Feedback - Metro Timetable Changes (6th June 2010)

 
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Do we have any feedback on the new train timetable which has been released today?

Regards
Brian

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  Damn Locomotive Fireman

I just read this:

Train commuters face chaos as Metro changes its timetables

UPDATE 7.10am: TRAIN commuters are in for a shock this morning thanks to service cuts under a new timetable.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/train-commuters-face-chaos/story-e6frf7kx-1225876192795/b
  xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong
Not yet!
Just after 9am, and the Metro web site is yet to be updated with the new timetables. Not good news for those who like to refer to the changes before heading out this morning  Sad

Be interesting to hear from those who experience the new timetable first hand though.
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
That's some baaaaaaad journalism right there.
  armadale-gal Junior Train Controller

New timetables have been available on Metlink for more than a month... shouldn't that be the first place you look?

And yes, that story was terrible.

9.23 from Armadale arrived 4 minutes late, arrived at Flagstaff 6 minutes late.  Would have been quicker if we weren't stalled just after Richmond for a minute or two.  All in all got to Flagstaff the earliest it's ever been in hte three months I've been travelling this train so I'm certainly not complaining.

The article states that Armadale gets fewer trains... actually for the period I travel there is an extra train & its good because I now have a better backstop if I miss the 9.23.
  heisdeadjim Chief Commissioner

Had all sorts of issues, ironically nothing to do with a timetable. A couple defective trains......

Amongst other things.
  lakeyboy Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Not yet!
Just after 9am, and the Metro web site is yet to be updated with the new timetables.
"xxxxlbear"


The timetables have been on the Metro site for weeks, just on a different section of the site. http://junetimetable.metrotrains.com.au/ntime.php
Unfortunately my line gets bugger all changes (Belgrave/Lilydale) so nothing to report here.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
There is not a lot to report on the Hurstbridge line either. Some additional evening services and changes to departure times on existing services. Unless I am reading the timetable incorrectly, there are No additional peak hour services in this timetable change.

Regards
Brian
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Feedback to the Hun article is mixed.  On the whole those who have posted there are not impressed by the service though not necessarily by the new timetables alone.  Those posts are also filtered by the Hun.

The article was clearly aimed at selling copy on an otherwise fairly slow news day and taking advantage of an excuse to bash the railways.

By their own admission the Hun claims "disruption" was caused by just a few cancellations, one on each of three lines, which is par for the course and not anything exceptional.

The biggest uproar is coming from Frankston Line users whose timetable has changed significantly.  

Those using stopping trains are finding their journey times extended as the previous "limited express" pattern (skipping three of thirty stops) is abolished and most trains stop all stations.  This gives Hawksburn, Toorak and Armadale - three of the quieter stations on the network - a train every 10 minutes on weekends which is double the previous service.  Busy stations such as Cheltenham still have to cope with one every 20 minutes.

Peak expresses no longer serve the City Loop which is causing a lot of bad feeling.  Metro suggest changing at Flinders Street and taking a Clifton Hill train from Platform 1.  This adds up to 15 - 20 minutes to a journey and makes the all-stations trains actually a faster option.

To change at Richmond or South Yarra will cause severe overcrowding on those services which do run via the City Loop.  It is also likely to cause those trains to endure extended dwell times leading to late running.  It still adds around 10 minutes to the journey as well.

There have also been negative comments from Cranbourne Line users who have a reduction in peak service and a potential gap - if one key train were cancelled - of well over 30 minutes in the middle of the peak.  Bus connections including with Trainlink services have been lost.

We have only had one morning peak hour so far.  It is too early to gauge the overall effect.  

My own opinion is that Metro (and probably Connex who would have had the same staff preparing these same timetables many months ago) has got it badly wrong in some aspects.  The City Loop is full.  We know that.  But to remove from the loop some of the busiest of all trains on the network (the Frankston expresses) is not perhaps the best judgement call.
  69Tram Junior Train Controller

Location: Near some private school or other
Those using stopping trains are finding their journey times extended as the previous "limited express" pattern (skipping three of thirty stops) is abolished and most trains stop all stations.
"Gwiwer"


A lot of this is psychological, not necessarily based around reality, but as a Frankston line passenger who does feel the frustration this is causing, perhaps it might be interesting if I outline why this does annoy.

I know that stopping at Auburn, Toorak, and Hawksburn, rather than expressing for three stations doesn't make that much difference in arrival times in the city. Intellectually, I get that. But it does make some difference in how many people are on the train, and when you are already overcrowded well before Caulfield, everytime somebody else squeezes on, without anybody getting off, you start to wonder why. And when you are an outer suburbs person (like myself at Frankston) and you know that the people at Auburn, Toorak, and Hawksburn are all within the 'tram zone', giving them more options for travel than we outer suburbanites can dream of - people really do start wondering why the travel option of thousands of people from outer suburbs who have only one public transport into the city, have been changed to benefit a small number of inner suburbs people who have other options.

(In fairness, I will point out that bus services to my area of Frankston have improved dramatically over the last two and a half years until we now have a service I honestly can't see as reasonably capable of improvement - but that's a recent development after years of neglect - and other areas still haven't seen improvements).

Also for those of us who've been travelling on the Frankston line for years, this new change seems to be a continuation of an erosion of express services. There's a lot of people who've been using the Frankston line longer than me (I became a regular user in 1988) but I remember when there were expresses that went Cheltenham-Caulfield-Richmond, and that did make a significant difference. Then it was eroded - Malvern to South Yarra instead of Cheltenham to Caulfield, and Moorabbin to Caulfield instead of Cheltenham to Caulfield. There are long term regular users of the Frankston line, who from their perspective (remember - a lot of people don't see the whole timetable, only the specific trains they use to and from work) have seen their service go from one with two significant express sections to a stopping all stations train, and also seen it get more and more crowded all the time. They really wonder if it's just going to keep getting worse and worse.

I'm not having a go at Metro - they've inherited a system and to me at least it looks like they are genuinely trying to do what they can to make it work better. But until we actually see it getting better for us, a lot of people aren't going to believe it's happening.
  Camster Chief Commissioner

Location: Geelong
Made sure I got mine last week. Annoyed that the trains always get moved forward in the morning, but by much.
At my station, Cranbourne, they were handing the new timetable out. This was good to see.
  armadale-gal Junior Train Controller

At Armadale station the attendants have been handing out timetables in the morning peak for a week or so now.

One day late last week as we were pulling in to Richmond the driver came over the intercom (groans) to announce that the train was a Flinders St via the loop (as it is always Razz) but then made a mention of the new timetable impacting people on that line and to make sure we got a copy of the new timetable.  I think I might have been in a train with this driver over the intercom before... he always sounds really positive Smile  Anyway, though this was a brilliant use of initiative on the drivers part (I'm assuming it was his choice to do that because I hadn't heard it on others).
  Speed Minister for Railways

when you are an outer suburbs person (like myself at Frankston) and you know that the people at [Armadale], Toorak, and Hawksburn are all within the 'tram zone', giving them more options for travel than we outer suburbanites can dream of - people really do start wondering why the travel option of thousands of people from outer suburbs who have only one public transport into the city, have been changed to benefit a small number of inner suburbs people who have other options.
"69Tram"
The Feral-Scum article states that the services to these stations have been reduced. What's happened is that services up from the Frankston line are collecting passengers up from Caulfield rather than services up from the Dandenong line. This is consistent with evening peak timetables and presumably reflects that trains from the Frankston line arrive at Caulfield less full than trains from the Dandenong line.

There might be inner-city people who catch a tram instead of a train because they're more likely to get a seat on a tram. Expecting inner-city people to catch the tram instead of the train would not be good policy. On the same grounds, you could argue that outer suburban people should catch a bus in a zig-zag route to the city.

I remember when there were expresses that went Cheltenham-Caulfield-Richmond, and that did make a significant difference. Then it was eroded - Malvern to South Yarra instead of [Richmond] to Caulfield, and Moorabbin to Caulfield instead of Cheltenham to Caulfield. There are long term regular users of the Frankston line, who from their perspective (remember - a lot of people don't see the whole timetable, only the specific trains they use to and from work) have seen their service go from one with two significant express sections to a stopping all stations train, and also seen it get more and more crowded all the time. They really wonder if it's just going to keep getting worse and worse.
"Tram69"
On the other hand, express running is of little use without express pathways. If trains are going to crawl through stations, it improves customer satisfaction at those stations if the trains stop and collect passengers.

Tiered services have the potential to make trains more appealing but they require more track.
  richardlu_yy Chief Train Controller

Location: Singapore
It might be fair to wait a couple of days before making any judgments, or at least wait until PM Peak is over today. And well it is the Herald Sun as usual again, usually it is just exaggeration but mixing the truth with untruth...

My own opinion is that Metro (and probably Connex who would have had the same staff preparing these same timetables many months ago) has got it badly wrong in some aspects. The City Loop is full. We know that. But to remove from the loop some of the busiest of all trains on the network (the Frankston expresses) is not perhaps the best judgement call.
"Gwiwer"

My belief is that Metro flew in timetable planners from Hong Kong to help them draft out the new timetables. Yes some of the changes are sour grapes for some but overall it is an improvement. For one, the timetable is being simplified by streamlining the stopping patterns.

They have to had some good reason to take the Frankston expresses out of the loop, either it is not actually the busiest of all services (from my experience the stoppers aren't any better with the load between Glenhuntly and Highett), or they would rather direct passengers to either take trams or walk in the city. Then I don't think you would want to take out the Dandenong trains right...
  Boss Chief Commissioner

Location: Caulfield Line
Those using stopping trains are finding their journey times extended as the previous "limited express" pattern (skipping three of thirty stops) is abolished and most trains stop all stations.
"Gwiwer"


I know that stopping at Auburn, Toorak, and Hawksburn, rather than expressing for three stations doesn't make that much difference in arrival times in the city. Intellectually, I get that. But it does make some difference in how many people are on the train, and when you are already overcrowded well before Caulfield, everytime somebody else squeezes on, without anybody getting off, you start to wonder why. And when you are an outer suburbs person (like myself at Frankston) and you know that the people at Auburn, Toorak, and Hawksburn are all within the 'tram zone', giving them more options for travel than we outer suburbanites can dream of - people really do start wondering why the travel option of thousands of people from outer suburbs who have only one public transport into the city, have been changed to benefit a small number of inner suburbs people who have other options.

"69Tram"


Auburn  = Armadale.  Whilst trams services are available trains to SCS & Flagstaff are a lot faster than the trams and about as crowded.
  armadale-gal Junior Train Controller

Those using stopping trains are finding their journey times extended as the previous "limited express" pattern (skipping three of thirty stops) is abolished and most trains stop all stations.
"Gwiwer"


I know that stopping at Auburn, Toorak, and Hawksburn, rather than expressing for three stations doesn't make that much difference in arrival times in the city. Intellectually, I get that. But it does make some difference in how many people are on the train, and when you are already overcrowded well before Caulfield, everytime somebody else squeezes on, without anybody getting off, you start to wonder why. And when you are an outer suburbs person (like myself at Frankston) and you know that the people at Auburn, Toorak, and Hawksburn are all within the 'tram zone', giving them more options for travel than we outer suburbanites can dream of - people really do start wondering why the travel option of thousands of people from outer suburbs who have only one public transport into the city, have been changed to benefit a small number of inner suburbs people who have other options.

"69Tram"


Auburn  = Armadale.  Whilst trams services are available trains to SCS & Flagstaff are a lot faster than the trams and about as crowded.
"Boss"


Very much agreed.  Ran late a couple of weeks ago and my "backup" 9.37 which usually gets  me to work 5 minutes late if on time was running a whopping 20 minutes late.  Thought I might be able to get there quicker on a tram so checked Metlink and discovered that it was going to take me 55 minutes!!!! (compared to the 15-20 minute train trip).  Ended up waiting for the late train & work didn't mind... ended up only arriving about 20 minutes late anyway.  Trams aren't really much of a substitute for that sort of distance.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
I believe that the timetables we have now were actually prepared by Connex.  On the whole the timetablers are the same people now working for Metro.   I don't know whether any people were flown in from Hong Kong or anywhere else but if they were it wasn't to start drawing these timetables up from scratch as they already were well into the development stage when Connex lost the franchise.

The City Loop is running at full capacity in the peaks, at least on the Caulfield and Northern groups.  That is why it has been necessary to remove some trains and run them direct to and from Flinders Street.

It was done with peak Werribee trains at the last change.  When that was done they also got a lot more trains.  Frankston doesn't.  

With the new changes now in place it is only one more step to remove all Werribee and Frankston line trains from the loop altogether and turn them into a Cross-City service group.

While there might be some benefits on paper in doing that it will be no comfort to anyone at Hoppers Crossing or Edithvale to hear that their trains have been cancelled because of some event 60 - 70 kms away on what the user perceives to be another line.  The reality of running a network is that this already happens and has been happening for years.  It is still possible (subject to stock and staff being available) to drop in a train at Flinders Street to cover part of a working.  Better some than none.

We are told that Flinders Street is the busiest station and I have no reason to doubt that.  What I doubt is that it is the preferred destination of a majority of peak-time users.   The Frankston express trains are among the most heavily used on the network, often with standing required from / to Seaford and usually crush-loaded from / to  Mordialloc.  Most of those passengers seem to be using loop stations based upon my several years of commuting.  

The timetable now requires something like an additional 500 passengers every 12 minutes to change onto other (already full) trains, add up to 20 minutes by travelling the long way around the loop on a Clifton Hill service, or exiting Flinders Street and finding a (potentially already filled) tram.  All the available options take longer and all negate the time saving of the expresses.

That is why many Frankston line passengers are unhappy.

If some stoppers and most expresses were to go around the loop that would probably have given a better distribution.  But Metro (and Connex) have plunged blindly into a "standard stopping conditions" mentality which, while it might give a little leeway here and there does not seem to be meeting the best interests of many of their longer-distance customers.
  69Tram Junior Train Controller

Location: Near some private school or other
The Feral-Scum article states that the services to these stations have been reduced. What's happened is that services up from the Frankston line are collecting passengers up from Caulfield rather than services up from the Dandenong line. This is consistent with evening peak timetables and presumably reflects that trains from the Frankston line arrive at Caulfield less full than trains from the Dandenong line.
"Speed"


I use the Dandenong train fairly regularly in peak as well, and it really doesn't seem to me to be appreciably more crowded at Caulfield than the Frankston line train. Honestly, it couldn't be - both have everybody crammed in like sardines. Maybe there is a slight difference and the Frankston line trains are a bit less crowded, in which case, I agree it would make more sense to have them stopping all stations from that point - but again, don't expect those from outer suburbs to be all the enthusiastic about having their service altered for reasons that only apply in the inner suburbs.

There might be inner-city people who catch a tram instead of a train because they're more likely to get a seat on a tram. Expecting inner-city people to catch the tram instead of the train would not be good policy. On the same grounds, you could argue that outer suburban people should catch a bus in a zig-zag route to the city.
"Speed"


I don't expect inner city people to catch a tram rather than a train. I'm not talking about what I think should happen here - I'm just trying to describe the thoughts that go through people's heads when they've been standing in a 40x40cm square for 30 minutes, and their train stops to let even more people on. I expect inner suburban people to use the method that gets them to work as quickly as possible, and I can see that is the train. But the point is, they do have a much more viable alternative than those of us elsewhere.

And, yes, I know we choose to live in the outer suburbs - but when I made that choice I had what I considered a decent train service. I didn't expect it to keep getting slower and slower. I did anticipate it might get busier, although I didn't anticipate the degree of change.

Besides which, the 'You chose to live there' is a perfect excuse for nothing to ever be done to improve the system.

On the other hand, express running is of little use without express pathways. If trains are going to crawl through stations, it improves customer satisfaction at those stations if the trains stop and collect passengers.
"Tram69"


I agree with that - but a lot of people don't understand how the system works at all in terms of paths, and they are so used to hearing garbage excuses that that would sound like just another one to them. I do agree with the idea that if trains are going to crawl through stations, they should stop - I've always imagined the utter frustration of Glenhuntly passengers, watching an express crawl past them.
  69Tram Junior Train Controller

Location: Near some private school or other
Very much agreed.  Ran late a couple of weeks ago and my "backup" 9.37 which usually gets  me to work 5 minutes late if on time was running a whopping 20 minutes late.  Thought I might be able to get there quicker on a tram so checked Metlink and discovered that it was going to take me 55 minutes!!!! (compared to the 15-20 minute train trip).  Ended up waiting for the late train & work didn't mind... ended up only arriving about 20 minutes late anyway.  Trams aren't really much of a substitute for that sort of distance.
"armadale-gal"


Wow. 55 minutes on a tram. How dreadful.

Now consider what it's like spending 60 minutes on a train every morning, and then being told that from now on, you're going to have to change trains, and that's going to add about 20 minutes to your trip.

Don't get me wrong - I agree that the tram isn't a reasonable substitute for a train in most circumstance, but the very fact that you even thought for a moment it might be, illustrates the difference between inner suburban and outer suburban commuting in terms of options.

And the thing is, for a lot of people in the area around Hawksburn, Toorak, and Armadale (yes, I do know it's Armadale - I just had a momentary brainstorm) would actually find the tram more viable if they happen to live close to the tram line, but a decent walk from the station.

As I say, I expect people to make the choice that works best for them. And for most people with a choice between tram or train, I assume that will be the train.
  melbtrip Chief Commissioner

Location: Annoying Orange
The problem with Melbourne train network most trains will start or finish at the start of the end of the line.


This problem has lead to in AM peak people at station in inner city stations left behind on the platform because they have try to get on a train like from Pakenham and even it gets worst in PM peak time when people at Parliament station start to complain because they can’t a seat on the Pakenham services (travelling past Dandenong) and they have to stand up to 45mintuies.


The best solution for this would to have a two tier train network and which they should do the following:
1. Westall (stopping all stations) to Flinders Street via the city loop
2. Express service from Pakenham stop all stations to Westall and then express to Caulfield and then express to South Yarra and then stops all stations direct to Flinders Street.
3. City Loop service - Flinders St - Southern Cross - Flagstaff - Melbourne Central - Parliament- Flinders St

The reason for this solution it would allow more trains to be run in peak time using existing rolling stock  because the train that goes to Westall can turn around and go back to city to start another service in peak time for example:

Flinders Street… 4pm
Westall……………..4.44pm
Westall……………..4.50pm
Flinders Street… 5.34pm
Westall……………..6.18pm

People want get the Pakenham will have travel to Flinders Street and when a Flinders Street they’re most likely to get a seat and will not have to stand for up to 45mintuies.


Summary:
The main benefits of running a two tier train network are the following:
• Run more train services with existing train sets
• People in inner services can get on in AM peak
• People past Dandenong travel from/to Flinders Street will see their travelling cut by 73-76mins to 58-60mins
• Less trains running nearly empty to Pakenham in am peak and which they can turn back at Westall and can be used for another peak train service
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

This timetable change will most certainly have been planned by Connex given the long lead times involved. Metro have simply inherited it and implemented it as a step to to bigger and more simplified things. Metro's new tt with dual level peak services where practicable has to be introduced around April/May next year as part of the franchise deal .

The general planning with two tier running is that the longer distance semi express services get the Loop paths, and the Inner SAS services go direct to/from Flinders St .

However with this timetable there is a contradiction which does not seem very consistent, in that the Longer Distance services on the Dandenong Line get Loop access, and the Inner SAS services go direct ; whilst on the Frankston leg exactly the opposite applies.

The most obvious through routing to remove conflicts and simplify things still begs to be implemented, in  Craigieburn to Sandringham and v.v. via the old flyover at the Dn end of Nth Melbourne and using 5/6 at Nth Melb, 13/14 at Sth Cross, and 11 at  Flinders St .
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia

The best solution for this would to have a two tier train network and which they should do the following:
1. Westall (stopping all stations) to Flinders Street via the city loop
2. Express service from Pakenham stop all stations to Westall and then express to Caulfield and then express to South Yarra and then stops all stations direct to Flinders Street.
3. City Loop service - Flinders St - Southern Cross - Flagstaff - Melbourne Central - Parliament- Flinders St
"melbtrip"


I agree a frequent City Loop service would be good.

Regards
Brian
  armadale-gal Junior Train Controller

One thing sites like the Herald Sun seem to ignore is that it's possible to get text messages announcing delays on your line.  Some mornings I'll get five plus!  Not all are relevant to my travel but from time to time I really appreciate getting that heads up because it gives me a tad more time at home Razz  There are a ton of delays from things that Metro has no control over, but at least they do their best to provide options for commuters to be aware of such distruptions in advance of getting to the station.  If I read "Train delayed due to sick passenger at South Yarra" it's obviously not Metro's fault.  That said, given that very issue this morning, I think they did a great job of clearing up any bottleneck because my train wasn't too badly delayed at all!
  wongm GEEWONG

Location: Geelong, Victoria
when you are an outer suburbs person (like myself at Frankston) and you know that the people at [Armadale], Toorak, and Hawksburn are all within the 'tram zone', giving them more options for travel than we outer suburbanites can dream of ...
"69Tram"

There might be inner-city people who catch a tram instead of a train because they're more likely to get a seat on a tram. Expecting inner-city people to catch the tram instead of the train would not be good policy.
"Speed"

Out in the inner north-west I have a 10 minute train ride (usually standing) or a 30 minute tram (sitting) - and this is with full time tram lanes almost the entire way into town. I avoid the tram! Twisted Evil
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

It can be done and was initially done when the Underground was opened. It used the Clifton Hill Loop and a little used connection to Flinders St under the corner of Spring and Flinders Street . Initially as introduced it was not  a captive train so one could not get from any Loop station to any Loop station, and IIRC the drivers only went around one circuit and then changed.
Also when the Underground opened the Clifton Hill Loop had spare capacity that allowed City Circle trains to be scheduled. Whether that spare capacity still exists today is another matter .  The key thing with people changing trains to access the Loop is that the transfer point be user friendly in like cross platform or same platform transfer .  Telling people to change at Flinders St to empty in bound Clifton Hill Loop trains is fine, but where the traveller has to walk up a ramp and interchange across the width of the station it is not attractive and adds to travel times.  

Unfortunately Melbourne does not provide station/platform/track layouts that allow such passenger friendly interchanges, whereas Overseas especially in Hong Kong and Singapore the interchange between trains is always on the same level, and regarded as par for the course .

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