Nothing makes public transport more usable than frequent services, where you don’t need a timetable, you just “turn up and go” — in transport planning circles this is actually known by the TUAG acronym.
Regular readers might know: the Frankston and Dandenong lines now have TUAG trains every ten minutes every day for much of the day. The Ringwood line is every ten minutes at weekends, fifteen on weekdays (inter-peak).
But people don’t know about it. How would they? There’s been virtually no promotion, and I’ve rambled on about this many times.
At last it seems someone is listening — large billboards are popping up prominent locations close to the lines with the frequent services. These three billboards are at Moorabbin, close to the Frankston line.
I’m told billboards are also up along the Dandenong line, and similar posters are starting to appear on stations:
— Justin (@Juz1093) August 12, 2015
I do wonder if the non-public-transport-using layman will quite register what “Turn up and go” means, if they don’t read the smaller “every ten minutes” message. I’d have put the latter in big letters across the sign. (But I’m no advertising expert.)
In any case it’s great to see them taking this seriously. Previous attempts have either been far too vague, or too short-lived and sporadic to get into people’s heads. (There were a few TV ads, for a short time.)
Trains every ten minutes every day is a genuinely good service, and makes the train service much more useful for people. It needs good promotion so that more people know about it.
Of course, it would help if it were backed-up by their own automated signage.
This sign and others like it would be great advertising — by showing to passers-by that the next train is rarely more than 10 minutes away… but for some reason the train information they show on the platforms can’t make it onto a sign 50 metres away on the street.
I’m not holding my breath for that one to be fixed. It’s been this way for more than four years. (Yeah I know it’s not quite identical information — in the station you want to see the next train on that platform; on the street you want to see the next train in each direction.)
Perhaps they’ll fix this when the station is rebuilt.
But in the mean time, advertising to better promote good things is worthwhile.
Most people know roughly where the trains go, but making them aware of the existence of services every ten minutes should hopefully get more people on board. Some promotion to help build awareness and patronage will help ensure similar frequency upgrades can spread across the network.