The Inner Northern Busway is a basket case at the best of times. For example full buses can often be experienced around midday even out of university semester time, and route 66 buses can fill to capacity at the first stop (RBWH) after 4pm. As previously mentioned in this blog, most of BrizCommuter's work colleagues who previously used the Inner Northern Busway have gone back to driving instead, forced away by high bus fares, and full bus followed by full bus followed by full bus. Many students also reportedly give up using public transport within a few weeks of starting university due to massive queues to board buses at QUT Kelvin Grove.
On the 20th February 2012, and February 27th 2012, TransLink have introduced a raft of bus services changes across the network. So how did the Inner Northern Busway fair? The route 66 received only 8 extra services from 1pm, meaning that there is no improvement in the am peak, around midday, and early pm peak when overcrowding can be most severe. The route 66 has also received higher capacity vehicles, but it is usually operated with higher capacity buses anyway. There have been zero improvements to other Inner Northern Busway services such as the 330, 333, 340, and the neutered 393 "air mover".
So what was the result of the Inner Northern Busway "improvements"? BrizCommuter observed QUT Kelvin Grove for 15 minutes from 3:50pm to 4:05pm on Monday 27/02/2012. Of the 7 buses that passed through, 6 filled up to capacity. Between 10-30 passengers were left behind by each bus. The exception was "Brisbane's most pointless bus" the 393. Take a look at the photos.
|Platform fills up with more than an estimated 80 passengers within a couple of minutes.|
|A route 66 turns up, but demand exceeds supply.|
|That bus is full, run to other bus, oh dear, that one is full as well.|
As per previous years, it won't be long until many of students give up public transport and drive instead. QUT Kelvin Grove busway station was not as busy as the first day of term last year, when an estimated 160 students were stranded on the platform by full bus after full bus. Maybe Brisbane having the world's second highest bus fares has scared off some students even before the start of term?
Solutions are simple, more bus services are required:
- Run more route 66s (TransLink, it is possible to run buses more frequently than every 5 minutes!)
- Run another frequent bus route along the Inner Northern Busway
- Extend the 393 "air mover" from Normanby to Roma Street or King George Square
- Run more out of service counter-peak buses in service along the Inner Northern Busway
A few other observations. Despite TransLink claiming that high capacity buses are being utilised on the route 66 and other busy routes, quite a few lower capacity buses were seen operating on the route 66. Also, if anyone wants to experience something akin to an army assault course, try alighting from a full route 66 bus at Normanby!