The Five Group Railway – good or bad for passengers?

The "five group railway" is something that's been on the cards for a while. The Age highlights it today in this article: Metro plan to split Melbourne rail network into five lines hangs on union fight It has its origins last decade -- the 2008 Victorian Transport Plan talked about "creating a Metro system", in the context of strong patronage growth and the evolution of Melbourne's commuter rail


Productivity while travelling

Peter Martin in The Age yesterday, on driverless cars: Imagine studying, reading books, watching TV, sleeping or (legally) playing with your mobile phone on the way to work. Whichever way you look at it, the freed-up time will boost productivity. Sounds great! Wait a minute, thousands of us do that stuff every day by catching public transport to work. Even when it's crowded and you

Consumerism, Retrospectives, Toxic Custard newsletter, TV

The ABC Shops to close

Warning! No transport content! If you only want to see transport blog posts, you can use this URL, or sign up to the email alerts! My first recollection of the ABC Shop in Melbourne was a small space in their then Lonsdale Street radio HQ, which was where the County Court is now -- on the corner of Queen Street. I think it's where I got the 1983 Doctor Who 20th Anniversary Special book (a lo


The next timetable – delayed but hopefully still on the way

Today's Age highlights the Metro timetable changes that were planned to be implemented with the RRL opening last month. As many would know, the introduction of Regional Rail Link was meant to be accompanied by a big timetable change on Metro to take advantage of the extra capacity unlocked, particularly on the Sunbury, Williamstown and Werribee lines. Despite the moves towards "Metronisation

Photos from ten years ago, Toxic Custard newsletter

Photos from July 2005

Another in my series of photos from ten years ago: July 2005. A snowman at Lake Mountain -- in fact I blogged about this day trip at the time. Hmm, haven't been to the snow in a few years now. Centre Place, Melbourne. I think I snapped this with an eye to a new banner for my old web site. Unfortunately I don't think I have any pics from the then-unremarkable northern end, where street art

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Visually awful, make a lot of noise

Abbott and Hockey dislike the aesthetics of windfarms, describing them as "visually awful" and "making a lot of noise". Funny, I think the same about motorways. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course. But motorways certainly have problems with noise, with pollution causing health problems, and with the space they take up for what they do, and cause dispersed travel patterns rath


The CBD bus ride that #Myki thought was in Brighton

So apparently the installation of GPS equipment to track buses stop-by-stop in realtime hasn't helped Myki zone detection at all. On Tuesday at lunchtime I caught a bus from Queensbridge Street (aka Casino East, the brand new tram/bus platform stop) to Queen Street. It's all within 1 kilometre of the city centre -- about as far from zone 2 as you can get. And it's on a route with realtim

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport, TV

Sense8’s public transport. Can you name the cities?

I'm always interested to see portrayals of public transport in popular culture. I've been watching the Netflix series Sense8 -- I'm a bit over halfway through it. (And I just realised the Wikipedia article includes spoilers, so watch your step if you're planning to watch it). It's pretty good -- at least, I'm intrigued enough by the story to keep watching. It's scifi, created by the minds be

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

You can check your Opal card balance on a phone. #Myki? Don’t hold your breath.

Outside Australia, numerous public transport smartcard systems have apps that let you instantly check the balance of a card using a phone that uses Near Field Communication (NFC). Most such phones are Android, but the Apple iPhone 6 and later also has it. Because the "master record" for this data is kept on the card itself, only checking via NFC can guarantee details that are completely up t

Melbourne, transport

How to go shopping by public transport in Malvern

I found this flyer during a clearout of the PTUA office last week. Judging from the text it appears to be from late 1992 -- perhaps around the time Jeff Kennett was elected in October 1992. What's changed since then? Tram routes Route 69 is now route 16, connecting via St Kilda Beach through to the City/Melbourne University. The other tram routes are much the same, though ro