Nice placement, fellas. Was that part of the plan?
But the real news is that it turns out the new Frankston/Pakenham/Cranbourne timetables introduced in June have had a noticeable effect on punctuality.
Metro figures presented by CEO Andrew Lezala at last week’s PTUA member meeting show that in the first two weeks of the new timetable, morning peak punctuality for the Caulfield group jumped from 65.1% to 78.7%.
Curiously, evening peak punctuality rose only slightly, from 56.5% to 57.9%. I actually expected this to improve more, since in theory it should be a little easier to control the departure times of trains entering the loop (eg at the start of their trips from Flinders Street), which is perhaps the biggest bottleneck on this group of lines. Obviously there must be other factors at work.
The all-day change for the group was from 68.9% to 73.2%, so still well below the 88% target, but a tangible improvement.
Apart from morning punctuality, anecdotally the overcrowding has reduced under the new timetable.
But changes on the Frankston line in particular are still causing controversy, of course.
Regular passenger Julie Davis from Carrum said her journey has been extended by half an hour because she changes at Richmond to catch a city loop train.
“If you wish to catch a loop train you have to endure stopping all stations or rush around like a maniac at Richmond where nothing is synced to cater for Frankston loop passengers,” she said.
Now… it may seem like half-an-hour, but it’s unlikely that it actually is, at least on a consistent basis. I’ve been doing a bit of this myself to/from the Sandringham line this week… It’s perhaps a minute to change platforms, and up to nine minutes to wait for the next express train to Frankston (but an average of 4.5 minutes, all being well). Inbound the wait at Richmond would be much less, generally around 2-3 minutes.
So worst-case scenario (on a good day) would be about 4 minutes inbound and 10 minutes outbound.
I think if I were her, I’d just catch the stopping train and settle down with a good book. It takes 10 minutes longer from Carrum to Richmond, but runs into the loop without changing, and is likely to have plenty of seats inbound (especially for trains that originate at Carrum), and outbound from about Ormond onwards.
Not that anybody likes a longer ride or a change of trains, of course.
But it now seems clear that the change has resulted in more reliable services — at least in morning peak, that is.
It’ll be interesting to see how the final results look, and the Caulfield lines in particular.