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.