bus who greets the passenger, checks their ticket, hands them a bottle of water and snack and tells them what time they can expect to arrive at their destination - that's a really good service.
As a semi-regular Mildura V/Line traveller, young people may appreciate swilling bottles of water and they are nimble enough to use the less than broom-cupboard sized toilet a short while after, however as pax are not permitted to leave the bus unless its at a designated refresh stop...and remember the Swan Hill - Mildura 2.5+ hour trip doesn't have a refresh stop due to its 'short' duration, more seasoned pax know better than to drink before or during the journey so they don't get 'caught short' on the journey.

The dash to use the on-board toilet at Robinvale while the pax are getting on/off is testament to the unwillingness to use that facility whilst the bus is in motion.

Most of the Mildura drivers seem to ignore pax eating on the journey as long as there are no remains left behind.

Sorry to go on about the toilets, after the signal cable fiasco at Tottenham a few weeks back when I missed the down Swan Hill and had to catch the 12.20 bus from Bendigo to Mildura, even the newest Bendigo to Mildura bus which is clearly less than a year old and was fully booked, once the toilet is used a few times on that 5+ hour trip, the toilets really start to get pongy and the smell really settles into ones stomach after that long in the bus.

So the bus toilets, definitely BIG room for improvement, and in any event, travel wise bus Vs train...there is no comparison ExclamationIdea During the early days on the Mildura - Melbourne bus when the Vinelander was still running, yes that long ago, the bus used to arrive at Bendigo around 1pm and continue to Melbourne via Heathcote and the airport. I used to alight the bus at Bendigo because the train connection used to get me to Melbourne around 45 mins faster than the bus, but I was usually the only pax to do so..other pax who I mentioned this to preferred to stay on the bus rather than bother changing.

Mike.
  xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong
The Vinelander, just as a matter of interest, I cannot use a coach restroom, simple fact is that I am too big to be able to use the toilet comfortably.
And, as you alluded to, there are people who may be sitting at the front of the coach who can't make it to the onboard restroom.....the elderly and the disabled for example. I certainly would not be game to try and make my way down a coach barrelling down a highway at 100kph to the restroom at the back.

But I am lucky, my only experiences of V/Line coach travel thus far has been travelling from Geelong to Ballarat and back. The trip isn't that long, and Geelong and Ballarat stations at either end of the trip are well served by toliet facilities.
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

The Vinelander, just as a matter of interest, I cannot use a coach restroom, simple fact is that I am too big to be able to use the toilet comfortably.
And, as you alluded to, there are people who may be sitting at the front of the coach who can't make it to the onboard restroom.....the elderly and the disabled for example. I certainly would not be game to try and make my way down a coach barrelling down a highway at 100kph to the restroom at the back.

But I am lucky, my only experiences of V/Line coach travel thus far has been travelling from Geelong to Ballarat and back. The trip isn't that long, and Geelong and Ballarat stations at either end of the trip are well served by toliet facilities.
xxxxlbear
Don't worry.  It is illegal to use the toilet whilst a coach is moving, anyway.

Passengers in vehicles with seat belts fitted must remain seated with belts on at all times whilst th evehicle is in motion.
  xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong
Don't worry.  It is illegal to use the toilet whilst a coach is moving, anyway.

Passengers in vehicles with seat belts fitted must remain seated with belts on at all times whilst th evehicle is in motion.
DalyWaters

That's interesting!
Having passengers belted up, and legally restrained from using the coach toilet while the coach is in motion defeats the purpose of having coaches equipped with toilets!! Confused

Here's my generalisation of the week: Most V/Line stops in towns aren't usually that far away from public conveniences (ie train stations), so there really isn't a need for onboard loos if infact passengers can't use them when the coach is in motion.
  beanzs27 Assistant Commissioner

The Sea Lake bus nearly always stops at Charlton for a toilet stop both ways. Even tho the trip is less than 3 hours if starting at Sea Lake.

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