Monday, December 2, 2013

Daring to Dream: Our visit to the Tramway Museum in Ferny Grove

Brisbane has a little known historic gem thanks to some smart thinking folk back in the late 60's when Clem Jones got rid of the trams. It is a place of child-like joy that brings smiles to all ages.

The Tramway Museum on Tramway Street in Ferny Grove is a great place to dream big about public transport in South East Queensland!

We say 'blue sky thinking" shouldn't be just for big wigs and corporate types. It should be for all of us!

Why shouldn't we say bring back the trams?

Thanks to support from the Brisbane City Council the Tramway Museum is able to keep rolling.

Peter the driver at the helm.

Peter steering the tram forward.

Leon sells the tickets and souvenirs.

We wish they had saved the trams!

Alex the conductor wont accept gocard.

An unmissable photo opportunity.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

MEDIA RELEASE: Bus service cuts and the public transport affordability crisis, Brisbane

October 14, 2013

The Translink Ripoff

Today Translink will implement changes to Brisbane bus services after protracted consultations and redesigns. These changes come amid an unprecedented public transport affordability crisis in South East Queensland. We anticipate there will be a lot of angry bus users, who will be even angrier when they are slugged with yet another 7.5% fare increase in January 2014.

Consultation with the people of Brisbane around changes to bus services has been a minimal afterthought. The Brisbane City Council provided a nine question survey, virtually identical to the one used by Translink in their limited consultation. Translink user satisfaction surveys are designed to minimise criticism by skirting or ignoring the real issues, namely, that public transport in SEQ is sub-standard and far too expensive.

If bus service reforms are to be effective they must involve genuine engagement with the people who use them.

The people of Brisbane used their democratic rights as ratepayers and citizens to reject the original Translink reforms. They did this in a climate of plummeting affordability. It was a last ditch effort to protect the little service quality that could be relied upon from a public transport system with profound problems that leave most users disillusioned.

We believe the public transport system is in need of total reform if Brisbane is to become a truly international city with affordable, reliable, fast and regular service.

This Thursday, October 17 we will celebrate our 2nd birthday as The Translink Ripoff. During the last two years we have provided a responsive sounding board and a place for righteous anger for disillusioned Brisbane public transport users who feel they have nowhere else to go. It is the thoughtful criticisms from public transport users and our willingness to listen and respond that has seen our blog included in the Queensland Government funded Pandora Archive. Our blog The Translink Ripoff is regarded by the team at the State Library of Queensland as having “lasting significance” and will continue to be archived.


Media contact:
Page Manager - The Translink Ripoff
Michael Swifte
0449 180 465


'Why the bus cuts fell to pieces' from The Translink Ripoff blog
Pandora Web Archive – Translink Ripoff
The Translink Ripoff – Facebook page
Creative Craft Activism by Donna from Toussaint Trading

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Unearthed 2004 Zone Map: What it shows us.

We found this map after one of our Facebook page followers alerted us to Wayback Machine Internet Archive.

Translink Zone Map July 2004

This map was replaced shortly after with the rail lines removed - it was called a 'bus zone map'. The railway stations shown in red are in a different zone from the zone indicated by the Translink zone boundaries.

To us this means we've always had a separate zone system for rail since the beginning of integrated ticketing.

It is a key piece of evidence in making our case that the system presided over by Translink is broken and need thorough reform!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Why the bus cuts fell to pieces.

by Michael Swifte

Yarn bombed bus stop on Sarah St in Annerley.

When we first saw this photo posted to the Annerley Junction Annerley Arcade facebook page we knew we were witnessing a pivotal moment in the relationship between the people of Brisbane and their public transport providers. We've watched the public transport scene very closely over the past 2 years and have seen nothing online or elsewhere that showed such a positive and fierce response to the brutal strategies of Translink under successive governments. This image was shared widely on facebook and twitter, spawned newspaper stories and blog posts, and also made it onto local TV. This image/action helped to strengthen the resolve of  the many local groups who were lobbying their councilors to save their bus routes. It also led to the transport minister Scott Emerson handing over the Brisbane bus routes review process to the Brisbane City Council.

For many Brisbane bus users there is one route that is most important, it passes within a short walking distance of their house, and there are generally just enough services during peak times to get to and from work. They have an intimate knowledge of the small part of the network that they rely on, and they know the only other options available to them are infrequent, inconsistent, and much further to walk.  In the last 4 years Brisbane bus users have seen a 72.5% increase in fares, little improvement in service frequency, congestion on busways and in the CBD, and no improvement in buses arriving on time. So when Translink presented their review and suggested cuts the people clung to what they knew could be relied upon.

Most Brisbanites don't have time to analyse the latest political squabble or planning trend and are understandably suspicious of the transport minister's latest promises and spin. Most have a general understanding of their political representation and most know who is responsible for running the buses. It's not surprising then that in frustration at Translink they saw an opportunity to seek advocacy as constituents and rate payers. Brisbanites turned to their local councilor to defend what they knew worked for them. 

The handover of the reform of Brisbane bus networks to the BCC revealed in technicolor that Translink is at odds with its largest bus service provider. It also revealed that Translink had failed to consult effectively with the public. Planners and transit boffins decried the loss of Translink's new high frequency network plans,  but the people whose local buses were set to disappear were happy that they had retained that last sliver of convenience. In failing to effectively consult the people Translink failed to identify an important component of public transport provision that industry leaders call 'coverage' (not leaving huge unserviced gaps). They also failed to identify an important trait shown by people who have been beaten down and boxed into a corner - they rise up and fight back harder than ever!


Monday, February 18, 2013

It costs an arm and a leg to pay the fare in SEQ

On valentines day we went to Central Station and Inala Plaza to talk to people about the cost of fares and to have a little fun. We brought two mannequin arms and legs to help make our point.

We got the usual nods of agreement from the commuters at Central Station, and had a little fun and listened to some real people's stories at the Inala Plaza bus stop.

We were stoked that so many people were happy to have their photo taken.

George thinks its too expensive

Mrs Adam is angry, 'In Inala we can't afford to go anywhere, fares have taken over our lives'.

Michael thinks fares are way too dear

Joe has had enough

Gladys wants cheaper fares.

Beverley can't go as often as she'd like to.

Yolanda thinks its too expensive.

Cassandra is not happy about Translink fares.

Sharni is not happy about the price of fares

Abdi says it is much too expensive, more than anywhere else.

Notching Up in 2013

The current government said they were going to do something about the cost of living. They said they would do something to make public transport more affordable. But instead they've just sold their fare increase as less bad than the one planned by the previous government. Changing the 10 journey cap to a 9 journey cap was a tiny tweak to an existing fare saving opportunity that is targeted only at those who commute to work full time. 

But there is a way to squeeze the highest possible value out of the absurd transfer rules and this unfair and ineffective 'affordability' measure. We call it 'notching up'.

Here's how our notching up service works. 
  • I provide the service to people who work in or around the Brisbane CBD on Monday mornings so as to optimize the benefits for the rest of the week. Ideally you will have notched one journey getting to work. 
  • You need to provide me with an unregistered go-card as this protects both of us from infringement of Translink rules as anyone can be the bearer of an unregistered go-card.
  • I charge $1 per notch and the go-card needs to be charged with enough credit to cover the cost of 8-1 zone (off peak) journeys $21.04 or the cost of 9-1 zone (off peak) journeys $23.48 if you have not notched up a journey that morning.
  • Text me your workplace address or a meeting place, I'll meet you between 9am and 10am, grab your go-card and $8 or $9, and return it before you finish work. 
That means that the cost of each journey will be $3.63 which is a significant saving! I am eager to get as many go-cards as I can as I have a new strategy that will allow me to notch up go-cards 5 go cards at a time. This may interest your co-workers?

Michael Swifte
0449 180 465

Monday, January 7, 2013

What happens when transit authorities lose the plot?

Yesterday Translink brought in the fourth consecutive annual fare rise. The fare rise which makes an overall 72.5% rise in fares since 2008 has been advertised as half the rise that was scheduled by the previous government - this is irrelevant and ludicrous.

Other state premiers have had to fight for even a 2% rise while here we are expected to accept the assertion that a fare rise will make catching public transport more affordable?

Below is the latest update of our ever popular national comparison table. All fares listed are for peak times.