Gosh, how exciting

Gosh, how exciting. We’re getting a Metro. Well, that is, we’re getting something called a Metro.

…and a new logo on the trams!

Wow! Animation! Motherhood statements! Trams that look like Melbourne Citadis trams, but can’t be because they have more doors! Trains that don’t stop anywhere, but must be real because they make the virtual camera wobble as they pass! Stock photography! GENERIC PEPPY MUSIC!!!

I actually don’t mind the new Metro name, provided they go ahead and boost off-peak, weekend and evening services to make the system work like a Metro.

And it’s something of a relief that they’ll keep the Yarra Trams name, given there’s nothing wrong with it, and we’ve had enough name changes already. (Met Tram, Swanston Trams, M>Tram, Yarra Trams).

My understanding is that both the Metro and Yarra Trams names are owned by the government, so there should be no need to ever change them ever again.

What will it really mean for services? They say the Comeng aircon will be fixed, and there’ll be more train maintenance money all round. They’ve also got targets like reducing train cancellations by 24%, though it’s not really clear what benchmark they’re using (January 2009, anyone?) or how they’ll do it.

A lot of the other detail hasn’t been released yet. There’s noises about more station staff (but not sure if these are fulltime or parttime, or where they’ll be), better cleanliness, more services (no word on what and when), and there’s silence on the vexed question of whether anybody will take responsibility for co-ordinating connecting buses, trams and trains, to, y’know, make sure the whole thing hangs together as a network that people can use effectively.

Time will tell.

By the way, in case you hadn’t heard, there’s free rides on zone 2 buses on weekends during September.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

11 replies on “Gosh, how exciting”

And from the train video it looks like our trains are gong to be battery powered!
NO overhead wiring, no pantograph.

I’m confused. The website says ‘Metro is the name of Melbourne’s new metropolitan rail service.’ New? What happened to the old one? And more importantly, what was it called before it became Metro? Did it have a name?

I also noticed the ‘battery powered’ train passing through a very clean looking rail corridor in that promo – no graffiti overload on everything from control boxes to station pits, old mattresses, shopping trolleys or other household rubbish illegally dumped amongst the long grass – a scene that practically defines train travel in Melbourne!!

You would think that if the State Government devoted as much effort to developing a better PT system as it has to this ad campaign and “new look”, we might have a half decent system! Are Brumby and Kosky that arrogant and ignorant that they think that the people of Melbourne will fall for all the spin that a new contractor will solve all the problems? Or were they looking for a new whipping boy, as I think Connex has been well whipped! Just remember, this is the same mob that have brought us myki- no, wait, they haven’t yet! Oops, my bad!

Confusion reigns. Today, Saturday 5/9 I boarded a zone 2 Ventura 767 bus and expected a free ride. The driver told me that this route was not free. Two Ventura supervisors had told him that the 903 was the only free zone 2 bus. I told him that I had read that all zone 2 buses were free on weekends in September. He then told me I could stay on but if a ticket inspector challenged me, it was my problem. During the journey about 50 people boarded, and only 2 of them knew about the free travel. He let them on without buying a ticket. All the other people either validated their Metcards or purchased one from the driver. After a while I noticed a poster located directly behind the driver that read ‘As is you needed another reason to love weekends. Free Zone 2 bus travel.’ I pointed this out to the driver who was now more confused than ever. He then started asking me what I knew about the free travel, and how it worked in zone 1/2 overlaps. I told him I believed that they were also free. After a while he told cash paying passengers that they didn’t have to pay. However he still allowed people to validate their Metcards. Looks to me like another communication breakdown. Eventually the driver and me started chatting, and by the time I alighted we were buddies.

The drivers should be better informed. It applies in all of zone 2 – including the overlap areas with zone 1 (and zone C).

Sunday 6/9 – free zone 2 bus travel update. The Ventura 767 drivers are now aware. They are allowing free passage in overlap areas as well. However, very few passengers know about the free offer. I suppose word of mouth will spread the news by next weekend. If new customers do not use the free travel then it is just a waste of revenue.

Just catching up on your blog Daniel… I’m in New York and having now experienced the Subway for more than a week I can safely say it’s the most awesome system on the planet.

Surprisingly there is little to no graffiti or scratchings on trains, they are nearly all spotless.

People get angry when a train is more than a few minutes since the last one.

EVERY station appears to be staffed, all the time. Sure, some of the stations are massive underground rabbit warrens the size of the Melbourne CBD. We got lost in Union Square station several times, and don’t even mention 42nd street or Grand Central.

Anyway good to see we’re getting a “metro”. Can it please be like the Paris one, where some of the trains have tyres? :)

The Metlink web site has been updated with more details of the fine print on the weekend free bus offer.

Glad you’re having a good time Nathan! You’ll be pleased to hear Myki is going to be switched on in Melbourne by the end of the year!

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