Thursday, 29 August 2013

Transperth’s Service Change Proposal for Beaufort St corridor, Morley and Embleton

Transperth is planning to introduce two new bus routes, the 950 and 348, to replace the 21, 22 78 and 79, and is inviting public comment. There is consultation at Morley Galleria, today and on Saturday.
Route 950 is to operate between Morley Bus Stn and QEII Medical Centre, via Beaufort St, Esplanade Busport, and the University of Western Australia (UWA).
It is to be the most frequent single bus route in Perth, with headways proposed to be every 3 to 4 minutes during weekday peak hour, 7-8 minutes during weekday off-peak/midday, and every 10 minutes during the day on weekends, with evening headways to vary between 15 and 30 minutes throughout the week. Services are proposed to start operating earlier, and finish later, with frequent services also provided for a longer part of the day. Additional services will operate between Esplanade Busport and UWA during peak hour, with headways to be as small as every 1 to 2 minutes.
Routes 67 and 68 (Perth to Mirrabooka), 23 (Perth to Claremont), 102 (Perth to Cottesloe) and 107 (Perth to Fremantle) will operate alongside the 950. The 950 will be operated primarily using low-floor accessible buses, although older high-floor buses will be used for some peak hour trips.
Since the 950 includes the whole routes of the 22, 78 and 79, these routes will be withdrawn.
The 21 will also be withdrawn, but the section of the route in Embleton will be replaced by the 348. The 348 will run from Morley Bus Stn to Bayswater via Embleton, following the 48. To access the CBD, passengers from Embleton must transfer either to the 950 at Morley (taking the 48, 341, 348 or 955), or a Midland Line train at Bayswater (taking the 48 and 348). A few stops on Lindley St and Priestly St, currently only served by the 21, will not be served by buses anymore, but alternative bus stops are available close by.
The 48 and 348 will be frequency co-ordinated, with buses every 20 minutes during weekday peak hour, half an hour on weekday middays and Saturdays, and every 60-90 minutes on Sundays.
It is encouraging to see routes like the 950 being introduced in Perth. The phenomenal frequency of this route is testament to the high demand for public transport in parts of Perth, and the appetite for even more service. Services will be simplified, as there will be one bus route available that is very frequent and operates early in the morning and late into the night.
Some passengers will have to transfer or walk further to access public transport that was previously very close, or destinations that previously could be accessed on one bus. Examples include Embleton passengers wishing to access Beaufort St or the CBD, or passengers bound for UWA or QEII Medical Centre arriving at Wellington St Bus Stn (in this case the option of a direct ride between Wellington St and UWA/QEII was taken away a while ago for CBD roadworks, but it appeared as if that ride would be restored after construction finished). However, this is balanced by the one seat ride between Morley/Beaufort St and UWA/QEII now possible thanks to through routing. Removing the 21 reduces the clutter of infrequent routes in Embleton, and in any case it is now easier to access Bayswater Stn. As an aside, I wonder if peak hour Midland Line services will be increased any time soon, as there may not be enough room on already crowded trains to accommodate more Embleton passengers in peak hour.
It is encouraging that the span of services is widening, with earlier and later services proposed for the 950. With Northbridge and Mt Lawley on the route, it 24 hour service might be considerable, although this probably won’t be implemented, since the 4am trains and Nightrider buses were cancelled in June. While the 348 doesn’t appear to be proposed to operate at night, but this is in line with current 21 services, and anyway the whole route of the 348 will get night services on the 48.
In line with routes that start with a 9 and end with a 0 (the 920 and 940), perhaps the 950 should be limited stop. The current 66 route will not be changed, and it is unclear what role the 66 would play, as the 950 would run far more frequently than the 66. Perhaps the 950 could become an all-day version of the 66, providing fast, limited-stop service to Morley.
On the other hand, Beaufort St’s urban fabric is quite fine grained, and a limited stop 950 would not likely serve the Beaufort St corridor adequately. The 67 and 68 would have to run much more frequently  to serve local demand, and short-turns would be necessary since travel demand on Grand Promenade and in Bedford is much lower than demand on Beaufort St.
A peak hour only, or weekday only, limited stop 950 might work, but it could unnecessarily complicate matters, undoing the simplification done by uniting Morley to Perth via Beaufort St services under a single route number. I think that route 66 services should be bolstered to every 5 minutes during peak hour, with 950 frequencies reduced to every 5 minutes during peak hour if funding is scarce.
66s and 950s every 10 minutes on weekday middays are a possibility, although having two services all day could be a complexity (even if a small one). Therefore, extending the special route number 66’s service outside of peak hours, where many riders are commuters and make the same trip daily, and into the interpeak when more spontaneous non-work/education trips are made, may reduce the sheer simplicity that encourages spontaneous use of public transport.
There would arguably also be a lower proportion of people travelling from Morley, or the suburbs beyond, right into the CBD, and more people accessing or moving around the small-scale café, dining and entertainment precinct along Beaufort St, including suburbs such as Mt Lawley, Inglewood and Highgate. Long distances between stops would insufficiently cover the Beaufort St strip.
The 60-90 minute frequency of combined 48 and 348 services through Embleton are interesting. Firstly, the current service headway of the 48 on Sundays is 90 minutes, so logically speaking inserting a 348 to create a 60 minutes gap between a 48 and 348 would produce a 30 minute gap between the 348 and another 48. This range of frequencies from every 30 minutes to every 90 minutes is unnecessarily complicated and could bear simplifying.
I would suggest increasing the frequency of the 48 to every hour, as will that of the 43 and 55, so that Sunday frequency on Guildford Rd is an even 20 minutes. The 43 could be replaced with a 41 and 42, for a consistent 15 minute headway throughout the week, although this is not really necessary. It would be possible to run the 348 every hour on Sundays, leading to consistent 30 minute headway throughout the week, although again you wouldn’t necessarily have to run the 348 on Sundays, as an hourly frequency on the 48 is still simple and par for the course for Sunday services away from major PT corridors.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

2nd June Service Changes

Today some time and route changes occurred to Transperth bus routes.
The 32, 33, 38, 39, 70, 72, 75, 201, 202, 203, 281, 282, 283 and 284 have time changes.
The Circleroute, 510 and 511 will use Barry Marshall Parade to access Murdoch University, joining the 206, 207, 850, and 851, which already use that bus-only road. This should increase the speed and punctuality of services.
The 72 will receive extra evening services. The 10 minute frequency service from Perth will continue until 6:50pm, and there will be buses every 15 minutes leaving the Busport to Curtin University until 9:05pm.
It is good to see the speed, reliability and frequency of buses increased in Today's changes

Sunday, 5 May 2013

5 May Service Changes

Route 170 will undergo time changes and have a new timed stop at Corbel St/Tudor Av Nth.
Routes 176, 177, 179, 208, 210, and 211 will undergo time changes.
Route 205 will be renumbered to route 200, and will undergo minor time changes.
Route 206 will undergo time changes, have extra timed stops at Sugarwood Dr/Garden St and Langford Av/Nicholson Rd, and have its route to Murdoch Uni changed to use new bus lanes on Barry Marshal Parade.
Route 207 will undergo time changes, have an extra timed stop at Garden St/Nicholson Rd, and have its route to Murdoch Uni changed to use new bus lanes on Barry Marshal Parade.
An enhanced frequent service corridor along Shepparton Rd and Albany Hwy will be created. Service will be every 5 minutes between Westfield Carousel and the Busport in the peak, 7-8 minutes between Carousel and Perth and 15 minutes from Thornlie Square SC in during weekday midday, every 15 minutes until 9:15 pm and 30 minutes until 11:15 pm as far as Thornlie on week nights. Service will be every 30 minutes on Saturdays and hourly on Sundays between Perth and Thornlie.
Consequently, the 212 will see 42 extra city-bound services (2 earlier and 2 later), and 40 extra outbound services (1 earlier and 2 later). Many will terminate at Carousel and a few terminate at Thornlie Station.
I think that the stark difference between weekday and weekend services is unnecessary- there should be extra short 212s increasing frequency to every 15 minutes on Saturdays and 30 minutes on Sundays up to Carousel, in line with Northern suburbs frequent service corridors, as well as the 501 and 507.
The 205 could also have stayed the same number, with the 200 route number used for Carousel short 212s (and 209 for Thornlie short runs?), but 200 is a bit far from 212 or 210, and in any case would the 205 number would likely have been used for another route (could the 205 have been the 204? Or would that be used too?).
The 214 will be absorbed into the 517, as one route going from Murdoch to Thronlie via Southern River, improving connectivity for passengers.
Route 423 will gain a trip, leaving Stirling Stn at 2:22pm and arriving at Warwick Stn at 3:22pm.
The 425 will undergo time changes, and increase its weekday interpeak frequency to 30 minutes.
The 441 and 442 will also have time changes, weekday midday frequency increases to 30 minutes, and depart from Stand 3 at Warwick Stn now.
Routes 443 and 444 will have time changes, weekday midday frequency increases to every 30 minutes too, and will depart from Stand 4 at Warwick Stn.
The 445 and 446 will, like the above routes, time changes, weekday interpeak frequency increases to every half-hour, and depart from Stand 5 at Warwick Stn.
It is encouraging to see the move to half-hourly midday services that I advocated on weekdays.
The 447 will have time changes and a movement to Stand 2 at Warwick Stn, to be joined by the 344 and 371.
Route 518 will operate along Barry Marshal Parade to Murdoch Uni.
The 519, 850, and 851 will undergo time changes and travel along Barry Marshall Parade to Murdoch University.
New bus priority to Murdoch Uni is good news for buses, but it looks not all services have time changes. The increased speed of segregated bus operation, the good news, should have been accompanied with quicker bus timetables, unless if the aim was to increase reliability.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Abbott and Rail

[apologies for any bias in this]

Perth's PT narrative has taken an interesting twist.
Tony Abbott won't fund...
Rewind to just before the last state election. The Liberal and Labor parties have been outbidding each other on public transport promises for the election. Labour's Metronet plan, promising up to six new railway lines, including the centrepiece North and South Circle and Ellenbrook Lines, was countered by the Liberal party plan to build MAX light rail to Mirrabooka along Alexander Dr, and an underground railway to the Airport, and beyond to Forrestfield. The Liberals won that election, so their transport plans should go ahead.

... MAX light rail.
Colin Barnett's plan did rely on federal funding, requiring 50% of MAX, and 80% of the Airport line costs in Commonwealth funding. Mark McGowan's labour planned to fund Metronet entirely from the state budget, but to be fair, where could we find the money? The Commonwealth should be willing enough to fund public transport; after all, its patronage is rising, and it is useful for saving the environment, growing the economy and transporting all.

The thing is... Colin's federal Liberal counterpart, Tony Abbott, announced recently that if he was elected he would not fund urban rail, only roads. Abbott, when questioned in Melbourne about funding their 9km Metro tunnel, said:

“The commonwealth government has a long history of funding roads.

“We have no history of funding urban rail and I think it is important that we stick to our knitting and the commonwealth’s knitting when it comes to funding infrastructure is roads."

Abbott may not have even had WA in mind, but this has enormous implications for Western Australia. If federal Liberal wins the upcoming election, one of state Liberal's cornerstones will be jeopardised.

Julia Gillard, being a member of the opposite party, was not unwilling to chastise Barnett:

Last week on her visit to Perth, Prime Minister Julia Gillard poured cold water on Mr Barnett’s hopes, saying the Premier was not in a position to make promises about Federal funding.

“Premier Barnett would have to go through proper assessment processes.

“Now, I can’t tell you what the outcome of those proper, rigorous assessment processes would be. He needs to put forward his proposals.”

However, she is the Prime Ministerial candidate more favourable to Colin Barnett and state Liberal's transport policies. The possibility of federal funding is better than nothing.

In fact, Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese was proud of funding the Perth City Link project, and his party was not afraid to place a large article as an election ad in the West Australian. The ads contents are found here, I believe.

Colin Barnett responded to Abbott, saying that it was true the Federal government traditionally has only funded roads...

“However, given the current Federal (Labor) Government’s support of $236 million for rail infrastructure at the Perth City Link and $3 million towards planning of the MAX light rail project, we expect that future Federal governments, whether Liberal or Labor, would consider the benefits of funding such important transport initiatives based on merit,” Mr Barnett said.

“We will continue efforts with the Federal Government to deliver this important project for the people of WA.”

The prospect of Barnett failing to deliver on transport promises is especially troubling, considering that the Liberal party has traditionally been averse to public transport. The Ellenbrook Line promise was abandoned, and State Liberal opponents would jump on another undelivered transport project, criticising Barnett as untrustworthy.  Ben Wyatt already started with this:

“Mr Abbott has, well before the September Federal election, confirmed that any Federal Government he leads will not contribute to urban rail.

“The Liberal Party spent millions of dollars during the election campaign telling Western Australians that both MAX light rail and the airport line were ‘fully funded’ and ‘fully costed’.

“The WA election was less than a month ago and already Colin Barnett has walked away from his promised timeline to deliver his key election promises and Tony Abbott has confirmed that not one cent will come from any Federal Government he leads.”

Other Premiers are not pleased with Tony Abbott either. Victorian Premier Dennis Napthine, whom Abbott's comments referred to directly, said:

''We will actively and strongly pursue Infrastructure Australia and federal government funding for all three of these important projects whether it's Julia Gillard as prime minister or Tony Abbott as prime minister.''

This is especially prescient, as Tony Abbott pledged $1.5 billion to another tunnel across inner Melbourne, but one containing a road: The East-West Link. It has a Cost-Benefit ratio of only 0.7, meaning that the cost of building it is more than the calculated benefits from it.

The Queensland Liberal-National party was not happy with Tony Abbott either. They listed the underground Cross River Rail line, similar to Melbourne's tunnel, as one of their top three priorities. Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson said:

"Without Federal funding these projects cannot proceed.

"We are lobbying both the federal Coalition and federal Labor ahead of the next election to get the best deal possible for Queenslanders."

Abbott's refusal to fund urban rail runs counter to a previous commitment to $750 million towards the Moreton Bay Link.

As far as I know, NSW Liberal is going it alone with its North West Rail Link, as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), making it immune to Abbott's announcement. As we will see later, this is an example Barnett could follow.

It may not be a bad idea for Tony Abbott to suggest that urban rail should remain a state responsibility, but he should remain consistent with roads. His pledge of $1.5 billion for the East-West Link, as well as $1.5 billion for the WestConnex in Sydney, is not consistent. He will fund urban roads, but not rail. This makes no sense, as in urban environments, rail offers more capacity than roads, resulting in greater economic benefits, and very little environmental impact. Urban rail is a wiser investment than urban roads.

Adam Bandt, Melbourne Greens MP, had something to say:

''If Tony Abbott is elected, it will be a disaster for inner-city Melbourne. 
''The suburbs that we love and that make Melbourne consistently one of the world's most liveable cities will be turned into a rat's nest of on and off ramps.
''To suggest the federal government doesn't have a role in building public transport in major cities like Melbourne is 19th century thinking.''

The state and federal branches of the Liberal party are at odds with each other when it comes to transport. This is a very important issue, in Perth and in other cities. Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese took Abbott's comments as an opportunity to speak, claiming Abbott had "turned his back on long-suffering commuters":

“After much ducking and weaving, Mr Abbott has again confirmed his and the Coalition’s historical opposition to Federal engagement in urban public transport.

“Such an unbalanced approach would lead to more gridlock, worsening congestion and a poorer quality of life in our cities.

“While today’s announcement is extraordinary, it is not a surprising one. The attitude towards public transport is the great divide in Australian politics between Labor and the Coalition.”

It is not completely accurate to say that the Coalition has a problem with public transport. Many state Liberal branches have attempted to shake their public transport legacy, appearing perfectly happy with public transport. WA and NSW in particular are big advocates of PT. It is the Federal part of the Liberals that dislikes public transport. It has failed to transform into a political option in touch with today and the future, and is still stuck in the past, with a 'more roads' attitude. There is a fracture between State and Federal Liberal evident.

So what options are available for Colin Barnett, and any other state Premier's feeling shafted by Tony Abbott?

Well there is the opportunity for Tony Abbott to leverage his ability to change his mind (what he says is 'not always gospel truth'), and backflip on urban rail, to save a few fellow Liberals.

In the absence of that, there are still other avenues. States can build rail without Federal help, to follow NSW's example. If the states cannot fund rail from their own pockets, they can enter into a PPP, or otherwise employ the large land value gains around train stations.

As a train station is built, land near it becomes much more desirable, due to the benefits of convenient public transport. There is a natural tendency to build TODs near train stations. Governments can tap into this with land value capture, though various taxes allowing the government to get a cut of any land value gains, since they paid for the rail infrastructure causing the gain.

Professor Peter Newman of Curtin University is a proponent of land value capture. He believes that the whole cost of rail projects could potentially be funded through a land tax around stations.

"I don't think [Mr Barnett] has any alternative. Having Federal involvement will make it happen quicker, but no Federal involvement will propel us into doing more with value capture - using land around the train line to help fund it."

Funding options Professor Newman proposes in his Three Mode Plan include taxes (10% rate) on the increased value of residential and commercial properties, fees for commercial ($5 per working day) and retail ($5 day), and a 1% tax on the value of land sales around train stations.

In short, transport politics is getting interesting.

Sources -

Saturday, 20 April 2013

21 April Service changes

There are many service changes due for the 21 April, across the eastern and northern service areas of Transperth.

Routes 36, 40, 285, 286, 287, 288, 291, 293, 294, 296, 297, 298, 299, 310, 311, 312, 314, 315, 324, 325, 381, 402, 403, 404, 424, 427 and 428 will undergo time changes.
Routes 40, 297, 388, 402, 403, 404 and 456 will operate additional trips.
Routes 16, 21, 22, 60, 66, 67, 68, 293, 295, 296, 299, and 428 will undergo route changes.
Routes 291 and 298 will change timetable numbers.
Route 450 will become a fully accessible bus.

One of the biggest changes to bus services this round will be the route change to the 16, 21, 22, 60, 67 and 68, for inbound trips, to take advantage of the two-waying of Beaufort St. Due to delays in City of Vincent works between Brisbane St and Newcastle St, and the completion of City of Perth works making William St too narrow for buses, according to Transperth.
The 16 and 60 will turn from William St left to Bulwer St, right to Brisbane St, left to Stirling St, right to Newcastle St, left to Beaufort St, right to Wellington St, and left to William St to continue to the Busport.
The 21, 22, 66, 67 and 68 will turn from Beaufort St left to Bulwer St , right to Brisbane St, left to Stirling St, right to Newcastle St, left to Beaufort St, right to Wellington St, and left to William St to continue to the Busport.

A very big improvement here is for the Great Eastern Highway corridor. Up to Coolgardie Av, there will be buses every 5 minutes during peak hour in the peak direction, 10 minutes during midday weekdays, 15 minutes until 9:15 pm on weeknights, and every 30 minutes until 11:15 pm on weeknights, and all day on Saturdays and Sundays.
Not only will frequency be increased, but speed too. Bus priority measures have been upgraded as part of the Great Eastern Highway widening, with some peak hour services being sped up by 7 minutes.
The 293, 295, 296 and 299 will change routing to operate from the Busport, directly along Mill St to reach St Georges Tce, to ensure consistency in the routing of Great Eastern Highway buses.

The 291 will move from the Eastern 109 timetable to the Eastern 98, and the 298 from Eastern 109 to Eastern 108.
The 297 will see extra trips, with the frequency increased to every hour at weekday midday, and every half-hour during the afternoon peak, with earlier and later services added.

The 381's sole Fremantle-bound trip will depart Warwick 4 minutes earlier.
The Wanneroo Rd Corridor will gain an earlier trip, with a short 388 departing Amelia St at 5:08 am, and arrriving at Wellington St bus station at 5:38 am.
The 402 will also gain an early morning trip, leaving Stirling at 5:08 am.
The 403 will gain a relatively early Sunday morning trip, leaving Wellington St at 8:45 am.
The 404 will gain an extra weekday morning trip departing the Waterloo St/Royal St terminal at 6:35 am.
The frequency co-ordination on Loftus St between the 402, 403 and 404 has been modified. Even though the combined routes reach a frequency of 4bph from Monday to Saturday, they were only co-ordinated in the outbound direction on weekdays. Inbound weekday services, as well as all Saturday services, were bunched to some degree (7-23 or 8-22 rather than 15-15 intervals). After the changes, at all times and directions mentioned service will be at even 15 minute headways, except for inbound on weekdays where there will be 20-10 headways, which seems odd, unless if I'm missing something.
The 428 will undergo a route change, so that it goes directly from Karrinyup Rd to Jones St, rather than deviating through Roselea estate.
The 451 will be withdrawn, as it was run only on a trial basis.
Using the resources from the 451 withdrawal, the 456 will be expanded to a 7 day a week service, with weekday service every 20 minutes during peak hour, and every 30 minutes the rest of the day. The route will also change, from the Seacrest and St Helier Drs route to a Howland Rd, Lacepede Dr and St Helier Dr.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

8 April 2013 Changes

Starting on Monday 8 there will be route changes for the 41, 42, 43, 47, 48, and 55.
Old 41, 42, 43, 47, 48, 55
route (the timetable map
is missing route 47)
City-bound services will use Beaufort St, between Newcastle St and Wellington St, then use Wellington St to access the existing route at William St. This is because the aforementioned stretch of Beaufort St will become two-way.
New 41, 42, 43, 47, 48, 55 route
Beaufort St buses (21, 22, 66, 67, 68) will continue to travel to the city on William St, because the part of Beaufort St between Newcastle St and Brisbane St, under the City of Vincent's jurisdiction, is not two-way yet. It is anticipated to go two-way on 21 April, at which point the Beaufort St corridor buses should be diverted there.
Services from the city will not be affected as they already use Barrack St.
Barrack St is planned to go two-way, as far as I know, but bus priority needs, and the general fact that Barrack St is three-lanes wide rather than the four lanes on Beaufort St, have delayed the project.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

31 March 2013 changes

On Sunday the 31 March, several changes are due for the Transperth bus network.


There will be an improved frequent service corridor along Flinders St, with, as well as existing 15-minutely weekday service, co-ordinated 15-minute service on Saturdays, and 30 minute service on Sundays.

The 354 and 870 will have additional morning peak services, and time changes.
The 370, previously a weekend-only route, will receive a weekday afternoon counter-peak trip, leaving Mirrabooka at 5:48pm.

The 365 will have two extra late morning peak shoulder services, leaving Kingsway SC at 8:37 am and 9:07 am, and time changes.

The 371 will see significant frequency upgrades. Peak hour frequency will be increased to every 10 minutes. Midday weekday frequency increases to every 15 minutes across the whole route, where previously only the section from Mirrabooka to Warwick had 15-minutely buses, through the use of short trips, and buses ran half-hourly from Mirrabooka to Morley. Weekend frequency will be increased to every half-hour.

The old 391
It's a pity that on Saturdays, the 371 still finishes at 7pm, and the half-hourly 371s are bunched with the half-hourly 415s (they are only a minute apart leaving Mirrabooka westbound on Ravenswood Dr, and five minutes apart eastbound, going to Mirrabooka), where a frequent corridor with 15 minute service could be implemented.

The 372 will have an extra late morning peak shoulder bus, leaving Landsdale Rd/Dunlop Ent at 9:15 am, and time changes.

Routes 376, 377, 378 and 379 will undergo time changes.

The 391 will undergo a route change in Banksia Grove, to serve new developments.
The new 391

The frequency of the 467 on weekday middays will be increased to every 30 minutes.

The 480 leaving Marmion Av/Santorini Prom at 7:42 am will be converted into a 490D leaving Marmion AV before Cinnabar Dr at 7:36 am.

The 481, 482, 483 and 484 will receive extra weekday trips to Clarkson train station.


On weekdays, there will be additional 106s, and additional 111s to Perth.

The 160 will have time changes.

The 501 will undergo major frequency upgrades. Frequency will increase from every 30 minutes on Saturdays, and hourly on Sundays, to every 15 minutes on Saturdays, and 30 minutes on Sundays.

Route 940 will have an extra earlier trip to Perth, leaving Hamilton Hill Hall at 5:36am (the previous first trip is at 5:51am)

Friday, 8 March 2013

Liberal Party transport plans

Having already done the Labor transport plan (Metronet), I'm going to present the Liberals public transport plan.
They plan to -

MAX Light Rail map
- Build the MAX light rail project, with lines going to Balga Polytechnic via Alexander Dr and Mirrabooka (the first line to be built), Victoria Park via Hay St, and QEII Medical Centre, for $1.8 billion
- Build an Airport Rail Link with stations at the Domestic and International Terminals, and Forrestfield, for $1.9 billion
- Provide free off-peak public transport to carers at a cost of $1.2million (an extension of the free seniors public transport)
- Build a 560-bay multi-storey carpark at Edgewater Train station, for $47 million
Airport Rail Link

I also think the light rail is a good idea. The Alexander Dr corridor is far from heavy rail lines, and Mirrabooka is a major regional centre. The route to Victoria Park currently is the busiest bus corridor in Perth (albeit via St Georges Tce), and QEII is also an important centre.
Light rail is much cheaper than heavy rail in those corridor (since there is no reserved right-of-way, heavy rail would almost certainly be in tunnel, as elevated rail would be very unpopular), and can be a good selling point. It can bring people to Perth, and like Metronet, improve property values in areas such as Mirrabooka.
Most big cities have airport rail. Airport rail will help bring Perth into the big-city league, and make transport easier for residents of Perth taking a plane, tourists, business travellers and residents of Forrestfield and the general Foothills area. It will increase Perth's profile.
A multi-storey parking garage at Edgewater will help relieve parking pressures, while not taking up too much space. Edgewater is a good spot as it lacks feeder buses, increasing the need for parking.
Since the Victoria Park route is busiest, it should go ahead before Mirrabooka.
On the other hand, airport rail links are expensive, and some people believe they should not take funding from other, more useful public transport, just to join an abstract 'big-city league'.
As I've said before, excessive station parking is a problem. It is expensive to provide (especially in multi-storey form), takes up space (although to a lesser degree in multi-storey form), and makes walking to stations difficult and undesirable. If the problem is that Edgewater has no feeder buses, they can be provided for less than extra parking.
The total cost of these promises will be about $3.75 billion. Let's see what costing we will come up with ourselves.

Light rail - 22km
Surface heavy rail - 4 km
Underground heavy rail 4km

Using figures explained in the previous, Metronet, post, as well as $20 million per km for  light rail, this will come to -
$20 (22) + $25 (3) + $250 (5) + $47 +1.2   million
$440 + $75 + 1250 + 47 +1.2
= $1814.2 million or $1.8 billion

This is less than half the official costing! You could nearly build both this and Metronet for the $4.4 billion or so Treasury said just Metronet would cost. While contingencies are necessary, this needs to be within reason, and I think that the total cost of Liberal public transport should not exceed $2 billion.

Labor Metronet review

With the state election fast approaching, Labor has put forward its plans for public transport. These are packaged under the term Metronet. This involves the construction of several heavy rail lines.


The Northern Circle Line (NCL) will run over a new railway along Reid and Tonkin Hwys, as well as employing existing tracks along the Joondalup (to Stirling) and Midland (to Bayswater) lines to form a loop. New stations will be at Balcatta (Erindale Rd presumably), Wanneroo Rd, Mirrabooka Av, Alexander Dr, Noranda (Benara Rd presumably) and Walter Rd.
A line will also be constructed to Ellenbrook, which will branch off the NCL after Noranda, with stops at Bennett Springs (probably the intersection of Reid Hwy and Beechboro Rd), Whiteman Park and Ellenbrook.
The map also shows a line to Wanneroo, but this is not mentioned in text. I don't know of any good rail corridor to Wanneroo, and money for a tunnel would better be spent in more inner areas.
The Southern Circle Line (SCL)will incorporate an airport line previously proposed by the Liberals (from Bayswater to Forrestfield), as well as electrification and amplification of a freight line for passenger service from Forrestfield to Fremantle. New station will be at Airport West (near the current domestic terminal site, with domestic to be consolidated at the international terminal and the site redeveloped as a business park, AFAIK), Perth Airport, Forrestfield, Wattle Grove, Kenwick Junction (interchange with Armadale Line), Thornlie, Nicholson Rd, Ranford Rd, South Lake (interchange with Mandurah Line), Yangebup and Coogee, then looping back using the existing Fremantle Line tracks, through the city to the Midland Line, to Bayswater.
A dedicated airport line will also be built paralleling the SCL between Forrestfield and Shenton Park, perhaps with specialised rolling stock.
The Joondalup Line will be extended from Clarkson to Yanchep, and the Armadale Line to Byford (although the map shows a line all the way to Pinjarra!)




This plan focuses on delivering more cross-suburban rail, an very good idea. According to the Public Transport for Perth in 2031 plan, the inner city (CBD, West Perth, East Perth, Northbridge) only accounts for 18% of jobs in the metropolitan area (see page 12). This is only set to increase, as congestion in the CBD and plans such as the Stirling City Centre and Murdoch Mix draw more employers into secondary CBDs. Metronet will add Kewdale (the 2nd largest employment area), Canning Vale (7th largest), Malaga (10th), Balcatta (11th), This is more efficient, as instead of having full trains heading into the city in the morning, but near-empty trains heading out, those empty trains will have more passengers on them, which is better for the environment and for the cost recovery of public transport.


Rail will be delivered to neglected corners of suburbia, affording better access to amenities in the CBD and along existing railway lines (eg. shopping, universities, employment), and perhaps spawning new amenities to these places, drawn by rail access. This will help combat issues such as youth unemployment and unrest.


As the plan consists of surface heavy rail, it is much cheaper than tunnelled alternatives, while still offering the speed and capacity of heavy rail. Greater accessibility, as alluded to above, would bring greater investment, as a result of higher land value, and increase access to high paying jobs, which are concentrated in the CBD.



However, there is a disturbing number of lines converging on the Midland Line (five, six if you count the phantom Wanneroo line;). With regular 20 tph signalling, the maximum frequency for each line during peak hour is 4 tph, or every 15 minutes, what is being run in the off-peak. An upgrade to 30tph signalling could see 6tph, but this is what the overcrowded Midland Line receives during peak hour currently, leaving little room for growth other than traffic from Perth to before Bayswater being put onto the other lines, platform extension or running other lines at 4tph. This is not to mention that punctuality will be compromised, as each train will have to arrive at Bayswater at the exact scheduled time, or else trains after that one will be delayed.trains running even 45 seconds late may result in delays and reduction in capacity. The Midland Line will have to be quadruplicated up to Bayswater.

You could run the NCL right through to the SCL, instead of running to the city on the Midland Line. This would remove 2 lines from the Perth to Bayswater pinch point, cutting the number of lines there to 3. Each may run every 9 minutes (6 2/3 tph)on current signalling, or every 6 minutes (10 tph) with an upgrade, or double the figure with quadruplication. A new interchange station where the Midland Line intersects Tonkin Hwy would have to be built though, and airport trains would bypass this stop. SCL passengers will be able to have a zero walking distance transfer by changing to the airport line at an airport station, where both the SCL and Airport Line will call into the same platforms. There may be an extra charge on airport trains though, like in Sydney and Brisbane, which may be only be checked at entrances or enforced on board airport trains too. In addtion, reducing the number of lines does not change the fact that a large number of passengers will converge on the Midland Line between Perth and Bayswater.


Also an issue is the location of the NCL and SCL; the former in a highway median, the latter in primarily industrial lands.
We've yet to develop a good TOD at any of our existing freeway stations (Cockburn Central is alright, but cut off from the main commercial area (Gateway SC) by heavy traffic and car-oriented development along Beeliar Dr, as it is used to access the Kwinana Fwy), and for good reason - car traffic and pollution do not make good real estate marketing points, and the extensive park n' rides that follow car dependence do not make for quick and pleasant walks to the station. While there may be creative solutions, it is much simpler to build TODs outside of freeways. In some cases, non-highway TODs could harness suburb names that are already better than many highway-side suburbs (without naming anywhere).
As for industrial areas on the SCL, this is better, as there is no big, hulking highway to separate suburbs from their eponymous stations, but suburbs will still have to be radically different from what they are now. While it is good to serve industrial areas and their large employee numbers (as mentioned before, Kewdale is the area with the largest number of jobs out side of the inner city), industrial areas are typically large-scale and car/truck-dependent, and this must be changed if train lines serving such areas are to be well used. To kick out industry for residential and commercial development in response to this problem is also an issue; industrial areas cannot be simply pushed further and further out. The continued need for freight rail without delays to passenger trains will require wide rail corridors, without corresponding two-tier operation, frequency or existing urbanity.


The costing of Metronet has been quite a contentious issue. First there was the Labour costing of $3.8 billion, then the $6.4 Liberal costing, and the Treasury costing sits in between at $4.335 billion ($5.2 billion by the time the project is finished). Let's see for ourselves what the plan might cost, in my mini - costing.

To be generous, I've thrown in a few extras, such as the aforementioned quadruplication to Bayswaters, and 4 km of tunnel for the airport section (the lack of this attacked by the Liberals in radio ads)

NCL - 17 km of surface rail
SCL - 42 km of surface rail (mostly amplified over the existing freight line, but new infrastructure is needed for passenger trains), 5 km of underground rail
Ellenbrook - 11km of surface rail
Butler to Yanchep (Clarkson to Butler is already under construction) - 13 km of surface rail
Armadale to Byford - 8 km of surface rail
Perth to Bayswater - 8 km of amplified surface track
Total - 91 km of surface rail, 5 km of underground rail, 8 km of amplified track

Approximate costs (using statistics from Martin 2010)
Surface rail - $20 million per km
Underground rail - $221.5 million per km
Track Quadruplication - $27.25 million per km

To try to account for inflation (I don't know how to do it properly), and also be conservative, I will add to these figures.
Surface rail - $25 million per km
Underground rail - $250 million per km
Track quadruplication - $30 million per km

The cost of Metronet should therefore come to -
$25 x 92 + $250 x 5 + 30 x 8 (mil)
= $2275 + $1250 + $240 (mil)
= $3769 (mil)
= $3.769 billion
Let's round that up to $3.8 billion

So even with a couple extras of my own, we come up with a costing less than anyone else's, but close to Labor's (which does not include quadding) Perhaps this is accounted for by the extra promises, such as the 17 000 extra parking spaces, the Circle Freeway or 144 new trains. Even so, the quoted costs did not include my extras, which were quite expensive. We really need public transport, so we need to make sure that money spent on it yields the greatest gains possible, by controlling our cost. What happened to our experience with the Mandurah Line, which despite its complexity, was one of the cheapest heavy rail projects in Australia of its time.

UPDATE: In line with my Liberals post, I've added an extra kilometre of tunnel, and taken that corresponding section from the surface rail part of the equation. My costing has been changed to reflect this.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

3/2/13 Service Changes (Western)

Map of Cambridge St changes.
Tomorrow there will be several major changes occurring to buses in the Western area.

The service along the Cambridge St corridor will be massively revamped. The 81, 84, 91 and 92 will all undergo time changes, and some of the above will be renumbered, with a new route introduced.

The 81 will see 3 extra morning peak services. The 6:10am departure from City Beach will be replaced with 6:00 and 6:20 buses, the 6:45am trip will be split into 6:40 and 6:55 journeys, and the 7:25 am service will become 7:20 and 7:35 buses.

The 84 will be renumbered to route 82, but it will still take the same route. There will be an earlier first bus, leaving City Beach at 6:05 am. There will also be an additional peak hour service, with 7:45 am departure replaced by 7:40 and 7:55 buses, and an extra evening service, leaving ther terminus usually only served by the 81 at 7:35 pm.

The 91 will be renumbered to 83, but again, no change to the routing. There will be extra morning trips, departing at 6:10 am and 6:35 am, and the peak hour 7:50 am service split into 7:40 am (replacing a service that currently commences and Grantham/Marlow Sts) and 7:55am trips, and the 8:20 am trip split into 8:10 and 8:30 trips.

The 92 will not be renumbered, becoming the odd one out of Cambridge St routes (presumably because the logical route number, 84, would be confusing if used for the 92, as it would only just have been used on a different route.

The new route 85 will also be introduced, replacing the 401. The 85 departs Wellington St Bus Stn and follows the other Cambridge St routes, until it turns off at Selby St, taking Flynn St, Reserve St, Herdsman Pde, Jon Sanders Dr, Harborne St and Scarborough Beach Rd to Glendalough Train Station. The first trip from Glendalough will be at 5:44 am, and the last trip leaving Wellington St will be at 6:30 pm on weekdays (the first and last trips on Saturdays are 6:54 am and 7pm). It will run every 20 minutes during peak hour, half-hourly on weekday middays and hourly on Saturdays.

Cambridge St will become a better frequent service corridor, with frequencies up to 19 bph (buses coming every 3 minutes and 9 sec on average) in the morning peak, 15 bph (4 minutely buses) in the afternoon peak,  every 10 minutes on weekday middays, every 15 to 25 minutes on Saturdays (a 15-20-25 cycle; I don't know why they haven't made it an even 20 minute frequency), and every 30 minutes on Sundays, along Cambridge St until Harborne St. There will also service every 5 to 12 minutes on Grantham St, and every 5 to 10 minutes along Cambridge St (to Selby ST in both cases) during the peaks.

Altogether, buses in the western suburbs will be immensely improved, but this is partially funded by the reduction of the 381 to one trip each way, as I commented previously. It could've made a good beach exploring routes, but would've needed to run on weekends and at a reasonable frequency. There's also the the deletion the 401. Daglish St, Ruislip, Vincent St and Bulwer St will no longer be served, but that isn't too great a loss, and those areas can be served in the future by a more useful and less convoluted bus route.

The other major change happening to Western bus services is that the 23, 78, 79, 102 and 107 will no longer serve Wellington St Stn; they will commence and terminate at Esplanade Busport. This is temporary, according to Transperth, because extra congestion due to construction would blow out running time between Wellington St Stn and Esplanade Busport, and the 30, 31, 34, 881 and 940 will still offer connections between the above two bus stations. That is understandable  but inconveniences travelers to UWA (or QEII Medical Centre, in the case of the 79), who come from across the metropolitan areas. To terminate the 30, 31, 34, 881 and 940 in the Busport and run the 23, 78, 79, 102 and 107 through to Wellington St would be much less inconvenient. Also, no extra time has been added to the routes that continue to go to Wellington St, to compensate for any construction. (These two concerns could be accounted for by the fact that only Swan Transit raised concerns over potential running times, except that Swan also operates the 34, and in any case, Transperth should communicate with other operators)

Sunday, 27 January 2013

3/2/13 Service Changes (Southern)

This post will detail the service changes to the Southern area occuring on 3rd February.

The 514, 515, 516, 520, 525, 526, 530, 531, 532, 543, 551, 552, 558, 559, 561, 584, 592, 594 and 600 will have time changes.

The 514 will have time changes, and the last Sunday trip from Murdoch (which left at 10:22 pm and did not have a corresponding trip from Murdoch prior to it) will be cut. It's a shame PT finishes early on Sundays, but there are trunk routes that don't have this service, so an hourly feeder finishing before 9:30pm isn't very important.
The 515 will have time changes, and more weekday services deviating to Jandakot Airport, and also more counter peak services (from Murdoch in the morning and to Murdoch in the afternoon, this is a very cheap enhancement, as the buses already ran something similar to that service, just not revenue service). I don't really understand the rationale behind running the 515 every 2 hours in the middle of the day. Yes, it may be a low-ridership route, but when a round trip on the 515 takes an hour, and there are no other buses running every 2 hours at Murdoch, so the bus doesn't do anythging for an hour and it would be very cheap to increase service to an hourly frequency(similar to the 251 on Sundays I talked about in the previous post).
The 516 will have time changes and a new deviation to Jandakot Airport every weekday morning, on the 7:43 bus from Murdoch (there's no corresponding return service, so I'm not sure what this is for. Those who take the bus in the morning but get lifts to the station in the afternoon?).

The 520, 530, 531 and 532 will begin to deviate to Cockburn Gateway Shopping City on Sundays because of Sunday trading, where previously they hadn't. The 531 will also deviate to Phoenix Shopping Centre.

The 564 will run two additional short services. One leaves its Baldivis terminus (Smirk Rd/Regency Av) at 7:30 am and concludes in Warnbro at 7:50am, and the other leaves Warnbro at 3:16pm arriving in Bladivis at 3:34pm. There will also be extra 568s, one leaving Warnbro at 7:56am, and terminating at Baldivis Secondary College, the other departing Nairn Dr/Kingaroy Dr at 8:17 am and deviating via Stocklands Baldivis SC, arriving at Warnbro at 8:39 am on school holidays, and 8:46am on schooldays due to a deviation to Baldivis Secondary College (Transperth sneakily refers to 'three additional weekdays services' on the 568, but in practice there are two services, just one that varies depending on whether school is in).

The 592 will have a route change. The bus will turn off Dawesville Bypass (when approaching from Mandurah) earlier, at Ocean Dr rather than Bailey Blvd, and use the new Dandaragan Dr to better serve new developments in Dawesville West.

Monday, 21 January 2013

3/2/13 Service Changes (South Eastern)

This post, second in a number of posts describing the service changes occurring across the Transperth network, concentrates on the South-Eastern service area.

The most significant change here is to services heading south of Armadale, to Byford, Mundijong, Jarrahdale and other areas. The 251 will have extra trips and the 251, 252 and 253 will have time changes and will be routed further down South Western Hwy to serve the Byford by the Scarp development better, and the new 254 will be introduced.
The 254 will serve the new developments in Byford, to the west of the railway line. It operates along a temporary route, since the new road network in that area is incomplete, and is fully accessible. It runs Monday to Saturday, every 15 minutes during the peaks and hourly at other times.
The 251, 252, 253 and 254 will interline from Armadale along South Western Hwy until Larsen Rd for a 30 minute frequency during weekday middays and on Saturdays (during peak hour, the 254 alone will run every 15 minutes, as stated above). Unfortunately, Sundays will see the lone 251 running every 2 hours, a far cry from the half-hourly service on weekdays. I don't see why this happens given one bus on a Sunday can run both the 250 and the 251, but not the 245 as well (all run every 2 hours). You can run the 250 and the 251 hourly on Sundays and still only use one bus. This means that running the bus every 2 hours saves no money on labour (there are small savings on maintenance due to less wear and tear, but a pittance compared to the potential doubling of frequencies).

There are also minor time changes to the 100, 101, 210, 211, 212, 229, 506, 507, 508 and 509, as well as an extra 212 trip leaving the Busport at 4:30pm, and numerous extra 100s and 101s, such as an earlier first trip on weekdays, leaving Curtin University as 5:50am, and an increase in frequency of buses between Curtin Uni and Canning Bridge in the mornings from 12 buses per hour (bph) to 18 bph (these buses previously deadheaded back to Canning Bridge, as the frequency from Canning Bridge to Curtin University was and stays at 18bph).

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

3/2/13 Service Changes (Eastern and Northern)

On 3rd February 2013 a whole wad of service changes will be implemented, across the Transperth network. This post will detail the changes occurring in the Eastern and Northern areas.

In the Eastern area, there will be a couple of extra trips on the 955 and 956 to Ellenbrook. There will be an extra 956 to Bassendean before the current first bus, leaving the terminus at 4:55am and arriving in Bassendean at 5:30am, improving the span of service, allowing passengers to arrive into the city before 6am, although it's a bit premature, I think, seeing as there are no buses for travellers to Ellenbrook leaving the city after 9:30pm. There is also an additional 955 to Ellenbrook, leaving Morley at 6:38pm and arriving in the Ellenbrook terminus at 7:22pm. This is a good improvement to afternoon peak shoulder service, where ther previously was a 45 minute gap in outbound buses.

In the Northern area, there will be time changes to the 410, 412 (adding different schedules for a couple of outbound weekday morning runs depending on whether it's a school day or school holiday), 415, 441, 443, and 444. Trips will be added to the 15 and 442.
The 15 will see school day only runs departing Wellington St Stn at 8:05am and 8:10am, terminating at Oxford St near Scarborough Beach Rd at 8:27am and 8:32am respectively, and the former school day-only service departing Wellington St at 8:15am forming a full service through to Glendalough.
The 442 will have an extra trip from Warwick Stn, departing at 6:50am, and arriving at Whitfords at 7:19am, a good morning peak bonus for those living on the northern section the 442.