Something went wrong

If you try and browse the PTV web site over the long weekend for a timetable, you might see this: “Something went wrong, please try refreshing the page”.

PTV web site, trying to display timetable for route 3 Lakes Entrance - Lakes Entrance East. Error displayed: Something went wrong, please try refreshing the page

There are two problems here.

Firstly, the error is wildly misleading.

You can try to keep refreshing the page right through the long weekend. It won’t work until Tuesday, when this service is scheduled to be running again.

Curiously, some bus timetable searches at times when services aren’t running display a more sensible error: “Sorry, there are no results for this time.”

PTV error displaying timetable: Sorry, there are no results for this time. Please try another day or time...

This makes more sense, though you’ll also see it if looking late at night after a route has finished for the day. In those cases it should really default to showing services running that day.

The current PTV web site was launched in 2019. In a lot of ways it was an improvement, but there are still problems like this. In fact looking back, it seems some problems with things like train timetables during bus replacements weren’t fixed.

Hopefully they’ll keep improving it.

The second problem is that this bus service and a lot of others (especially in country towns) only run on weekdays, or only run Monday to Saturday, leaving gaps in service of up to four days over the Easter long weekend.

Is a 7-day service practical or needed on every route? Not necessarily, though the rollout of “minimum standard” bus services was never 100% completed in Melbourne, nor was it applied to regional cities and towns.

A related issue is that the information for public holidays is incomplete and inconsistent. So it may not be easy to find out if your local bus route is running or not – as documented by Peter Parker in this Twitter thread.

This is especially a problem for Easter Saturday, which is a rarity, being a gazetted public holiday on a Saturday.

It’s just another issue where PTV needs to ensure information is complete, correct and easily available.

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.

5 replies on “Something went wrong”

Surely a more helpful (and truthful) result text would be: “No services today, or Sunday, or Monday. The next scheduled service will be at 16:15 on Tuesday (2023-04-11)”? But that would be tantamount to admitting failure to provide a service, so the marketing team won’t permit it. The server ‘knows’ this and could easily compose such a reply.

I’ve seen that message at the PTV website and nothing went wrong in so far of the internet or the website. The message is grossly misleading when it is just a matter of of a service not running. How many staff does PTV employ to work on online timetable information? Perhaps more to the point, how often do PTV timetable information staff use their website to work out travel?

Shh, don’t tell anyone Easter Saturday is a public holiday otherwise everything will suddenly be force-closed on the Tuesday, as well as not running half the public transport services. It’s ridiculous enough that Good Friday still exists as a PH in Australia when not even the Vatican has a PH on that day.

The PTV website is terrible, I go out of my way to avoid it; you can download Metro and V/Line timetables infinitely quicker from their own respective websites. Annoying that Yarra Trams and bus operators don’t publish their own timetables though, no choice but to put up with PTV for those.

Another note about timetables: Some idiot decided to split shared lines like Belgrave/Lilydale into two separate timetables, resulting in having to download two timetables if you live or need to travel anywhere between Ringwood and the city otherwise you aren’t shown half the trains e.g. the Belgrave timetable (for example) only shows up and down Belgrave services, not Lilydale services which go as far as Ringwood. In ye olde days of Metlink, this wasn’t a problem as the Belgrave and Lilydale timetables were the one and same, with both lines shown together e.g. Belgrave to Heathmont, a gap, then Lilydale to Flinders Street. Even Alamein services between Camberwell and the city were shown in the timetables.

@Heihachi_73, the issues of online timetables are probably worth a blog of their own at some stage soon.

I agree, it make no sense for Metro to split the Belgrave and Lilydale lines. I’d note that the PTV timetables do group them together.

PTV’s version has other issues though. They show all the Cranbourne/Pakenham services in the Frankston timetables, and vice versa. Not useful, it just makes them all less readable.

They also show Werribee line (but not Williamstown) trains in the Sunbury line timetable – also not useful.

And the Werribee and Williamstown line timetables show Sunbury line trains. Again, not useful.

Maybe they could produce a separate Footscray timetable which shows all three lines, a bit like V/Line’s Deer Park and Ardeer timetable. Wait – they kinda have!

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