Summer Timetables to return - Metro slashes services for a month

 
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
http://www.metrotrains.com.au/travelling-with-metro-over-summer/

It seems we have gone back to the Dark Ages.  Melbourne used to run a summer timetable for a few weeks between Christmas and Australia Day (or thereabouts) account the desire to give as many staff summer leave as possible coupled with a drop in demand for travel with many regular commuters (workers and students) away on holiday also.

That was scrapped a few years back as it had become increasingly a fiasco of severely overcrowded trains and irate customers.  In the main it was peak services which were cut; the off-peak service was left largely alone.

Now, for more than a month, Metro sees fit to slash services by at least half across the board at most times of day.  This does not refer to those interruptions to normal service to accommodate upgrades and level crossing works (as examples) but for example on the busy Frankston line which has a 10-minute headway through the day the service is being cut to every 20 minutes all day every day.

That is a lower level of service than has been offered in many years for weekday travel.  The base timetable had been every 15 minutes until enhanced by Metro to every 10 recently.

I can see no justification for such draconian cuts.

By all means allow as many staff some summer leave as possible and alter the peak service slightly if you have to.  There are fewer passengers travelling through January but the number has steadily climbed across recent years and more than once has resulted in hasty reinstatement of services due to the overcrowding caused.

If one train is cancelled the service interval will now blow out from 10 minutes on the normal timetable to 40.  That is not acceptable in my opinion and I dare say not in that of many others who use the service daily.

For what it's worth the "Summer Timetable" also shows the last up train of the day leaving Frankston at 5.42pm and the last train down from the City at 7.53pm.  There is no reference to "normal evening service applies" so are we to also assume there will be no evening trains at all???  A casual user may well not think to cross-check the full timetable if they are directed to this summer service because of their date of travel.  What sort of advertisement is this for our trains?  This is failing to prepare and is preparing to fail.

Andrew Lezala appeared on TV news bulletins tonight explaining the service cuts.  His line was that they are necessary to allow RRL works.  That does not apply to the Frankston line nor to many others similarly affected.  Lezala offered an unconvincing line in corporate hogwash which did nothing to lend credibility to his leadership.

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  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
That's not an error, Metro were taken over by the demons who were exorcised from the former National Bus Company, and now all train services will end at 6 o'clock at night like the majority of National's former routes. Laughing

Besides, the Frankston line is world class compared to the Pakenham/Cranbourne and Lilydale/Belgrave lines. I'd take a 20 minute wait any day over a 30 minute wait at Mooroolbark (make it 60 if that train is cancelled). Not to mention that there will be buses between Ringwood and Blackburn for the next umpteen months to slow things down even more.

Which brings me the question. Why doesn't Metro go to the trouble of showing people alternative modes of transport when things like this happen? The 901 just happens to follow the exact same route as the rail replacement buses, with stops at every major intersection (which just happen to coincide with the train replacement stops at Heatherdale, Mitcham and Nunawading, although I believe Heatherdale's bustitution stop has been relegated to the service lane once again, rather than using the SmartBus stop which is actually nowhere near the intersection on the "up" side).
  xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong
When I read about the lack of UP weekday Frankston trains for the f/night over Christmas/New Year period, I thought that it may have been a printing error, so I checked the Lilydale/Belgrave timetable. Same thing Confused
  GvhftrKijl Locomotive Driver

Location: ERD
Actually, it has been confirmed that the "Summer Timetable" only shows the services affected. Services outside the times shown in the timetable, contrary to what commuters have been reportedly told, will still run according to the timetable (case in point, the Frankston Line Summer Timetable shows the first service being at 0557 - but in reality, the 0417, 0437, 0457, 0517 and 0537 will still run - as will all the services after 1800-1900).

As for the opportunity for as many staff to take leave as possible... *insert manic laughter here*

Drivers are being requested to defer their leave in exchange for a weeks pay - something that the RTBU Loco Division have not endorsed, as it encourages Drivers to operate outside the Metro Trains Melbourne Rail Operations Division Enterprise Agreement 2012-2015. Does that sound like encouraging Drivers to take holiday?! I think not.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Frankly I can't see why the service needs to be cut by half (or more in some cases) based upon the demand in recent years.  Yes cut a few peak trains as there are fewer commuters but remember the lessons of the past in that they were only able to be cut for a week or so before overcrowding returns.  There is no track work and maintenance schedules are able to cope as things stand so why else is there any need to axe half the entire train service?

And why is it not clear that the "Summer Timetables" available from Metro only include the affected hours?  It really does appear that there are no early morning or evening trains at all.

As I said this is a PR disaster before it's even happened, Lezala was unable to offer any intelligible defence of it and at best the timetables are misleading for those who might only use the services at this time of year and / or be visiting the region.

Verdict = Very Poor : Please Explain.
  712M Chief Commissioner

Good luck to them running a 15-min service on the Sandringham line during peak hours, seeing as they are currently crush loaded at double that frequency.

So much for promoting holiday travel with the Frankston running every 20 minutes all day weekdays but they still manage to run a 10 minute service on Christmas Day....
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
Actually, it has been confirmed that the "Summer Timetable" only shows the services affected. Services outside the times shown in the timetable, contrary to what commuters have been reportedly told, will still run according to the timetable (case in point, the Frankston Line Summer Timetable shows the first service being at 0557 - but in reality, the 0417, 0437, 0457, 0517 and 0537 will still run - as will all the services after 1800-1900).

As for the opportunity for as many staff to take leave as possible... *insert manic laughter here*

Drivers are being requested to defer their leave in exchange for a weeks pay - something that the RTBU Loco Division have not endorsed, as it encourages Drivers to operate outside the Metro Trains Melbourne Rail Operations Division Enterprise Agreement 2012-2015. Does that sound like encouraging Drivers to take holiday?! I think not.
GvhftrKijl
I would have thought that in some cases at least, what is projected to occur will require more drivers than usual, despite the reduced services.  On the Belgrave/Lilydale lines, for example, with the line to be closed between Blackburn and Ringwood but trains still running on the two branches, a given service will require two drivers, not one.  One driver brings the train from city to Blackburn, another one takes the shuttle from Ringwood.  It would be unrealistic to suggest that the first driver should jump in a cab at Blackburn, or go on the bus, to pick up the shuttle at Ringwood.  In any case, the train at Blackburn needs to be driven back to the city.  

I may have entirely the wrong idea here - maybe someone would like to comment?
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
The number of drivers not required for the Ringwood - Blackburn section might be around equal to any additional need on the branches.   These things more or less balance out in many cases.
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
Either way, it won't worry me, as Metro's plss-poor off-peak services have already made me jump ship to the rivals. When the SmartBus or 670 suddenly changes to run every hour for whatever reason (or vanishes completely), I will simply restore the 253 Kingswood out the back and use that.

Off-topic, it's snowing in December as I type - well, at least hailing. So much for the "summer" timetable. Laughing
  gxh Junior Train Controller

Location: SE suburbs
There are probably other oddities, but one that I noticed is that no up train stops at Armadale (and Toorak and Hawksburn) between 8.29 am and 9.08 am on weekdays between 6 and 24 January.   Hey, a 39 minute interval at what is quite a busy time of day, even in January?
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
That "oddity" has been picked up and commented unfavourably upon by the PTUA as well.
  frezno Junior Train Controller

Gwiwer, really?

"I can see no justification for such draconian cuts."

It's a 20 minute service, not the firey pits of hell, perspective people.

All this fuss for a cull in services which are already too generous on my book. For example, anyone with the audacity to complain when a train is cancelled on their 6 minute frequency line (sandringham, I'm looking at you) really needs to get their head out of the sand and get a life. So you have to wait a few extra minutes for a service. Is life really going to end because there's a 15 minute gap between trains? Hardly. Though these people are no doubt the same people who refuse to wait 15 seconds at a level crossing and instead risk their lives running in front of trains. Because it'll get you home sooner. Yeah.

The frankston line having a 10 minute service is another joke, no one has any idea what a timetable is anymore and therefore people 'turning up and going' is a a common thing (something which the PTUA leads us to believe is a good thing, I'm yet to find a single good thing about it). I have experienced more delays on lines with high frequency services than that of lines with normal frequency service of 20/30 mins. I put this down completely to people being prepared on lines that have a less frequent service because people don't want to miss a train.  A 'turn up and go' service means unprepared people commonly run in front of train, aren't on the platform in time or force the doors to get on creating delays for everyone who knows what a watch is. The  arrogant nature of those with 10 minute services (Gwiwer sums it up well above) is typical. "Waaaaaaaahhh, we have to wait 20 minutes for a train?!?! How will we survive, this is sheer murder, theres no point living, its draconian!!!! FFS, you're still getting a 3 x better service than most people at V/Line can ever dream of (6 x better service with you're precious 10 mins).
Harden the hell up, wake up 10 mins earlier and get in touch with the real problems in the world.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Not so much "we will have to wait 20 minutes for a train" as "They are already full on a 10-minute service so just how overcrowded is it going to get with perhaps 80% of the regular passengers on 50% of the trains?"

Wailing - no.  Perspective - yes.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
The frankston line having a 10 minute service is another joke, no one has any idea what a timetable is anymore and therefore people 'turning up and going' is a a common thing (something which the PTUA leads us to believe is a good thing, I'm yet to find a single good thing about it).I have experienced more delays on lines with high frequency services than that of lines with normal frequency service of 20/30 mins. I put this down completely to people being prepared on lines that have a less frequent service because people don't want to miss a train.  
frezno
Perhaps a good frequency could discourage this, because people know they don't have to wait too long?
A 'turn up and go' service means unprepared people commonly run in front of train, aren't on the platform in time or force the doors to get on creating delays for everyone who knows what a watch is.
frenzo
From my experience, this seems to be the case regardless of frequency. I have seen people rush for trains from Sunbury as well as V/Line trains - both during off-peak times.
  Peter Spyker Train Controller

Gwiwer, really?

"I can see no justification for such draconian cuts."

It's a 20 minute service, not the firey pits of hell, perspective people.

frezno

Just wait for a service to be cancelled in your 20 minute service and tell us how you like your 40 minute service.

Happens every damned day on the Upfield line.
  frezno Junior Train Controller

Just wait for a service to be cancelled in your 20 minute service and tell us how you like your 40 minute service.

Happens every damned day on the Upfield line.
Peter Spyker
Peter, my local train service is generally 60 minutes, 120 minutes on weekends. I would very happily take the 40 minutes you so despise.
  gxh Junior Train Controller

Location: SE suburbs
Update on the 39 minute gap between 8.29 am and 9.08 am on the up service from Armadale (and also Toorak and Hawksburn):   Metro have plugged this by altering a train that was previously an express to stop at these stations.  
Just the same, from mid-January, things could be pretty crowded on Frankston line trains at this time of day.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Already had messages by SMS suggesting passengers trying to reach Cheltenham (for Southland) and Richmond (for the MCG) are unable to board filled-to-capacity trains running at less than the normal intervals.

Nice one Metro.  Merry friggin' Christmas to you, too.
  712M Chief Commissioner

I thought Metro were continuing to run normal timetables (ie. every 10 mins to Frankston) on weekends and public holidays?
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
The PTV site offers two timetables depending upon how you enquire.

Search "Frankston Line" and then select "23rd - 26th December" and "Mon - Fri" from the drop downs (because today is Thursday) and you get the 20-minute service.

Search "Boxing Day" instead of "Mon - Fri" and it shows a 10-minute service.

With significant numbers heading to the MCG and to the sales at much the same time any train might have overloaded.
  Peter Spyker Train Controller

Peter, my local train service is generally 60 minutes, 120 minutes on weekends. I would very happily take the 40 minutes you so despise.
frezno
Well, that's your fault for living in the boondocks.

Those of us who live in civilisation, with real jobs that expect us to be on time, like to have a frequent rail service.
  sparkdriver Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
From what i've seen this week i don't know why anyone is whingeing, as the trains have been virtually empty except for taking people to and from the cricket. Just about all of Melbourne must be on holidays and not catching the train - lucky them!
  frezno Junior Train Controller

Well, that's your fault for living in the boondocks.

Those of us who live in civilisation, with real jobs that expect us to be on time, like to have a frequent rail service.
Peter Spyker
Yeah, I suppose you're right. My $140,000 a year job isn't real, is it?

You talk about civilisation as if it's a good thing. I pity you. Your attitude towards anything and everything rural (including the people) is appalling, but that's pretty typical of the inner city, apartment dwelling types who try and tell themselves they're living not just breathing.
You, sir, sum up everything I despise about the city and precisely why I will never live in that cesspit. At least my neighbours from the 'boondocks' aren't self important, pompous jerks.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Remember folks. Service levels are dictated by Government. It's all budget driven. Perth that's the little insignificant metro system that Victorian Government officials hate to be compared with doesn't do this because it is a customer service driven enterprise. I can understand perhaps amending schedules slightly but slashing them is a good way of ensuring passengers remain totally unimpressed with the system they have to use.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Yeah, I suppose you're right. My $140,000 a year job isn't real, is it?

You talk about civilisation as if it's a good thing. I pity you. Your attitude towards anything and everything rural (including the people) is appalling, but that's pretty typical of the inner city, apartment dwelling types who try and tell themselves they're living not just breathing.
You, sir, sum up everything I despise about the city and precisely why I will never live in that cesspit. At least my neighbours from the 'boondocks' aren't self important, pompous jerks.
frezno
Well said.... from another who chose to move to and commute from the boondocks over 25 years ago Exclamation

Mike.

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