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Brisbane Transport is Made of Fail 
30th-Mar-2008 01:23 pm
You know, Brisbane Transport's bus system runs very badly indeed. 

The last straw came for me yesterday when I was hailing a bus in Boundary St, Spring Hill, near the pool. The bus drove right past. I was standing right on the edge of the footpath with my arm in the air. When the bus was level with me I was waving my arm at the driver to try and get his attention.

Because it was a Saturday, my only two choices were to walk into town or wait for an hour for the next bus. Nice work.
I called Translink and they unhelpfully explained that they had no direct contact with Brisbane Transport.
But they could lodge a complaint for me, which would take ten days to get answered.

If this was the only problem I have had, I would not bother posting about it. But in just the last week, this is what else I have seen:

- On Saturday morning, the bus turned up twenty minutes late at Toombul. This was because, the driver said, he went to town with the bus instead of to Toombul.

-  On Friday night, another bus went past someone who was hailing it at the stop near the Jubilee Hotel on St Paul's Terrace, in the Valley.

 - On Friday afternoon, I had to wait 35 minutes outside All Hallow's School for a 199 bus, which is supposed to come every ten minutes.

- On Tuesday afternoon, an old lady who was running for the 310 route at the stop outside the Sarina Russo building on St Paul's Terrace copped a lecture from the driver, who told her she 'had to be at the bus stop on time'. This is especially funny as I used to live near the bus stop on Abbotsford Rd in Bowen Hills, and the buses were regularly 5-10 minutes late.

I am also tired of the way most drivers pull out from the stop without giving you a chance to sit down - no matter how heavy a load you are carrying. I assume this is because they are under pressure to meet their timetables (which they often don't, anyway). Obviously the idea of revising the timetables so they are realistic has not occured to Brisbane Transport's managers.

Drivers and passengers don't get away scot-free, either. Why can't passengers realise that there is a middle door and use it  when they get off, instead of using the front and blocking people who are trying to get on. And while some drivers are very friendly and try to help when they can, others are surly and have absolutely no knowledge of what routes go where. I am sure part of the problem here is that pay, conditions and morale are mediocre at best, but I still think that drivers should be taking pride in their work and know about the network.

In the last few weeks, I have also twice been asked by trainee drivers which way to go! Why aren't these drivers shown the routes they are to drive before they have to drive them? 

I am going to complain to the council on Monday morning, and demand a ten-trip ticket for the inconvenience i've had to put up with in the last week.

If anyone has any stories they'd like to share about buses etc, leave a comment here. If you want an update on how I go with the complaint, email me at djackmanson at gmail dot com or leave your own email address here.

Also, if anyone else is interested in brainstorming some large-scale solutions to these sort of problems, leave a comment or email me. While it is therapeutic to bitch, I'd be keen to link up with people who want to try and solve these problems, or at least put some real pressure on politicians, transport bureaucrats, etc.

BTW there is a lot of public recognition that public transport is a problem. The website Queensland decides did a poll of people for the recent Brisbane election. While it was an opt-in poll (not a random one), it asked people what their number-one issue was. 22.8% said public transport - the highest-rating issue of all.
Comments 
30th-Mar-2008 08:08 am (UTC)
I used to live out at Loganholme and catch the 555 and 553 routes. the 555 is ALWAYS late. Like, consistently, every singly time, even if it's only 5 minutes. Now whenever I go back to Logan, I stand at mater hill and marvel at how every BT bus that goes past is relatively on time, yet the 555 is still. Always. Behind. Maybe Logan is in a slightly different timezone. Huh. The drivers are either impossibly rude or just.. so, so dim.

I catch the 196/7 now and it has an inordinate amount of nice drivers. I lucked out. Usually on time, but it falls apart on the weekends. I blame this on Translink.. It makes absolutely no sense to me that they increased the buses on 199, but not the 196/7. they are essentially the same route through the valley, city and west end, but splits at Boundary and Vulture - the 199 goes to the ferry at Orleigh St. The 196/7 down to fairfield gardens. It is REGULARLY packed on weekends, which is why it runs so late. Let's think about this, how many people are going to bus from the middle of west end to the citycat? Compared to the amount of people going to Dutton Park, Annerley, and Fairfield.. so stupid.
(Deleted comment)
30th-Mar-2008 11:46 am (UTC)
The bus was late to begin with

Not necessarily the drivers fault. Especially since it seems like he was in a hurry, maybe he wasnt even supposed to be driving that route at all, and had to do it to cover someone.
(Deleted comment)
30th-Mar-2008 08:21 am (UTC)
Did you's know that when the doors may close before you get off you can press the bell button a few times to alert him.

Its no biggie... Im sure they dont do it deliberatly.
30th-Mar-2008 08:38 am (UTC) - The 340 is the bane of my existence
Good on you for complaining to Council - I hope you get your ten trip saver. The whole point of having bus services is to pick up passengers. I think there needs to be a lesson in etiquette as well, since manners appears to have gone out the window with bus drivers.

On another topic...

I am a regular on the 340 City Express from Carseldine and it is the most unreliable service ever. Often it is ten, fifteen minutes late, but more often than that it doesn't show up AT ALL.

Since the uni year began I've been left waiting at my stop for buses that haven't showed on five separate occasions. One time about a month ago, two buses in a row didn't show. The bus drivers are unapologetic, when you lodge a complaint with QT, which I have done a ridiculous number of times, it gets nowhere (they say they'll forward it to Virginia Bus Depot i.e. end of), and the councillors do nothing (of course). Many elderly people rely on it to take them to the RBH for medical appointments and what not, which irks me more than being repeatedly late to uni. I am so fed up with the 340 it isn't funny, but with no car, I'm stuck catching it.
30th-Mar-2008 10:34 am (UTC)
I think that it's a real shame that it's gotten to the point now where I'm pleasantly surprised and appreciative to actually get a nice bus driver, rather than a rude one.
But then, speaking in their defense, I've had some real wonderful ones. One guy used to hang out little tiny pieces of paper where he'd printed out a nice quote for the day that he'd made himself. And they definetly get a hard time themselves. I got a free trip from a lovely lady once because she appreciated the simple fact that I actually hailed the bus (rather than just standing on the pavement expecting it to stop) and had the correct change, rather than a twenty dollar note.
30th-Mar-2008 11:39 am (UTC)
What pisses me off the most about catching busses are the people on them.
Especially the ones that sit towards the rear of the bus and then whinge and bitch and tsk when they have to push past people to get off the bus.
IE. People that live at The Gap (or towards the start of any line) and then get off one or two stops from the city.
30th-Mar-2008 11:41 am (UTC)
...oh and the school kids... bring back dedicated school buses I say!
30th-Mar-2008 11:47 am (UTC)
LIke everyone else here I've had my share of awful and frankly immoral bus drivers and co-passengers (be that on a bus or a train). Throwing money at a problem hardly ever solves it, so seeing some actual REFORM go into the Translink network would be a great thing and a pipe dream all at once (lucky us).

I usually catch 2 buses to and from home/work, Paddington to/from Griffith Uni at Nathan and I rarely hit a bad driver. Sure, there are the regular surly sorts, but why would anyone trust what people appear to be anyway? It's not like we can speculate on their motives successfully when the carriage is wall-to-wall people... Indeed, considering the number of ads I've seen for bus drivers over the last year or so you can't help but wonder if there's a staffing shortage and the drivers are working more hours than they really should be.

Everyone has a good/bad story to share, but it's our own investment in what we think 'they' (the drivers) should be at all times that gets us upset. Such devout egotism is good, it means we understand that these drivers need us to keep their jobs, but it also leaves us open to making petty criticisms. Living in the inner-city I'm surprised that people even expect the bus to stop for them during busy periods, but there they are nonetheless... hailing away...

Ain't life grand.
30th-Mar-2008 12:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah I had recent issues with the buses lately, but I think I've just caught bus drivers in a bad mood lol.
During the introduction of the new "Go card" I went to swipe my card to get on the bus. It came up with an error and a red flashing sign. When this happens you are supposed to get a free ride, but when the error came up the busdriver told me (in a sarcastic voice) I was the cause of the error and I wasn't using the card correctly. He then closed the doors and accelerated as I was walking to my seat.
Another issue was when I had luggage and had to get to Roma Street. I had a bus driver shout at me saying that I couldn't get on the bus unless I put everything up on the luggage racks, and he gave me no time to lift the bag up, as he accelerated as soon as I got on. Needless to say I almost fell over with the bag on top of me, and a young guy was nice enough to help me lol.
30th-Mar-2008 12:42 pm (UTC)
My uncle is a train driver, and I know he has been run ragged over the past year or so due to being overworked. (80 hours a week some weeks!) He's making a lot of money, but he is as snappy as buggery recently. And he doesn't even have to deal with the public! I think that the bus drivers are doing a pretty good job considering the circumstances.

And if I see a grumpy bus driver I just give them a big smile and a "hello how are you?" and normally they cheer right up.

I dunno. I think it'd be nice if there was a greater investment in public transport, but not on the "more routes more often" side. I think instead of creating more routes with more buses, they should maybe try and improve on the services already running. Investing more in the people side of things, with adequate training and better working conditions.
30th-Mar-2008 01:19 pm (UTC)
106. Enough said.
30th-Mar-2008 01:20 pm (UTC)
After living in Manchester for a year, and dealing with the disaster that was their bus system, I will never, ever, ever complain about the Brisbane bus system again.

It's not perfect, but believe you me, it could be FAR worst.
30th-Mar-2008 01:32 pm (UTC)
About not finding routes... couldn't they put GPS's on the buses? Or would that make too much sense?
31st-Mar-2008 08:55 am (UTC)
It would make too much sense.
But then you gotta get the grumpy old men to change their ways and accept the new times.
30th-Mar-2008 01:38 pm (UTC)
I have had a few grumpy bus drivers but nothing too drastic. My biggets problem is the etiquette people on the bus have. Like, I catch the 130 and they are notoriously packed up the wazoo, but people will sit on the aisle seat so noone can sit next to them... seriously, thats just inconsiderate.

Also, the amount of times I have been turned down because the bus is full, and they drive away... then you see that it is just because the people in the back hadn't moved down and there was space for everyone who was waiting.... urrrr.
30th-Mar-2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
Oh god YES to the people at the back. There's usually tons of space and empty seats, but the people at the back would just shrug and not move. That annoys me so much.
31st-Mar-2008 01:13 am (UTC)
i was catching the bus to uni a couple of years ago, i had an exam at 12:00. i wanted to be early incase the bus was late etc. so i got to the bus stop at about 9:00 apparently my bus was supposed to come every 20 minutes (0:05, 0:25, 0:45). well it was 11:30 and i hadnt seen a bus go past. obvoisly i was freaking out because i had an exam in half an hour at griffith nathan and i was stuck in cleveland (thornlands) so a bus comes at 11:35 and drove straight past me. i was the only person on the road, i was waving frantically and standing right on the edge of the road in clear view. and the bastard drove past me, keeping in mind there was only about 5 people on there

i was so upset that i rang my mother to come and get me (little 16 year old stuck on the side of the road hahahahah) she drove me home and made me a soup. i had missed my exam by then. so we rang the uni and had a meeting with them. we made a formal complaint and recieved a written apology full of BS but it was still a written one so hey, gave it to the uni and i was allowed to sit the exam :D

but yeah, no buses for two and a half hours and then finally one came and drove past me :( i was very upset about missing my uni exam. just exstatic that we received an apology that the uni accepted :D
31st-Mar-2008 04:04 am (UTC)
when i was in school, i was consistently abused by a busdriver becuase, "he was a churchie parent and my appearance should have been better". when that arsehole wanted to stop spitting peanut chunks on my face and my untucked shirt, i still wouldn't have listened to him. dude has no right to tell me how to wear my clothes, he doesn't pay my fees and he doesn't have a little teacher id card...
31st-Mar-2008 06:06 am (UTC)
far out !
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