The ad hoc implementation of summer timetables demonstrates that the extent of the poor integration faced with Melbourne’s public transport. With buses, trams and trains all having differing summer timetable dates overall coordination and ease of use is restricted during the ‘summer timetable period’.
The Maroondah Leader has reported on the effects that summer timetables have for Maroondah residents who are largely served by National bus services.
PUBLIC transport users say Maroondah commuters face long waiting times over summer because train, tram and bus schedules are out of sync.
Of particular concern is the fact that bus routes formerly operated by National Bus Company (and now operated by Ventura) have punitive off-peak service cutbacks meaning that passengers that want to use public transport for recreational trips (such as students) are faced with a mere hourly service.
Alex Makin, a Maroondah councillor and vice-president of the Public Transport Users Association, has called for an end to summer timetables and service cutbacks.
“The Ventura-owned National Bus Company, the main operator in Maroondah, is on a summer timetable for most of January,” Cr Makin said. “This means bus services are out of step with train arrivals and departures.
“An already poor service is, in effect, unusable.”
Melbourne’s metropolitan bus contracts are to be renewed this year, meaning the State Government is a unique and rare opportunity to end the haphazard and detrimental impact of off-peak service cuts on Melbourne’s bus routes.
“The problem is that reductions to train and tram services usually only affect peak hour runs, whereas bus operators cut their services by about 50 per cent across the board.”
While there may be a slight reduction in peak-hour travel, there is huge potential ensure that public transport is able to cater to the increased demand of recreational travel, particularly for students who are often managing a part time job and socialising.
Mr Makin said public transport operators should be aware that cutbacks created social isolation and made it difficult for secondary and tertiary students to work part-time or enjoy their holidays.
These off-peak service cuts could be a thing of the past, if the Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky, takes the initiative to remove such oddities from our public transport contracts.