Questions from Meltrip:
Jim, I'd like clarification of a couple of points:
Vinelander - thanks for your question
MOTC gives us an extra $120m per annum in recurrent funding for metro bus services; we build up to that level of incremental funding steadily over the next 4-5 years.
This will enable us to put in place a 330km largely orbital SmartBus network by 2011, operating at approx 15 minute frequencies (5.00am to midnight) on weekdays and though the weekend at approx 30 minute frequencies.
1. Is the 15 minute frequency an average throughout the day (ie 10 min peak, 15 off-peak and 30 night) or a level that will be maintained up to the last service at midnight?
2. Do you support harmonised headways for all bus routes, ie if trains are every 15 min, primary bus routes are every 15 min and secondary routes every 30 min to ensure reliable connections? (or if trains are 20 min, buses 20 or 40)
3. Given the claim that Smartbuses will reliably connect with trains, do you consider it reasonable that Smartbus service levels should match trains, ie 20 instead of 30 minutes on weekends?
3a. If the answer to the above indicates that resources are a problem, has thought been given to rationalising other routes and/or truncating underused sections (eg Mentone - Mordialloc sections of 700) to release resources?
4. What is the rationale for tiny local routes serving the back streets of Brighton or Yarraville (which have no major trip generators and are walking distance to trains/trams) having service superior to Smartbus routes serving major trip generators (eg 700)?
The trick is not just to throw incremental resources at the system, but to work with councils and operators to redesign routes and stopping patterns/locations to maximise community benefit and (crucially) timetabled connections with trains, trams & SmartBus.
A very important point since in the past some local area service changes have been the former with lacklusture results.
5. I'd like to flesh out what 'work with' means in more detail.
* Assuming local councils and DPT support a particular resource-neutral service change as being in the public interest, but the operator doesn't, can they be compelled to comply (given that 80%+ of their funding is from taxpayers)?
* Can the Department require that operators drop certain routes provided that the operator is not disadvantaged (eg additional funding for another of their routes) in the interests of network efficiency and service where it's more needed?
6. Do you propose Transperth-style area-wide route consultations when changes are being planned? Will input be sought from groups like the PTUA?
Of these, about 160 routes will be operating at 30 minute frequencies or better
7. Where a 30 minute frequency is chosen, will this service level only be used at times where this is compatible with trains (ie Burnley & Caulfield groups only during weekday interpeak and at nights network-wide).