Saturday, June 19, 2010

The tram network is now Zone 1!

As one of the many people that advocated a single zone for the tram network, the government announcement of this occuring is of course met with praise. There are many benefits of making the tram network zone 1. It will make the tram system simpler and easier to understand. It could boost patronage. It will make Melbourne a lot more accessible, especially to international students travelling to and from Latrobe Bundoora or Deakin Burwood. It removes the need to touch off for 98% of commuters. Importantly it simplifies the myki money calculation improving its reliability and allowing us to use myki on trams. Benefits aside, due to the government's impementation of this, there is one major hurdle that must be overcome, that is the requirement for zone 2 touch off.

This is presumably for those travelling completely within zone 2, say from Vermont South to Camberwell Junction. (A 90c saving, compared to zone 1 based on a 2 hour ticket). Personally, I question whether this footnote is necessary. Are there that many people that make these exclusive zone 2 trips? It would have been much simpler making the whole tram network zone 1 only, and remove the remaining zone 2 sections.

Never the less a targeted education campaign needs to take place to advise commuters of these changes. This can be via a simple annoucement 1 stop before the zone 2/zone 1 transition zone ends. Before Tyler st in Bundoora, Balwyn Rd Mont Albert and Camberwell Junction. Limiting annoucements to these tram lines and services only will limit confusion over the wider tram network, and save advertising dollars for tram network improvements elsewhere.

Pushing the zone boundaries in trams will inevitably lead to discussions on whether this can be done on trains and buses. An indepth of analysis of what stations and what buslines will soon follow.

Monday, June 14, 2010

CrimeStoppers App for Iphone

Police should develop an iphone application to promote awareness of crime in communities.

The app should have the ability to:
1) Identify wanted criminals. - top ten lists.
2) Report realtime crime using the iphone camera and GPS feature. - vandalism, graffiti, etc
3) Give information on crimes in areas using the iphone map feature.
4) Allow police to post safety alert for areas.
5) Importantly give a conduit for the community to assist in crimes.

If we give the community information at their fingertips, more crimes can be solved. Please support this initiative.

Doncaster to Rowville North South Subway line

Melbourne should move away from the old radial line into the city model of the past. The Doncaster to city, Rowville to city plan will only serve minor sections of the community, and hence will always find it hard to gain political support. What's needed is a plan that will connect Doncaster, Rowville and other public transport blackspots to existing radial lines, and one that also seeks to decentralize the focus away from the Melbourne CBD into transport hubs in the east and south east. The north-south subway line is plan much larger in scope that seeks to serve communities from the north of Melbourne through to the southeast.

The proposed route, to be determined in consulation with the community, will use the new growth housing developments in Melbourne's north as commuter employee "sinks" to be distributed via the eastern and south eastern suburbs to employment hubs in the South east fringe where there is an abundance factory jobs, distribution centres and hopefully new centres of excellence following construction of this subway.

The route is ambitious in scope in that it seeks to fill crucial public transport blackspots. It will seek to meet latent demand from the Doncaster, Rowvile, Waverley Park regions, to areas where there are an under supply of public transport options such as Chadstone Shopping centre, Knox City Shopping Centre and Monash University Clayton campus. The route shall also accomodate where possible areas which have a public interest, such as hospitals and schools.

Further where the route crosses existing radial lines from the city to the suburbs, for instance the belgrave/lilydale line, commuter transfer hubs shall be developed. This will allow commuters travelling from the east to the south east to bypass Richmond station, vastly reducing travel times and making public transport a more viable option. The north south subway line will be a major distribution backbone linking the major radial lines in the east and south east.

Given the established nature of the eastern and south eastern suburbs, the lack of reserved public transport corridors and the general "not in my backyard" attitude of Melburnians, it is proposed a majority of the North South line be constructed underground in a subway. As the line will be self contained, the track and rolling stock can be built based on the latest technologies, ensuring reliability, safety and cost effective construction/tendering.

The costs will no doubt be signficant, but this is plan that provides the infrastructure for Melbourne to continue grow. It's a plan that helps better distribute jobs. It's plan that will better connect Melbourne and maintain our leading position at the forefront of livability. I commend you to support it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Time for Comedic Reality TV Show

The death of Australian Idol presents channel 10 with a golden opportunity to fill the void with a comedic idol of sorts. Based on the idol and masterchef format, contestants from around Australia would compete for the right to be Australia's comedic idol.

Similar to Australian idol there can be themes or topics for each week. Contestants would have to give a 5 minute comic rant, and be judged by 3 guest panelists. There can also be sms voting by the public.

As well as rants by contestants, there could be guest performances from comedians around australia and the world. There could also be "comedy classes" by skilled comedians.

A potential host could be Charlie Pickering, and it's suggested the show be screen after 8:30 so that "realistic" content can be showed.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lilydale to Richmond via Doncaster

You may have read up about Rob Adam's plan to transform Australia's cities, with Melbourne being his pet project. He proposes growth along Melbourne's transport corridors, down train, tram and bus lines. It's evident from this strategy, that the east will take a significant burden having a lot of the transport infrastructure to promote growth.

This is why due consideration should be given to a new train line in the east. As a good businessman will tell you the absolute key to sustainability of your business is to have a contigency plan. With increased growth, the Belgrave/Lilydale line will be a vital conduit from transport hub Ringwood to the CBD.

The risks of this conduit being broken will have increasingly larger ramfications for the productivity of Melbourne. So, with a bit of forethinking we should act ahead of time, to provide a contigency plan to protect the east's productivity.

A way forward is to provide a new line from the east into the city. Doncaster has been screaming for a train line for decades, and I believe now is the time to act on their request. It is proposed that the Lilydale line be diverted at Ringwood station and travel via Doncaster and the north east to Richmond. Therefore, providing a backup line to the Belgrave line, and also freeing up capacity for extra services for both lines.

Should there be an incident on either lines, diversions from Richmond or Ringwood can provide an alternate conduit, ensuring commuters are can still reach key transport hubs.

A next step to be considered is providing a backbone to this. That is a North-South line connecting train lines from the Hurtsbridge line through to the Frankston. Stay tuned for my next article on this.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Single Zone for Weekend Travel

The Melbourne weekend public transport timetable is appalling. Trains run every 20 minutes at best, trams run every 12 minutes and buses even longer. There is a chicken and egg problem of demand vs supply. People won't take public transport because there are not enough services, and public transport companies won't increase services because of this.

There needs to be a circuit breaker to tip the balance.

Making the whole public transport a single zone on the weekend will seek to push the demand side of things. Getting more people on the public transport so the operators will take notice.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


With parking being such a nightmare in chadstone around special events like mothers day, christmas and even on weekends, it's obvious better public transport links need to be explored.

1) Train link. The closest stations to chadstone at the moment are Hughesdale (pakenham), oakleigh (pakenham), holmesglen (glenwaverly). Hughesdale is probably the closest within walking distance (around 1km). The others having bus links to chadstone. The location of these are sufficient enough barriers for people to continue driving to chadstone.

To rectify this barrier there are a few solutions:
1) Build a new station at chadstone shopping centre.
a) One possible solution would be to extend existing lines to Chadstone.
The glen waverley line can divert from east malvern station -> Chadstone -> Holmesglen. OR
The pakenham line can divert from hughesdale station ->Chadstone->oakleigh.

For political reasons, costing should probably be based on a subway rather than overhead lines due to local resident objections.

b) One could divert lines and bypass existing stations.
Pakenham line
Going from carnegie station->chadstone->oakleigh and deleting murumbeena and hughesdale stations. Murumbeena and glenhuntly could then be served by extending the glenhuntly tram down neerim rd.

c) Create a north-south train line connecting hurtsbridge, belgrave/lilydale, alamein, glen waverley, pakenham and frankston lines. Chadstone could be just one stop in this massive investment. This will be the farthest reaching collecting passengers from the east and south east which are likely that people that drive to chadstone the most.

2) Tram links. The most obvious and shortest extension would be to extend the tram line from the city down waverley rd and turn right down chadstone rd with a super stop at chadstone shopping centre.

3) Bus links - A no brainer is to increase the frequency of bus links to train stations.