Box Hill station, transport interchange nightmare

 
  Turbo Thomas Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
I've heard people mention in the great Doncaster debate that it is easy to get to the city just by catching a bus to Box Hill and then changing to a train there.
I don't think that this is a valid option because I believe that Box Hill is worst bus/rail interchange in Melbourne.
The slowest part of any bus journey to Box Hill is usually within a couple of hundred metres of the station, when you do finally get off you then have to go down a flight of esculators, through a shopping centre and then down another flight of esculators to get to the station.
I've been told that if you use a bus that approaches via Carrington Rd (route 766,767 ?) it is actually quicker to get off at the stop before Box Hill and then walk to the station.
Another example was during the Middleborough Rd project, they ignored the existing bus stops and built ones next to the station, I even heard that they were even considering building a temporary station down the track rather than use the existing bus stops at Box Hill.
What does everyone else think of the current Box Hill situation.

Sponsored advertisement

  obenshlieven Junior Train Controller

Location: Good question
The plans a few years ago to turn into a multi-modal interchange didn't come through...

Crying or Very sad
  EvanC Chief Plonker

Location: Bayswater, Victoria
The bus-train/train-bus interchange at Box Hill isn't as bad as it seems. It could be better, absolutely, but it's better than Melbourne Central by a long, long way.

The main problem is that "Puffy" joint in the shopping centre. If that weren't there, there wouldn't be a problem. Even with it, three minutes is not an unreasonable time to get from train to bus at Box Hill.

The only reason getting off at the last stop before Box Hill Central would be quicker is the traffic in Box Hill - unfortunately not something that can be changed.


I would argue it's even better than a station like Croydon at some times. For example, to get off a peak down service there and hope to make a 5 minute connection to a bus on the up platform side can at times be a lost cause. First you have to fight through the hordes of passengers exiting through a metre-wide doorway, then along the rather narrow footpath to the pedestrian crossing. Then an up train arrives, and there's a wait for that to clear before you can cross. Then the bus leaves.


In summary, Box Hill's not great, but it's passable.
  Eratik Chief Train Controller

Id agree with Evan C on this one. Having previously driven buses in and out of Box Hill on a daily basis, I can honestly say Box Hill is nowhere near as bad as what some people seem to make out. Like Evan C said, there is certainly room for improvement, things could be better, but its not as bad as what some people believe. Sure, every once in a while it takes forever to get to the station, but generally things flow reasonably ok.

I can honestly say Ive had bigger issues, and on a more regular occurance trying to get in and out of Chadstone Shopping Centre than I have had at Box Hill.
  MelbourneCity Chief Commissioner

I think some minor changes to bus routes could be done to increase speed and reliability.
1. No buses to leave using Carrington Road - all buses enter AND exit using the ramp to Station Street.
2. Removal of car parking along Station Street - 2 lanes for cars and buses.

The bus station needs redevelopment, no question of that, and QUICK access to the station and tram on Whitehorse Road needs to be provided.
  Eratik Chief Train Controller

Bombing Box Hill Central Entirely wouldnt be a bad idea either. The place is a hole.
  EvanC Chief Plonker

Location: Bayswater, Victoria
1. No buses to leave using Carrington Road - all buses enter AND exit using the ramp to Station Street.
"MelbourneCity"
I don't think this would be an improvement. In the end, you'd probably end up with the north routes exiting slower, and the south routes exiting in about the same amount of time.
  obenshlieven Junior Train Controller

Location: Good question
The most annoying thing is the lack of communication between the station and the buses. I want to know in advance if the clunky old 612 has left because they come at like a 40min frequency!

I've always thought that moving the buses to the west where the V/Line parcels with lifts and escalators down the station and shops would work, but I'm pretty sure I'm wrong! Laughing
  PalmerEldritch Say goodnight to the bad guy

Location: Princes Park, Carlton
Bombing Box Hill Central Entirely wouldnt be a bad idea either. The place is a hole.
"Eratik"

You seem to think everywhere is a hole except for the ivory tower you live in busboy.
  MTA Train Controller

Location: Somewhere near Box Hill, missing the 4D
I think some minor changes to bus routes could be done to increase speed and reliability.
1. No buses to leave using Carrington Road - all buses enter AND exit using the ramp to Station Street.
"MelbourneCity"

I don't see how that would help really. It would mean they didn't have to go down Carrington St, but it does save them having to turn right across all the buses going into the interchange (unless we drive on the right up and down the ramp), and avoids the need for part of a lights cycle, which means less waiting to get into the place.

My main annoyance is, again, not knowing whether the 612 has gone, but moreso, the silly shop right next to the door in the bus interchange - it makes the part of the footpath with the most people using it, the thinnest in the place. It's also right next to a really busy bus stop, so even if the people waiting for the 291 wanted to line up along the bus instead of across the path, they can't.
  Metro Transit Minister for Railways

Location: Error.
Bombing Box Hill Central Entirely wouldnt be a bad idea either. The place is a hole.
"Eratik"

I guess that's one way of speeding up the demolishion process.

Rather than have the bus interchange on the roof, how about have it underneath where a short walk to the platform shopping centre free would make it easier to get to and from the platforms.


Metro II.
  Gauntlet Chief Commissioner

Location:
What if you put another lift on the platform at the Station Street end which went straight up to bus level?
I wouldn't take up much space in the food court.
Where the escalators reach bus level there should be another walkway (heading east) toward the bus terminus.
And is ther a limit to how wide escalators can be ( can three people fit side by side)?
  cooch Station Master

The only reason getting off at the last stop before Box Hill Central would be quicker is the traffic in Box Hill - unfortunately not something that can be changed.


Well that's why nobody likes buses.  Taking a 291 to either Box Hill or Heidelberg isn't pratical.  Modal interchanges can only work if both modes are of high frequency, and even then Doncaster to the city via Heidelberg or Box Hill is way too indirect.  Freeway buses are an OK short term solutions but are slow and are now close to capacity.  A rail is the only serious solution regardless of what Eddington thinks.  

Out of his $18b EAST-WEST link he only allocates $250m to Doncaster, an EASTern suburb.  However SOUTH-Eastern Caufield gets an $8b tunnel.  Of course Penelope and Rufus need an easy way to attend Melbourne Uni, while Edward tends to drink at the races in Caufield and needs a way to stumble back home.  What a joke!

We need rail to cover ALL of Melbourne before thinking about a Metro style system.  That means rail to Sth Morang, Rowvile, Doncaster etc etc.

[/quote]
  Speed Minister for Railways

The only reason getting off at the last stop before Box Hill Central would be quicker is the traffic in Box Hill - unfortunately not something that can be changed.
"EvanC"
It sounds like something that could be mitigated with some bus zones and some no-standing zones to keep parked cars clear of the shopping area. Having separate set down and drop-off points may help to minimise the time that passengers spend sitting on the bus.

Not catching the bus because the traffic's too heavy is like driving somewhere because it's too dangerous to cross the road.

Bombing a place is unlikely to change its demographic or hence, the range of shops. Any building design is going to route passengers past a significant number of convenience shops. You'd need to have some specific changes for buses that necessitate demolition in mind.
  RoderickSmith Banned

Location: Banned
I agree completely with the opening poster.  Box Hill is an appallingly bad example of a so-called 'transport interchange', for the reasons which he mentioned:
* buses separated from trains by two levels.
* congested connections (some shops in the way, only single-width slow escalators.
* no coordination between the two modes.
* lack of information.  I believe that after about 20 years, train information has been provided on the bus deck, but bus information is not provided at train level.
I watched the current shopping centre being built; it was a bad design right from the start.
Before it existed, there was a six-place bus station accessed via Carrington St, then subway to the island platform and to the north-side flanking platform.
The new construction was touted as a 'transport interchange': it never was; it was blatant land grab to build a shopping centre.
There was no other plan to convert the current structure to a proper interchange: that original was the plan.
It is hard to rank Box Hill vs Melbourne Central for lack of fitness for purpose.  Melbourne Central didn't claim to be a transport interchange (and it isn't one).  It is also appallingly bad, and was made worse by Connex.  No wonder the Camberwell nimbys don't want to see their station turned into anouther of the breed.
At Box Hill, airport buses, VLine buses, Nightrider buses and trams all bypass the so-called interchange.

There are two aspects: local traffic congestion, which would affect even a good interchange design, and the design of the interchange itself, and Box Hill's isn't good.

If you started with a clean sheet of paper, and no site constraints, what makes a good bus interchange?
The bus pulls up beside the door to the train, and interchange takes less than 1 minute.
These do exist in Australia: Kelmscott (WA) is Australia's best interchange (wide island platform, with buses driving down the middle); Salisbury (SA) came close (single sided, with an awkward second platform used only in peaks).  Surprisingly, Broadmeadows (Vic.) was once in the league, but was butchered with high spiked fences, and has now been destroyed completely with the extension of services beyond Broadmeadows: very convoluted connections to up trains.

If you can't pull up beside the door, the next-best design is to have a one-level change, and that is where Victoria misses: two level at best.  I haven't tried Boronia for an interchange, but it could well be the best in Melbourne for fitness for purpose.

There isn't much which could be done to retrofix Box Hill.
* Remove all kiosks from the space between the platform exits and the bus deck access.
* Replace the slow and narrow escalators with double-width ones, at a faster speed.
* Provide electronic signs on all three levels so that all passengers know what is going from where, and when.
* Provide some level of overall supervision so that buses do not leave 1 min before a connecting train arrives, particularly with Connex's horrible offpeak headways.

Ringwood is another nightmare: slow and convoluted access, despite a major rebuilding in the last few years.
* Demolish the wall along the busbays.
* Add a gated pedestrian crossing at the down end of the platform (where there was once a full level crossing).
* Add a direct stair to the existing ramps.
For most of the time, access would be direct and quick at ground level, with the pedestrian bridge available at those times when the gates on the ground-level access are closed.

Melbourne Central:
* Remove the blatant lying signs at street level 'platforms 40 m' - they are not.
* Put mimic screens at street level and at mezzanine level to show all of the next-train information, not just at the barrier entry.

When you move into the big league, I think that Bondi Jn (NSW) adopted the right approach (I haven't been there for 20 years), a mini version of Hong Kong.
Trains arrive at subway level, east-west.
Bus bays are arranged one level up, north-south.  There are multiple stairs and escalators providing the fastest and most direct access from the platforms to the bus bays.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Comments from three earlier posters:
*The slowest part of any bus journey to Box Hill is usually within a couple of hundred metres of the station, when you do finally get off you then have to go down a flight of escalators, through a shopping centre and then down another flight of escalators to get to the station.
* The plans a few years ago to turn into a multi-modal interchange didn't come through.
* The bus-train/train-bus interchange at Box Hill isn't as bad as it seems. It could be better, absolutely, but it's better than Melbourne Central by a long, long way.
  PaxInfo Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
There's worse interchanges than Box Hill, but best practice is that train to bus interchange should be maybe 30 - 60 seconds via just one ramp, steps or escalators (refer to Perth northern line stations).  

And it should not be possible to exit any suburban railway station without
almost bumping into a bus timetable or information - something that is denied to Box Hill passengers.

Every minute longer in bus-train access times lengthens bus standing times by 2 minutes, assuming a co-ordinated pulse timetable system.  This reduces the capacity of bus interchange and is poor efficiency.  Where stations are midway along a bus route (and not at the end like Box Hill) long bus dwell times can also increase journey time for through passengers.  

Two 'perfect connection' examples, both assuming a 4 minute buffer to allow for late trains/buses.

* 1 minute station - bus access time  (ie good design)

Bus arrives: 9:55am
Access time: 1 min
Wait time: 4 min
Train Arrives/Departs    10:00am
Access time: 1 min
Wait time: 4 min
Bus departs 10:05am

(min bus dwell time 10 min)

* 3 minute station - bus access time (ie poor design)

Bus arrives: 9:53am
Access time: 3 min
Wait time: 4 min
Train Arrives/Departs    10:00am
Access time: 3 min
Wait time: 4 min
Bus departs 10:07am

(min bus dwell time 14 min)

Time is money. Multiply that extra 4 minutes by the number of bus movements per day, and then per year.  It's big bikkies!  Or try to economise by skimping on connections, but since that may add 30 minutes to passenger travel times it's a false economy as they'll drive instead.

In short, every second counts, and no effort should be spared in improving interchange.

Peter
  mjja Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Mount Waverley, Melbourne
The problem with Box Hill is that it doesn't know whether to be a shopping centre with access by rail, tram and bus, or a transport interchange between the three.

Of course its owners want it to be a shopping centre, and have designed it to encourage people to do their daily shopping on the way home from work (and eat three meals a day there if possible).

We have to be careful how much we want to dictate to them - and it's the same with the whole Chadstone and Southland debates. We on RP are all focused on transport and can justify the position that transport is one of the key factors that makes a city work. But the retail trade can claim the same thing, and also justify it.

Ideally we would like to have a setup where both transport interchange in a screaming hurry and convenient access to essential shops were possible. But in the real world it's going to be a trade-off between the two.

As for Box Hill, I agree it could be made a lot easier for transport interchange. It could also do with a large face lift - although Metlink signage and the anti-pigeon nets have done a lot of good.
  EvanC Chief Plonker

Location: Bayswater, Victoria
It is also appallingly bad, and was made worse by Connex.
"Regarding Melbourne Central, RoderickSmith"
Actually, Connex had nothing to do with Melbourne Central's redevelopment - that was in the era of M>Train.

I haven't tried Boronia for an interchange, but it could well be the best in Melbourne for fitness for purpose.
"RoderickSmith"
Boronia's main problem is that in the afternoon it gets completely inundated by passengers off down trains, and with its extremely poor bus coordination (and unimpressive bus frequencies), it can often be nearly impossible to fight your way out of the station to a bus in time. Not that it matters with some routes, chronically late.

* Remove all kiosks from the space between the platform exits and the bus deck access.
"RoderickSmith"
Absolutely necessary. Should be a priority, but would probably require paying out the shopping centre for their locations.

* Replace the slow and narrow escalators with double-width ones, at a faster speed.
"RoderickSmith"
Would be a great improvement, but could be tricky to say the least going down to the platforms, where there is a finite amount of space on the platform, and a finite gap in the thick concrete. Might require some major widening works.

* Provide electronic signs on all three levels so that all passengers know what is going from where, and when.
"RoderickSmith"
Excellent idea, but
a) Already exists for trains, and
b) Difficult to implement for buses - would be good to happen eventually

* Provide some level of overall supervision so that buses do not leave 1 min before a connecting train arrives
"RoderickSmith"
Also an excellent idea - additional train PIDs at the bus deck, and, more importantly, instruction to bus drivers would help.

particularly with Connex's horrible offpeak headways.
"RoderickSmith"
Off-peak headways are 15 minutely at Box Hill. This is not particularly bad. What is bad is the 30-minutely service down of Ringwood. A shuttle service would be good here, increasing services to 15-minutely all day, without an unnecessarily frequent service up of Ringwood.

Ringwood is another nightmare: slow and convoluted access, despite a major rebuilding in the last few years.
* Demolish the wall along the busbays.
* Add a gated pedestrian crossing at the down end of the platform (where there was once a full level crossing).
* Add a direct stair to the existing ramps.
For most of the time, access would be direct and quick at ground level, with the pedestrian bridge available at those times when the gates on the ground-level access are closed.
"RoderickSmith"
My plan would involve demolishing the lot (minus the platform 3 building and mechanical signal box), and construct a new overhead concourse. A deck over the car park providing a bus interchange at the level of Station Street is another possibility - though I haven't considered this one at length.

I would not consider any form of ground-level access at Ringwood to be safe, given the demographic.

Melbourne Central:
* Remove the blatant lying signs at street level 'platforms 40 m' - they are not.
* Put mimic screens at street level and at mezzanine level to show all of the next-train information, not just at the barrier entry.
"RoderickSmith"
I can't recall exactly off the top of my head the escalator configuration at Melbourne central, but I recall noting once that an extra escalator in each bank moving down to the concourse would help greatly. Better directional signage in the shopping centre and former concourse area would be very helpful. Melbourne Central as it currently stands is a station that you really have to understand to use quickly.
  timbo Junior Train Controller

Location: Belgrave/lilydale line, on a hitachi
They could always move the bus terminal from the roof, placing it underground into the Taller part of the carpark which is next to waht will be platform 1 in the future. Then it is easy to connect the bus interchange by ramp into the train station and your there in less than a minute. There would easily be enough room where the bus station is now to have the same amount of car-parking spaces. The only problem with this plan is that the centre owners would never allow it due to the fact that it generates more refenue by distracting people going to and from the trains, trams and busses.
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
Any station with a bus interchange is a disaster. In fact, most bus interchanges are a disaster and states why trains are always better. Wink

The Croydon post is spot on, you'll never get a 664 (Knox) or 737 if you've just got off the Lilydale train, just like you'll always miss the 367 if you were on a Flinders Street train. For the latter I learnt to stay on the train to Ringwood East and just walk to the hospital, it's still faster than National's fleet of dinosaurs!

Eastland isn't too bad, as soon as you get out the front, the buses are everywhere, except for the few at the station which decide they're too good to go around to Eastland (679/366/367). Ventura have a habit of dumping a line of buses out the front of Game Mania which get in the way of the 270, which is luckily the equivalent of a Telebus most of the time and has no trouble getting out. Let's see National make their SnaiL200's crawl up all the hills on that route!

Knox City doesn't have any information whatsoever about buses until you are right next to one out the front, so if you needed to catch a bus to Ringwood or Dandenong/Stud Park and it's already in, you have to sprint all the way down the end towards the main road, then right and all the way to the opposite end of the terminus which is about 200 metres away; by that time they've closed the doors as soon as you end up near the back of it! That, and for some reason they decided to allow cars (namely immaculate condition 4WDs where the only off-roading they have done is mounting the kerb at the car park) to drive past the doors of the building and drive over the zebra strip while beeping at you for daring to walk in their presence! They should have kept it the same as it was in the early 90's instead of turning it into a row of overpriced shops and another food area. On that note, did they really need to add a KFC and a Hungry Jacks in the food court, alongside the old rivals Red Rooster and McDonald's? The ones outside are much better and way less crowded. Did I mention the train service there is also shocking? Laughing

That last paragraph was a bit long winded, sorry!
  Somebody in the WWW Banned

Location: Banned
Off-peak headways are 15 minutely at Box Hill. This is not particularly bad. What is bad is the 30-minutely service down of Ringwood. A shuttle service would be good here, increasing services to 15-minutely all day, without an unnecessarily frequent service up of Ringwood.
"EvanC"

Why would it be unnecessarily frequent? What do you consider to be "too" frequent?

I like the frequencies that phin proposed on his blog at: (scroll down to "Service Changes")
http://melbpt.wordpress.com/2007/11/01/melbourne-rail-system-5-year-plan/

If I can complain even more, the way of servicing every place between Belgrave/Lilydale and Flinders Street (ie Tecoma and Hawthorn) with the same stopping all stations rail service for both inner and outer suburbs is silly.
  EvanC Chief Plonker

Location: Bayswater, Victoria
Why would it be unnecessarily frequent? What do you consider to be "too" frequent?
"Somebody in the WWW"
"Too frequent" is when reliability can't be maintained. That is, a lot more frequent than even 5 minutes!

Unnecessarily frequent is what I said, because it's what I meant. Frequent to the point of wasting resources on half-empty trains. 7.5-minutely for that section in the middle of the day would almost certainly come under this.

If I can complain even more, the way of servicing every place between Belgrave/Lilydale and Flinders Street (ie Tecoma and Hawthorn) with the same stopping all stations rail service for both inner and outer suburbs is silly.
"Somebody in the WWW"
A two tier service off-peak would be very welcome. However, the problem becomes how frequent it is. If you run the current service (plus a Ringwood shuttle) express, and fill it in with Blackburn and/or Alamein services, you get that 7.5-minutely thing (albeit only at major stations), and I'm reasonably confident that's unnecessary (haven't looked at numbers yet, so can't be sure). If you push that out a little to 10 minutes, you're left with a 20-minutely service BEG/LIL-Blackburn, and for minor stations Blackburn-Flinders Street. Not really enough to satisfy convenience.

That's the conundrum - do you provide a high level of convenience, and hope that utilisation will increase because of it, or do you take the economically safe option and do next-to-nothing?
  schmocko Train Controller

Have any of you felt the vibrations of the whole interchange area when buses drive around? especially down at the Templestowe stop?

Id say its only a matter of time until they will have to close the interchange due to structural problems. such a large concrete area shaking and vibrating like that cannot be good... you only have to watch some building collapses on 'seconds from disaster' on the discovery channel to realise that when structures shake or vibrate... you get the hell outta there...!

At the end of the day, at box Hill, buses can only use the station street ramp if traffic lights are installed so Ventura buses can turn right onto station street. this area would need the lights etc to be prioritised for buses.

The idea of buses up top with trains down the bottom is so people SPEND MONEY whilst walking thru the centre....  Rolling Eyes
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
That's the conundrum - do you provide a high level of convenience, and hope that utilisation will increase because of it, or do you take the economically safe option and do next-to-nothing?
"EvanC"


A.

And I'd replace your "economically safe" with "economically conservative".
  obenshlieven Junior Train Controller

Location: Good question
The future SmartBus routes will not function in that sooty, fume dome. Something's gotta give. Shocked

Sponsored advertisement

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.