Vline Network Rationalisation

 
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Vline currently has far too many routes, resulting in low service frequencies, many of which service tiny populations and fail to offer the most efficient solution.  A large proportion of services also run to convoluted timetables, which are confusing to the average traveller.

A wide scale restructuring of the network would provide the ability to run more services along more useful routes for the same expenditure.  Ideally, we should see all rail services running to five services per day minimum, and all coach services to two-five services per day minimum, depending on location.

Services should run at the same times Monday to Sunday, and to the same stop schedule.

An example of network consolidation is as follows:



http://i40.tinypic.com/2wqbhwk.jpg

A similar numbering system to the above should be adopted to simplify information for passengers (who are often confused when looking for Bendigo trains for example when all they can see is Swan Hill).

*T1/B1:  Melbourne - Warrnambool/Portland/Heywood
*T2A/B/B2:  Melbourne - Ararat/Kaniva/Maryborough
*T3A/B/B3:  Melbourne - Swan Hill/Mildura/Echuca
*T4/B4:  Melbourne - Shepparton/Yarrawonga/Springhurst
*T5/B5:  Melbourne - Albury/Corryong
*T6/B6:  Melbourne - Bairnsdale/Mallacoota
*B7A/B/C:  Melbourne - Philip Island/Inverloch/Yarram
*B8A/B/C:  Wangaratta - Mt Hotham/Mt Beauty/Beechworth
*B9A/B:  Tallarook - Mt Buller/Eildon
*B10:  Melbourne - Sea Lake via Heathcote
*B11:  Bendigo - Mt Gambier via Ararat
*B12:  Ballarat - Donald
*B13:  Shepparton - Barham via Echuca
*B14:  Mildura - Horsham
*B15:  Geelong - Shepparton via Ballarat/Bendigo
*B16:  Ballarat - Castlemaine via Daylesford

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  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
The core concept is sound.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Drugs, so many drugs.
VBAndy

I see the standard of discussion hasn't improved much since I've been away.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
I for one use the Ballarat-Hamilton bus often to visit friends in a small town on the Glenelg Highway and I would be very upset if it was removed.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
I for one use the Ballarat-Hamilton bus often to visit friends in a small town on the Glenelg Highway and I would be very upset if it was removed.
don_dunstan
Personally I don't think culling routes altogether is the best idea for the reason outlined (and also to avoid disconnecting too many communities) but I think that truncating routes where they duplicate other routes would be a good idea so that we can use the existing fleet to run more services.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
I for one use the Ballarat-Hamilton bus often to visit friends in a small town on the Glenelg Highway and I would be very upset if it was removed.
don_dunstan
The towns on the Glenelg Hwy are far too small to justify servicing.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
The towns on the Glenelg Hwy are far too small to justify servicing.
ZH836301

The network is not provided to make money or on the basis of volumes; it's provided so that life in these small towns is more bearable for the people who live there.  Denis Napthine is spending big money trying to encourage Melbourne people to think about moving to the bush; you won't encourage people to move there from Melbourne by stripping services.

Do you have statistics showing shrinking passenger numbers to support your case for the removal of services?
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
The network is not provided to make money or on the basis of volumes; it's provided so that life in these small towns is more bearable for the people who live there.  Denis Napthine is spending big money trying to encourage Melbourne people to think about moving to the bush; you won't encourage people to move there from Melbourne by stripping services.
"don_dunstan"

The State is not aiming to encourage people to move to near non-existant towns like Streatham, but to large rural population centres on transport trunks like Bendigo, Shepparton, Echuca, and Wangaratta.

They're more than happy to see the tiny towns continue to decline, as the provision of services to these areas is not cheap.  The only reason those towns on the Glenelg Hwy get services is because of larger centres like Hamilton, Casterton and Coleraine.  There are plenty of larger towns without services, like Edenhope, Cobden, Corryong, etc, so you're running down a slippery slope if you're arguing that services should be provided as a necessity.

Do you have statistics showing shrinking passenger numbers to support your case for the removal of services?
"dun_dunstan"

The complete absence of a population is enough.

Sending Mt Gambier/Hamilton coaches to Ararat reduces travel time, decreases coach expenditure (by one hour each way), and increases the viability of Ararat rail services.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
PTV's latest figures show that the entire public transport system is running at a loss. Shouldn't we therefore be looking at ways to make more money out of it?
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
The State is not aiming to encourage people to move to near non-existant towns like Streatham, but to large rural population centres on transport trunks like Bendigo, Shepparton, Echuca, and Wangaratta.

They're more than happy to see the tiny towns continue to decline, as the provision of services to these areas is not cheap.  The only reason those towns on the Glenelg Hwy get services is because of larger centres like Hamilton, Casterton and Coleraine.  There are plenty of larger towns without services, like Edenhope, Cobden, Corryong, etc, so you're running down a slippery slope if you're arguing that services should be provided as a necessity.

The complete absence of a population is enough.

Sending Mt Gambier/Hamilton coaches to Ararat reduces travel time, decreases coach expenditure (by one hour each way), and increases the viability of Ararat rail services.
ZH836301

From what I've seen of the "Regional Victoria" expo, they were encouraging people to move to the bush as well as the larger towns.  Look at the 'case studies' on YouTube, they paint a picture of people living among the trees, not living in the bigger towns.  One of the 'case studies' was actually a successful farming couple who made the transition from metro life... imagine that, making a living off the land!

Last time I asked if there were any statistics regarding declining numbers on V/Line bus numbers and if so, what routes are declining.  As you didn't answer I would have to assume you don't have any actual information to support your map other than the fact that the lines you drew look good.  So please come back to me when you have some hard information that supports your case in some way or form, until then I'll have to assume you are another insular Melbourne person determined to punish people because they live in those dreadful, horrible small towns.  I for one will be continuing to support and actually use these services you deride as being so unloved and unwanted.

BTW Edenhope actually does have a state-subsidised mini-bus (not a V/Line service), it goes from Horsham to Naracoorte and back again every week-day.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
EDIT: ptv.vic.gov.au tells me that Corryong has a day return bus service to Wodonga and Cobden has a Camperdown-Timboon return service that seems to be fairly frequent but only appears to run Thursday through to Sunday (for some strange reason).

PTV certainly does provide services to some really out-of-the-way places.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
From what I've seen of the "Regional Victoria" expo, they were encouraging people to move to the bush as well as the larger towns.  Look at the 'case studies' on YouTube, they paint a picture of people living among the trees, not living in the bigger towns.  One of the 'case studies' was actually a successful farming couple who made the transition from metro life... imagine that, making a living off the land!

Last time I asked if there were any statistics regarding declining numbers on V/Line bus numbers and if so, what routes are declining.  As you didn't answer I would have to assume you don't have any actual information to support your map other than the fact that the lines you drew look good.  So please come back to me when you have some hard information that supports your case in some way or form, until then I'll have to assume you are another insular Melbourne person determined to punish people because they live in those dreadful, horrible small towns.  I for one will be continuing to support and actually use these services you deride as being so unloved and unwanted.

BTW Edenhope actually does have a state-subsidised mini-bus (not a V/Line service), it goes from Horsham to Naracoorte and back again every week-day.
don_dunstan

Vline raised only $5.52 in farebox revenue per trip for 2011/2012, with a subsidy of $18.27 per trip or 77%.

Regional patronage statistics aren't publicly available, but it is obvious from the subsidy figures that rationalisation must take place.

The map is based on population figures, which are readily available through CENSUS, and id profiles - for similar regions, patronage roughly correlates with population.

The other factor is ensuring efficient operations, like sending Hamilton coaches to Ararat, Yea coaches through Tallarook, Mt Gambier coaches through Hamilton, etc.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
I have sympathy for your argument and yes, 77% is a large figure.  But trust me, these minor buses are part of a big network that would be seriously crippled by the sort of rationalisation you are proposing; you might not be able to see them from the suburbs but those bus users do exist... Hell, I've even seen that Glenelg Hwy bus full to overflowing at Xmas and Easter - you had to catch a mini-bus trailing behind!

In justifying the expense, there's a road safety case to be made - if you are elderly, on medication or otherwise shouldn't be driving then the bus is a good alternative to driving.  A surprising number of people rely on the buses for shopping, appointments and visiting friends/family... you'd be condemning those people to no access in many cases, it would hasten many people having to move into town because they can't/aren't able to drive.  The same goes for tourists from Melbourne, they would lose access to lots of places like Halls Gap (according to your map), Sunset Country etc.  Really, 77% is the cost of maintaining services to these places is borne by the taxpayers because it's a political decision to help country people out like this, both with access to their nearest large town and also providing a service for tourists/non-locals (like me).

Finally, V/Line farebox subsidies are a drop in the ocean when you compare it to the Desal Plant ($25 billion maybe?  By the time the 30 years is up, who knows), a never-used North-South Pipeline ($1 billion plus, what a good idea that was), Myki ($1.6 billion plus) and the East-West truck tunnel, which I read today will cost every Victorian $3000 to build (joy!)

Denis Napthine will be in no mood to replicate the failure of Jeff Kennett by cutting services in his core electorates, we have a bush premier at the moment and I'd be astonished if any cuts happened to V/Line next year.
  billybaxter Chief Commissioner

Location: Bosnia Park, Fairfield
If people shouldn't be driving for health or whatever reasons, surely it's irresponsible to live in an isolated location. Sounds like town is the place for them, for the own well being and that of the taxpaying public! And with the way waiting lists at public hospitals are, if you make an appointment based on the Vline bus timetable, chances are the timetable will have changed by the time the appointment comes around. The Hall's Creek bus and the overnighter to Mildura seem particularly useless. How many people need to get on or off at Maryborough at 4 a.m. for example? What doctor is open then?
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
If people shouldn't be driving for health or whatever reasons, surely it's irresponsible to live in an isolated location. Sounds like town is the place for them, for the own well being and that of the taxpaying public! And with the way waiting lists at public hospitals are, if you make an appointment based on the Vline bus timetable, chances are the timetable will have changed by the time the appointment comes around. The Hall's Creek bus and the overnighter to Mildura seem particularly useless. How many people need to get on or off at Maryborough at 4 a.m. for example? What doctor is open then?
billybaxter

They might have lived in that small town most of their lives; you don't necessarily make the decision to become incapacitated before it happens to you.  

Hey, I'm not completely closed to the idea of rationalising the bus network, all I'm saying is that it's rather arrogant of city people (myself included) saying 'why should we provide services to towns of less than 1000 people' and then eventually reducing that to 'if you live somewhere like that, you don't deserve anything'.

Again, I would be interested to know if there were actually any services declining in patronage before I could comment on what should be arbitrarily chopped; given the numbers are apparently not available to the general public then we're just shooting sh*t really aren't we.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
They might have lived in that small town most of their lives; you don't necessarily make the decision to become incapacitated before it happens to you.  

Hey, I'm not completely closed to the idea of rationalising the bus network, all I'm saying is that it's rather arrogant of city people (myself included) saying 'why should we provide services to towns of less than 1000 people' and then eventually reducing that to 'if you live somewhere like that, you don't deserve anything'.

Again, I would be interested to know if there were actually any services declining in patronage before I could comment on what should be arbitrarily chopped; given the numbers are apparently not available to the general public then we're just shooting sh*t really aren't we.
don_dunstan
Personnally I think that, given the subsidy figures, what's needed here is an increase in patronage across the whole network, rather than just the coach. I have seen and travelled on train services that were pretty much empty.
  billybaxter Chief Commissioner

Location: Bosnia Park, Fairfield
Cart before the horse. Services should try to match demand, the government shouldn't go spending more money to try to get demand up to match existing services. Moving people around if they don't need to be is wasteful.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Cart before the horse. Services should try to match demand, the government shouldn't go spending more money to try to get demand up to match existing services. Moving people around if they don't need to be is wasteful.
billybaxter
I think it's important to consider not just the figures, but why they are what they are. Personally I think that one of these reasons is because of low frequency.

Running services with low demand means running them at a loss. My personal thoughts are that we should try to get services running at a profit.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Personnally I think that, given the subsidy figures, what's needed here is an increase in patronage across the whole network, rather than just the coach. I have seen and travelled on train services that were pretty much empty.
railblogger

Any provision of a decent service is necessarily going to involve some of those services running next to empty.  Sometimes this is because of the necessary movement and position of rolling stock, other times it's simply because an improved service needs to offer frequent services to attract the numbers to begin with.

In the last decade of going to visit a friend of mine in Ballarat on the weekends, the number of services on Sunday went from 5 (abysmal) to 12 (much better).  They're not necessarily going to increase the patronage on a Sunday by a lot BUT it makes it more attractive for potential passengers because it starts earlier and finishes later; it's more like the train works around you rather than you having to work around the train.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Any provision of a decent service is necessarily going to involve some of those services running next to empty.  Sometimes this is because of the necessary movement and position of rolling stock, other times it's simply because an improved service needs to offer frequent services to attract the numbers to begin with.

In the last decade of going to visit a friend of mine in Ballarat on the weekends, the number of services on Sunday went from 5 (abysmal) to 12 (much better).  They're not necessarily going to increase the patronage on a Sunday by a lot BUT it makes it more attractive for potential passengers because it starts earlier and finishes later; it's more like the train works around you rather than you having to work around the train.
don_dunstan
I'm referring to revenue services and yes, a frequent service will almost certainly be needed to entice potential passengers
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Orright then Railblogger, what sorts of ideas do you hold for the increased profitability/decreasing subsidy while maintaining most of the existing structure?
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Orright then Railblogger, what sorts of ideas do you hold for the increased profitability/decreasing subsidy while maintaining most of the existing structure?
don_dunstan
Mainly timetable changes to target any regular travellers to regional cities, and to encourage population growth in small towns.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
It's easier said than done trying to encourage growth in those smaller towns but I think it's actually a really good idea worth pursuing, not only for the benefit of increasing viability of V/Line services for the locals but also providing diversity in those towns, business opportunities, providing relief for the overcrowded major cities.

It's surprising the number of small enterprise farms around Ballarat - niche markets for different things like fresh herbs for the restaurant markets, lavender oil, saffron etc. Developing new business is a critical part of the plan because these places need to be self-sustaining and there needs to be SOME jobs there to attract and retain new residents.  I also think if you can bring more of the state within a day trip of Melbourne then you can improve the amenity of the location.  Local trips into the nearest regional centre are also important to people residing in those small towns, I've noticed on the Glenelg Hwy bus that a surprising number of people use the V/Line bus in conjunction with the one the council provides to locals so it means its possible for someone living in Smythsdale to catch the council bus to Ballarat town centre for a few hours, do what they need to and then get a V/Line bus home again with their shopping jeep.

We're very fortunate in comparison to places like NSW because our state is relatively compact and there's lots of wonderful, fertile and well-serviced towns and bigger cities within two hours of Melbourne - it's ideal for decentralisation.  Looking at V/Line's annual report from last year, there was a huge surge in the use of their buses in the '11-'12 financial year so hopefully its an indication that people in these smaller towns are also voting with their feet to use their local services too.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
I see the standard of discussion hasn't improved much since I've been away.
ZH836301
Good to see some constructive discussion ZH even if I don't necessarily agree with your sentiments...

BTW, Ted visited this last year with the MASSIVE number of regional bus cancellations and proposed cancellations.

http://www.fionarichardson.com.au/media-releases/baillieu-scraps-30-vital-regional-bus-services/

Noted services from the above link are below.


Cuts to the Transport Connections Program bus services include:

  • Bannockburn Loop;
  • Hamilton to Mt Gambier;
  • Hawkesdale to Warrnambool – School Holiday;
  • Lavers Hill to Colac – Friday;
  • Lavers Hill to Colac – Summer;
  • Macarthur to Warrnambool – Summer;
  • Moriac to Waurn Ponds and Torquay;
  • Mortlake to Terang;
  • Mortlake to Warrnambool – School Holiday service;
  • Noorat to Warrnambool;
  • Port Campbell to Warrnambool – Summer service;
  • Portland to Mt Gambier;
  • Queenscliff to Jan Juc;
  • Terang to Warrnambool – Summer;
  • Timboon to Warrnambool – Summer;
  • Winchelsea and Moriac to Waurn Pond and  Torquay;
  • Boisdale to Briagalong;
  • Foster to Tidal River;
  • Lakes Entrance to Metung;
  • Seaspray Holiday Service;
  • Venus Bay to Leongatha;
  • Trentham to Kyneton;
  • Flowerdale to Kinglake;
  • Goughs Bay to Mansfield;
  • Mansfield to Benalla;
  • Tungamah to Cobram;
  • Yea to Yarra Glen/Healesville;
  • Lockington Rochester Station;
  • Ouyen to Sea Lake;
  • Rushworth to Shepparton via Murchison.
Transport Connections Program services under threat of being axed include:
  • Raywood to Eaglehawk;
  • Snake Valley to Ballarat;
  • Tallangatta to Wodonga/Albury;
  • Castlemaine to Maldon – Sunday service;
  • Tarnagulla to Maryborough;
  • Penshurst to Hamilton;
  • Colignan to Red Cliffs;
  • Ouyen to Mildura Friday service;
  • Tarnagulla to Inglewood;
  • Colac to Lorne.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Vinelander: The Glenelg Hwy bus still goes through to Mt Gambier during the week but I don't think there's a weekend option any longer.  I think there's quite a few on that list that saw cuts to the number or days of services but they still exist per se.

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