The Herald-Sun has reported on the confusion that will ensue due to service cutbacks on public transport over most of January:
The annual Christmas present from public transport operators will include slashed train, tram and bus services for at least six weeks until mid-January.
Unfortunately the persistence of the summer timetable has demonstrated the continued failure of the State Government to operate a public transport system that reflects modern needs. In particular many students, who are on holidays over January, require reliable and frequent public transport to ensure access to employment and recreation.
But the Public Transport Users Association has attacked operators and the Government for again reducing the number of services over Christmas.
“There is no basis today for the continuation of the summer timetable, particularly one that is so drastically reduced,” vice-president Alex Makin said.
“The bureaucrats aren’t keeping up with modern trends and they’re not challenging the system to reflect modern needs. Particularly with flexible working hours, Melbourne does try to function as a 24-hour city.”
Like in previous years there has been a failure to properly integrate the service cutbacks to ensure that the modified train, tram and bus services have at the very least a consistent a start and finishing date. This lack of coordination demonstrates once again the failure to view public transport as part of an integrated network.
With bus contracts to be reviewed in 2007 there is an opportunity to ensure consistency across the bus network. In particular the former National bus routes (which includes bus routes in Manningham, Maroondah and Whitehorse), operate on a completely separate to the rest of the bus network resulting in the poor integration that is rife throughout metropolitan Melbourne.