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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 
31st-Mar-2008 08:49 am (UTC)
I was at the Cultural Center over the long weekend and when one of the in-bound buses came some guys moved to the curb to get on and it pulled in and then pulled straight out again without even fully stopping.
31st-Mar-2008 10:05 am (UTC)
The 199 West End bus should be one of the better ones, short route, inner city, generally frequent, but in the morning it is common for 2 buses to come past at the same time, the first one full and late, the next one empty. While there is theoretically a bus that connects to the South Brisbane station/Beenleigh train with 5 mins spare, I have learned that the buses are so frequently late to get the earlier one.

As for drivers, my experience on the whole is that they are pretty good, in rotten conditions. I have seen drivers abused an threatened for doing their job (eg trying to get out of a bus stop some dick-head has parked illegally in front of, or refusing a passenger who has the wrong ticket or who is being abusive before they even get on the bus). Another person I know who is a bus driver was physically assaulted on the job. With no transit security or conductor, its pretty tough being on their own when things get ugly.

I try to make a point of thanking my driver as I know they have a dangerous job and they generally do it well.

In addition, all the advertising for casual bus drivers on the buses would indicate that a) they are finding it hard to find people and b) they are all casual employees... therefore they don't get sick leave, holiday leave etc... so generally have poor conditions.

Things have improved from the days where there were no buses after mid-afternoon on a Sunday, (such as the bus way) but more money needs to be invested in the bus system. (Number of staff, training/support/conditions for staff, safety, bus lanes/tunnels, number of buses, condition of buses - thus avoiding break-down delays, etc).

Trains are generally better, and new timetables are attempting to meet passenger needs better, but even so, there is inadequate parking at stations for commuters who are trying to use the system and don't live within walking distance.

Its a shame the State government knocked back a proposed light rail system ten years ago which would have helped with several inner city lines.

1st-Apr-2008 01:37 am (UTC)
The 360/475 across from Borders in the city is ALWAYS late. Like, 20-30 minutes late. Usually the bus will get there around the time that the next scheduled bus is supposed to arrive. The other night, one actually arrived only 10 minutes late for once, and a suprised commuter next to me was all "WHOO HOO! ::dance of joy::"

Kind of sad.
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