For a Better Brisbane

Canada Transit Special: Is Don. Is Good.

Video: TTC bus 7662 rte 25 donmills (donmills station enter) by fedders4 (YouTube). (Notes were added by video author)

This is what interchange looks like on the TTC’s subway system. Look how painless the interchange is. The TTC’s objective is to keep walking distances to the absolute minimum. Similar interchanges may be found on Perth’s train network. Buses which do not run close enough to the station are brought, like a bus turning into a busway station, directly into the train station- as you can see in the video, large Queen Street busway-style stations are located directly underneath the train station. All a passenger has to do is walk out the door of the bus and go up the escalators to get the train. And because the subway trains are fed by buses, subway trains are frequent at all hours of the day and night, the most you’ll wait for a train at Don Mills station is 6 minutes. Buses are also frequent.

This seems to confirm that reluctance to interchange may be a “cultural feedback effect” more to do with bad experiences of (1) people have difficulty doing it in Brisbane because of station design and (2) because of low frequency.

“Research into the perceived travel penalty for the users due to interchanges has given some interesting results, briefly mentioned already. Users with experience of high quality interchanges have much smaller resistance than those direct bus users that are asked of their likely reactions to hypothetical, forced transfers.”

– Gustav Nielsen & Truls Lange, Network design for public transport success theory and examples.

“The goal of interchange design under network planning is to make the distance covered between connecting services as short as possible: Nielsen recommends ‘a five step distance [with] protection from the weather in a clean and nice environment’…”

– Paul Mees, Transport for Suburbia, Planning a network, page 173

TTC buses also have displays built into the bus which shows the next bus stop that is coming up, even if no-one has pressed the button. This is useful because it gives passengers certainty about where they need to get off and stops passengers missing their stop. In Brisbane you have to look for the bus stop, if you are not a regular user or not familiar with the local area it’s much more uncertainty for the passenger. Voice announcements of stops are also installed in some buses and streetcars (trams). While passengers should not be showered with unnecessary information, it would be helpful if Brisbane’s buses displayed next stop approaching information rather than just ‘bus stopping’ or ‘doors opening/doors closing’.  It’s all about making it easy to use for the passenger.

Why can’t we have proper bus-train interchanges at places like Indooroopilly rail station or other places in Brisbane?


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April 26, 2011 at 5:04 pm

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  1. The 512 St Clair West streetcar-subway connection is probably good as well…that might feature too… I’ve heard St. Clair was pretty controversial.

    How’s Mayor Rob Ford going?


    April 27, 2011 at 5:16 pm

  2. Hi greeningward32, its great to have some Torontonians on the blog!

    Wait until you see what passes for “transfer” in Brisbane (coming up!). You’re right about the climate though- unlike Toronto there’s no chance of getting snowed on at the bus stop and it is much warmer at 25 degrees over here.

    I notice that Toronto doesn’t seem to have many bus shelters- am I right? Brisbane has a lot of bus shelters at stops. Toronto seems to just have those round poles.

    PS: Spadina connection will be featured 😉


    April 27, 2011 at 5:06 pm

  3. It’s an interesting point you make re: the quality of transfers. I live in Toronto, and barely even consider the bus/subway connection to be a transfer. You don’t need a transfer slip to go from one to the other.

    The connection between subway and streetcar however (except for the Spadina and Harbourfront lines), or streetcar and bus, have all the usual horrible connotations: long waits in inclement weather for vehicles that may or may not arrive.

    The stop displays/announcements are nice, but you too can have them, via your judicial system. They’d been promised for y-e-a-r-s, but it took lawsuits against the TTC by disabled passengers to actually get them implemented.


    April 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm

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