Monday, 24 August 2009

Transport failure

One of the great delights of living in the so-called "Mitcham Hills" is that we are serviced by one of Adelaide's few rail services. And indeed our line is more picturesque than most.
The train has actually been out of commission for the last few months while wooden sleepers have been being replaced with concrete ones. It's apparently an alleged preparation for an electification.
Well, it's been b*&^%y annoying! But, I guess, necessary. I have not caught the bus-alternative, but give her her due the medium sized S Clark has dutifully goine to work and Uni on the bus.
We all heaved a huge sigh of relief that last Sunday (23rd August) saw the reintroduction of the train.
Indeed I guess we were all a bit gobsmacked on the Friday before to hear the announcement that the timetables were also being revamped. A huge sigh of 'and not before b*&^%y time' could be heard echoing from Belair to Clapham.
Alack alas it is not to be. Our timetable will still be the same crappy weekend timetable it has always been.
The very-same medium sized S C dutifully starts work at 7.30 in the City of Adelaide each Saturday. But even if she started at 8, the first train from Belair does not leave until 7.30 arriving in Adelaide at 8.05.
In these days of deregularised trading and working hours we need a transport system that can respond.
At other times on Saturday and Sunday the train goes only hourly. I suppose it's inevitable that frequency diminishes. But you do have to wonder at what point the infrequency of services actually discourages people from using transport. I suspect that all but the hardened train traveller can submit to the possibility that if they miss their Sunday train they will have to wait in the inglorious Adelaide Railway precinct for an hour...quite different from a 30 or even 40 minute wait.
My impression from our brief sojourn in Europe two years ago (see here for example) is that Adelaide could really improve it's transport if it wanted to. In a way that Europe seems to have done. We simply have to decide that cities are served by public rather than private transport.
But few have the political nerve I suspect.
I have include Derek Scrafton's name in the tags, becuase it seems to me that from my very brief but much appreciated association with him he knows more about public transport than anyone else in this State.

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