Is Australia in danger of being swamped by 24-hour time?

24-hour time is common in Europe, and in the airline industry, and the military.

Internally, many industries use 24-hour time, but publicly 12-hour time is dominant in Australia.

I have seen 24-hour time used at cafes. Perhaps they were run by Europeans; perhaps it was an attempt to seem more European.

V/Line uses 24-hour time in most cases, including on their public timetables — they switched back in 2000. Other public transport operators in Victoria use 12-hour time in public.

Except… at the brand new Metro stations… where somehow, they’ve used both on the handy new screens.

As you can see, train departure times are in 12-hour time. But the current time is in 24-hour time. Ingenious!

Bentleigh station - new Passenger Information Display on platform

(Note that in the background, there’s a standalone LED clock showing… 12-hour time.)

Both formats have their advantages. 12-hour is more commonly known, though 24-hour is less ambiguous. But wouldn’t it be better to choose one or the other?

I’d love to know how this happened. Is it some devious plan to get people gradually used to 24-hour time?

Or did someone just not think about how gloriously inconsistent this is?

Update: I’m told it was an error, and the displays will be updated shortly to consistently show 12-hour time.

Update 7pm:

Govt flyer sent to #Bentleigh voters missing any mention of their biggest project: #EWLink

Letters that arrive in anonymous envelopes and then turn out to be party political propaganda are not my favourite thing.

This one from the State Liberals showed up the other day.

The Liberals’ signature project, perhaps the most expensive infrastructure project ever undertaken in the state, is the East West road tunnel — around $18 billion in construction costs, but likely to cost much more to taxpayers as a PPP.

Am I mistaken? I can’t see it mentioned here at all — not in the brochure, not in the cover letter. Could it be that they know few in this area think it’s a good idea?

What are other areas getting?

Liberal flyer, September 2014 (front)

Liberal flyer, September 2014 (back)

Liberal flyer, September 2014 (cover letter)


Frankston line – has train punctuality really improved? Well yes, but…

I noted this tweet from my local state MP, boasting of improved punctuality on the Frankston line since she and the Coalition came to power in November 2010:

But are these two figures really showing an improvement? Tony Smith on Twitter replied, pointing out that two data points aren’t a trend. (And I think he wants me to run for parliament.)

Funny thing is, my records show punctuality was actually lower than Ms Miller quoted in November 2010 — at just 73.5% (arrivals within 5 minutes). I suspect she was looking at the November 2011 figure.

Here’s the period in question on a graph, with a trend line added.

Frankston line punctuality

So yes, the trend is up.

But there’s a problem with the Coalition claiming credit for it. The biggest boost in punctuality in mid-2011 was when a timetable re-write was introduced, separating out most weekday services from the Dandenong line. It also cut the myriad of stopping patterns. But that timetable was largely prepared while Labor was still in power.

The other relevant changes during the Coalition’s term (apart from very welcome boosts in weekend frequency) were timetable tweaks providing a longer running time on the line (in some cases leaving multimillion dollar trains sitting idle waiting for the timetable to catch up), and Metro’s new habit of skipping stations (either bypassing them completely by running direct instead of via the Loop, or running express where scheduled to stop) to catch up time.

Metro would claim that this is to keep trains in position by ensuring one service delay doesn’t cascade into the next, but on occasions they have been found to be doing this where it didn’t make operational sense — such as this example, where an evening shoulder-peak train was altered to stop at just a handful of stations, despite plenty of trains being available for its return run.

Train altered to skip 9 of its 15 stops

Network-wide the punctuality trend is also up, though it’s less pronounced:


So overall, there’s no denying the punctuality stats have improved since November 2010.

But what about…

But what about a graph of that other big election promise for the Frankston line?

Frankston line - Southland station

Not so impressive. Today’s Age reports some progress, but with no station now expected until 2016/17, and a question mark over the facilities it will provide, clearly there’s a way to go.

Road space: bus vs bikes vs cars – a famous photo recreated in Canberra

Many years ago the German city of Munster set up a photo comparing the road space taken by people in a bus, on bikes, and in cars.

Earlier this month the Cycling Promotion Fund recreated that picture in Canberra, and yesterday they released it.

69 people, by bus, on bikes, or in 60 cars

On Sunday 9th September 69 volunteers, 69 bicycles, 60 cars and one bus gathered in Canberra to recreate a world-renowned photograph taken more than 20 years ago to demonstrate the advantages of bus and bicycle travel in congested cities.

The captured image shows the typical space occupied in a city street by three common modes of transportโ€”cars, bicycles and a bus โ€”- and is being made available free of charge to organisations, group and individuals to help promote the efficiency of public transport and cycling in congested cities.

The project used 69 people, as this is the capacity of a standard Canberra bus, and 60 cars, as this is the number occupied on average by 69 people.

Cycling Promotion Fund media release

Like the old photo from Munster, it very clearly shows how moving large numbers of people by car around cities is not efficient — something people sometimes seem to forget when praising such developments as electric cars.

But unlike that old photo (and a similar photo I recall being done on Melbourne’s Swanston Street which seems to have never been seen since), CPF have made the photo freely available at high resolution.

They also did a short video showing the photo shoot:

Good work CPF.

If your team is out, who are you going for?

If your team is out, who are you going for?

First. I’m a Geelong fan, so I’m going for them, of course. Go Cats!

What of the others?

Equal second. I’d have rated the Dogs or the Saints equally. Both underdogs. I have a girlfriend who lives in Footscray, and a good friend who is a big Dogs fan, but I have a sister who goes for the Saints, and I grew up in St Kilda. Since the Saints won last night, they’d be my number two team this Finals season.

Besides, anybody but Collingwood.