Saturday, May 20, 2006

Summary 15-19 May

As last week the cumulative stats show that we still have 61% on time, 23% a little late and 16% very late or cancelled. The trend is still heading down slightly.

Happy 6th birthday to my girl!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Fri 19 May - $10,200,000,000...

The ten billion announced by Bracks and Batchelor has attracted some comments - unsurprisingly many people seem critical apart from our regular railfan. But you don't need to look too far to see that the Blair wannabes have the spin down pat. So let's have that closer look...

First up, what is the time period for spending this $10b? The Age article opens with it being a 25 year plan. In the same Age article Ken Ogden says it's a 20 year plan. On the ABC news they said ten year plan. Anyway, the State Government site says ten years, so we should go with that. So they're going to spend about one billion per year on average - big @#$%^&* deal - in a few years time they'll be making that just in traffic fines!

Anyway, we can then have a look at where that money is actually going (from The Age article)...

1. $1.3 billion for outer metropolitan arterial roads;

2. $800 million for new metropolitan trains;

3. $500 million for a new tram fleet;

4. $750 milllion for rail safety, including a communications upgrade;

5. $350 million for new regional trains;

6. free public transport for pensioners on Sundays

1 - Probably needs doing but won't make a jot of difference to train and tram users.

2 - OK, we may get some benefit, but are these simply replacements of older rolling stock plus one or two new services? Can't see any changes on the Sandy line in the detailed plans.

3 - Not going to help our train capacity problems apart from the barest handful who have the coice and may switch to trams.

4 - Long overdue I'd suspect, but this won't increase carrying capacity either.

5 - Ditto

6 - That's nice, but is such an obvious gimmick it makes me want to throw up.

So there we have it. In ten years time, we can expect double the number of commuters on the Sandy line as we have today, but no extra trains to handle this load. Hope you're all having regular showers cause we're going to be getting a lot of face to armpit action happening in the coming decade. Interestingly our railfan believes that I should be impressed by this!

It's quite foggy this morning so I'm expecting the worst - c'mon you have to admit that sometimes Connex does seem to suffer from the weather a fair bit. Anyway the 07:14 is more or less on time.

This blog seems to have attracted the odd spambot lately - the most recent one took a fair while to clean up. Consequently I've turned on the anti-spam checker, hope that doesn't cause too much inconvenience.

What's that all about? At the station entrance we're told that the 17:38 is leaving from platform 9 and the 17:49 from platform 8. It's 17:45 at the time, so that suggests the 17:38 is fairly late. Get onto the platforms and the 17:38 is still there and packed solid. I let it go on the assumption that the blank monitors on platform 8 are hiding the fact that it's the 17:49 for some obscure reason.

The 17:38 departs and almost immediately the monitors confirm this is the 17:49. I board and we wait. And we wait. Eventually at 18:00 we depart. No information is forthcoming for the whole 11 minutes. Now it's just as crowded as the other one but I'm home 15 minutes later. Thanks a lot Connex.

And now, to add insult to injury I've just sat through the ABC's Stateline story on the Government's plans and that insufferable weasel Batchelor had the hide to say...

"Melbourne has a pretty good public transport system.

People who use it, like it.

And the biggest complaints come from those who sit in university cafes or who drive cars."

Well Pete my old mate, there's a few of us here who'd beg to differ...!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Thu 18 May - Reasons to be cheerful...

Not sure how many remember Ian Dury's hit from a few decades ago? He lists a plethora of mundane and obscure reasons to be cheerful. This morning Ian's song is in my head and I try to insert "travelling with Connex" without success - it scans OK but it just jars too much. Even when the train's more or less on time you're still waiting for the next problem to arise! Maybe I need "A bit of grin and bear it" instead...?

Home on the 18:50 and it's bang on time.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wed 17 May - Let me out...!

The 07:14 pulls in just a minute or so late at Ripponlea so we get to Flinders Street more or less on time. Then we wait for what seems like ages (but is really only about a minute) before the doors are released. I'm tempted to force them, but I know that would somehow cause a huge ripple effect and delay trains everywhere, so I don't!

Home early - the 16:48 as I'm picking up my daughter from school. This is the life, much quieter than the trains an hour or so later. And we pull in bang on time.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tue 16 May - I can handle this...

The 07:14 arrives at Ripponlea about three minutes late this morning - consequently we pull into Flinders Street three minutes late. No, it didn't completely ruin my life, I'm sure I'll learn to deal with it after a few months of the appropriate therapy.

Home on the 18:01 and, by the most amazing coincidence, it's also three minutes late into Ripponlea.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mon 15 May - Bracksie's failure...

Looks like everybody's favourite premier is struggling to get to grips with Melbourne's traffic chaos. Best step aside and let the others have a go then mate...

Somebody kindly sent me this newspaper clipping - I haven't found out where it's from yet!

The 07:14 is a couple of minutes late.

Home on the 17:49 and it's on time.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Summary 8-12 May

From now I'll continue to report the overall performance since starting this, but I'll also include a graph showing performance trends. I've tried to strike a balance between ease of maintenance and showing something meaningful.

The graph reflects the trend by showing the percentages of on time, late or very late/cancelled trains at the end of the week. I've chosen to show the prior six weeks, as week-by-week cannot really show a trend - it's too variable, especially if I'm going to Perth more often (I tend to be lately). This is pretty arbitrary, but it feels about right to me.

So the cumulative stats show that we still have 61% on time, 23% a little late and 16% very late or cancelled. The trend shows a positive peak in November, dropping quickly into January then steadily climbing again until fairly recently. Reliability seems to have been declining a little since.

While we're on the subject of reliability, it seems Mr Bracks is about to pay somebody $5,000,000 to find the solution to Melbourne's traffic congestion. Tell you what Bracksie, give me 10% of that and I'll give you the answer... FIX OUR PUBLIC TRANSPORT!