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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.
30th-Mar-2008 05:28 am (UTC)
Once when I was catching the 109 at the UQ Lakes stop to go to the city, the surly bus driver shouted at me when I tried to get on because I had only held up a ticket and not my student card as well. Funny that, given that I am not a student and was holding up an adult ticket and had held it up for more than ample time for him to read every necessary detail on the ticket. He was being completely unnecessarily rude. And I've seen a lot of bus drivers shout at someone because the person didn't hold up their ticket for long enough for the driver to read all the details, and the drivers are so patronising about it, like "You need to hold it vertically, you know, so I can actually read it, and you need to not cover the tickets up with your fingers, move your fingers out of the way, I can't see through your fingers, they're not transparent". But then you'll get drivers who don't even look at you when you get on the bus and hold up a ticket, don't even acknowledge your existence. All they're required to do is read the ticket and say "thanks" or whatever, not stare out the windscreen or launch into a tirade about how stupid you are for not holding your ticket perfectly vertical and unobstructed for at least 30 seconds.

The 109 seems to be generally pretty shit. It's supposed to come every 10 minutes or so, but I've had to wait more than 40 minutes for it before, and that's happened several times. On one occasion, I was running for the bus and I was obviously in the driver's field of view and I was about three metres away when he shut the door and pulled away. I checked the time on the display screen at the stop: that was the 4:30 bus, pulling out at 4:27. He wasn't just making sure he left punctually. It didn't help that it was also pissing down rain and he was quite happy to be completely inconsiderate rather than just having some general human decency and waiting about five more seconds for me to get on the bus. So then I waited for the 4:40 bus, which didn't come, and then waited for the 4:50 bus, which didn't come, and then the 5:00 bus turned up at 5:05. I've also seen a 109 driver pull out of the stop as an obviously disabled person with two walking sticks was hurrying as fast as they could to get to the bus (and was again obviously well within the driver's field of view).

I was also on the 180 at the Cultural Centre and this African woman who didn't seem to speak very good English got on the bus and asked the driver "Do you go to Southbank?" and he said very rudely "This is Southbank!" and she looked confused and then slowly repeated "Do you go to Southbank?" and he shouted "This is Southbank! This is Southbank! Here! This stop!" and she was in the process of getting back off the bus when the person behind her stepped in and said "Actually, this is the Cultural Centre bus stop. Southbank is the next stop and yes, this bus does go to Southbank". And the driver gave him the dirtiest look!

I've also been on the bus when the driver accidentally almost side-swiped a cyclist (unfortunate but understandable, accidents do happen) and the cyclist was obvious quite angry about it and pulled up beside the bus at the next set of lights and demanded that the bus driver pull over so the cyclist could get the driver's details. But once the driver had pulled over, he just stayed sitting there in the driver's seat and said nothing. The cyclist was on his mobile phone to someone, but the bus driver didn't say anything. After about five minutes, a passenger went up to the driver and asked what was happening, and the driver mumbled something, and the passenger looked confused then turned around and said "Well, the driver says that he's actually not going anywhere. So I guess we all have to walk to the next bus stop or something". So the bus driver didn't even bother to tell a bus-load of people that the bus wasn't going any further, nor did he report it back to anyone so another bus could pick us up. So we all had to walk about 20 minutes to the nearest major bus stop.

I just have too many stories of buses going missing or going the wrong way or bus drivers being angry or rude, I could write an encyclopaedia of how crappy the bus system is, especially since I use it about 6 or 7 days a week.
30th-Mar-2008 07:58 am (UTC)
Ditto to being berated for not holding my ticket the exact way they like.

I have also had to give directions to people who were obviously out of town or lost, because the bus driver didn't bother to understand what they were asking.
30th-Mar-2008 08:24 am (UTC)
Oooh that ticket thing drives me mad too! I always have my ticket and student card visible and I try never to cover any part of it... I tend to stop and wait for the driver to acknowledge that they've seen my ticket ... and I usually get treated as an annoyance for that.

The days I give up and hardly show it, they get shitty at you.

Impossible to win.
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