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Photos from ten years ago Toxic Custard newsletter

Old photos from June 2008

Here’s another in my series of old photos from ten years ago… this time, June 2008.

You might remember that Frank Woodley did TV ads for Metlink, to encourage bus usage. Here’s the cartoon version, on a bus stop.
Metlink Frank Woodley bus promotion, June 2008

Speaking of advertising, I quite liked this ad for the Get Smart movie (originally posted here). Come to think of it, I’ve still never seen the movie.
Get Smart movie advertising, June 2008

Hitachi train, sporting its Comeng-era seat covers
Hitachi train, June 2008

Gambling addiction is a serious problem, but this is still one of my favourite photos: The Machines Will Win. (See also: Part II)
You know in the end the machines will win (1/2)

(For those with short memories, that’s a Metcard machine; the predecessor to Myki, and just as disliked when it first got introduced.)

The signage at Bentleigh station, back when the train times worked.
Bentleigh Station Smartbus signage, June 2008

Punt Road – then, as now, sometimes the buses can’t reach the bus lane because of all the traffic. Hopefully the re-design of this intersection will fix that.
Punt Road, June 2008

The last few photos are from a visit to the Eureka skydeck in late June 2008…
Eureka Skydeck, June 2008

The view of the Westgate Bridge/Kingsway intersection. It conveys the vast amount of space used by motorway interchanges.
Westgate Freeway viewed from the Eureka Skydeck, June 2008

A more youthful looking me, back when I wore a tie, with Government House and The Shrine of Remembrance in the background
At the Eureka Skydeck, June 2008

The city skyline. Note despite the two lanes of traffic across Princes Bridge, the cars were still queuing.
Central Melbourne, viewed from the Eureka Skydeck, June 2008

Categories
Photos Toxic Custard newsletter transport

Photos from last week

The hi fi box was a big hit with my niece (and nephew)
The box is a hit with my neice

Having obtained a government-provided “boarding pass” (they were handed out with some MXs — I missed out but managed to get one via Kev, who saved it for me), I went searching for the airport rail link. Strangely enough it wasn’t listed on the network status board.
Searching for the Airport rail link

A while back I bought some shirts from that Charles Tyrwhitt mob who advertise a lot. Pretty nice shirts, and I’ll probably buy more from them. One thing’s for sure though, they WILL send you promotional catalogues and emails afterwards. You won’t feel neglected.
Charles Tyrwhitt promotional mail

The channel 7 news the night following the Endeavour Hills stabbing. You know things are serious when they’re doing five live crosses for one story.
Live crosses following Endeavour Hills stabbing

Just a bunch of trams rolling down the road? Not quite — if you look closely, they’re going the wrong way, heading north along the southbound track. They were headed by a Yarra Trams car with flashing lights. There was an underground fire at the corner of William Street and Flinders Lane, and Yarra Trams decided to move the trams backwards rather than have them stuck for an indefinite period. For reasons that escape me, this is known in tram circles as running “bang road”, and is rare enough that Marcus Wong shot video of it.
Trams running backwards up William Street

For some months now this signage at Bentleigh station (and others with more than 2 platforms) has been incomplete. Despite repeated queries over several months via Twitter, it hasn’t been fixed. (I’ve been querying Metro, though they apparently need to chat to PTV to get it resolved.)
Incomplete signage, Bentleigh station

Here’s how packed some CBD trams can get — really testing the new E-class trams’ theoretical capacity. Now, how packed will it be from January when free CBD tram rides are introduced? Packed enough, I suspect, that I told a PTV survey person several weeks ago that, in all honesty, the change is likely to reduce my use of CBD trams — remembering that I have a Yearly Myki, so if I opt-out due to increased crowding, my paid rides will have been replaced by freeloaders.
Packed CBD tram

Spotted in Bourke Street one lunchtime.
'Lies' #EWLink

Seddon and Yarraville both have campaigns against paid parking on at the moment. I’ve gotta say, having had the need to drive to both recently, and having spent ages (particularly in Yarraville) looking for parking, I think I’d prefer having a price signal to discourage people from staying longer than necessary and/or to go without their cars (both centres are quite well served by public transport).
No Paid Parking campaign, Seddon

Lois Lane in Yarraville. No sign of Superman. Or Clark Kent, for that matter.
Lois Lane, Yarraville

On the western suburbs train lines, there’s only a service every 40 minutes on Sunday mornings. This is the result: the 10am train from Footscray to the city, packed to the gills. The Show is on, but even after North Melbourne, plenty of people stayed on board going into the CBD. Not every square centimetre of floorspace was occupied, but it’s not good enough when the rail system has plenty of spare capacity, and should be trying to attract extra trips. High time extra trains ran on Sunday mornings.
Werribee line, Sunday morning. Trains 40 minutes apart.

Both South Yarra and Footscray have six platforms. Sadly only one of them has live information on the concourse for all six platforms.
South Yarra station concourse
Footscray station concourse

In the past few days rubbish bins have been removed at Melbourne’s major railway stations. Apparently the transparent design wasn’t considered secure enough. Here’s what they looked like. (I snapped this pic last week to email in to Crikey, whose people had apparently never seen/noticed them. Crikey didn’t use it, but The Age did.)
Transparent rubbish bins, Flagstaff station

Categories
Toxic Custard newsletter transport

Airport rail begins here… well, eventually, maybe

There’s some big news on the East West Link today, with Labor saying that if the Supreme Court agrees with the Cities of Moreland and Yarra that the planning approval was invalid, they will rip up the contracts if elected. Read all about it here in The Age.

But meanwhile… Lots of ads for the Airport rail link have gone up around Southern Cross Station in the last few days.

Dear tourists, don't go looking for the airport train. First departure not expected for about a decade.

Wonder how much govt is paying PPP station operator to display all these ads. #SpringSt

Dear tourists, sorry, when they say the airport rail link "begins here", they mean in about ten years

Yesterday morning they outdid themselves, including a massive ad on the steps from Bourke Street. Update: Pic below
Airport rail ad, Southern Cross Station

A bewildered tourist (or blissfully unaware local) might wander around the station looking for this train to the airport that departs every ten minutes and “begins here”.

The problem of course is that the link doesn’t exist. It won’t exist for at least a dozen years.

And that’s if it goes ahead. The 2014 Budget Papers show that in the 4 year budget forward estimates period, there’s $850 million of funding, or about 10% of the total cost of Melbourne Rail Link and the Airport Link.

State budget 2014-15: Asset initiatives

This seemed to be confirmed last night by Liberal MP for Caulfield David Southwick at the Glen Eira MTF Transport Forum, who when asked about it said that the current funds would cover extensive planning and preparatory works, with the rest of the money to follow.

(Note in contrast the East-West Link western section, which gets around $3 billion in funding in the next 4 years — well and truly enough to get lots of actual construction underway, and provide the project enough momentum that it can’t be stopped.)

The danger is that with most of the project as yet unfunded, a government of either flavour could easily put it on ice, just as the Coalition has done with the Metro rail tunnel, which has had many millions of dollars already spent on it.

Meanwhile, the ads pile up. In this post I compared the current crop of ads with the Labor ads in 2010. But these have gone a lot further: At least Labor stuck with promoting initiatives that were actually in the delivery phase.

Promoting an unfunded plan that may never happen, just months before an election? That really is just a pitch at re-election.

See also:

3AW 10/9/2014: Did we miss the train?

Categories
Consumerism transport

Spot the difference – transport advertising in the lead-up to elections

I was thinking the government ads about transport upgrades back in 2009-10 (Labor) are pretty similar to 2014 (Coalition).

How would it be if I got them both and dubbed the audio of one over the video of another?

The 2010 version is mostly about trains; the 2014 one has been chopped a tad to remove around 15 seconds that was about East West Link. But it’s surprising how well they fit. (The full unedited versions are shown below.)

This time around, Channel 7 reports ads like this have cost at least $3.2 million so far.

Comparing 2010 to 2014

Let’s play a little game of Spot The Difference.

2009-2010 – Labor 2013-2014 – Coalition
Advert for new Smartbus route 903
Advert for a measly 6 extra services on bus route 630
moving-victoria-ad-20140301
Nice placement: Advertising, Cheltenham station
Victorian Transport Plan advertising, December 2009
Myki billboard advertising, February 2014
Bayside Rail Imorovements poster, Bentleigh, February 2014 (cropped)
Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said the ad campaign should now be considered “electioneering” and withdrawn immediately. He vowed to cut advertising spending in the transport portfolio if the Coalition won government in November. “If I’m the transport minister, the money I have available to me will be going into nuts and bolts business, not self-promotion,” he said.

The Age, 1/9/2010

Rather than invest in public transport Napthine Govt invests in advertising 2 tell us how good it is. But you can’t spin lived experience!
Jill Hennessy, Labor Public Transport Spokesperson, 28/2/2014, Twitter

Denis Napthine will fight for his survival with the last dollar of your money #springst
Martin Pakula, Labor Spokesperson for Scrutiny of Government, and Transport Minister 2010, 1/3/2014, Twitter


Is advertising ever justified?

Yes, sure it is. Public transport is a product which competes against other modes of travel, particularly cars.

But it the ads should be informative, or at the very least should tell you why (even at a high level) you should be using the product.

Some of the ads have been informative at some level. From the sample above (and it is only a sample), Labor’s newspaper ads and the Coalition’s billboard/noticeboard ads have some level of useful information in them.

Amazingly, none of the Coalition’s ads spell out a huge improvement they’ve delivered in the last couple of years, but almost totally failed to promote: frequent weekend trains on much of the network.

And the TV ads in particular, placed by both sides of politics over the years, tell you very little — they seem purely design to try and convince you that your Government is doing Good Things with your money.

Update 13/8/2014: The video mashup features in this Age story today: State transport ad campaign costs mount

It’s worth noting that from comparing these ads, while the current Coalition campaign promotes a lot of projects that are years away from completion (and in some cases haven’t been fully funded yet), most of the Labor campaign from 2010 focussed on projects which were then at the delivery stage, or at least were fully funded.

Categories
transport

Train window ads – what about visibility?

I’m not against advertising on public transport. It brings in much-needed revenue and helps subsidise services.

But it shouldn’t be intrusive.

Bus and tram passengers have had to get used to ads on windows of vehicles over many years, but it’s only in the last couple of years that it’s become prominent on trains. It seems to be applied with a semi-transparent film.

Generally they seem to aim for some, but not all, of the windows along the side of a carriage… and not every carriage, so as with buses and trams, some windows are left clear.

But this still results in some visibility problems.

Outside advertising on trains

Looking in from the outside it’s very difficult to see inside, meaning staff (including PSOs) may be unlikely to spot issues inside the train. It also makes it more difficult for passengers boarding to identify and avoid the more crowded parts of the train. It might be a tad better at night, but during the day you basically can’t see in.

Looking out from the inside of the carriage is a mixed bag.

Viewing across from the other side of the carriage, it’s actually not bad, at least in daylight. Outside scenery, including important things like station signs, are quite visible.

Outside advertising on trains: from the inside

But up close, it’s not as easy. It can be difficult to focus on things outside, at least if they’re some distance off, which may make some signage difficult to read.

To compare to a clear window, you can kind of see the effect of the film in this photo, though the way the camera has focussed doesn’t exactly reflect what the eye sees.

Outside advertising on trains: from the inside

Objects very close to the window, such as the station signs in the underground loop, are still very clear — but at most stations they aren’t that close.

Outside advertising on trains: from the inside

Those who have real problems seeing out or knowing where they are will want to aim for windows that are unobstructed.

But this may not be an option during peak hour, and really, government and operators should ensure that passenger visibility (both in and out) of trains (and trams and buses) is better than it is with these ads plastered over them.

Categories
Consumerism driving transport

Why is Metro allowing this advertising in its stations? – part 2 – Kia #comfortisethis

A couple of years ago I wrote about Nissan Micra ads at Flinders Street Station directly criticising public transport.

This time, it’s Kia’s turn, though it’s a little less overt. Spotted at Malvern (as well as other locations, such as South Yarra):

Kia advertising at Malvern station

You know, I’ve been using public transport for decades. I’ve seen people asleep, but I’ve never, ever had someone fall asleep on my shoulder. Does it really happen, or is it just a cliché?

Kia advertising at Malvern station

I suppose this is not necessarily poking fun at walking as a form of transport, but it could be read that way.

It does strike me that getting a plastic bag caught on your heel may be an “uncomfortable moment”, but on the other hand, research indicates that driving in unsuitable shoes such as these is just plain dangerous:

Adrienne Savoy, a driving instructor for DriversEd.com, said the higher the heel, the more a person is in danger.

“When you’re wearing high heels, it’s nearly impossible for the heel to stay steady on top of the mat, which would delay the reaction time between the accelerator and the brake. Sometimes you only have a second to react, so that could be a split second you have to prevent a crash,” she said.

Even for those of us who never wear heels, we know that travelling by public transport is an order of magnitude safer than driving.

I think I’d rather be uncomfortable than unsafe.

Categories
Consumerism transport

“If someone’s abused on this train, let them know you’re on their side.” – Train ads address racism on PT

I assume this Anti-Hate advertising campaign from the Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission is a response to some well-publicised incidents recently:

Anti-Hate advertisement on a train

The small print says: The only thing more painful than racism is the silence that follows. If someone’s abused on this train, let them know you’re on their side. Help stop the hurt.

So are they encouraging people to give the racists a spray? Kind of… as the web site notes:

If you don’t act you might later feel guilty that you didn’t! But, more importantly, research shows that when people watching don’t do anything, it increases the impact of the incident. That is, by everyone staying quiet while someone is yelling hateful things, it makes it seem like they all agree with what’s going on. This can be far more hurtful than the abuse itself.

So by making an effort to let the target know you don’t support the hate, you can make a huge difference to how someone feels about themselves and the community.

It goes on to say that:

would never recommend that you put yourself in physical danger, for instance if the hater is drunk, on drugs or appears violent. Of course, if violence or a crime occurs, call the Police on 000 immediately.

I don’t know whether the kind of racism seen recently is on the increase or if it’s just being brought to attention via the proliferation of phone cameras, but it’s good to see an attempt to address it. Hopefully it helps.

View the full Anti-Hate web site: antihate.vic.gov.au

Categories
transport

Is there enough promotion of the good stuff in PT?

I was pondering awareness of a couple of things, so decided to try a quick online survey. Over about 24 hours it got just over 100 responses… unfortunately unless I pay SurveyMonkey $19 per month, they’ll only tell me about the first 100. I think I’ll just go with those for now. (Some people didn’t respond to questions, which is why the totals add up to 98.)

Firstly, I asked about Weekend Saver fares:
Survey question on Weekend Saver fares

This seems to show that while most are aware of it, some still aren’t, despite having been available in various forms since April 2005 — over 8 years. At $3.50 for all-day travel in zones 1+2, it’s a bit of a bargain, and while price isn’t everything, where the services are half-decent, it can encourage more people to use PT on weekends.

Secondly, the ten minute services that have been running for about a year:
Survey question on 10-minute weekend train services

I didn’t ask where people are from or where they travel, but it seems few are aware that on the three longest & busiest lines there’s now a pretty damn good weekend service frequency.

What these responses say to me is that PTV are still lacking when it comes to promotion.

Cheap fares, and trains every ten minutes on the three busiest lines? They should be promoting the hell out of this.

As I’ve said before, weekend train services are now better than they’ve ever been, but there’s been hardly any promotion, and what there has been has been so vague as to be pointless.

If we’re going to see frequent services on all lines, every day, demonstrable growth in patronage on these first ones needs to be shown. For that to happen, they have to be promoted properly.

PTV is meant to be promoting public transport. They do so, but in promoting these two key messages, they don’t appear to be kicking goals.

A few other good things that are not well promoted

Touch-on Myki at the station then find trains aren’t running? Touch-off again between 30 secs and 15 mins later; you won’t get charged.

No time (or no facility) to top-up your Myki Money? As long it’s 1 cent or more, you can make one trip and top-up later.

The Huntingdale station to Monash Uni 601 shuttle runs every 4 mins 7am-7pm weekdays (then every 12 mins to 9:30pm)

The North Melbourne station to University/Hospital Precinct 401 shuttle runs every 3-6 minutes 6:45am-7:30pm weekdays.

Categories
transport

Clever placement of #MetroTrains #DumbWaysToDie characters in stations

A lot of the unfortunate jellybean characters are depicted around CBD railway stations at the moment as part of Metro’s Dumb Ways To Die campaign. I was amused at the placement of this one:

Clever placement of this #metrotrains #DumbWaysToDie sticker at Flagstaff

…but this one is even better. (Only a short video — don’t bother with the sound; it adds nothing.)

Perhaps I’m easily amused, but that did make me laugh. Very clever.

Categories
transport

Competing #Myki top-up adverts

Noted at Flinders Street Station the other week, on one of those automatic rotating advertisement things: competing ads for Myki.

“Even the shortest queue can be avoided with Myki auto topup”
Auto topup Myki ad

A few seconds later: “Top-up at 7-Eleven now!”
7/11 Myki ad

(The third ad in the sequence was not Myki-related… after that it flipped back and repeated the two above.)

Interestingly, some 7-Eleven adverts, such as this one in MX, have emphasised that credit appears on your card straight away, unlike with online top-up.
#Myki promo in @mxmelbourne talking up instant topup (no delay like online)

It’ll be interesting to see if these types of adverts encourage people to use off-system top-ups such as at 7-Eleven, and/or auto-topup (which works quite well for Myki Money users, and is literally a “set and forget” system — once set up, this too is instant).