Recently I was in Melbourne as I had meetings at my companies office there. While in Melbourne during my free time in the evenings I went exploring checking out the City Loop, Flinders Station and of course the Tram Network including the newer Class E Trams which were covered well in Patrick’s fantastic article Democratic Tin: Observations from Bourke St.
However one of the great parts of Melbourne PT system that I noticed was the ticketing system Myki. First how easy it is to buy a Myki Card as you can buy them from machines everywhere not just at major stations but across the City such as
- All the Ticket Machines.
- Over 800 Retail Stores Across Melbourne & Victoria.
- On the Bus from the Driver.
- On the V/Line from Conductors.
This is something that should be considered here in Auckland to increase HOP use. At the very minimum allow HOP cards to be bought from ticket machines but if we could also buy them bus drivers that would be great as well. This allowed me to quickly get going on the PT Network and doing something similar here making the PT Network much more accessible to new users or people when they lose their HOP cards would be fantastic. This system could also be great for existing users as less cash based users mean quicker dwells for bus services and thus faster PT services.
It also was not just how easy it was to buy a Myki card but how easy it is to top up. There are Myki Ticket Machines everywhere not just select rationed places like in Auckland, all the trams stops I saw, for example, had them. AT should consider, actually scratch that should put some more ticket machines around the city. At the very minimum, Northern Express City Stops as well as the future Midtown Bus Solution Stops & major NW City Stops such as Albert Street/K’ Road.
You of course also have the 800 retail stores to top up including from all 7-Eleven stores. AT should consider trying to get HOP out to much more retailers. The one near me in Ellerslie is great and I use it all the time so be great for more people accross Auckland to have the same access.
You can also top up online or over the phone, with 90 minutes max wait for the top up. None of this next day or potentially 72 hours wait like with HOP.
Also with Myki if you forget to touch off in Zone 1 let’s say coming into work in the morning, when you go to touch on in the evening to go home it just takes the fare off then no penalty charge. This is great for people not using services with gated stations as we are all human sometimes we forget to tag off. So a system like this is something users would appreciate.
Something else I thought I saw was some Tram stops had Myki readers at the stations so you could tag on/off at the station rather than the Tram. I know the Sydney Light Rail with Opal has readers at the stations. This is another idea that could be great for services such as the Northern Express with the stations having readers similar to the train stations do with city stops also having them. The Trams also had Myki Readers on all the doors and allowed all door boarding. These solutions could drastically reduce dwell times on Northern Express services and potentially other bus services improving journey times for users.
The NACTO Guides including the Transit Street Design Guide which the new Auckland Street Design Guide being developed by ADO/AT will use as a base highly recommends the implementation of all door boarding and off door boarding.
The Webster Ave Trial in New York city led to impressive improvements, according to NACTO:
Comparing service from a year before installation to a year after, bus travel times through the corridor dropped 19% to 23% for rapid buses. A Bx41 SBS trip during the PM peak fell to 40 minutes, compared to 52 minutes on the previously operated Bx41 Limited. The local bus also saw benefits, with trip times reduced by 11 to 17%
as well as San Francisco
San Francisco shows the specific benefit of all-door boarding. At busy stops, a 38% reduction in entry/exit time was found for buses: 1.5 seconds per customer, in a system with 100 boardings per bus in the peak hour. Transit travel speeds increased 2% on average after implementation. Coupled with improved enforcement, fare evasion dropped from 9.5% to 7.9%, reducing estimated fare loss nearly $2 million.
These are all ideas that AT should seriously consider for HOP as they will significantly improve both the system from a Network Operations point of view as well as a user Happiness point of view.