Friday, July 16, 2010

More Brumby greenwash

On the 15th of July, the Victorian government announced plans for a $100 rebate on registering hybrid vehicle in a press release named "VICTORIA TAKES ACTION TO LEAD NATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE".

How is offering a rebate on hybrid vehicles taking the lead on climate change? Shouldn't we be discouraging people from buying personal vehicles and using more public transport? Investing more in public transport would undoubtedly be a more effective measure. The problem for Brumby is investment in public transport isn't percieved to be acting on climate change. He needs to be seen to be doing something.

So wink, wink, nudge nudge, a plan to support the Victorian manufacturing of Hybrid Camry's gets a subsidy disguised as action on climate change.

Good work Brumby, you really pulled the wool over my eyes this time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bums on Seats - Melbourne Bike Share Challenge

Based on anecdotal evidence the Melbourne Bike Share sheme is struggling, which is a shame, because it's a great initiative. Below are some thoughts on how we can get some extra bums on seats and make the scheme more of a success.

1) Temporary Bike Stations - We know Universities are busy during the week and normally quiet during the weekend. Conversely, places like the MCG or Docklands football stadium are busy on the weekends, but would have a hard time justifying their existence on weekdays. Do bike share stations needed to partitioned into Weekday and Weekend stations to reflect this reality?

A key to getting the bike share scheme to work is getting as many stations out to places people frequent. Justifying a station such as the MCG could be hard based on 7 day patronage figures, but opening stations at the MCG just on the weekends could be a work around for this problem. Excess bikes from Melbourne University could be shifted to the MCG on weekends.

Understanding that Melburnian's travel habits are not rigid, is a key to a dynamic system and one that would maximize utilization.

2) Discounts - It doesn't take a genius to figure out that bike share patronage will be down on a rainy day. This will always be the case, but can some people be enticed to use the system on rainy day by offering discounts? Will a 50% discount be enough to entice people? What about extending the free travel period from 30 minutes to 60 minutes on a rainy day to factor in the wet?

The crux of getting this discount scheme to work is semi "real time" notifications. Push notifications via mobile phones or SMS notifications for subscribers can be sent at 6:30am in the morning. If rain is forecast or detected, a message offering discounts to users and a reminder to bring a helmet should be sent.

Further patrons should be able to register their favourite stations. If a station is underforming, discount notifications can be sent to users to encourage patronage.

3) Loyalty program - I like getting my free cup of coffee after 10 drinks, and i'm sure bike riders would appreciate a free ride after X amount of trips. It's a simple and effective way to encourage repeat patronage.

4) Bike share Buddies - Much like myki mates, the initial reaction from many Melburnians is confusion on how the scheme works. Having volunteers available to explain and demonstrate the features will be a key part of getting bums on seats.

5) Better integration with city wide festivals - Melbourne is a city of festivals. The Food and Wine festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne Open House and The Melbourne Internation Comedy Festival to name a few. These festivals use venues scattered around the city, and are excellent candidates to promote the use of bike share. Cross promotion and using the "bring a helmet" slogan would be benefitial for all.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Analysis: The Melbourne Metro Transport Plan

The government has finally realeased details of the Melbourne metro plan, analysis as follows:

An interchange or provision for an interchange should be provided at Lloyd street for connection with the Upfield and Cragieburn lines. This is currently not included in the plan.

The Arden metro should be located adjacent to Abbotsford st and Queensberry st to provide connections with the 57 West Maribynong tram. The Arden metro will likely see high rises spring up in North Melbourne. The government and local councils should work in concert to protect Errol St and heritage buildings in the area.

Consideration should be given to a new tram line servicing Docklands via the Arden metro to fully activate the North Melbourne Area. Connections to multiple tram line is essential to create a "CBD" type concentration.

The placement of the Parkville metro is excellent. It services the hospitals, university and research hubs in the area. Further it has excellent connections to tram lines down Flemington rd and Royal parade.

Consideration should be given to the effects of tram patronage once the Parkville metro opens. Should trams continue to terminate at the university or should a new terminus, perhaps at Docklands be used? It should be noted that this plan doesn't solve or address the Docklands blackspot.

I believe the location of the North and South CBD metros are appropriate and pragmatic. They take into account trains that travel through the loop and those that run direct to Flinders st. There will be those that a dissapointed that the new metro doesn't tread new ground. Perhaps with a stop that is not already well serviced, say Lygon St, though it's understandable that costs are kept manageable.

Lastly, I agree with the reasoning in the placement of the Domain metro. It will act to reduce peak loads on trams down St Kilda rd which should be commended.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Doyle stuffs up City of Melbourne street signs

The rebranding of the City of Melbourne's street signs has turned into a farce. When Doyle revealed the new logo last year, it was inferred that there would be a slow rollout and logos would be replaced on a as needs basis. Basically when something was broken, it could be replaced and when stationary with the new logo ran out, stationary with the new logo would replace it. At a modest cost to city rate payers. Not so!!

Street signs with the new logo are now randomly popping up in Melbourne's streets, in a manner that quite confusing. On a random inspection of North Melbourne's Streets I found 3 different street signs within one block. With one intersection, the corner Howard St and Victoria St, there were street signs with two different logos on light pole.

But the surprising thing is they can't even get street signs with the new logo consistant.

Notice the subtle differences? The Victoria st sign has a smaller M logo, is in capitals and lacks street numbers! Taking off street numbers is a huge step backwards. Rate payers are paying for an update that provides less information. Absolutely appalling.

No wonder Doyle wants to charge a $4 night parking fee. He needs to find money to fund these wreckless and wasteful spending sprees. Not quite what you'd expect from a supposed economic conservative ex lib. Bring back John So I say!

$4 Night Parking rate should pay for smart parking meters

Those coming into town at night for some shopping, theatres, footy or to sample our great restaurants are in for a rude shock this month, as Doyle rolls out the $4 night rate fee. This is to pay for the Doyle St redevelopment, ahem, Swanston St redevelopment amongst other things.

What it should pay for is an upgrade to our parking meters city wide. It's about time that all our parking meters accepted other forms of payments besides coins. Credit cards and eftpos is a good start, and eventually myki payment should be added if that thing ever starts working properly on trams and buses.

Let's not stop there though, parking meters should be a lot smarter. Technology is available for parking meters to send reminders to our mobile phones before they are about to expire. Shouldn't this be also installed? Or are council's addicted to parking fines, as I suspect they are.

Another area that the City of Melbourne is lacking in is published information on all the different parking zones within the CBD. Is it possible for maps to label where 2 hour parking zones, 4 hour parking zones and 1/2 parking zones are? Can this information be brought together in an iphone or web application?

The City of Melbourne has a lot of work to do to justify it's new parking levy. Adding smart parking features, might bring them back some kudos. Some food for thought.

Integrating Bike Share into City wide events

Some great city wide events are coming up in Melbourne, the State of design festival, Melbourne open house, Melbourne film festival just to name a few. We've seen innovative festival planners integrate web and iphone applications as means to connect with their audience, give information and direct them to city wide buildings. This should continue to happen.

With bike share now released, festival planners now have a new tool besides public transport to get people to visit their events. Could they think strategically and try to choose event buildings within proximity of bike share locations? Could they encourage bike share by encouraging festival participants to bring a helmet? Perhaps they could lobby bike share to include temporary bike stands near their events?

How can you integrate bike share into your event?