A New V/Line Coach Network?

 
  Mr Gus Meister Junior Train Controller

Since V/Line's coach usage is declining and not many passengers use it (3 people Ballarat-Bendigo on a coach), there should be a new V/Line Coach Network (VCN). Where should the routes go? Should we even have a new VCN? Get rid of coaches all together? What do you think? Post your ideas below and I'll put it into a map. Smile

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  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Since V/Line's coach usage is declining and not many passengers use it (3 people Ballarat-Bendigo on a coach), there should be a new V/Line Coach Network (VCN). Where should the routes go? Should we even have a new VCN? Get rid of coaches all together? What do you think? Post your ideas below and I'll put it into a map. Smile
Mr Gus Meister

People do not want to use coaches so consider vline expansion of the passenger rail network which on the current stats shows large increases.
  Mr Gus Meister Junior Train Controller

Since V/Line's coach usage is declining and not many passengers use it (3 people Ballarat-Bendigo on a coach), there should be a new V/Line Coach Network (VCN). Where should the routes go? Should we even have a new VCN? Get rid of coaches all together? What do you think? Post your ideas below and I'll put it into a map. Smile

People do not want to use coaches so consider vline expansion of the passenger rail network which on the current stats shows large increases.
x31
People will use a coach if it goes where they want, is fast and reliable and easier than driving. People will also take the coach if they don't own a car or don't feel safe driving too far. Yes, people do prefer using the train, but if coaches connected to train lines and train lines connected to where they wanted to go, people would use the coach.
Thanks
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
So, which of the V/Line Coach services shown in the attached map are not performing?

Is the 3 passengers an average over time, or just one service?



https://www.vline.com.au/getattachment/f8a1e2c3-5d60-4abe-b608-2bc18e9f8197/V-Line-Network-Map
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Well I call them "buses", I see the term "coach" as a ridiculous affectation.

Now I've got that off my chest, there are a number of government subsidised bus services that I use that aren't shown on the map, like Melbourne to Marysville, Alexandra and Eildon (which receives a lot of business), as well as the Bright to Omeo service (which is useful to me, but there are times when I've been the only passenger on a 50 seat bus on that route).


But bus services to remote towns in the Mallee or the mountains do have an important community service function, they allows kids, the elderly and the handicapped to get around, while still living in hamlets and villages. On that Bright - Omeo service, while not many people use it to get to high mountain towns like Dinner Plain and Hotham in summer, it gets a lot more patronage on the Harrietville to Bright section where local people use it to go shopping in the "big town" of Bright.

Of course services like that (and the equivalent in sparsely populated wheat belt areas) cost taxpayers a fortune in subsidies. Perhaps the question is not whether these buses should run, but rather how much of a subsidy per passenger should the government be prepared to pay?
  Mr Gus Meister Junior Train Controller

So, which of the V/Line Coach services shown in the attached map are not performing?

Is the 3 passengers an average over time, or just one service?



https://www.vline.com.au/getattachment/f8a1e2c3-5d60-4abe-b608-2bc18e9f8197/V-Line-Network-Map
mikesyd
One service. I am not against the current network or anything but I think they need to reach more people while also keeping routes direct. The first thing is that they should have turn up and go. The second thing is a much greater frequency. They also need to connect the coaches to the trains and have some of the way as a train (unless full distance coach is faster).
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Since V/Line's coach usage is declining and not many passengers use it (3 people Ballarat-Bendigo on a coach), there should be a new V/Line Coach Network
Mr Gus Meister
I am not against the current network or anything
Mr Gus Meister
Excuse me but I do find these conflicting opinions a tad confusing.

They also need to connect the coaches to the trains and have some of the way as a train
Mr Gus Meister
They usually do where they can. Many coaches to various locations connect with trains at Ballarat, Ararat, Bendigo, Seymour and Shepparton. The best way to get to Mildura by public transport involves a coach connecting with the Swan Hill Passenger train at Swan Hill (Just ask Vinelander). Some of the more popular routes offer no connecting V/Line rail service because there isn't one, like the Great Ocean Road service, the Leongatha and Yarram service, and the afore mentioned Eildon service.

a much greater frequency
Mr Gus Meister
On the surface, yes this would be an obvious improvement, but the reality is it might not improve passenger numbers, meanwhile it would increase costs. There is a delicate balancing act.

I am not saying the current V/Line Coach network is perfect, I'm sure there are areas that could be improved, but wholesale changes are not warranted. Its more a case of fine tuning.

As Bogong said, some of these seemingly underutilised runs servicing under-populated and remote areas do perform a valuable community service, taking this away may save a bit of coin at the start, but will cause more damage in the long run.
  Mr Gus Meister Junior Train Controller

Since V/Line's coach usage is declining and not many passengers use it (3 people Ballarat-Bendigo on a coach), there should be a new V/Line Coach Network
I am not against the current network or anything
Excuse me but I do find these conflicting opinions a tad confusing.

They also need to connect the coaches to the trains and have some of the way as a train
They usually do where they can. Many coaches to various locations connect with trains at Ballarat, Ararat, Bendigo, Seymour and Shepparton. The best way to get to Mildura by public transport involves a coach connecting with the Swan Hill Passenger train at Swan Hill (Just ask Vinelander). Some of the more popular routes offer no connecting V/Line rail service because there isn't one, like the Great Ocean Road service, the Leongatha and Yarram service, and the afore mentioned Eildon service.

a much greater frequency
On the surface, yes this would be an obvious improvement, but the reality is it might not improve passenger numbers, meanwhile it would increase costs. There is a delicate balancing act.

I am not saying the current V/Line Coach network is perfect, I'm sure there are areas that could be improved, but wholesale changes are not warranted. Its more a case of fine tuning.

As Bogong said, some of these seemingly underutilised runs servicing under-populated and remote areas do perform a valuable community service, taking this away may save a bit of coin at the start, but will cause more damage in the long run.
Gman_86
I just found this - an electric driverless bus. It holds 11 people and it would be highly cost effective. It could have high frequencies with only the cost of a new bus. On the busier lines, it could have multiple buses departing at the same time to be equivilant to a coach. http://www.smh.com.au/video/video-news/video-nsw-news/driverless-bus-to-trial-in-sydney-20170802-4wqgi.html
  Mr Gus Meister Junior Train Controller

Nope... I found one that holds 12 people! http://easymile.com/mobility-solution/
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Well in most circumstances a bus/coach needs to be staffed, if only to help the elderly and to keep druggies and teenagers under control. I suspect an unstaffed, self driving bus would be trashed within a few months.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
People do not want to use coaches so consider vline expansion of the passenger rail network which on the current stats shows large increases.
x31
No, not really.

There are massive increases in people using V/Line rail services yes, but if you drill down closer and look at where those increases are you get a clearer picture.

Outside Southern Cross, V/Line's busiest station by passenger numbers is Tarneit. The busiest station on the Ballarat line is Melton. Both of these stations along with Wyndham Vale and Deer Park are providing V/Line with massive passenger numbers. Not exactly country Victoria is it.

Aside from these outer suburban posts, V/Line still has huge passenger numbers within the commuter belt of Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour and Traralgon.

These are the places where V/Line's passenger numbers have been soaring ever since the Regional Fast Rail of the mid 2000s. This is where the investment is needed, and its where it is going with major upgrades of the Ballarat line, Bendigo line, Gippsland line and the future proofing of the outer Geelong line (Geelong to Waurn Ponds).

The only place not currently served by passenger rail that is likely to get anything in the near to middle future (next 30 years) is the proposed branch to Torquay. That is still a long way off though.
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

Since V/Line's coach usage is declining and not many passengers use it (3 people Ballarat-Bendigo on a coach), there should be a new V/Line Coach Network (VCN). Where should the routes go? Should we even have a new VCN? Get rid of coaches all together? What do you think? Post your ideas below and I'll put it into a map. Smile

People do not want to use coaches so consider vline expansion of the passenger rail network which on the current stats shows large increases.
People will use a coach if it goes where they want, is fast and reliable and easier than driving. People will also take the coach if they don't own a car or don't feel safe driving too far. Yes, people do prefer using the train, but if coaches connected to train lines and train lines connected to where they wanted to go, people would use the coach.
Thanks
Mr Gus Meister
go and get a real job......................
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Driverless bus?

Yeah that'll happen Rolling Eyes

The amount of legislation that would need to be changed to allow it to run on public roads, the amount of work that would need to be done to the roads themselves just to enable it to operate (driverless vehicles need a perfect environment, the condition of country roads in Victoria are far from perfect) and the amount of departmental red tape, all up it would take a good 10 years to get past all that.

Then there's the union.

Then there's elections.

The Labor party would never go for it, the unions wouldn't let them.

The Libs/ Nationals would never get away with it, Labor wouldn't let them.

Don't get me wrong, driverless cars and even driverless buses will be here. But there is a lot a water to go under the bridge before a government owned organisation will be operating them in place of human driven vehicles.


And another thing...


What is this thread doing in the Victoria section? It isn't rail related, not directly anyway, it should be in the Other Transport section.
  Mr Gus Meister Junior Train Controller

Driverless bus?

Yeah that'll happen Rolling Eyes

The amount of legislation that would need to be changed to allow it to run on public roads, the amount of work that would need to be done to the roads themselves just to enable it to operate (driverless vehicles need a perfect environment, the condition of country roads in Victoria are far from perfect) and the amount of departmental red tape, all up it would take a good 10 years to get past all that.

Then there's the union.

Then there's elections.

The Labor party would never go for it, the unions wouldn't let them.

The Libs/ Nationals would never get away with it, Labor wouldn't let them.

Don't get me wrong, driverless cars and even driverless buses will be here. But there is a lot a water to go under the bridge before a government owned organisation will be operating them in place of human driven vehicles.


And another thing...


What is this thread doing in the Victoria section? It isn't rail related, not directly anyway, it should be in the Other Transport section.
Gman_86
Most definitely way too futuristic. I was getting away with my self. I wasn't sure if it should be here or in Other Transport.
  SEMartin Chief Train Controller

Location: Canberra ACT
Nope... I found one that holds 12 people! http://easymile.com/mobility-solution/
Give up on the driverless buses! Do you know where the trials of these are taking place? In controlled access environments like parks and gardens or university campuses where interaction with other vehicles are low and speeds are slow, not on open public roads or highways.

Similarly the vehicle referenced in your other link is being trialled (not deployed in service) on a controlled access roadway (a Bus Rapid Transit corridor)
(What about this bus, it can be staffed and is driverless. http://media.daimler.com/marsMediaSite/en/instance/ko.xhtml?oid=12837618&ls=L2VuL2luc3RhbmNlL2tvLnhodG1sP29pZD05MjY3OTU1JnJlbElkPTYwODI5JmZyb21PaWQ9OTI2Nzk1NSZib3JkZXJzPXRydWUmcmVzdWx0SW5mb1R5cGVJZD00MDYyNiZ2aWV3VHlwZT1saXN0JnNvcnREZWZpbml0aW9uPVBVQkxJU0hFRF9BVC0yJnRodW1iU2NhbGVJbmRleD0wJnJvd0NvdW50c0luZGV4PTU!&rs=27)

As someone who is working in this field, the commercial deployment of automated buses will take many years and even then they will be largely niche applications: first mile/last mile journeys, internal circulators around uni campuses, parks and business parks or on controlled access corridors (BRT).

You're grasping at straws if you think automated vehicles will solve V/Line's road coach problems.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
The Mildura buses...and I call them buses too... that connect with trains at Swan Hill are often full on departure from Swan Hill and upon arrival at Swan Hill from Mildura.

The Mildura bound buses that operate from Bendigo are a long journey, around 6.5 hours with a refresh stop at Nyah and they carry less pax than the Swan Hill connectors. This tells me pax prefer to travel by train as far as possible.

From Mildura I sometimes change at Castlemaine on a Sunday and catch the connecting service to Ballarat via Daylesford and though there are more pax on that service than there used to be, it usually leaves Castlemaine with at best 12 pax on board, which is more than the 2 or three pax of about 8 years ago.

Part of the problem with Bendigo/Castlemaine/Ballarat/Geelong bus services is the inconsistency of differing times and infrequent services.

Mike.
  Mr Gus Meister Junior Train Controller

The Mildura buses...and I call them buses too... that connect with trains at Swan Hill are often full on departure from Swan Hill and upon arrival at Swan Hill from Mildura.

The Mildura bound buses that operate from Bendigo are a long journey, around 6.5 hours with a refresh stop at Nyah and they carry less pax than the Swan Hill connectors. This tells me pax prefer to travel by train as far as possible.

From Mildura I sometimes change at Castlemaine on a Sunday and catch the connecting service to Ballarat via Daylesford and though there are more pax on that service than there used to be, it usually leaves Castlemaine with at best 12 pax on board, which is more than the 2 or three pax of about 8 years ago.

Part of the problem with Bendigo/Castlemaine/Ballarat/Geelong bus services is the inconsistency of differing times and infrequent services.

Mike.
The Vinelander
I have given up with the electric and driverless buses. So the problem is infrqequency. May I aslo ask if there are places that are hard to access by coach? Thanks!
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
The problem isn't infrequency, its more the bother.

Buses are a bother to many people because:
No one is quite sure of where they go
No one is quite sure of when they go

Because of these two factors, people have to navigate their way through websites, only to find that there isn't a bus going to the desired destination at a convenient time. So 95% of the time it's just easier form someone to jump in a car and go wherever they want whenever they feel like it.

That's the thing about cars, they are very democratic. They let anyone go anywhere at anytime fairly cheaply. The only disincentives to car travel are expensive parking or regular dull commutes. That sort of thing rarely applies in the country, so its just easier for people to drive and not worth of the bother of searching through an unfamiliar website for bus route details and timetables, only to find that what is offered is inconvenient.
  Mr Gus Meister Junior Train Controller

The problem isn't infrequency, its more the bother.

Buses are a bother to many people because:
No one is quite sure of where they go
No one is quite sure of when they go

Because of these two factors, people have to navigate their way through websites, only to find that there isn't a bus going to the desired destination at a convenient time. So 95% of the time it's just easier form someone to jump in a car and go wherever they want whenever they feel like it.

That's the thing about cars, they are very democratic. They let anyone go anywhere at anytime fairly cheaply. The only disincentives to car travel are expensive parking or regular dull commutes. That sort of thing rarely applies in the country, so its just easier for people to drive and not worth of the bother of searching through an unfamiliar website for bus route details and timetables, only to find that what is offered is inconvenient.
Bogong
So... How can we fix this? To fix the destination woes, we could have very straightfoward bus routes and we should utilise the internet and have online route maps. We could easily fix the 'when they go' problem by having timetables and online next coach tools. Maybe by having 1 hourly coaches on busy lines and 2 hourly coaches on less busy lines could help with the convienience. It would be hard going to an exact location, unless... (THIS IS EXTRAVAGENT) they have an on-demand network, similar to a taxi. But this defeats the whole purpose of having coaches.
Thanks, Mr Gus Meister
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Well Gus, I don't think the base problem of cars being far easier can ever be overcome, but buses can be made convenient. A few ideas:
* Having buses leave major towns at memorable times, say every two hours on the hour. If people know that a bus departs at 2.00, 4.00 and 6.00 they don't have to faf about looking up a timetable as this is easily remembered. At the moment a service with six afternoon buses is more likely to depart at 1.47, 3.54 and 6.13 and no one can remember those times. Of course that concept is subject to things like connecting with trains and other considerations, but easily remembered departure times should be aspired to.

* A widely distributed comprehensive country transport map. I earlier cited two bus services I use that you won't find on any map of public transport, rather you just have to have heard about them, which is hardly trying to attract customers.

* The Public Transport Tripfinder app (or whatever it's called) should be tweaked too. While it does include the Alexandra bus and most other non V-line services, anyone who tells it they want to go from Melbourne to a country town will be immediately confused because the app won't let them go further unless they specify which of 50 public transport stops in the city they wish to depart from. It would be very simple to make the Spencer St bus terminal the default departure point for city to country travel (and allow people to change it if they wished to), but the bureaucrats that programmed it don't think that way. There are lots of other things about that app that make using it far more of a bother than it needs to be.
  Mr Gus Meister Junior Train Controller

Well Gus, I don't think the base problem of cars being far easier can ever be overcome, but buses can be made convenient. A few ideas:
* Having buses leave major towns at memorable times, say every two hours on the hour. If people know that a bus departs at 2.00, 4.00 and 6.00 they don't have to faf about looking up a timetable as this is easily remembered. At the moment a service with six afternoon buses is more likely to depart at 1.47, 3.54 and 6.13 and no one can remember those times. Of course that concept is subject to things like connecting with trains and other considerations, but easily remembered departure times should be aspired to.

* A widely distributed comprehensive country transport map. I earlier cited two bus services I use that you won't find on any map of public transport, rather you just have to have heard about them, which is hardly trying to attract customers.

* The Public Transport Tripfinder app (or whatever it's called) should be tweaked too. While it does include the Alexandra bus and most other non V-line services, anyone who tells it they want to go from Melbourne to a country town will be immediately confused because the app won't let them go further unless they specify which of 50 public transport stops in the city they wish to depart from. It would be very simple to make the Spencer St bus terminal the default departure point for city to country travel (and allow people to change it if they wished to), but the bureaucrats that programmed it don't think that way. There are lots of other things about that app that make using it far more of a bother than it needs to be.
Bogong
Memorable times are a definite! Yes, there needs to be some form of a Victorian wide coach network, with any PTV scheduled coach* routes. This could be put up in many regional centres such as Ballarat or Maryborough. For other smaller towns, they could have a stop map, showing where all the buses here go and buses that stop at other stops along the line. And for the app, instead of having a tripfinder/journey planner, they could simply just use a route map on the app, which would easily show the terminus.
*Coach as in a purple bus (NOT orange!)
Thanks, Mr Gus Meister

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