Monday, October 04, 2004

She's Gonna Ride On.. and On 

Way back in August I wondered what Perth infrastructure-type bloggers might blog and suggested railway stations or rubbish bins as possible subjects. Today I discovered a Web site that catalogues railway stations and sidings - History of Western Australian Railways and Stations. No rubbish bins but the owner also maintains sites on Water Towers of Western Australia and Coal Stages of Western Australia. Now I feel totally justified in having a big rave about public transport. I haven't caught PT for months and suddenly it's all go.

Gill's noticed advertising along Freeway north that progressively gives the message that perhaps commuters might prefer to be on the train. She reckons it's good to see, even if the train can't swing by daycare on the way home from work and she therefore must continue using her car. At least she's heading north when everyone else is going south and vice versa. On the positive transport side, Gill and Caelan took the train to the Perth Royal Show.

Meanwhile, a friend and I recently discussed the branding of the private companies that initially held contracts to manage Melbourne's trains. Not like you need to earn brand loyalty when you're the only company offering a particular service. I think that discussion stemmed from working out how I'll get from Portland to Melbourne on public transport.

My trip from Adelaide to Mt Gambier was easy to plan using the Premier Stateliner site. VicTrip is the official site for information on public transport services in Victoria and I took much longer to plan my trip with them. Planning was complicated because Portland is not on a direct V/Line route and I am not familiar with south western Victoria. VicTrip gave details of a private service between Portland and Hamilton but did not mention it connects with a run through to Melbourne.

The people who designed the site must be very Melbourne-centric because the form only asks for a destination. If that destination happens to be Melbourne (fancy that, country people wanting to go to the city), then all of the city's train, bus and tram services, including Nightrider buses, are mentioned before the country services. And this is on the regional services Web site, Viclink. Lucky I don't use a screen reader.

Eventually everything dove-tailed. My friend can hopefully drop me off at a bus stop before work, and I can catch a bus to Hamilton then on to Warrnambool, where I can catch a train into Melbourne. A happy ending!

Wow. I just queried the Transperth journey planner, giving it a friend's address and a nearish landmark. I forgot to adjust the times and because it's a quarter to midnight, the only option given is to 'Walk 1908 metres Arrive approximately 24:08.' Now I know how far I walked in boots with heels to go to a WARP Foundation do. Also discovered that West Midland will now be called Woodbridge - which will save all that confusion over Guildford, East Guildford, West Midland, Midland. Clearly someone a long, long time ago wasn't having an inspired day at the office. And all train rides were free today to celebrate the opening of the new Clarkson station. Not that I was in Perth to celebrate or that I'm not entitled to ride for free anyway. If by some remote chance you read this and you live in Perth, you can win a ten-ride multi-rider from Transperth by filling in a survey about their Web site before 25 October. Any luck I'll have finished this blog entry by then.

Time to get off.

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