Melbourne Suburban Disruptions (Since Metro Introduction)

 
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere

Person versus train at Bentleigh around 7.17am.  Services suspended Moorabbin - Caulfield with no bus replacements offered until after 8.00 then advice to not travel due to shortage of buses.

Services resumed with major displacement at 09.30.

There are never enough buses in the peaks but this yet again shows up a critical weakness in that there is no "Plan B" when things go wrong.  Passengers were being advised to not travel but in most cases on a weekday morning peak they have had little choice if they want to earn a day's pay.

If we had a credible network of suburban buses it might help. There is very little alternative once you get to Moorabbin as those buses which exist are mostly infrequent and don't parallel the rail routes.

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  712M Chief Commissioner

Passengers were encouraged to catch local buses to Sandringham/Hampton/Middle Brighton to connect with trains to the city.
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned

If we had a credible network of suburban buses it might help. There is very little alternative once you get to Moorabbin
"Gwiwer"
Talking bollocks again, Gwiwer. At Moorabbin:

Route 811/812 to Middle Brighton every 25 minutes;
Route 822 to Murrumbeena every 30 minutes;
Route 823 to North Brighton every hour;
Route 824 to Westallevery 20 minutes.

That's eight buses/hour. At 75 people per bus, it makes a big difference. All they have to do is go to an unaffected line.

If people are directed to get off at Cheltenham, they can also use:

Route 600/922/923 to Sandringham and
Route 828 to Hampton.

Or at Highett, they can also use:
Route 708 to Hampton or again, Route 828

Or at Mordialloc, they can also use:
Route 705
Or especially Route 903 to Oakleigh.

Now go whinge about Myki or something.

  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere

The message at Frankston and stations to Aspendale which they are responsible for making announcements to was "Do not travel" or "Seek alternative means".  Frankston staff were telling passengers there were "no buses" (which is perfectly plausible in the morning peak) until around 8am when it changed to "insufficient buses".

What is reasonable in one place is not in another.  A train load of up to 1000 passengers (remembering this was at the height of the peak hour) arriving at Cheltenham when all of those 1000 were under the advice that they should bus it to Sandringham would have massively overloaded the local routes and that from just a single train.

Those at inner suburban stations with no train service at all have at least some sort of bus or tram service along the cross-streets in most cases.

If there were a bus service along the Nepean Highway - which is one of the major arteries feeding the City - that could have been used but we enjoy no such common sense in our service provision thanks to the archaic notion that if there is a train then nothing else is needed.

  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned





If there were a bus service along the Nepean Highway - which is one of the major arteries feeding the City - that could have been used but we enjoy no such common sense in our service provision thanks to the archaic notion that if there is a train then nothing else is needed.

"Gwiwer"
So we should provide a bus service that almost completely duplicates a train service just in case people get clobbered by trains?

  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere

Or perhaps as a public service which might be used as such on a regular basis?   For some of its length there is no regular bus service along the Nepean Highway meaning that while it parallels the rail route south of Moorabbin you might find yourself living far more than the Gummint's own 400m guideline maximum from useable public transport.  



  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere

This from the Metro website effectively accepting they need to do a lot better in future.



This morning’s disruptions





Metro apologises to all of our customers affected by the major delays on the Belgrave and Frankston lines this morning.

Two separate incidents at Tecoma and Bentleigh caused a huge inconvenience on both lines.

A car was abandoned on the tracks near Tecoma Station and one of our services crashed into it as it came around a blind corner. Fortunately, no one was in the car and neither the two passengers on board nor the driver were injured.

A short time later, a woman attempted to commit suicide at Bentleigh Station resulting in the suspension of the Frankston line. As we had our safety crews working to remove the car and damaged train at Tecoma, this meant our efforts to clear the Frankston line took longer than normal. The woman has survived and is now in hospital.

We appreciate that it was very stressful for our customers who were stranded at Moorabbin as the platform and station became very crowded and that the replacement buses took some time to arrive. Once again, we apologise for what was a difficult experience for so many of our customers and we are conducting a full review of this morning's peak to examine ways we can improve our handling of major incidents.





  ewokracing Locomotive Fireman




If we had a credible network of suburban buses it might help. There is very little alternative once you get to Moorabbin
"Gwiwer"
Talking bollocks again, Gwiwer. At Moorabbin:

Route 811/812 to Middle Brighton every 25 minutes;
Route 822 to Murrumbeena every 30 minutes;
Route 823 to North Brighton every hour;
Route 824 to Westallevery 20 minutes.

That's eight buses/hour. At 75 people per bus, it makes a big difference. All they have to do is go to an unaffected line.

If people are directed to get off at Cheltenham, they can also use:

Route 600/922/923 to Sandringham and
Route 828 to Hampton.

Or at Highett, they can also use:
Route 708 to Hampton or again, Route 828

Or at Mordialloc, they can also use:
Route 705
Or especially Route 903 to Oakleigh.

Now go whinge about Myki or something.

"Sir Thomas Bent"


I think the issue was that the trains kept coming from Frankston and unloading hundreds of people at Moorabbin. A work colleague waited nearly 2 hours on the station ramp at Moorabbin and described the conditions as "chaos" with 3 different Metro announcers all saying conflicting things. The buses routes in the area naturally couldn't cope.

There's got to be a better Plan B (quicker turn around time after a pedestrian hit, buses, Maxi Taxis, whatever).

  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere

The appropriation of taxis might be a possibility and might even give the drivers some welcome additional income. I'm not sure of their general availability in the morning peak and they would only be able to shift a few people at a time but in this sort of situation every little helps.

I dropped a passenger at Frankston who was told both not to travel and that trains were running and a bus would be provided at Moorabbin. Conflicting information again but this happens at such times and to have every staff member giving both consistent and accurate advice is - while an ideal - frankly unlikely to be achievable.

Two hours later I was then expected to "rescue" the same person who had reached Moorabbin, was in the crush which she described as frightening and reported that the average of the mixed advice being given was to turn back and head home.

Metro have effectively already acknowledged there were serious shortcomings on this occasion and that because of the earlier incident at Tecoma that their prime response team was already there and unable to also help at Moorabbin.

Buses are simply not available in the weekday morning peak in any numbers. Even less so on a school day. We have argued before over how to provide more without having reached a workable and affordable solution. We cannot expect that there would be a fleet of buses and drivers waiting around in case they were needed and also happening to be in the right place. Moorabbin might have a single spare bus on a good day.  At 8am a trip from Oakleigh depot to Moorabbin (for example) might take 30 minutes in traffic but the nearest bus and driver may be much farther away. If a bus were available at Oakleigh, were ordered immediately a problem arose and was able to go straight away it can carry a maximum of 70-odd passengers and in the meantime perhaps 500 or more passengers will have arrived at Moorabbin.

Trains emptying several hundred passengers every 5 minutes or so onto a single platform and there being woefully inadequate onward transport is a recipe for chaos. We are perhaps lucky that nothing more serious than severe delays and lost tempers occurred on this occasion.

Yes there are route buses but able to take less than a full carriage-load of rail passengers at a time . A bus running every 20 minutes will not clear crowds from 6-car trains running about every 5 minutes.



  ewokracing Locomotive Fireman




Yes there are route buses but able to take less than a full carriage-load of rail passengers at a time . A bus running every 20 minutes will not clear crowds from 6-car trains running about every 5 minutes.
"Gwiwer"


Bingo. I think that's the kind of maths that Metro fails to realise.

They would have been better off telling people to get off the trains at stations before Moorabbin and then you'd have clusters of people at stations, rather than one unmanageable huge mass at one station. Or that's what I would have done anyway.

  Kerpal Deputy Commissioner

It would have been better to suspend the whole Frankston end of the line and advise passengers to defer travel.
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned





Yes there are route buses but able to take less than a full carriage-load of rail passengers at a time . A bus running every 20 minutes will not clear crowds from 6-car trains running about every 5 minutes.
"Gwiwer"


Bingo. I think that's the kind of maths that Metro fails to realise.

They would have been better off telling people to get off the trains at stations before Moorabbin and then you'd have clusters of people at stations, rather than one unmanageable huge mass at one station. Or that's what I would have done anyway.

"ewokracing"
You missed a bit.

Your last sentence should read
Or that's what I would have done anyway, from the comfort and safety of my armchair.
"What ewokracing should have"



You have done nothing but say "METRO BAD!!11 I IS A GUNZEL GIVE ME TWAIN JOB I IS BETTERER!!!1@@!1@#!"

Provide cogent solutions to moving thousands of people around an unavoidable disruption that are able to bear scrutiny, rather than armchair criticise.

There is some extra capacity by getting off at Cheltenham, or Mordialloc, or Mentone, or Highett.  Enough to make Gwiwer's initial whine about bus services being inadequate into the stupidity that he always exhibits, but perhaps some perspective.

Not everyone will get on at Frankston (thank the Gods.  The scrotes and scum can stay in their scum area). Others may get on at Cheltenham, Highett, Mordialloc, Mentone or otherwise.  

Quite often, people are committed to being on a train by the time an incident happens, and many get caught in the affected section, meaning any Monday's Experts "advice" ignores that a good number - several thousands - of people are already travelling when the person steps in front of a train.  And if anyone is thinking of copying this, call LifeLine, m'kay?

It shows the level of ignorance that Gwiwer promulgates when he says:
because of the earlier incident at Tecoma that their prime response team was already there and unable to also help at Moorabbin.
"In anopther effort to drive sensible people away from RP, Gwiwer derped, I mean"
LOLWUT?


As I understand it, some went fromUpwey to Bentleigh.  Not Moorabbin.  Bentleigh. Because the actual incident (which occurred at Upwey, but that's an easy mistake to make for the likes of Gwiwer) requires investigation.

AO's are the best able to handle crowds, with maybe one line manager, of which there are two or three on at that time of the day.

The incident happened at Bentleigh, which is not Moorabbin, but let's face it: by the strength of his posts, Gwiwer doesn't seem to be able to differentiate asre from elbow, let along one suburb from another.

So, ewokracing, if you wanna prove you're more than a clueless blowhard who does nothing more than say they'd do it better without providing anything concrete as they lack the cerebral capacity to do anything more (or in other words, Gwiwer), tell me:

* Considering that normal route buses can take some people from intermediate stations.  Not all - how do you move the thousands of people already on trains? Bear in mind there's about a 1000 people per peak hour train.  Three trains...
* What solutions aside from "Metro suck at maths LOL" can you provide for moving a massive volume of people when a smallish number - around 7 or 8 - buses can be provided?

I await with interest to see if you are in fact more than a whiny armchair expert.

  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic

I await with interest to see if you are in fact more than a whiny armchair expert.
"Sir Thomas Bent"


Make sure you have a good book while you're waiting, Sir Thos. . . preferably about the size of War and Peace.

  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere



It would have been better to suspend the whole Frankston end of the line and advise passengers to defer travel.

"Kerpal"


Not sure why. There were service gaps south of Moorabbin and a majority of passengers is heading for the City at that time of day but those are not valid reasons to suspend the entire southern half of the line.

To have done that would have prevented anyone travelling including those making local journeys and might have delayed service recovery even longer if there were no trains / drivers along that section to restore service.

Better IMO to maintain what service you can and arrange such alternatives as might be possible to cover the blockage. The blockage to the railway was at Bentleigh; the major bottleneck in the passenger flow was at Moorabbin.

Upper Gully - Belgrave is out again thanks to a fallen tree. Metro advise buses are now running.  It's wild in many areas with storms just arriving - watch for more possible disruptions as the peak kicks in and the weather worsens.

  ewokracing Locomotive Fireman


I'll bite.

1. It's not my job to come up with contingency plans, but I can't see why with people either committing suicide or stepping accidentally into the paths of trains, there aren't better plans in place. We're not talking about something that only happens once a year.

2. Broadmeadows, Cardina, V/Line, Cranborne, Westrans, Ventura, Tullamarine, Sita, Moreland are bus companies I can think of off the top of my head. Some councils and community orgs have their own smaller buses or passenger vans too (Roseys, Salvos, Yorella etc). Some private schools do too.
Ring up bus drivers at home that are allowed to drive (ie have had required amount of rest), get them in a cab to the depot, then send them out and keep bringing them. ie don't just get 6 buses if you have 9 trainloads of people. Keep scrambling and use everything you can lay your hands on. Do some groundwork and have agreements in place.

3. Get people out to the stations on the lines that are affected. No use letting people on trains that are going to stop and crowd another station. Have people there at the Myki touch on points telling people. If you tell people that trains have been halted BEFORE they get on or touch on, then at least you're giving them a choice. They can choose to get on and take a chance, or go home and wait or drive to work instead (or commute by other options).

4. Have Metro people circulating through the crowds giving the right information. People getting conflicting information from different sources just makes people annoyed, confused and worried.

5. Publish something in MX or similar so that people can take it in and show employers. Casually employed people don't get paid if they can't get to work and people get disciplined at work for trains not running.

6. Detour buses within the area to run near stations (if that route doesn't already connect to a station). Give people maps and directions of how they can use alternative bus routes to get to other lines.

7. It'd cost a lot (so it would never be adopted), but GovCo/Metro buy their own or lease their own buses and drivers and have them on standby, or let other organisations use them with a booking service, but on the understanding that if an incident does happen, then they get pressed into ferrying train passengers as a priority.

btw - didn't mean to come across as whining, but when you catch a 4 trains 6 days a week, you do begin to wonder if things could be done differently.

  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic

ewokracing forgot to add his address; it's "Cloud Nine."

Where are the extra buses, drivers et al at peak period?  Companies don't pay good folding money to have spare buses standing around just in case of a railway problem.  

Which people, from where, will be positioned at the Myki points?  How many of them? How are you going to get them there in a hurry?
Ditto the "circulating" Metro staff.

Just keep wondering whether things could be done differently, sonny,  and leave planning to people who know what it involves . . . you don't.

  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere

Some of the "answers" lie in the way the whole system is run. Despite recent improvements in station staffing levels we still have a staff-poor network and while a majority of all passengers will travel through a staffed station (either because they use a City or other premium station or they enter at a hosted station in the morning) there are relatively few staff in customer-facing roles across the network. That is political legacy. It could be reversed but at substantial cost. The trend towards placing staff on more stations during the busiest part of the day could be extended to evening peaks and more stations at a smaller cost.

It is completely impractical to suggest someone keeps a fleet of buses on stand-by just in case of urgent need. They also need a large driving force to be doing nothing (and paid for it???) ready to answer the phone and snap to it. Those buses - if they were to exist - might be a considerable distance from the problem and unable to be of any help for an hour or two. Most blockages are cleared and trains running again within two hours or so.

Route buses are contracted to run the advertised route. Diverting them to pick up rail passengers is likewise not an option although passengers can be directed towards them if there are platform staff on the stations and if they are aware of the bus routes. The absence of a single operator having staff with wide knowledge of the network can be considered a shortcoming here. Some rail staff are aware of the bus routes local to their normal place of work; roaming staff such as AOs who are often drafted in to assist with blockages anywhere on the network cannot be reasonably expected to know about local route buses at all points from Craigieburn to Cranbourne or Sunbury to Stony Point.

Where any staff-poor system comes unstuck is in its timely response to any emergency. Trains (and therefore thousands of passengers) can be extensively delayed by a single passenger taken ill on a train which is at or nearest to an unattended station where only the driver can help. When an event such as occurred at Bentleigh causes major disruption to an entire line even the station staff on duty are quickly overwhelmed by the number of passengers needing assistance, the demands for information and the competing demand on their professional skills and time to keep the railway safe above all else.

We don't need "flying squads" of trouble-shooters. The odds of them being on duty and in the right place are very small; if trains cannot run and roads become congested they too may be delayed in getting to the scene. We need the puppet-masters of Spring Street to take a look at the overall operation and come up with a plan - hand in hand with operators - to respond more efficiently to emergency situations. We will never achieve perfection but we can perhaps work towards having a member of staff at almost every station during each weekday peak and with a small number of platform staff also at the busier suburban stations and those where trains "normally" terminate (such as Moorabbin) in emergency. That would be a help.

Station staff cannot shift passengers when there are no trains. But with more of them at more locations over more of the day and the week there is likely to be better immediate coverage when an emergency occurs. Finding alternative routes for passengers will depend upon the location and circumstances of each incident as alternative options and likely time of line blockage vary.

  Melbournesparks Chief Commissioner

Location: City of Eltham

A couple of general observations on disruptions from my point of view as a passenger...

Infomation on alternative transport is non existent or extremely limited in the event of a disruption. Case in point, at Batman station during a recent suspension of the Upfield line, there was nothing more than an automated "Buses have been aranged, proceed to the train replacement bus stop" announcement. Of course all the savvy passengers immidiately decamped to the 19 tram stop instead, but those that didn't would have been much delayed.

I've seen the same problem between Eltham and Greensborough that has a number of parallel bus routes with good frequencies.

At the station itself, there is nothing more than the little "trams 200m" sign to give you a clue to alternative transport modes, nothing on their frequencies or a decent map.

The lack any sort of intergrated bus map whatsoever (on the website or otherwise) is a major obsticle to planning alternative transport routes. If you're not familiar with the local buses you've pretty much got nothing. Even if you have time to plan ahead or have a smartphone (I don't) the journey planner is slow, cumbersome and unreliable to use to weigh up the different options.

I notice a lot of tram stops have had quite detailed and comprehensive maps for a while now showing all transport modes, but only zoomed in and centred on the stop. Providing a full Melbourne sized version of that would make life much easier.

The lack of places to terminate trains in the event of a sudden disruption is a problem. The Hurstbridge line is better than most in this regard, with trains able to terminate at Eltham, Greensborough, Macleod, Heidelberg and Clifton Hill. Nevertheless a fatality at Eaglemont ends up with the entire Clifton Hill to Heidelberg section out of action and the replacement buses stuck in traffic on Heidelberg road.

Given that everything is remote controlled anyway these days, how hard would it be to put another crossover in at Fairfield and/or Ivanhoe, like existed in the past? Not only does it reduce the length of the bus replaced section and the number of buses to run it, it also saves having to bus (and inconvenience) a whole lot of Fairfield/Ivanhoe local passengers.

  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere

You also need station staff where trains terminate even if only in emergency.  Refer to my previous post for further comment.

Some lines are better served than others for emergency turnbacks.  Frankston trains can be terminated at Caulfield, Moorabbin, Cheltenham, Mordialloc and Carrum though Cheltenham (for up trains) and Carrum are fussy due to the track layouts.  That means no section longer than a 20 minute run by rail is out unless the blockage occurs at one of those key locations itself.   Chelsea lost its emergency crossover around 8 years ago though it had been unused so far as I am aware for some time before that.  Upfield trains only have Coburg as an option; I believe Gowrie can be used but would only be useful if Upfield itself were blocked.

Back in Metlink days I was in a position to present an argument through that body for clear and multi-modal maps and information to be produced for all locations including advice on alternatives when disruption occurred.   The response was that such a thing was not wanted and was felt to be undesirable.  Allegedly it would have both diverted passengers from one mode to another and created the impression of an unreliable system.  The clear message was that once a person was waiting at a station (or bus / tram stop) that the "system" wished them to remain and wait for that mode and not consider others.  As a response from the umbrella marketing body responsible (at the time) for all Melbourne's public transport I found it unhelpful and disheartening.

I leave each person to make their own value judgements on those comments which were made by officers of Metlink at the time through formal channels to myself in my then employment with one of the major transport operators and in a passenger-facing and emergency-response role.  Who knows best?



  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
It must be the week for truck accidents. Hard to believe I know but a truck has hit the rail bridge in newmarket again. trains are suspended on the Broadmeadows line and beyond.

Wouldn't it be nice to have that second route via Upfield available for times just like this?

Regards
Brian
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
seems vline are not the only ones using bus replacements today:

  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Trains don't like going out in the rain.  They don't have umbrellas.

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