The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

New buses are terrorist-proof!

Thursday 27 July 2006 at 9:50 pm

Rejoice, for the threat posed by terrorists is no more! Transperth have pulled down the “if you see something, say something” posters over the stairs at the Busport, replacing them with posters for their community consultation sessions — one of which I attended some time ago. (I would have photos, but my batteries weren’t charged …)

Clearly, we can stop being fearful now. And if I do see a Arab-looking person carrying a sack of ammonium nitrate, well, I dunno, I think I might forget what to do.

On the note of buses: my ride home today was on a shiny new natural gas bus, complete with the lovely smell of fresh synthetic seat covering. It seems Swan Transit have finally gotten in on the CNG-bus action (previously only Path and Southern Coast had them), and the new toys sport several design changes.

Back when the CNG buses first appeared I commented on the interior design, which seemed ugly at the time but has since grown on me. These newer natural gas buses feature sexy black plastic handles on the seats (not only is black the new black, it’s the new yellow!) and the surveillance camera mountings are much, much more subtle. Other changes include better lighting (with reading lights for the kids at the front) and … dig it … openable windows! But there are only four of them, and they’re small, so I doubt they’re of any real use.

The new gas buses also seem to have addressed (albeit perhaps not solved) the annoying violent gear-shift problems of the older ones. Yay for not feeling like I’m being beaten up by the playground bully every time I’m on a bus …


Perth’s buses and their lack of funding

Saturday 10 June 2006 at 10:58 pm

This afternoon I went along to one of the community consultation sessions that the Public Transport Authority set up for people to comment about planned bus changes in the southern suburbs once the new railway is finished.

The dude I talked to was awesome — he knew off by heart the number, route, and frequency of every bus in the area both now and after the planned changes happen. From my point of view, things will be substantially improved, with the 136 and 791 that I currently catch being replaced by the 530 that will have a similar route but double the frequency.

In fact, there’ll be a lot of frequency improvements across the southern suburbs — listening to this guy and seeing the documents he had suggests to me that the PTA actually takes seriously the idea that to provide a decent service there must only be a short wait between buses. However — and this had me shocked — he told me they’re limited in what they can do because apart from the big capital works spending on the new line and new buses, the PTA hasn’t had a budget increase in four years. So, he explained, whenever they improve service in one area they have to cut back in another.

Other interesting discoveries:

  • trains will run Mandurah – Clarkson as well as Cockburn – Whitfords, each with a 15 minute frequency (i.e. trains every 7.5 minutes from Cockburn during the day)
  • the new stations will have special displays for bus drivers so they’ll know to wait if the train they’re supposed to collect passengers from is late
  • the CircleRoute timetable will not change because they don’t even bother trying to coordinate its timetable with trains at all the different stations it visits — they just assume the wait will be reasonable
  • on several busy routes at peak hour, the PTA often sticks in extra buses in between the normal timetabled services to help deal with load
  • bus routes considered ‘local’ typically only run every hour, while routes considered ‘regional’ (like my new 530) are given higher frequencies
  • Mandurah trains will sometimes run express through some stations, including Canning Bridge, but will always stop at Bull Creek, Murdoch, and Cockburn because they’re considered ‘important’

An eerie anniversary

Saturday 13 May 2006 at 3:04 pm

Today is May 13, which means it’s exactly one year since the ‘black Friday’ city-wide gridlock caused by the water-main-onto-freeway incident.

Yesterday, there was gridlock along Mounts Bay Road (near the hospital) just before 6pm, so it took half an hour to get from UWA to the Busport. On Wednesday, also around 6pm, there was congestion on Mounts Bay Road near the Swan brewery, again slowing my UWA — Perth journey to more than half an hour.

Coincidence … or conspiracy?!

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