Thanks Mouse for the well informed reply. Looking at Royal Show attendance figures, I guess they are planning for a peak day demand of around half of what they planned for at the stadium open day, so those numbers do more or less correspond.
It was reported that about 40,000 of the 110,000 that had free tickets to the opening chose not to go, so the pressure on the system wasn’t as great as had been expected. No wonder things went so smoothly. 69,028 was the attendance figure of which the transport minister says 90% used public transport.
The only complaints that I have heard is about the lack of escalators and waiting in queues. Waiting in queues is to be expected, didn’t that happen with Subiaco? I had noticed the lack of escalators myself just looking at the plans for the station, same for the East Perth Station upgrade which was done as part of the stadium transport plan. I assumed that is was quite deliberate, for something like crowd control. During the week I read that Transperth’s chief spokesperson David Hynes said that escalators are considered dangerous under crowd conditions and that the stairs slow people down which helps manage the crowds. That sounds like a simplification of the issue, but it does sound plausible. There are probably many people (e.g. the elderly) who can’t cope with that many stairs in crowd conditions who could have used an escalator, but are forced to put an extra load on the lifts instead, so I can understand the complaints too.
I have gone a little off topic, so back to observations of A’s and B’s. Last week I had been using Transperth’s online live departure boards for Perth Station and Perth Stadium Station. An imperfect observation method I know, but it did seem to give a reasonable overview. For the one day cricket yesterday, the first paying event, we knew that they were planning for different peaks of usage and adding direct services each way on the Fremantle and Joondalup lines. So I added Leederville, Perth Underground and Elizabeth Quay to my list of departure boards to watch to get a bigger overview.
Things started well in the morning although it soon became apparent that the amount of information I was compiling was going to take longer to interpret and distil into something worth describing. The fact that I only had departure times so was lacking info on a service that terminated at a station compounded the problem.
On the destination boards last week’s ‘To STADIUM’ changed to ‘To Perth Stadium’ however this wasn’t used as widely as one would hope. For example looking at Leederville for the Joondalup line, all up services were listed as being ‘To Perth’. Some were listed as ‘K pattern’ which I think is normally only used for some trains heading north that only go as far as Clarkson. Looking at the timetable there are several up services that originate at Clarkson, but they are not marked with a K. Perhaps the information displays on the platforms are different, I would hope that people knew if they were getting on a train to the stadium or a normal through service towards Mandurah. Does anyone know? Perhaps there were platform announcements. As for trains heading north, everything at Leedervile was all stops to Butler until 7:20 when a few K patterns started to appear, perhaps these were a clue as to which trains were coming from the stadium. For Stadium Station itself, the online departure board listed no destination on the Joondalup or Fremantle line. Everything heading west from the stadium was apparently just going to Perth, once again I expect that things were different at platform level. Looking just at the departure board, I guess that the 4 cars for Perth were all continuing to Fremantle, the six cars heading for the Joondalup line or some just Perth shuttles.
Last week I noted that on the online system, at Perth Station every train was always listed as ‘On Time’ even though some services remained on the list several minutes after their stated departure time. Yesterday I found that this glitch extends to the online departure board for Perth Underground. Of course some aspects of Perth Station and Perth Underground Station are combined such as the platform numbering (for anyone outside Perth, Underground has platforms 1 & 2, the main surface station has platforms 3 to 9.)
The boards for the other three stations that I was watching do list delayed trains, noting how many minutes they are delayed and the revised departure time. However as the day wore on the glitch of what I assume to have been delayed trains staying on the board with their original departure time started to appear at other stations also. When it really started getting excessive I started making note of it, for example at the Stadium Station the 19:29 to Perth was still listed as ‘On Time’ at least twenty minutes later, the same for the 19:44. Over at Leederville things seemed better with a few services listed as delayed by a minute or two, the 19:24 to Clarkson reached a ten minute delay, then the 19:44 to Clarkson stayed on time for over twenty minutes, so again the glitch had spread. The 19:44 to Clarkson stayed ‘On Time’ for ages, until about 35 minutes later when it was listed as ‘Cancelled’ for a few minutes before vanishing. Another train appeared listed as delayed by 30 minutes but vanished from the list some time before the rescheduled departure.
One odd thing that I noticed earlier, the train listed as departing the Stadium for Armadale at 15:35 was cancelled, then popped up again some time later listed as delayed by 20 minutes but with a destination ‘To Gosnells’ (!?)
From around half past seven I started to feel that the online system was approaching meltdown, either that or I was as I was extracting the information and keep up with the changes. I guess this partly reflected the fact that Transperth were changing their plans on the hop, starting with the fact that the game finished early for which I would expect they had a contingency plan to increase services out earlier, and later responding to the actual demand on the platforms. It is reported today that Transperth acknowledge underestimating Joondalup line demand and so reallocated some services from the Armadale line.
By eight thirty I was losing faith with the information coming out of the online system and my ability to keep up with it. I gave up. I could go through the earlier stuff and extract something from that, but it seems pointless without the full day. I think that I can put my on line anorak away now, I doubt that I’ll be trying that again.
So my planned observations of the A’s and B’s for this special event has turned more into observations regarding the online departure board system.
As for the new station I’m sure that Transperth will learn from the first lot of events and adapt quickly. The people that regularly go to sporting events will soon learn new habits. The bridge will be completed and take a little pressure off public transport, the Thornlie - Cockburn Link will take more people towards Mandurah and the new C-Series trains with more doors will improve platform dwell time.