The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

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’