Monday, December 27, 2010

Express Tram Stops on Victoria St

Victoria St Richmond is a ticking traffic time bomb. With Salta office and residential developments coming online within the next year and the Honeywell site redevelopment being approved, we're going to see a massive increase of cars and demand for tram services down this much loved street. This coupled with Ballieu's wind back of clearway times will make Victoria St a virtual parking lot if something isn't done and SOON.

Serious consideration must now be given to an express stopping pattern for trams during peak hours in the morning and evening. The proposed stops will be Burnley St, Church St, North Richmond Station and Hoddle St. This neatly corresponds to the existing tram map.

In all this express stopping pattern by-passes 6 stops, and by reducing the amount of stops will hopefully improve flow of traffic behind trams.

Planning must now begin for super stops to handle the larger amount of people that will get on an off express stops. Peak and off peak branding must be installed on tram stops along the road and an education campaign advising commuters of this change must go live 6 months before the express stopping patterns are started.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

#Myki machines on trams

The rollout of myki machines on trams has yet to begin, but already there is enough information out there to begin analysis on what to expect. Information gleaned from the myki website suggests that it will alow myki money top ups of up to $20 and that it will sell short term myki passes which is the equivalent of 2 hour or daily metcards for tourists. In other words it will not provide any better functionality than metcard. SHAME!

The two big issues I see are the lack of myki pass support, and secondly the lack of support for electronic payment methods.

The lack of myki pass support is a kick in the shins for regular tram commuters who'll inconveniently still have to go to a train stations/tram superstops to get instant myki pass top ups. Either that or purchase them online and wait a minimum 24 hours before the transaction is approved. Presumably the lack of myki pass support is because there is an issue with the storage of large volumes of cash on a tram, which brings us to the next issue, why is there still no support for electronic payment methods?

If myki touch on and touch off information can be relayed back to a central database, there must be a means for communication from the tram to the outside world, and hence a means for electronic payment methods. Are electronic payment methods too slow to function on a tram? Are they too unreliable? Or is it something for the too hard basket?

Melburnians should rightly expect things to improve with myki, except we're once again stuck with the status quo of coin collecting. Perhaps we'll see more tram superstops with full functionality myki topup machines scattered around every route in the future, but at the moment they are only seen in the city.

This blog post is a request that myki reconsiders the myki pass functionality on their tram top up machines to allow, at minimum, purchase of a weekly myki passes, then progressively phase in more days as a solution for increased storage and disposable of money on trams or electronic payments becomes available.