Buses for country passenger services

 
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Now just some thoughts on this topic. I thinks to some extent this site shoud be called "Roadpage" given the shear number of people recommending busses instead of trains.

My own experience and I KNOW I am not the only one here is that the current buses use are NOT liked at all. When the Albury service was suspended for gauge conversion, the replacement buses were little used most prefering to drive to Seymour rather than take the bus and a lot were driving long distances, When the Shepparton train is carrying a lot of passsengers it is usual for VLine to support it with extra buses, again from experience most passangers will move heaven and earth to get on the train rather than the bus.

They are also MUCH slower than trains, inspite of plenty of people who have claimed they are faster, they are much slower to load and unload and are limited in speed where as most train services now run at 130kph.

Now I am talking here about the standard tour buses VLine normall use, I believe (and this is the primary reason for this thread) that specialised buses, low floor, wide door possibly articlulated with some kind of easy access luggage racks would be by far a WWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY more exepted altenative. Another significant improvement is small dedicated bus stations with a platform level with the bus floor, I am not talking about anything that would cost a large fortune just something that would make the bus service easier to use.

Note: None of the items in the above paragraph are new, they have all been used over seas in various countries to improve patronage of bus services.

woodford

Sponsored advertisement

  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

V/Line branded coach zervices generally operate with 5 star coaches offering a very high degree of passenger comfort.

Sure on some long routes like Melbourne to Mildura,  Bendigo to Adelaide and Swan Hill to Mildura train like seat room could be easily provided by allowing more generous seat spacing, and. two and one across seating . Its just that no one at VLP can think outside the square.  

It is in the area of replacement for train coaches that VLP is very lazy in that the buses are basically nothing more than school buses. Further VLP in many cases goes to total bustitution for the whole trip, when in most cases partial trip bustitution would be more  appropriate. VLP has got very lazy in that it does not use the rail network properly , doesnt use two way running properly, doesnt use alternative routes properly, doesnt use alternative Metro routes properly . In doing so VLP just wastes money and inconveniences its travellers.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
V/Line branded coach zervices generally operate with 5 star coaches offering a very high degree of passenger comfort.

Sure on some long routes like Melbourne to Mildura,  Bendigo to Adelaide and Swan Hill to Mildura train like seat room could be easily provided by allowing more generous seat spacing, and. two and one across seating . Its just that no one at VLP can think outside the square.  

It is in the area of replacement for train coaches that VLP is very lazy in that the buses are basically nothing more than school buses. Further VLP in many cases goes to total bustitution for the whole trip, when in most cases partial trip bustitution would be more  appropriate. VLP has got very lazy in that it does not use the rail network properly , doesnt use two way running properly, doesnt use alternative routes properly, doesnt use alternative Metro routes properly . In doing so VLP just wastes money and inconveniences its travellers.
kuldalai
In this instance though what is the alternative?
  712M Chief Commissioner

V/Line have a very common habit of replacing entire regional lines with buses even though works/disruptions may only be occuring in one particular spot.

An example being the weekend before last when the entire line from Southern Cross to Bairnsdale was replaced by buses due to Skyrail works between Caulfield and Oakleigh. They could have easily run trains all the way to Dandenong with passengers transferring to coaches for the last 40 minutes into SCS. Massive savings on hiring road coaches.

Another example being when an N class failed on the RRL outside Tarneit earlier this year and the entire Geelong line was suspended during the morning peak when an alternative route was available through Werribee.

Metro works on the Craigieburn line always sees Seymour trains replaced with buses despite an alternative route being available via Albion and the RRL.

As well as this terminating facilities are provided at many locations including Little River, Lara, Gisborne, Castlemaine, Donnybrook, Kilmore East, Bunyip, Warragul, Sale and all the suburban terminii. However these are almost never utilised.
  tazzer96 Chief Commissioner

1.  Its often cheaper just to run busses the whole way.  running trains is expensive, not much savings is made from running a train a shorter distance.
2.  While not a V/line issue, they often turn off the overhead traction supply.  
3. Locomotive hauled services also have an issue of needing to run around the carriages.
4. the suburban terminii are designed for terminating trains from melbourne, not from the country.
5.  Bussing it the whole way is just lazy, but far easier logistically.  Don't need train drivers, less train controllers and workload.
6. they might be performing minor works or more detailed track inspections on other bits so its far safer not to have anything but works trains on the tracks.
  tazzer96 Chief Commissioner

Also, they use these opportunities to give breaks and leave to train drivers.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
When I was living in Chile, i took an overnight bus to the south.  it was a 14 hour drive normally, so the overnight bus for me was great.

This bus had 2x1 seating, with the seats set to lay flat to allow sleeping.  They also had a TV with some basic IDE (in drive entertainment), which included I think around 5 movies that had been released recently and a few TV shows. We also had 2 meal services, which were both quite basic snacks, though not as good as what you get on QFLink or Rex.  I paid around A$250 for the return ticket.

What I'm saying is that busses can be done with better quality.  Its just not something that we are used to seeing here.

And as to why there is no train service there - the line has been earthquake damaged and not repaired.  A train would work well but there are no economies of scale to be had.
  tazzer96 Chief Commissioner

We have way too many road safety laws to ever allow lay flat seating in buses.  Coach companies here could offer services with 2x1 comfortable seating.  But it is so ingrained in our culture that you drive or fly everywhere. Most people aren't even aware that all the capital cities are connected by passenger rail. (hobart doesn't count).  

Most wouldn't even look at a rail or coach timetable when thinking of travelling.  Even though it may be faster, cheaper and more convenient than flying.

2x1 bus seating also means you can't re purpose that coach for doing school trips.  One of the biggest revenue generators for bus companies.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
V/Line have a very common habit of replacing entire regional lines with buses even though works/disruptions may only be occuring in one particular spot.

1. An example being the weekend before last when the entire line from Southern Cross to Bairnsdale was replaced by buses due to Skyrail works between Caulfield and Oakleigh. They could have easily run trains all the way to Dandenong with passengers transferring to coaches for the last 40 minutes into SCS. Massive savings on hiring road coaches.

2. Another example being when an N class failed on the RRL outside Tarneit earlier this year and the entire Geelong line was suspended during the morning peak when an alternative route was available through Werribee.

3. Metro works on the Craigieburn line always sees Seymour trains replaced with buses despite an alternative route being available via Albion and the RRL.
712M

1. METRO won't allow V/Line trains to use 'their' stabling yards.

2. With the passing of time and the recruitment of new V/Line drivers, not all drivers are qualified to drive the former track from Werribee to Footscray.

3.  The alternative route is S.G.

Mike.
  tazzer96 Chief Commissioner

V/Line have a very common habit of replacing entire regional lines with buses even though works/disruptions may only be occuring in one particular spot.

1. An example being the weekend before last when the entire line from Southern Cross to Bairnsdale was replaced by buses due to Skyrail works between Caulfield and Oakleigh. They could have easily run trains all the way to Dandenong with passengers transferring to coaches for the last 40 minutes into SCS. Massive savings on hiring road coaches.

2. Another example being when an N class failed on the RRL outside Tarneit earlier this year and the entire Geelong line was suspended during the morning peak when an alternative route was available through Werribee.

3. Metro works on the Craigieburn line always sees Seymour trains replaced with buses despite an alternative route being available via Albion and the RRL.

1. METRO won't allow V/Line trains to use 'their' stabling yards.

2. With the passing of time and the recruitment of new V/Line drivers, not all drivers are qualified to drive the former track from Werribee to Footscray.

3.  The alternative route is S.G.

Mike.
The Vinelander
The first point is fair.   Metro have bought the rights for the use of the stabling yards.
The second point is so ridiculously stupid.  Just because the train won't normally run down this route, doesn't mean it won't ever run through here.  

During peak I can see why services aren't put through werribee due to congestion, but during the weekend and off peak when there is plenty of track capacity through here, I don't see an issue with running V/line trains in times of sudden disruption.  (not track work, but thing like failed units and suicides).
  duttonbay Minister for Railways


3.  The alternative route is S.G.
Mike.


Did they remove the BG between Albion and Broadmeadows during the construction of SG passing lanes?
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

Speaking of buses, driving through Warwick Qld yesterday, I saw a new Vline coach heading south, obviously a brand new vehicle being delivered for their coac fleet. Or is it the current one that was being repaired?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone

3.  The alternative route is S.G.
Mike.Did they remove the BG between Albion and Broadmeadows during the construction of SG passing lanes?
duttonbay
ARTC's Passing Lane 1 on the Albion-Jacana Freight Line is dual-gauge. The BG track remains open and is regularly used by BG freight traffic.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
People (myself included) just don't like coaches. They're less comfortable, get stuck in traffic, and are just all around unpleasant.

Replacement coaches are probably the worst. One of the major issues I had with replacement coaches is getting an accurate timetable for them. During the VLine wheel crisis, I needed to get to Watergardens. The Station staff couldn't tell me what time the bus would get to Sunbury to allow me to catch a connecting service, even with the running sheet she'd been supplied with. The best advice was 'allow 60 minutes extra for travel', which is really not good enough. It looks like this is something they've really worked on for the upcoming Bendigo shut down (though looking at the tt, the lack of stopping at Sunbury is a bit worrying).

A second issue is running all coaches via Footscray, when that adds almost 20 minutes to the journey time. Perhaps the Stopping All Stations Coach could originate there, but not every coach needs to run via there for the 1 or 2 people who don't travel to Southern Cross to make the connection.

With regards to regular coaches, sure it would be great if every long distance service that was once a train could be a train again, but there needs to be a justification of existing patronage for the cost of running a service (plus capital costs of buying new rolling stock as Victoria has very little of that as it is).

I think the best thing would be to pick 3 or 4 "premium" routes, like say Geelong-Ballarat, upgrade them to an at least hourly service, maybe with Smart Bus style on board information and advertise them.

I think where most services fall down is lack of advertising, particularly online. I have never seen a PTV ad online despite being a uni student, being a frequent commuter, using the PTV website often, essentially checking all the boxes that PTV should be aiming their advertising towards.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

My purpose in creating this thread is to purely discuss buses used ONLY for public transport in lieu pf trains. James.au mentioned his experience in Chile, this is exactly what I was interested in, that country along with others going out of there way to improve bus public transport to try and bring it up to a standard approaching rail.

I find the standard long distance tour buses used to be almost useless, they are difficult and slow to enter (Note 1) seating way to cramped and no easy access for SMALL luggage items. Note most people travelling on trains these days are going for appointements or short visits and do not carry large quanties of luggage.

Note 1: You can get 45 people into a BN carriage in 30 seconds, it would take 5 minutes to load the same number into a standard long distance coach. And I HAVE timed this mainly during the period when BG train services were suspended north of Wangarratta due to poor BG track condition.

Note 2: These tour buses are expensive, the owner of Wang Bus lines who was driving one of his new coaches said it cost 2.5 million dollars.

As Kuldalai mentions VLine managment appear to be incapable of running a passenger transport organisation properly.

woodford
  woodford Chief Commissioner

A point I would like to make clear is buses are NOT liked by most passengers, something that some do not appear to understand, my belief is a vehicle built partcularly for the purpose would NOT be much more expensive than the current mainline tour buses used but would be MUCH better execpted and better patronised.

woodford
  ilovecats Station Staff



Note 2: These tour buses are expensive, the owner of Wang Bus lines who was driving one of his new coaches said it cost 2.5 million dollars.

woodford
I think he's having you on. Coaches cost no where near that. That figure is up to $2 million grossly over figured. Go and ask 10 or 20 operators, or industry associations and you'll find none have ever had pay 2.5 million dollars for a new coach.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

3.  The alternative route is S.G.
Mike.Did they remove the BG between Albion and Broadmeadows during the construction of SG passing lanes?ARTC's Passing Lane 1 on the Albion-Jacana Freight Line is dual-gauge. The BG track remains open and is regularly used by BG freight traffic.
LancedDendrite

Thanks for that info...however BG would obviously be limited to 80KPH.

Mike.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Further VLP in many cases goes to total bustitution for the whole trip, when in most cases partial trip bustitution would be more  appropriate. VLP has got very lazy in that it does not use the rail network properly , doesnt use two way running properly, doesnt use alternative routes properly, doesnt use alternative Metro routes properly . In doing so VLP just wastes money and inconveniences its travellers.
kuldalai
And when they do partial Bustifications it is a farce - Coach from SC to Sunbury to meet a Vline train. Coaches leave SC at timetabled time and arrive at Sunbury within 5 mins of timetable. Pax board train. Train then waits at Sunbury for 45 minutes before leaving.

Happened to me a few times including from Gizzy during the wheel wear fiasco

BG
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner



Note 2: These tour buses are expensive, the owner of Wang Bus lines who was driving one of his new coaches said it cost 2.5 million dollars.
woodford
Don't believe anything Wangaratta Buslines tells you.

A good long distance tour coach is about $600,000 new.

As for V/Line not being able to organise things, I would say the Cars Office there is very capable.  they know how many coaches to deploy and where.  Unfortunately, the provision of coaches for shutdowns has been handed over to a private consortium, outside V/Line's control.
  Camster Chief Commissioner

Location: Geelong
I like trains but when the Geelong line is suspended (scheduled suspensions) the buses work well. Especially as you can get on one that goes express all the way to my stop South Geelong.
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

I like trains but when the Geelong line is suspended (scheduled suspensions) the buses work well. Especially as you can get on one that goes express all the way to my stop South Geelong.
Camster
But I hate it when I have to drive to that Bloody Wyndhamvale station, it is a pig of a place to get to as well as tarneit

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: doyle, james.au

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.