MTF: Love for better buses

The future of buses was ‘electric’ at the October MTF Meeting with inspiring presentations from Victorian Transport Action Group and TransDev.

The meeting also bid farewell to Cr Jackie Fristacky, long time Yarra delegate and transport advocate. Jackie is not standing for election again in Yarra after 18 years on council.

Victorian Transport Action Group’s Peter Parker inspired the room with ten opportunities to dramatically improve bus services. His detailed worked included many improvements that could be achieved simply by tweaking existing routes. You will love the understanding of route planning in this presentation.

TransDev’s Loretta Lynch offered a glimpse into the future with her report on their recent street level trial of a locally made e-bus in Melbourne. Incredibly quiet and exhaust free, the e-bus has delighted drivers and transported passengers on the 246 route for many months. But there’s a lot to learn about making e-buses work on streets: recharging options and opportunities (including solar), coping with unexpected delays (especially in hot weather with air con draining the charge), size of vehicles, production costs and more. “It’s all about the practicalities of matching buses to routes,” said Loretta.

Challenges aside, e-buses are clearly the future, with NSW set to buy 1000 e-buses as part of a complete transformation of the fleet over 2 decades.

Peter’s presentation
Loretta’s presentation TBA
E-bus fact sheet

DoT looks towards recovery

DoT looks towards recovery and getting Melbourne moving again.

MTF September meeting was very pleased to get a comprehensive briefing from senior Department of Transport officers about the new structure and the priorities in these COVID times. This included advocating Councils bring forward Active Transport projects for rapid approval.

Nick Foa, Deputy Secretary, Transport Operations, Department of Transport, explained the structures and priorities. While Alan Fedda, Executive Director of Metropolitan North-West Victoria, Department of Transport, provided a deep dive into the projects on the go.

The breathtaking takeaway was the scope of the new DOT: More than $70 billion in projects, 120K jobs, 4K employees, 40 acts of parliament, and three ministers. Interestingly, within this monolithic structure, roads and public transport are covered by one Minister – Ben Carroll.

Every Department has a set of headline goals, in this case mission priorities were a reformist agenda:

1 Significantly less congested metropolitan networks
2 Faster more reliable freight movement
3 First and last mile mobility.

Much emphasis was given to progressing Victoria’s Big Build despite COVID restriction. The list of projects on the go is staggering. But even so, they have one eye on the post COVID normal and another on coping with increased traffic congestion as PT usage remains lower than normal.

Alan Fedda provided a detailed insight into the roll-out of congestion busting technology across the road network. This included trials of real time adjustments informed by a roll-out of 700 CCTV cameras and other data sources.

Of most immediate interest to LG was moves to make all clearways tow-away zones and increased road-occupation charges.

Mr Fedda recommended Councils bring forward innovative active transport projects, like pop-up bike infrastructure. He said DOT were keen to innovate to get people moving.

He said the State was already building 250kms of new active transport links.

MTF Highlights May 20

Jane Waldock to become Executive Officer

Jane Waldock will commence as MTF EO from 1 July, until then she is working handover with retiring EO Susie Strain.

The MTF voted to endorse an executive recommendation to appoint Jane Waldock as Executive Officer for an initial period from 01 July 2020 until the Annual General Meeting in 2021.

The current Executive Officer Susie Strain is set to retire on 30 June after serving the MTF for more than 15 years.

Jane comes highly recommended by her peers and has a close and ongoing relationship with the MTF, having represented Yarra City Council on the MTF for many years.

She is a qualified civil engineer, and has worked in construction, contracting, local and state government and consulting sectors. Jane has worked for over 15 years in local government, most recently at the City of Yarra, where she was a member of the Executive Team, as well as managing the Sustainability and Strategic Transport branch.

Zoom Cycle workshop – Urban Bicycle Parking Insights

Facilitated by Harry Barber from Phillip Boyle and Associates, the May participants heard from several councils who had delivered improved bicycle parking, including:
Kate Simnett, Active Transport Planner, Maribyrnong PDF
Simon Stainsby, Sustainable Transport Officer, Moreland PDF
Julian Wearne, Transport Planning Officer, Yarra PDF
Anthea Hargreaves, General Manager, Public Affairs & Marketing Parkiteer, Bicycle Network. PDF

Break out groups also discussed improving parking at schools & shops, and at outer suburban railway stations.

Ministers response on buses

The MTF has received a very detailed response from Minister Horne in reply to our submission for additional bus funding in the next state budget. The letter acknowledges the DOT commitment to increasing bus patronage by 70% over ten years.

The letter also acknowledges the historical shortcomings of buses and outlines the government’s program of network improvements planned for the medium to short term.

Copies of the full letter are available to MTF members on request to Greg Day

MTF ABC notes April 20

April media note worthies

Amids the saturation coverage of the COVID-19 response, the implications for transport and major infrastructure projects were widely canvased.

Two government messages emerged. First, that the State was committed to proceeding with the Big Build items, especially as they are job creators. But doubts started to arise about the timelines, given labour and supply concerns. Second was the importance of rapid take up job creation projects. It was not lost on cycling advocates that the long list of unfunded projects in the cycling plan could fit the bill very nicely.

Commentators mused over the long term impact on patronage, cycling, working habits and commerce. There’s no doubt that COVID-19 will be a line in the sand.

April media note worthies

What do we want life in Melbourne to look like on the other side?
By Nicholas Reece
The Sunday Age 26 April 20

The road to recovery: Are Victoria’s mega-projects still worth it?
By Clay Lucas and Timna Jacks
The Age 25 April 20

Calls to rethink Victoria’s most expensive road project during pandemic
By Timna Jacks and Clay Lucas
The Age April 17, 2020

Crisis talks as Melbourne’s train, tram passenger numbers slump by 90%
By Timna Jacks
The Age 27 March 20

First Victoria-built electric bus gets thumbs up from bus expert
Renew Economy 28 April
Background: Transdev have purchased 1 electric bus for 12 month trial. We make 88 return trips per day on route 246 with around 25-30 buses travelling this route each day (numbers vary according to timetable and fleet). The electric bus trial on Route 246 between Queens Parade in Clifton Hill and Elsternwick Railway Station/Horne St (Elsternwick) between 5.45am to 11.30pm weekdays. Route 246 operates a high frequency service with buses every 10 minutes and was selected for the trial as the trial route needs to be repeatable with buses following each other in closely timed proximity for comparison between the performance of existing late model Euro 5 and Euro 6 emission standard diesel buses and the new electric bus.

In terms of passenger comfort, the bus has a low floor, is quieter and is equipped with passenger USB ports.

Melbourne in a post-pandemic world: how the virus could transform the city
By Jewel Topsfield, The Age 3 May
It’s early days but urban planners are already pondering the marks that will be left by COVID-19.

Port Phillip welcomes you

Divercity 102
March April 2020

Divercity celebrates the many ways that our community welcomes newcomers to our glorious city by the bay.

We look at how Port Phillip’s Australia Day included both a homage our first nations people and a heartfelt welcome to people receiving the Australian citizenship from 42 different countries.

We also drop into a first-time parents group to see how our newest citizens and their carers are progressing. We look too at the great range of clubs, both social and sporting, that welcome new participants – crocket anyone, or will it be cricket? Plus we give a shout out to the volunteer Waterfront Welcomers that greet cruise ship passengers and crew as they disembark at Station Pier.

Add to this, four pages of events, many free or low cost, that invite you to join in the fun, education and entertainment that locals love. So much to do, so little time.

There’s also information about ways the Port Phillip people are reaching out to those affected by the bushfires in East Gippsland and North East Victoria.

Read the latest Divercity

A world of people to meet

Council now as an advisory committee on multicultural issues with a world of experience. Packed with familiar and new faces, the committee will help council make Port Phillip a more welcoming place for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
There’s also a call out from the South Melbourne Life Saving Club for more people to get involved and help them make the most of their beautiful and practical new facilities.
With climate a hot topic, its good to know that more trees will help keep us cool. Meet senior arborist Greg Mitchell who is part of a team adding over 1000 new trees every year to our streets and parks.
To prove that time does fly, its forty years since the first St Kilda Festival attracted 30,000 locals in 1982. We reconnect with MaryLou Jelbart, former St Kilda Councillor who helped start the event back in the day.
Homework has never been more fun than at the Homies Homework Club at Emerald Hill Library in South Melbourne. Meeting weekly just across from the famous Australian National Music Academy, the club attracted volunteer musicians from the academy who then introduced the Homies to an orchestra. Now that’s not your average homework.
Plus four pages of summer time events; festive, foreshore and community.
Readers also get a chance to say what they think about Council communications. Go for it!

Read Divercity 101 now

Divercity scores a century

Welcome to the 100th edition of Divercity. With longer days (and hopefully warmer weather), we’ll all have more time to enjoy the great outdoors.

Paint in the Park at Gasworks is a three-hour out paint outdoor ‘competition’ over two weekends. It’s all about participation and inspiration, but there’s also remuneration with big cash prizes.

Also outdoors is a festival of everyday bike riding, the aptly named Tour de Moray (celebrating the spanking new bike track along Moray Street). There will be loads of fun, a scavenger hunt, pop-up attractions and free bike tune ups – you’ll be dinging your bells in delight.

Get down to Fitzroy Street for Luminous, a pop-up art attraction with visuals by five creative outfits. Marvel at the works of PluginHUMAN, Tom Gerrard, John Fish, filmmakers Nick Kozakis and Carl Allison, and recycled nylon sculpture by Elizabeth West. It will be Fitzluminous.

There’s also highlights from the local Senior’s Festival that will inspire swinging, singing and giggling.

Oh, and we look at Divercity covers over the years since we first started in 2001.

Enjoy. And thanks for participating.

Read Divercity 100 now

Many faces of youth

Music, arts, politics and the environment – the youth of Port Phillip are active, vocal and talented. Meet Ed, Meagan and Nina from the Youth Advisory Committee and read about what motivates them to get involved. There’s also great photographs of Semi and Jillian who are making their mark in art, the enviro club at Albert Park College and the finalists in the Resource Smart awards from St Columbas Primary.

Plus millions in election pledges coming our way, tackling the taggers and loads of local events.

Caring about homelessness

Divercity 98

In this issue, we meet some of the locals who care about homelessness.

On the cover are Henry and Mark from Father Bob’s Community Pantry. There’s also Donna who helps out by using her skills as a hairdresser. We’ve also got handy contacts for agencies that care and a list of places to get a free feed every day of the week..

You’ll also get an insight into the day-to-day struggles from the crew at the Port Phillip Community Group. We also take a look at Wintringham, an aged care service right here in Port Melbourne that welcomes people who have struggled with homelessness.

This edition also links seniors to a range of activities to keep them connected and social in the winter months and beyond.

And just to show off our love of compost, we look at Veg Out Community Gardens and Council’s community compost waste reduction ideas. You’ll learn about green cones that will put your FOGO in the zone.

Plus an amazing list of local events, including all the buzz from the St Kilda Film Festival.

All this and more in the latest Divercity.

Collective style

Divercity cover

From the colourful cover to the action packed event pages, Divercity showcases the style and substance of our neighbourhoods.

Meet Abuk and Afadang who bring the colour and style of South Sudan to life through their sewing collective. A few pages later, meet Susan and Ella who are leaders in theatre. Walk along the foreshore and you might stumble across David, a mathematician and artist reimagining paintings from the 19th century.

Plus there’s a pond built by volunteers near a 700 year old tree with a great Indigenous story. There’s also a snap of eco-teens exploring the reefs of Point Ormond with the Port Philip EcoCentre team.

And now there are more ways to better deal with e-waste – that ever growing collection of unwanted stuff we have in our houses, like old phone chargers, routers and alike.

All this and more in Divercity 97 March – April 19