Transperth: After-midnight trains no more

 
  Mouse Chief Train Controller

Location:
Didn't see this coming as such, but it's hardly surprising with the state of the state finances these days.

All Train Lines - Late night trains withdrawal
6 April 2015

From Monday 6 April 2015, the 1.15am and 2.15am trains departing Perth on Friday and Saturday nights (technically Saturday and Sunday mornings) will be withdrawn due to poor patronage.

The last trains will now operate at the following times:

   Departing Perth Underground to Joondalup and Mandurah stations at 12.15am
   Departing Perth Station to Armadale, Fremantle and Midland stations at 12.00am
   Departing Perth Station to Thornlie Station at 11.51pm on Friday and 11.52pm on Saturday (no change).
Transperth
- http://www.transperth.wa.gov.au/Service-Updates/Service-Update-Details/all-train-lines-late-night-trains-withdrawal-8326

I assume this will see the end of the corresponding inbound runs as well?

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  Northmetro Junior Train Controller

A bit disappointing it's a blanket decision affecting all lines. My experience is that the Joondalup line trains were always well used
  gmanning1 Junior Train Controller

Location: Sydney
A bit disappointing it's a blanket decision affecting all lines. My experience is that the Joondalup line trains were always well used
Northmetro
Why can't they replace it with a nightrider bus service?
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
First world problems.

I just checked and the sky is not falling.
  Northmetro Junior Train Controller
  Mouse Chief Train Controller

Location:
http://www.pta.wa.gov.au/Default.aspx?id=1378&tabid=121

“The numbers vary considerably, seasonally and from line to line,” Mr Hynes said.

“However we’re talking about an average of around 80 passengers per train, and some are only carrying 20 to 30 passengers.
"PTA"


It seems then that it is entirely feasible that some lines at the busier times of the year actually exceed the seating capacity of at least a 2-car train? As I recall the old 3am trains (not the 4am one that just finished - 15 years or so back) only ran during December - March, so I wonder what the patronage of the current trains is over those months versus the rest of the year.

And unlike the Midland and Armadale lines, the last Fremantle train actually runs in service back to Perth. (Obviously Butler/Mandurah have the depot at the end of the line anyway). How much patronage does this one typically get, versus the costs of keeping Perth station open another hour and taking longer to run versus dead-running?
  Kafoopsy Chief Commissioner

Location: Perth, WA
I wonder if it could work to have a few smaller trains available for night trains.  Something like a small bus on train wheels.  Would that be any cheaper to operate?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Given the huge investment in infrastructure, and overall operating costs to then squeeze $6m over 4 years on services that are carrying on average 80 passengers per trip is really quite silly.   There are a lot of social and other benefits fronm operating these services.   They are also favoured by the police and other authorities as they help to clear late night venues etc.

Ebven reverting to a seasonal and special events only operation of these trains would show that someone has considered these more broadly than just trying to cut expenditure.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I wonder if it could work to have a few smaller trains available for night trains.  Something like a small bus on train wheels.  Would that be any cheaper to operate?
Kafoopsy
Whats cheaper? A standard off the shelf bus that's currently sitting idle in the bus depo.

I don't know how many people are using these trains and where they go, but the times are starting to be getting into the very late category. I would have thought the system would be uneconomic to operate at this time as its not just the drivers, controllers and others etc etc. Shut it down like most places between midnight and 1am and switch to night rider bus. Typically its Safer for pax and cheaper for tax payer.
  gmanning1 Junior Train Controller

Location: Sydney
If an hourly nightrider bus service does become well utalised, more services can be easily added to make a half hourly timetable, which then provides a more frequent service.

Nightrider buses are a lot more viable and practical than running an extra one or two near empty trains on Friday and Saturday nights and still doesn't provide an overall 24/7 public transport solution, which would be the best end result.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
So out of step with the rest of the world

https://www.tfl.gov.uk/campaign/tube-improvements/the-future-of-the-tube/night-tube
Northmetro
Because Perth has a population of 8 million people and is within 2 hours flying time millions more.

It's called "economies of scale" - look it up perhaps.

Not out of step at all. Typical Aussie cringe

You are obviously not a taxpayer.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
If an hourly nightrider bus service does become well utalised, more services can be easily added to make a half hourly timetable, which then provides a more frequent service.

Nightrider buses are a lot more viable and practical than running an extra one or two near empty trains on Friday and Saturday nights and still doesn't provide an overall 24/7 public transport solution, which would be the best end result.
gmanning1

Agree, however very few cities run 24/7 Metro's/suburban services. With a cities bus fleet sitting idle, why not make better use of this between midnight and 5am. Allows more access time for track maintenance and prevent the need of running empty trains everywhere. These late night trains usually run empty to near empty back to city.  

The bus drivers can also be more flexible and drop people off along the route not at railway stations, closer to home, more visible location etc improves safety.
  witzendoz Junior Train Controller

Location: Fremantle
The bus drivers can also be more flexible and drop people off along the route not at railway stations, closer to home, more visible location etc improves safety.
RTT_Rules

Like running the service along the Rail replacement bus route?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Like running the service along the Rail replacement bus route?
witzendoz
Yep but they can stop other than stations (assume that rules will imply only at bustops)
  Mouse Chief Train Controller

Location:
As I understand it the current policy allows for buses setting down anywhere so long as it is safe, after 7pm. That also applied to our short-lived NightRider buses.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Nightrider buses were previously tried in Perth and were unsuccessful. The rail replacement bus routes are indirect and slow.  As the article points out average number of passengers per trip is about 80.   That will take 2 buses per trip with 2 drivers versus 1 Driver only operated train consist.   Night time security will still be required.  But experience shows the patronnage when reverting to bus will drop.   That should be good because when yhat happens you will be able to then cut out the bus service as well due to low patronage.   Nice strategy.  We did this in the 70's, the 80's and just about every decade since.   No one learns from the experience.  Perth has an excellent system and service.   It has generated patronage and the associated benefits that flow from that way beyond peoples expectations.   Now you are going to start compromising that by bravely saving $6m over 4 years.   There are many transit operations that would love to be generating an average 80 passenger trips even in off peak times never mind on late night services.  Leave it alone and go and find $1.5 million per annum out of other programs.
  Bahnfrend Station Master

Location: Perth, WA
Trainplanner

I think you must have misunderstood the media reports.

The PTA subsidises, and therefore loses money on, every single train passenger it carries, no matter whether the train is running day, night, weekdays, weekends, whenever.  So if the government is running trains very late at night, the government is losing money, not earning income, on those trains, even if it is charging a fare to the passengers (which it isn't at the moment).

Train operators do not run trains so that 80 or so passengers can go on a train ride and the operators can feel the "love" (to use your expression) from those passengers.  The operators run trains either to make a profit, or to provide a means of transport that is considered to be a worthwhile service to the public, bearing in mind the cost of subsidising that service.

What the government has now decided is that while it can justify paying the subsidies it pays in relation to most suburban trains, it can't justify continuing to pay them for the late night services it has been running in the last few years.  The main reason those trains can't be justified is, apparently, that they are very poorly patronised except during the summer months.

So anyone wanting to advocate the continued running of these trains should really be trying to convince the PTA to run them more sparingly, eg only during the university summer holidays, when more people are out and about very late at night.

The other significant question arising from the government's recently announced decision is whether the government can justify continuing to run the AvonLink despite its low patronage when the government will no longer be running late night suburban services due to low patronage.

Of course, cynics would say that the real difference between the AvonLink and the late night suburban trains is simply that the AvonLink serves a handful of country parliamentary seats represented by government MPs willing and able to talk the government out of running buses instead, whereas so few electors from each suburban parliamentary seat really want the late night trains to keep running that no government MP is going to make much of an effort to keep them running.

Other cynics would say that even electors who live in country electorates, and procure their local members to lobby for the retention of country trains, are far more interested in the idea of being able to catch a train than in actually going ahead, paying the fare, and riding on a train.  According to those cynics, that's the real reason why those electors kick up such a fuss when the government announces that such trains are to be canned, and also the real reason why the government continues to pander to those electors by eventually reversing such announcements.
  Northmetro Junior Train Controller

Because Perth has a population of 8 million people and is within 2 hours flying time millions more.

It's called "economies of scale" - look it up perhaps.

Not out of step at all. Typical Aussie cringe

You are obviously not a taxpayer.
bingley hall
I most certainly am a taxpayer - and probably more than the average. However, if you object to using London as an example, Copenhagen has a smaller population than Perth and its metro operates all through the night on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and has done for quite a few years.

I am an occasional user of the late night services and if they don't run, I will happily pay for a taxi (I just hope I can get one!) - but my experience on the Joondalup line is that the late trains are often full to standing. If the average is 80 passengers, that means that some will carry more and some will be less. So why can't those that carry more keep running?

One of my big concerns is that some of the younger passengers will be tempted to take the risk of driving after they have had a few drinks when the trains are no longer an option. Unfortunately if we start going down the road of picking out individual trains that don't carry enough passengers, then we will see cuts in trains during the day and possibly mid-evening as well. In fact, why bother operating anything at all after 8pm? All honest people should be home and tucked up in their beds. Of course we all know that people make their urban transport choices based on the overall service, not on whether a specific train runs at a particular time. Many times I make my outward journey not knowing when the return journey will be, whether this is work or leisure. If I don't have confidence there will be a train in my range of possible return times, I'll take the car, so the revenue from the outward journey is lost as well.

This is the start of a path to progressively decreasing quality of service to the extent that the trains will be used only by those who have to use them, not as their transport mode of choice. Is that what we want?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Perth vs Copenhagen

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perth

310p/km2 in Perth
710 to 6700p/km2 in Copenhagen

Copenhagan automated (lower cost) Metro +55m ppa over just 20km of track
Copenhagan S-train +140m ppa over 170km of track

TransPerth 66mpa over 170km of track

Average petrol price of Denmark $US1.70/L (yesterday) and as you would expect for an old world city with petrol over $A2/L, car ownership levels are half that of Oz and probably half the size.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_vehicles_per_capita

80 people per train is worthy of two buses. I would agree if all the trains are pulling those number per service direction the train is viable, but is it and at that time of night would running a bus get more or less?

Note: I've been to Copenhagen briefly, its nice if I lived in the inner city I probably wouldn't drive much either.
  andrew1996 Train Controller

Location: Fremantle
First world problems.

I just checked and the sky is not falling.
bingley hall

This is only going to inhibit the growth of Perth and it's nightlife. What of all the people who work in bars and clubs? I sometimes am still working in the city well after the 12:00am train, and the price of parking or a taxi fair will make it borderline uneconomic for me to show up to work at all.
  Northmetro Junior Train Controller

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/26289754/night-train-rethink/

Maybe it won't happen after all.

Perhaps if PTA or politicians are looking for a compromise, keep one service around 1:30 (with all inbound services arriving about 15 minutes earlier to allow interchange).

Assuming passengers'"decision to depart" is evenly spread, this would cater for 62-75% of the passengers on the two current trains (depending on destination) so should result in better loadings.
  Northmetro Junior Train Controller

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/26289754/night-train-rethink/

Maybe it won't happen after all.

Perhaps if PTA or politicians are looking for a compromise, keep one service around 1:30 (with all inbound services arriving about 15 minutes earlier to allow interchange).

Assuming passengers'"decision to depart" is evenly spread, this would cater for 62-75% of the passengers on the two current trains (depending on destination) so should result in better loadings.
Northmetro
And a further thought - based on the 80 passengers quoted from original press release, if this rises to 140 for Freo/Armadale/Midland, there are 144 seats on a 2 car A set. Surely this is full enough to justify a train!

And if any smart person says it would probably be a 4 car train, that's an operational decision, not a necessity.
  Mouse Chief Train Controller

Location:
The Phonj over at the bus forum has made the point that Adelaide's after midnight buses are (or were) part funded by the SA Motor Accident Commission (see http://www.busaustralia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=79913#p945263 ).

It's more political/semantics than anything else but I wonder if something like this could get after hours services running again here when PTA aren't willing to fund them themselves. Also it would make sense considering the nature of some of the benefits accrued from the late trains (fewer drunks on the roads for one).

And there's a precedent too: the AvonLink extra services are funded through Royalties for Region.
  Mouse Chief Train Controller
  thewaratahtrain Chief Train Controller

http://mobile.news.com.au/national/western-australia/perth-late-night-trains-used-by-2200-people-each-weekend/story-fnii5thn-1227320891642

The service is free from 12:30AM until about 3:30AM Saturday and Sunday morning

ABOUT 2200 people use Perth’s late-night trains each weekend, new figures show.

The Public Transport Authority had proposed to axe the 1am and 2am weekend services to save money.

But figures released to The Sunday Times under Freedom of Information laws show an average of 2231 people used the services to get out of Perth during 2014.

The Clarkson and Mandurah lines were the busiest. The Sunday 2am Clarkson service had an average of 236 passengers, and the 2am to Mandurah 200.

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