Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wed 3 May - Clicking again...

On the 07:14 which is on time...

The clickers are clicking hard at South Yarra again. While their task is not too onerous on platform 1, looking across at one of the far platforms they'd have a hard job counting them accurately - the train is packed solid.

Yesterday's comment from Daniel Bowen (the PTUA guy?) and the closed barriers got me thinking about this whole issue again. Why do Connex and and Yarra Trams insist that ticket validations can be used to provide any meaningful information whatsoever? It does not help one iota. Sometimes the barriers are open at Degraves Street, other times there are a dozen heavies with their gleaming badges proudly displayed for all to see.

The point is if I validate at Ripponlea and again at Flinders Street 20 minutes later it's safe to conclude that I made that one journey. But if I walk through an open gate or barrier, they have no idea whether I'm doing that gunzel thing of travelling every line in the network in a day (I'll leave Chris/The Met to explain that one), or my normal single journey. Even more basic than that though - if the whole system runs on 30-yo PDP-11s, there wouldn't be enough grunt or programming skills to analyse the data anyway!

Home on the 18:01 and it's a couple of minutes late.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When did anyone ever say that validation numbers were used to timetable trains?

As far as I'm aware, Metlink do a physical count every May (Which month is it again?).

The government then take these numbers and then advise Connex of the timetable they MUST schedule.

03 May, 2006 09:41  
Blogger Daniel Bowen said...

(Yes Phil, it's the PTUA guy.)

Anon: Many of Connex's trains have auto announcements reminding you to validate your ticket so they can improve the service.

The presence of clipboards is how they actually get passenger numbers. Whether it means more trains is of course entirely dependent on the government and Connex acting on the numbers. Which almost never happens.

As far as (re)validation goes:

- it's not used to gauge train loads; that's the job of the clipboard holders and other manual surveys

- one comment yesterday said it's to make sure you've paid. As if a validator at an unstaffed station entrance can somehow stop you boarding a train without a ticket...

- and by the way, it's not used to work out how much fare money should go where. Under the contracts, this is a straight split: 40% to Connex, 40% to Yarra Trams, and 20% to the government (to offset the cost of running buses)

Revalidation does do one useful thing -- it confirms to the passenger that their ticket is still valid. Handy if you've forgotten that your weekly/monthly/yearly/whatever ticket has run out...

03 May, 2006 10:29  
Blogger Connex Whinger said...

Sorry Daniel that was a bit rude of me, I could've checked with you offline - I write most of the blog entry on my PDA on the train so couldn't really check at the time.

Anyway, I think we're both referring to the same spin that we hear/read time and again - that both Connex and YT claim this info helps them schedule services. If Anon #1 has never been exposed to this, then he/she must never listen to or look at any of the rubbish they continually harrangue us with.

As for Anon's final paragraph, that obviously is some kind of Government/Connex/YT spin! We've seen the trains become more and more crowded over the years and I don't believe there's been any significant change to the Sandy line timetable since I began using it over five years ago. Even Connex and Weasel Batchelor acknowledge there has been a substantial increase in passenger numbers but no corresponding increase in services. On the contrary they insist the system is already at capacity, so in a sense the clickers are wasting their time. And of course we recently heard that trains that are carrying double their normal capacity (ie the prior train was cancelled) are still considered safe. So what exactly are the thresholds at which additional services are required?

03 May, 2006 13:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel, how can you, as the spokesman for the PTUA, knowingly make false statements?

I thought you were supposed to look out for the well being of passengers not be so anti-public transport.

Connex's announcement says "Please remember to validate your ticket before you travel" full stop. never have I heard it go on to say 'if you do we'll improve the service'.

I would think this announcement is to remind people to validate the ticket and avoid a fine.

03 May, 2006 13:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the spin whinger?

The Department of Infrastructure website states that the government is responsible for timetables.

03 May, 2006 14:21  
Blogger Daniel Bowen said...

Please climb aboard a "Connex North" (that is, Burnley or Clifton Hill loop lines) train at Flinders Street and listen to the announcements. They clearly say something along the lines of "Help us improve your service by validating your ticket."

In any case, you are confusing "advocating for better PT" with "being anti-PT". I make no apologies for criticising the system's shortcomings.

Surprisingly, there is a recorded instance of the current government improving a peak hour train service due to overcrowding. The Upfield line for years got 3-car trains all the time. Now they get 6-car trains in peak hour... at least theoretically. Sometimes they are still 3-car trains.

03 May, 2006 16:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, I always see the phrase 'For A Better Service, Validate Your Ticket' acrolling across the message boards in train carriages.

Incidentally, the 3.10pm from Southern Cross to Eltham pulled in at 3.14pm and arrived at G'borough 5 minutes late.

03 May, 2006 16:43  
Blogger The Met said...

---
"It's not just passenger data collection. It's also about how "Connex/YT": knows you've paid for your journey.

What were conductors for back ages and ages ago. TO see if you paid your journey, Validators replace the basic idea..."

---

The other idea is that when a ticket is validated, within the validator the 'ticket' is 'logged.'

Using an example we can say at "11:00 - 12:00am" there were 200 validations.

At "5:00-6:00pm" there were 500 validations.

With this data, we (Connex/YT) can gather averages, standards, and see whether another service may be appropriate.

Now, regarding railways,, we can also see as an example: that during the morning the validators logged "600" compared to "100" @ 1300 - 1400. Obvious right, a little less/more? complex from the city. We can see that theres going to be a peak amount of passengers leaving the city...

OH, as another example as Mr Whinger would like to think. I do take train on rare occasion around. But not everytime i enter the platform/vehicle i have to validate. (Don't forget there are usually two platforms at a station)

Meaning that;
A. My ticket was validated meaning that i 'paid' for that journey
B. Connex/YT can see that a ticket was logged at a specific time, and see weather theres other passengers using the service time area, and alter timetabling to improve services. (Not as many suggest actually does happen)

---
OH, and ill remind aimlessly that you are LEGALLY required to validate your Metcard upon entry into station area or vehicle.

Chris/The Met
http://whingingconnex.blogspot.com

03 May, 2006 19:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm doing that gunzel thing

03 May, 2006 22:27  
Blogger Connex Whinger said...

Chris, you say Using an example we can say at "11:00 - 12:00am" there were 200 validations.

At "5:00-6:00pm" there were 500 validations.

With this data, we (Connex/YT) can gather averages, standards, and see whether another service may be appropriate.


Service to where?

The number going through the barriers at Flinders Street have increased by 12%. Is that a uniform distribution across all lines? How far are people going? How many services were just under some threshold that are now just over?

If you believe that they could infer anything meaningful whatsoever from raw numbers through the barriers then you are even more naive than first suspected. And if you actually believe they would use that information to schedule additional services then there's really no hope for you.

04 May, 2006 08:54  
Anonymous Sam said...

With this data, we (Connex/YT) can gather averages, standards, and see whether another service may be appropriate

Chris, you are still in high school - what's with the "we"?

And the point still stands - the validation doesn't show reliably where the ticket holder is going. The morning peak would be more accurate as people will validate at their suburban station, giving a very clear indication of what line they are on, but what happens in the arvo when thousands of people validate at Flinders, or Parliament, or any of the other central stations? How can these figures be turned into anything other than an indication of how many people are in the individual stations at that time?
If they wanted reliable and accurate journey data then the validators should have been at the platform entrances for all multi line stations, not the station entrances.
Of course that would have meant more validators, more staff to watch them, and in the end more money so that idea wouldn't have got far.

Sam

04 May, 2006 11:41  
Blogger The Met said...

YES IT DOES!

But there are flaws. I hate the system too, it allows easy fare evasion...

I don't believe that 100% that validating will help us place better services within the CONNEX system. It only helps us a bit.

Although we see improvement within the Tram network, with less fining from the government, clearly validating is helping but only within bus/tram network. But even then who take to regards into validating. I do but i can easily say not everybody else does.

---
As you stated in FLinders Street we can gather practically very little in regards to where a passenger is going, unless we have people validating 'out' of a station. Agreed(ish)

---
BUT on a vehicle such as a tram/bus we can gather accurate results. A more complex explanation is needed.

Tram/bus drivers use a 'key' this is a special key. When a driver begins his/her shift the key is inserted to a special box at the depot. That key is 'logged' on.

When the driver begins his shift on the actual vehicle, he has to 'log onto' the vehicle. As each validation takes place, a record of it is on that key, ill explain more later.

If the driver on a tram/bus, changes direction, the key told that 'section "b"' is now in operation (changed direction), and validation are now recorded under 'section "b". etc'

Now it's the end of the drivers shift, and the key is logged 'off' on the vehicle. And logged back on at the depot in the 'special box'. The number of validations is collated, giving results on number of passenger in each shift/section/route/time.

Now, validatin within railways is a little less complex. As you said we can only really achieve value for inbound city trains. Because validation occure upon entry into the platform. (Ie Elsternwick, either direction destination is possible weather South/North because of same entrance validators)

--
Connex can only gather information on the number of passengers that validate 'on' @ a station, and validate 'off' somewhere in the city, but to this last statement I am unsure of.

---
They only really now how many people use a service from a certain station. That service is 'that' line. That's all you can really say.

---
Ill say we, not that i do work for them, but im the only supposed person representing Connex/YT plus we is easier to type than COnnex/YT/Bus

---
Oh i also hope that "Smartcards" will have physical barrier at each station. Other wise it's another white elephant and fare evasion will only continue.

CHris

04 May, 2006 19:17  
Anonymous Met is a f*ckstick said...

If they validate at South Yarra are they going north or south? Or at Caulfield? Or at Elsternwick? Or at Clifton Hill? Or at Richmond? Your a bloody twat mate.

04 May, 2006 22:26  
Blogger The Met said...

"They only really now how many people use a service from a certain station. That service is 'that' line. That's all you can really say.

...

Now, validatin within railways is a little less complex. As you said we can only really achieve value for inbound city trains. Because validation occure upon entry into the platform. (Ie Elsternwick, either direction destination is possible weather South/North because of same entrance validators) "


Clap, clap for the handicap. How long that take you to figure out. I just said, THERE IS A FLAW. Perhap you should read before you say.

If you were any slower you'd be going backwards.

Chris

---
Oh and NB Mr whinger, see what i have to put up with. At least this post im attempting to 'behave' (sigh), but with rediculuous comment like the above i don't think i can.

05 May, 2006 09:33  

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