Old photos from June 2006

The month is almost over – here are photos from June 2006, continuing my series of posting ten year old photos.

Glenhuntly station, which looks much the same today except for additional shelter and PIDs (Passenger Information Displays). Following the works in 2016 to remove level crossings further south, many would be hoping the crossing here (and Neerim Road very close by) are done soon, but it looks like that will only happen after Labor funds all fifty in its 2014-2022 plan.
Glenhuntly station, June 2006

This illogical parking sign from Elsternwick was the subject of a blog post. Why restrict it to four hours parking during a four hour period on Saturday morning? I can’t find the photo right now, but even sillier was the nearby restriction of five hours between 8am-12noon. I think the last time I looked, these had been fixed.
Illogical parking sign, Elsternwick, June 2006

Pulling apart a VHS tape (and putting it back together). I’m sure there was a terribly good reason for this, though it escapes me for now. I still have a lot of VHS tapes; I’m gradually chucking them out, but somewhere on one of them is a mildly embarrassing recording of my sister on TV, so I’m checking each tape before I dispose of it to try and find it.
VHS video tape

Route 404 bus stop. I probably snapped this for the PTUA 404 page.
Bus 404 stop, June 2006

Collins/William Street corner. Looks about the same, but much busier given all the development at the west end of the CBD. The trams are all in different colours, of course, and LED displays replaced the old canvas destination rolls.
Collins/William Streets, June 2006

Bourke/William Street corner looking north. On the left is now the gigantic CGU building and Goldsborough Lane arcade.
Bourke/William Streets, June 2006

Swanston Street looking north towards Bourke Street. I think I took this because I became fascinated with all the companies using lime green in their colour schemes. Note the Crazy John’s mobile phone shop on the corner — founder John Ilhan had passed away a few years before; Vodafone now owns the brand.
Swanston Street, June 2006

Manchester Lane. Not so different from today.
Manchester Lane, June 2006

The contrast from the 1990s to the 2000s was more striking — in 1993 we chose the spot for a grimy creepy laneway for a student film:
Manchester Lane, 1993 (student film)

Bentleigh: boom gates officially gone

Major construction on my local level crossing removals has commenced.

The boom gates at Bentleigh, Mckinnon and Ormond have delayed their last ambulance, bus and pedestrian.

The last trains ran on Friday night, and over the weekend workers were busy taking out the rail line: overhead wire, track, signalling, ballast.

Level crossing removal works near Ormond, 25/6/2016

Level crossing removal works, Ormond 25/6/2016

Digging out the old station at Bentleigh, 26/6/2016

And the boom gates of course. On Sunday morning there was a media/photo opportunity to proclaim the crossings gone, though of course trains won’t be running again until the end of July.

Kevin Devlin (LXRA), Jacinta Allan (Public Transport Minister), Daniel Andrews (Premier), Nick Staikos (MP for Bentleigh) at Bentleigh 26/6/2016

The boom gates were loaded up on a truck and taken away.

Allan: “I think we need some more help with this.”
Andrews: “I’m sure Daniel will give us a hand.”
Lifting the boom gate for the last time - Jacinta Allan, Nick Staikos, Daniel Andrews at Bentleigh 26/6/2016

Boom gates are taken away by truck, 26/6/2016

Nearby, various machinery was taking out the railway line on the crossing itself, leaving the road bridge (built earlier in the year).

Level crossing removal works, Bentleigh 26/6/2016

As of this morning, the crossings are all open to road traffic, and digging and tunnelling (including under the roads) will happen over the next 10 days or so, with trucks removing the spoil to a quarry in Dingley which is being filled in. Then they’ll get to work building the new rail line and stations.

Some local traders are able to take advantage of the huge workforce present for the project, with cafes opening for extended hours. Apparently Brumbys Bakery is open 24/7.

Other traders are feeling the squeeze due to construction impacts, including closure of the stations.

Local residents are being urged to shop local to offer their support. This Level Crossing Removal Authority web site highlights local businesses.

And of course five weeks of bustitution for the Frankston line has just begun, and it’s good to see shelter has finally been installed at all the stops.

When I spoke to Metro CEO Andrew Lezala at the boom gate event on Sunday morning, he said he was off to catch a bus, to see how they were running.

Of course, the real challenges are during peak hours. Good luck, fellow passengers.

What’s Melbourne’s busiest bus route?

Happy Bus Safety Week!

Quick, what’s the busiest bus route in Melbourne?

Come Monday morning, the busiest bus route in the state will be in the southeastern suburbs — with more passengers and buses serving it by a long shot.

And it doesn’t even have a route number.

What is it? The Frankston line rail replacements from Moorabbin to Caulfield, over 37 days and nights from tonight at 9pm.

I compared PTV bus route stats (the latest available, sadly, are from way back in 2011-12) and tried to work out the number of buses in service at peak times, based on the timetabled round trip and frequencies. For the Frankston line bustitution, the LXRA have said around 100 buses will be used, maybe more.

But how many passengers? Well the 2013-14 train passenger figures are 38,440 entries per weekday. I’m assuming half those people use the buses (similar to an LXRA estimate from earlier in the year), but that each of them does so twice a day. A wild guess, perhaps, but let’s go with it.

So based on that, here’s how the busiest routes stack up against the forecast loads and buses for the rail replacements:

Busiest bus route estimated boardings

Busiest bus route estimated number of buses in service

Apart from bus drivers, the Frankston line bustitution also has a significant number of despatch staff, and customer service staff (at least two at each stop).

It’s worth noting that the Smartbus routes are far longer than the 401 and the Frankston line bustitution, which are a short sharp concentrated burst of activity.

Busiest bus route lengths

(Skybus is another contender for busiest/best served route. The estimates for this are pretty hard to come by, but at a wild guess weekday patronage is perhaps around 8000 per day.)

The operating hours on the bustitution route match those of trains: until midnight, and all night on weekends… which is why it’s baffling that they still haven’t fixed the part time bus zone at Patterson.

Parking, bus zone, Jasper Road

37 days

The works during the 37 days are significant, and the disruption is being described as the biggest rail shut down since the City Loop was built more than 30 years ago.

Some train passengers will jump ship to the Sandringham line… it seems Metro has managed to squeeze an extra service on that line to help cope with loads.

The buses will be split during peak times into express and stopping routes, with the stoppers along Jasper Road as before, but the expresses along Thomas Street/Bambra Road — hopefully helping the whole thing run more smoothly. Of course the impact of 150 truck movements per minute hour on nearby roads during the first ten days will have an effect.

Bustitution

Given the number of buses required, clearly the bus companies have found any buses they can — there are a lot out there with no Myki readers (the buses are basically free to ride), and I’ve spotted high-floor non-accessible buses in service (not necessarily a problem as long as accessible buses are plentiful).

The first two weeks of operation are during school holidays, but there are three weeks of “normal” weekdays, which is when the buses will really be tested.

It’ll be great when it’s all over.

But in the mean time, brace yourself, fellow Frankston line users.

Use other footpath

Pedestrians — Use other footpath.

Haha just kidding, there IS no other footpath!

You’ll have to use the road or the (possibly wet boggy) grass.

Use other footpath. What other footpath?

Silver lining: it’s not a very busy road.

(Ward Street, Bentleigh. The footpath is blocked for building construction. Not many streets in this area have only one footpath, but a few do.)

Master of my domain… or not

A couple of experiences with online hosting services that I wanted to relate.

Don’t worry, I’ll try not to let this get too geeky.

NetRegistry domains

For years I had a domain name custard.net.au associated with the company I owned that I used for contracting — this is a common thing in the IT and contracting worlds. I stopped contracting some years ago and wound-up the company (I couldn’t justify the ongoing expense, let alone the damn paperwork), but the domain name stayed active for a few things including email.

The domain had originally been registered through a company called ClickNGo, which was acquired by NetRegistry in 2011. In turn, NetRegistry was bought by Melbourne IT in 2014.

About a year ago, out of the blue, it became apparent that another party had somehow got control of the domain, the web address, the associated emails.

Initially I thought it was some kind of hack attempt, but it turned out that the registrar, NetRegistry, had handed it over to them, on the basis that the old company ABN I’d used was no longer current.

NetRegistry claimed they had emailed me beforehand. They hadn’t. Or at least, nothing was received. It wasn’t in my spam folder; it hadn’t arrived. They’d had my email and snail mail details, but neither had received anything.

Email isn’t 100% reliable. If they had tried, they certainly didn’t seek any kind of confirmation that I’d seen the message.

I was in no position to dispute the eligibility to continue to hold the domain; that was fair enough. But it seems ridiculous that in such a situation, the registrar doesn’t try a bit harder to make contact. In a lot of cases the assumption over eligibility might be wrong, and/or the domain could be used for something really important.

I had used the domain for a few things, but nothing critical other than emails for a lot of different online services. I made contact with the new owner, who was kind enough to agree to forward emails and a few specific URLs across so I could gracefully withdraw from the custard.net.au domain.

No thanks to NetRegistry.

AussieHQ web hosting

For years I used AussieHQ for web hosting.

The company used to be called “Aussie Hosts”, a small web ISP run by a family company. When I first dealt with them, they were really good — very responsive and reliable. Apart from my own hosting, the PTUA web site got moved there too.

Over the years they have acquired (Aussie and McGoo HQ merged to become AussieHQ), and been acquired, and are now part of UberGlobal — nothing to do with the well-known car “ride sharing” company; they are an online services company.

Alas, as they have got bigger, their service has got steadily worse. Web outages, email problems, hacking… and they’ve usually been unable to provide any useful response to any of these issues. They’ve also failed to update their status page or Twitter feed during problems, and have done things like renewing annual plans without any notice.

Due to these problems, in the past 12 months I’ve moved all my own hosting and the PTUA hosting off their servers. There plenty of more competent competitors.

By the way, in 2015 UberGlobal was bought by Melbourne IT.

So in both these cases, the problems were courtesy of subsidiaries of Melbourne IT, which was spun out of Melbourne Uni in the 1990s.

I don’t know if their other services are better or worse, but based on this, I’d be wary of dealing with them or their subsidiaries again.