While some predicted traffic chaos when train lines went down this week it was hard to fault the Public Transport Authority’s handling of replacement buses.
On Monday morning buses ranging from little nightspot tour vehicles to five-star coaches were press-ganged into service by the PTA to bolster its own fleet.
They picked up thousands of extra passengers pushed off the trains by the city link upgrade.
The Voice took replacement buses three days this week and ran into no problems.
The drivers were cheery, passengers weren’t grumpy despite the weather, and the trips were free.
While the timing drew criticism from footy fans who were left without trains on derby weekend (“Rail work to cause traffic woe”, Voice, July 4, 2013), the school holidays meant the roads weren’t overly packed and taking the bus was only about half an hour slower than the usual train ride from Perth to Fremantle (coming in under the PTA’s predicted 45 minutes extra).
And no one could claim they hadn’t been informed of the shutdowns and given plenty of time to prepare. Opposition transport minister Ken Travers claimed the government hadn’t adequately advertised the shutdowns, but anyone who’s been at a train station in the past month would have seen the army of people the PTA has hired to hand out flyers.
And there’s been pamphlets left at just about every Smartrider tag-off point.
The second round of shutdowns on July 31 to August 4 will be the true test, as replacement buses compete with soccer mums making the morning run to schools.
by DAVID BELL