Wednesday, 22 January 2014

It's been done

Infantile paralysis
The brochure Sydney's Bus Future contains hypothetical diagrams designed to impress readers with the intellectual brilliance of the public servants involved. Like in the two previous brochures in less than a year, the argumentation is remarkably infantile.

Priority signalling at intersections is expensive and useless if buses are behind vehicles turning left or heading straight ahead at intersections (figure A), and pointless if the bus is heading to a bus only lane across the intersection (figure B). Figures C and D are the existing situation in countless six lane arterial roads.
Taylor Square bus priority lane (from previous post)
Fortunately, previous, competent State Governments have installed successful measures to speed the operation of public buses. The outward bound bus priority lane at Taylor Square is not obstructed by buses at the stop and takes buses to the head of the queue of vehicles waiting to enter the more restricted lanes in Oxford Street, Paddington. Left turning traffic use the bus stop lane. Oxford Street is a main road so the nutters at City Hall have not been able to introduce bus-calming measures.

More than 10,000 passengers use the Oxford Street bus services every weekday, so needless to say, everything that could be done to tweak the services has been done over the years. Oxford Street would be the oldest established retail strip in the colony with old established church sites and pubs, and it is fully developed - there are no possibilities for bus bays.

Every weekday commuters on the North Bondi to Elizabeth Street route are given a choice of boarding a limited stops service (333) which leapfrogs many of the stops or the ordinary full services - the 380 and 378 and the 381 service that terminates at Bondi Junction. They get to vote with their feet, and they overwhelmingly use the ordinary services. During the AM peak the frequency of services would be based on demand. Bus drivers have to be employed on either side of the peaks so demand is less relevant. From 7 am to 8 am buses depart from the Bronte terminal about every 6 or 7 minutes; 380 services depart from North Bondi around every 5 minutes and 333 services around every 5 or 6 minutes. The all stops services are twice as frequented as the limited stops services. After the peaks the limited stops services are much less popular, with the frequency dropping off to around 10 minutes.

If O'Farrell gets a second term on March 28, 2015, Eastern Suburbs commuters will lose the choice of walking further to a limited service stop or catching a full service bus. As pointed out in the previous post on Ryde buses, with the Oyster (aka Opal) Card passengers enter buses by any door, and the time saved in not requiring limited-stop buses to leapfrog stops would not be significant.

Eliminating bus stops does not only affect merchants, it creates problems for people with mobility disabilities, and makes it less likely that patrons of the many pubs, nightclubs and restaurants along Oxford Street will catch a bus to and, significantly, from the venue.

Be careful who you vote for.

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