Is there enough promotion of the good stuff in PT?

I was pondering awareness of a couple of things, so decided to try a quick online survey. Over about 24 hours it got just over 100 responses… unfortunately unless I pay SurveyMonkey $19 per month, they’ll only tell me about the first 100. I think I’ll just go with those for now. (Some people didn’t respond to questions, which is why the totals add up to 98.)

Firstly, I asked about Weekend Saver fares:
Survey question on Weekend Saver fares

This seems to show that while most are aware of it, some still aren’t, despite having been available in various forms since April 2005 — over 8 years. At $3.50 for all-day travel in zones 1+2, it’s a bit of a bargain, and while price isn’t everything, where the services are half-decent, it can encourage more people to use PT on weekends.

Secondly, the ten minute services that have been running for about a year:
Survey question on 10-minute weekend train services

I didn’t ask where people are from or where they travel, but it seems few are aware that on the three longest & busiest lines there’s now a pretty damn good weekend service frequency.

What these responses say to me is that PTV are still lacking when it comes to promotion.

Cheap fares, and trains every ten minutes on the three busiest lines? They should be promoting the hell out of this.

As I’ve said before, weekend train services are now better than they’ve ever been, but there’s been hardly any promotion, and what there has been has been so vague as to be pointless.

If we’re going to see frequent services on all lines, every day, demonstrable growth in patronage on these first ones needs to be shown. For that to happen, they have to be promoted properly.

PTV is meant to be promoting public transport. They do so, but in promoting these two key messages, they don’t appear to be kicking goals.

A few other good things that are not well promoted

Touch-on Myki at the station then find trains aren’t running? Touch-off again between 30 secs and 15 mins later; you won’t get charged.

No time (or no facility) to top-up your Myki Money? As long it’s 1 cent or more, you can make one trip and top-up later.

The Huntingdale station to Monash Uni 601 shuttle runs every 4 mins 7am-7pm weekdays (then every 12 mins to 9:30pm)

The North Melbourne station to University/Hospital Precinct 401 shuttle runs every 3-6 minutes 6:45am-7:30pm weekdays.

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.

13 replies on “Is there enough promotion of the good stuff in PT?”

No time (or no facility) to top-up your Myki Money? As long it’s 1 cent or more, you can make one trip and top-up later.

Does that mean if I have $2 on my account and fare is $3.98, I can still ride into the CBDand top up there? Then why does Myki decline when I scan on?

As someone who listens to commuters (wrongly) complain about PT on talk-back radio, it is clear a lot of users aren’t aware of the most basic features of the system. Your survery confirms this.

PS How did you select your sample?

PPS Regarding: “The Huntingdale station to Monash Uni 601 shuttle runs every 4 mins 7am-7pm weekdays (then every 12 mins to 9:30pm)”. There is no way my wife would let our teenage daughter travel that route in the dark. My wife drives to Monash and picks her up after sport training in the evening. While this may be irrational, it is understandable.

It is a myth to say, the Automobile is in some way safer than the bus.

There are so many ways you can be attacked while walking to the car, and even while in the car driving along.

+You can be carjacked

+You can hit a rock placed on the road

+If a pedestrian who is drunk or drugged, can jump out in front of you, get hit, then you are legally required to stop and give assistance.

+I seem to remember an issue at Redfern in Sydney a few years ago.

+Unless you lock your doors, someone can jump into your car, while you are stopped at the lights.

+Then there is the issue of drugged and drunk drivers. Mad driving, which is sure to cause you harm with an accident.

At least at a bus stop, and on a bus, you are likely to have other people of whom would come to your aid if you get attacked.

While security cameras do not stop the crime, at least they somewhat help catch the criminal, and hope to avoid further attacks by that criminal later in time. Your modern bus has security cameras. Your automobile normally does not.

As I have said elsewhere before, I feel that;

The #401, should continu across to Clifton Hill, with perhaps every second bus doing so., and operate as a ‘SmartBus’ route too.

Ok, I have said enough about this for now.

@FelineCyclist, if your trip only involves one mode/vehicle (eg one touch-on, no touch-off until your journey is completed) it should work, and your balance will go into negative at the end. (It’s a little more complicated if you use trams and don’t touch-off, since your balance may go negative from the last trip, as you try to touch-on).

See this page – and specifically the example given in “Minimum requirements for travel”.

@Roger, I tweeted the survey and posted to Facebook. Not the most scientific method, and probably more PT users than a completely random sample.

I assume your wife is more concerned about the rest of the trip from Huntingdale back to Brighton (?) than the bus trip itself. Fears about personal safety are obviously an issue, even though in terms of overall safety, PT is a much safer mode of travel than car.

There is also the 10 minute service Frankston-Newport on weekdays in the inter-peak. It has been announced that weekday inter-peak service on the Dandenong line will be similarly increased in April next year.

Yes, my wife is concerned about a female teen walking across a uni campus in the dark, waiting in the dark for a bus; then walking (in the dark!) from Middle Brighton to Hampton. You have teenage boys (and don’t have a nervous mum living with you) so be aware that when people say that PT is unsafe, it’s the WHOLE picture they are referring to. Quoting statistics about PT safety misses the point for many people, I’m afraid.

Don’t forget free Seniors and Pensioner travel on weekends with a Myki. But given how crowded our public transport is, even at weekends,I am not sure that further promotion is needed, unless the private operators want to put pressure on the government.

@Roger, hearing you loud and clear!

@Andrew, good point, and yes crowding does happen on weekends (though the main culprits until last year were those busiest train lines that got their frequencies doubled.)

There is not any promotion of public transport whatsoever.

That is the problem.

The only ads we seem to get over the last ten years are ‘if you fare evade you will get caught’.

There needs to be a focus on ‘look at how good we are, so give a positive reason for why I would want to pay my fare’ which would also promote public transport generally too.

While peak services within the inner city are overcrowded, most services in the outer areas are not so. There needs to be a promotion to encourage people to use public transport within these outer areas.

Daniel – someone referred me to Google Docs (now drive) for surveys. I’ve used it and it’s easy

Most of the advertising for public transport in Sydney over the years, systematically portrays public transport users as, to keep it brief, losers.

Maybe the frequency of trains is every 10 minutes on the Dandenong line at the weekends – great, if it is. Unfortunately during the week, when I’m going to work there are still frequent issues including late trains, very late trains, cancelled trains and trains that whoosh past and don’t stop to pick up when they should – all meaning that I have to wait more than ten minutes for a train very regularly.
However I’ve noticed I get a seat quite often these days (at Hughesdale) whereas a couple of years ago that rarely happened.
One thing that is not an improvement is the arrangement of trains on the Dandenong/Cranbourne line. If I’m shopping in Glenferrie Rd Malvern and want to catch the train back to Hughesdale (all of 4 stops) I now have to get off and change trains at Caulfield. I’ve always thought they should promote the possiblity for making shorter trips like this more, but for me this one is now less convenient.

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