If V/Line became V/Bus

 
  melbtrip Chief Commissioner

Location: Annoying Orange

Another thought - It's not always about public transport. If the taxi fare was, for example, $15 from Ballarat to Soverign Hill, then that's worth promoting as well. There's probably a huge market of people who will be willing to catch a train to Ballarat, but who don't feel comfortable with buses, but who will quite happily jump in a cab at the other end.
Revenue
There is free bus goes from the station (Ballarat) to Soverign Hill, why would you get a taxi for?

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  Revenue Chief Commissioner

There is free bus goes from the station (Ballarat) to Soverign Hill, why would you get a taxi for?
"melbtrip"


Some people fear buses.  They are viewed as being unpredictable.  Even if they know a bus is available, the fact that they could get a taxi may be viewed as being an advantage.  Don't forget, for many public transport users there is always the "if it all goes to hell, I can always call someone to pick me up" option. That option isn't viable when you are travelling to another city. So reassuring customers they have options is actually really important.
  mm42 Chief Train Controller

Vline should partner with an organisation like Lonely Planet to produce better information for the self-guided tourist.  While there is now some information about regional attractions on the Vline website, it seems to be provided by the local councils and hasn't been "road-tested" by real travellers without vehicles.  

There should be a version for those who don't mind using a cab or hire car from time to time, and another for cyclists.  Victoria has some great rail trails, such as that from Wangaratta to Myrtleford.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
There is free bus goes from the station (Ballarat) to Soverign Hill, why would you get a taxi for?
melbtrip

The year that Sovereign Hill opened was the year that they closed the direct tram link from Ballarat station to Mt Pleasant terminus, just meters from the front gate (1971).
  Revenue Chief Commissioner

Just back from a quick trip to South East Asia, and it was interesting that on the buses that connect the LCTT (low cost terminal) at KL to the train line to the city have 1+1+1 seating for the back third of the bus (eg. one seat, aisle, one seat, aisle, one seat).  I'd never seen a bus with two aisles before!  Smile  Yet another option.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

That's the common layout for sleeper coaches in China.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Just back from a quick trip to South East Asia, and it was interesting that on the buses that connect the LCTT (low cost terminal) at KL to the train line to the city have 1+1+1 seating for the back third of the bus (eg. one seat, aisle, one seat, aisle, one seat).  I'd never seen a bus with two aisles before!  Smile  Yet another option.
"Revenue"
That's quite rare in Malaysia, and as far as I'm aware only Transnasional has that, and only at the rear. Even the other brands like Plusliner of their parent corporation Konsortium Transnasional Berhad don't use it; in fact, in Malaysia it is far more common to see 2+1 coaches, especially with other medium-to-long-haul private operators such as their arch-rival Konsortium Bas Ekspres, as well as smaller operators like KKKL and Mayang Sari.

It's the exception rather than the norm, and honestly you're better off using the space for wider seats than for an extra aisle.
  calt Chief Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
It's a shame that V/Line is in fact the only operator for regional services. EU laws have changed and are slowly changing to allow for open access operators. Imagine Jetstar Trains or Tiger trains providing the same travel, but with added extras you can purchase, meals, refreshments, etc.

If you want checked baggage, I think it's fair to include these services, but you should pay extra for it.

Trains to major interurban areas are a no brainer, and should continue to stay. V/Line trains should continue to run through to Southern X in the off peak, however, I believe RRL could be delayed if all trains operated from outer metro termini with connecting cross platform services.

As for long distance buses, there should be charging points for customers. Recliner coaches would be a nice touch, but it requires a dedicated fleet. I am sure that if required, some operators substitute buses at will with another non liveried bus. If there was a contracted requirement to provide such a standard, you would also need a spare bus with similar specs. I am not sure if operators are willing to experiment with such a departure from the norm.
  Speed Minister for Railways

Given Tiger's reputation for cancellations with little or no recompense, I can't see that anybody wants them entering land-based transport.

A strength of the current system is that there's a uniform fare regime. That is definitely something that I'd prefer over a regime where the fares fluctuate like airline ticket prices, not to mention arbitrary surcharges. The fare regime also has the ability to connect between services without incurring hefty additional charges.

Victoria did open inter-urban and longer distance services to private operators in the past couple of decades. Unlike with tram and suburban train operation, private operation of the services now run by a government-owned V-Line was a failure.
  Revenue Chief Commissioner

V/Line doesn't operate any bus services. All the bus services are provided by private operators. There are significant benefits in having uniform pricing, livery, sources of information, etc.  And this should be preserved. But this shouldn't be at the expense of innovation in the type of service being provided. Ultimately, it is up to PTV as to whether it wants operators to suggest innovative products in tenders, or alternatively specify different outcomes.

It is certainly easier for PTV and V/Line to just tender for buses that hold X number of people with an average age of Y years.  But it does show a certain lack of imagination.

So if there is a desire for a different kind of product then the current environment is actually easier to achieve that than in an unsubsidised environment.  An operator might not be prepared to take a risk on 1+2 seating, whereas the state has the ability to offer a longer term contract for this (eg. if the state is prepared to sign a ten year contract for a Swan Hill - Mildura coach with 1+2 seating, then it's viable for an operator to deliver this).

Of course, there also has to be data analysis to determine that if a coach with reduced capacity is being specified for a particular route, that the patronage will very rarely exceed it, and you need strategies in place to manage this.

Having said that, I think there are innovative solutions available. As discussed previously, I don't think you need the whole coach with 1+2 seating. If you designed a coach with a combination of 2+2 and 2+1 seating, then you should be able to get to a point where you still maintain high capacity, but have the ability to ensure that passengers don't need to sit next to strangers - which I think is actually one of the factors that people find uncomfortable on long distance coaches. A combination of 2+2 and 2+1 should ensure that almost every passenger is either sitting next to someone they know or have their own seat (or two seats) to themselves.

So what's the customer proposition?  I'm not sure customers are necessarily motivated by more leg room. So perhaps the message is: "On V/Line services between X and Y, customers will either be seated with someone they know, or will recieve a five dollar voucher for a discount off their next ticket".

Just making the point that you have to bring it back to a customer message that will drive patronage and revenue.
  calt Chief Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
V/Line doesn't operate any bus services. All the bus services are provided by private operators. There are significant benefits in having uniform pricing, livery, sources of information, etc.  And this should be preserved. But this shouldn't be at the expense of innovation in the type of service being provided. Ultimately, it is up to PTV as to whether it wants operators to suggest innovative products in tenders, or alternatively specify different outcomes.

It is certainly easier for PTV and V/Line to just tender for buses that hold X number of people with an average age of Y years.  But it does show a certain lack of imagination.

So if there is a desire for a different kind of product then the current environment is actually easier to achieve that than in an unsubsidised environment.  An operator might not be prepared to take a risk on 1+2 seating, whereas the state has the ability to offer a longer term contract for this (eg. if the state is prepared to sign a ten year contract for a Swan Hill - Mildura coach with 1+2 seating, then it's viable for an operator to deliver this).

Of course, there also has to be data analysis to determine that if a coach with reduced capacity is being specified for a particular route, that the patronage will very rarely exceed it, and you need strategies in place to manage this.

Having said that, I think there are innovative solutions available. As discussed previously, I don't think you need the whole coach with 1+2 seating. If you designed a coach with a combination of 2+2 and 2+1 seating, then you should be able to get to a point where you still maintain high capacity, but have the ability to ensure that passengers don't need to sit next to strangers - which I think is actually one of the factors that people find uncomfortable on long distance coaches. A combination of 2+2 and 2+1 should ensure that almost every passenger is either sitting next to someone they know or have their own seat (or two seats) to themselves.

So what's the customer proposition?  I'm not sure customers are necessarily motivated by more leg room. So perhaps the message is: "On V/Line services between X and Y, customers will either be seated with someone they know, or will recieve a five dollar voucher for a discount off their next ticket".

Just making the point that you have to bring it back to a customer message that will drive patronage and revenue.
Revenue

Yes, but look at MegaBus in the UK as well as MegaTrain, they are quite successful. Your core prices could stay the same, but if you allow advance bookings, you can probably run more ad hoc services?
  Revenue Chief Commissioner

Yes, but look at MegaBus in the UK as well as MegaTrain, they are quite successful. Your core prices could stay the same, but if you allow advance bookings, you can probably run more ad hoc services?
"calt"


Yes, but that doesn't mean that you necessarily need private operators taking revenue risk. Instead it could be an option for public transport pricing overall. There is certainly room for innovation. Some high level concepts worthy of investigation on coaches might be:

- Pay an addititional $5 to get an empty seat next to you (refunded if it can't be provided due to patronage)

- Standby tickets, you pay $X less with the understanding that if the coach is over crowded then you will need to catch the next one (saves the cost of having to put another bus on - obviously you'd have to be careful where you use this - you wouldn't want more than a three hour wait for the next service).

- Discounts on particular routes and services where spare capacity is available for certain times (eg. not available prior to xmas, easter, etc..)

There are lots of options available for coach pricing - but just want to make the point that these can co-exist with the current fares (that would effectively remain the 'ceiling' price - which gives customers certainty, etc.).
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Where does one draw the line on the seating preference issue?

2+1 on some coaches seems perfectly reasonable but what then when those passengers change onto a train to complete their journey?  First class is 2+2, economy usually 3+2.  Most coach passengers would therefore change into an inferior environment.

Perhaps the way ahead lies in allocating specific seats on each coach.  Reservations are required on some already and when these are required on trains a specific seat is allocated on the reservation (if not on the train itself but that's another matter) so why not on a coach?  For those non-reservable services you still take your luck of seating as you board and there would be no exclusive use of a twin seat.

Megabus/train has been cited as an example of demand pricing.  It needs to be borne in mind that the rail franchisee is part of the same business group as the coach operator namely Stagecoach.  Therefore all demand can be managed by one business system and seats priced accordingly.  Of interest here is that First Group attempted to out-class Megabus/train by offering demand-priced ticketing on high quality "Greyhound-style" coaches over the same routes but had no input into the train service which they don't operate.  The failed to win a commercial volume of traffic and the routes were withdrawn.

The point there being that such things work when they are under one umbrella and the back-end of the business system can price each ticket request based upon the known demand for trains and road coaches and with the element of known walk-up demand patterns factored in.  That is unlikely to be a proposition across multiple operators.

For V/line I see no harm in offering a mix of 2+1 with 2+2 seating on long-haul road routes provided demand does not ordinarily preclude this.  The 2+1 seating could even be marketed and sold as first class and with both single and  twin first class seats also potentially being wider / better upholstered than standard ones as well.  That retains the status quo of sharing seats on public transport (with a stranger if needs be) and creating the option of pricing single seats at a modest premium.  With all seats reservable on such vehicles a seat number is then allocated to each passenger.  In the "economy" 2+2 section window seats can be sold first with aisle seats sold as the coach fills.
  calt Chief Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
I don't see that much of a premium demand for regional routes, I thought the govt mantra was one class fits all hence Vlocity trains had one class fitted? (Though no inter urban only trains have first class unless formed by an IC service).

We seem to be dwelling on seating issues a lot in this thread.

Recaro does make some awesome seats, and having seats convertible from economy to premium might be a go-er.

Make seats 1-1-1 in the first half of the bus, then standard 2-2 in the back is an option. Again, drawing inspiration from the airline industry- because they do innovate much quickly than PT companies.

Reducing thickness of seats can also add extra rows counter balancing seat count loss from convertible seats.
  dean65 Locomotive Driver

Location: Ballarat
There has been a sharp drop off in the numbers of people travelling between Ballarat and Southern Cross and vis a versa this weekend due , I believe , to the replacement of trains with coaches because of the
Regional Rail Link works. People do not like travelling on buses , myself included , and next week I intend to take my car to Melbourne thus adding to the traffic woes.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
There has been a sharp drop off in the numbers of people travelling between Ballarat and Southern Cross and vis a versa this weekend due , I believe , to the replacement of trains with coaches because of the
Regional Rail Link works. People do not like travelling on buses , myself included , and next week I intend to take my car to Melbourne thus adding to the traffic woes.

dean65

I specifically avoided travelling to Ballarat during the school holidays for just that reason; the replacement buses are usually full to the brim and if you aren't fortunate enough to get an express service it takes up to two hours.
  dean65 Locomotive Driver

Location: Ballarat
I specifically avoided travelling to Ballarat during the school holidays for just that reason; the replacement buses are usually full to the brim and if you aren't fortunate enough to get an express service it takes up to two hours.
don_dunstan
Two hours is certainly no exaggeration as my friends have discovered.
  v-locity Station Master

Location: The Frankston Line
I have done quite a few V/line trips in the past and taken my bicycle along as part of that trip. How do you cram a bike into these busses?
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
You don't.  Standard Victorian conditions apply namely that bikes cannot be taken on road services.

Yet another fundamental flaw in the "rail" service in this state - and it has to be said in many other places worldwide in the same circumstances
  trawny Train Controller

Location: Victoria
I have done quite a few V/line trips in the past and taken my bicycle along as part of that trip. How do you cram a bike into these busses?
"v-locity"

You can take your bike on the coach. They put it underneath. But it isn't guaranteed they can refuse. But the conductor can also refuse to take your bike on a train if they deem there isn't enough space.
  GN4472 Deputy Commissioner

Just back from a quick trip to South East Asia, and it was interesting that on the buses that connect the LCTT (low cost terminal) at KL to the train line to the city have 1+1+1 seating for the back third of the bus (eg. one seat, aisle, one seat, aisle, one seat).  I'd never seen a bus with two aisles before!  Smile  Yet another option.
Revenue

An old school bus in Kapunda had longitudinal seating on the sides and seats down the middle (the seats in the centre row being steel lattice chairs), thus having 2 aisles. All of the seats were later ripped out and were replaced with 2x2 seating.
  GN4472 Deputy Commissioner

You can take your bike on the coach. They put it underneath. But it isn't guaranteed they can refuse. But the conductor can also refuse to take your bike on a train if they deem there isn't enough space.
trawny

In Honolulu - Hawaii, the busses have special racks on the front for carrying bikes. Tough luck for the bikes if the bus rear ends another vehicle!
  73LJWhiteSL Deputy Commissioner

Location: South East Melbourne Surburbs
In Honolulu - Hawaii, the busses have special racks on the front for carrying bikes. Tough luck for the bikes if the bus rear ends another vehicle!
GN4472

Also in Vancouver, buses have those racks on the front. Looks like a handy way to move the bike around. I am sure I saw it in one or two US cities as well, maybe Seattle, but I cannot remember.

In Melbourne the worst part is if you ride a bike somewhere and find out the train service has been suspended, and they are running rail replacement buses they will not take you, something to do with unrestraint objects in the event of an accident.

Steve
  712M Chief Commissioner

By the book, bikes can't be taken on buses and trams in Victoria, however some drivers are more lenient than others on rail replacements if there is enough space. High-floor coaches usually have space underneath the bus (note some V/Line replacements are run by low-floors) but in the end it is up to the driver.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
By the book, bikes can't be taken on buses and trams in Victoria, however some drivers are more lenient than others on rail replacements if there is enough space. High-floor coaches usually have space underneath the bus (note some V/Line replacements are run by low-floors) but in the end it is up to the driver.
712M
I thought that folding bikes were exempt from this rule?

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