Public transport data made available publicly in Queensland is very superficial and lacks currency and real detail.
Why is this so? What should happen from here?
Lets go back a little in time. TransLink used to publish the TransLink Tracker ( http://translink.com.au/about-translink/reporting-and-publications/annual-and-quarterly-reports ). This included some public transport performance data for SEQ, including a measure of bus on time running and reliability. Bus reliability was reported as 100% till I challenged it and pointed out that was not possible. TransLink simply stopped publishing this falsehood. Bus on time performance was reported and had it often better than rail. An absurd falsehood. I constantly challenged this as well. Our estimates of bus on time performance was around 80-85%.
A letter to the editor to the Courier Mail, published 10 August 2009 for example
The TransLink Tracker report states on-time bus performance is approaching 96 per cent. How can that be? Any regular bus user can tell you on-time performance is nowhere near that.
Robert Dow Darra
This charade of reporting false on-time bus performance continued, despite my constant challenges, until a new CEO was appointed to TransLink. On 10 April 2012, the then new CEO of TransLink, Mr. Neil Scales (now DG TMR) was interviewed by Spencer Howson on Breakfast 612 ABC Radio Brisbane and myself on the 11 April 2012 ( http://blogs.abc.net.au/queensland/2012/04/translink-stats-for-oct-dec-2011-released.html?site=brisbane&program=612_breakfast ).
One of the questions for Neil yesterday morning was - when will buses start running on time? He said while it was easy for trains to be on time, buses are never on time - anywhere in the world - because of traffic. But this report shows buses are consistently on time MORE OFTEN than trains. 95% of buses, 94.5% of trains. Last quarter 95% of buses, 93% of trains.
Shortly after this interview and to Mr Scale's credit, TransLink stopped publishing the false bus on-time performance data and till this day, no measure is made available.
What happens now?
Data for Transport can be found here --> https://data.qld.gov.au/organization/transport-and-main-roads
Transport customer information here --> https://data.qld.gov.au/dataset/transport-customer-information
It is only very limited and for SEQ, essentially the same as what is available on the TransLink web site - performance snapshots --> here!
No objective performance assessment for rail, bus or ferry. Limited peak data for rail is available at Queensland Rail http://www.queenslandrail.com.au/RailServices/City/Pages/PeakOn-TimeResults.aspx This is only current for 5 days and then disappears, so I keep an ongoing record here http://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?board=73.0 better than nothing ..
Patronage on lines, stations, bus routes, ferry routes is not available in any detail. Paper ticket sales no information. Go card - no breakdown into fare types, paid or free trips and so forth.
Last patronage data for rail 2012 --> http://translink.com.au/about-translink/reporting-and-publications/annual-and-quarterly-reports
As can be noted the data made available is superficial, mainly subjective and designed to cover up the real issues with our public transport network. For the Queensland Government to claim it is being open and transparent is just nonsense. It is being secretive and attempting to cover up the real problems.
So what should happen from here?
The authorities need to come clean and publish the full data.
A recent media release on this:
Media release 7th April 2014
Queensland: Come clean with the real public transport data
RAIL Back On Track (http://backontrack.org) a web based community support group for rail and public transport and an advocate for public transport passengers has again called for the public disclosure of detailed public transport data.
Robert Dow, Spokesman for RAIL Back On Track said:
"Detailed public disclosure of detailed public transport data is not done in Queensland as for other states (1)."
"Yesterday afternoon (Sunday) there was yet another 'signal fault' which stopped trains on the Caboolture line and had flow on effects to the Ipswich and Sunshine Coast lines. We have a report of a commuter being stuck on a train for one and a half hours (2)."
"There are constant problems with the public transport network around the clock. The Minister for Transport claims that train reliability has improved. Unless we are given the data for the full operating period how can that be confirmed? Where is the data for the bus and ferry networks? Bus no shows are common. The network is a shambles."
"Fares are in meltdown in SEQ (3). Hiding the detailed public transport data indicates the authorities are unable to effectively manage the network in terms of performance levels. Time for some new leaders?"
1. SEQ: Call for transparency and accuracy with public transport data http://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=10357.0
3. The south-east Queensland fare fail ... http://railbotforum.org/bb/index.php
RAIL Back On Track http://backontrack.org
Some examples of how data is published in other jurisdictions:
Transperth trains on-time running ... how it should be done .. http://www.transperth.wa.gov.au/AboutUs/Surveysandstatistics/Archivedontimerunningstatistics.aspx
Sydney Trains --> http://www.sydneytrains.info/about/our_performance/otr_summary.jsp
Here in SEQ all we get is peak, and that is limited to the last 5 days. [http://www.queenslandrail.com.au/RailServices/City/Pages/PeakOn-TimeResults.aspx ]
So I have become accustomed to recording that data on a regular basis so at least there is some sort of public record. See --> http://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?board=73.0
It is beyond pathetic that I am forced to record this data, a task that is no doubt being done by the bureaucracy but treated as a state secret. The contempt for citizens by the authorities is breathtaking.
Note that the measure of bus OTP is also given in Perth. Something that also missing in SEQ. Why? Hiding failure?
It is time the Queensland Government lived up to its rhetoric and made the real data publicly available. By doing this the real issues will be identifiable and something might be done to sort them.
We are tired of puffed up spin.