Commuters queuing for buses at Moorabbin station on Tuesday morning. Photo: Chris HopkinsStop whingeing, Frankston line commuters. This week’s train disruptions really aren’t that bad.
I travelled from Moorabbin to Southern Cross on Wednesday morning, by train and by bus and then again by train.
I’d been warned to expect the worst. Trainpocalypse.
Work to remove level crossings on the Frankston line meant buses were replacing the normal train service from Moorabbin to Caulfield, and, pfft, as everyone knows, Metro can’t do anything right. So why would this be any different?
Plus, morning thunderstorms were forecast. Heaven and earth were moving to conspire against me. I packed a rain jacket and an air of disappointment and headed for Moorabbin.
I found Miko chewing on a nail-thin cigarette on the benches at Moorabbin, guitar tucked under his arm, waiting for the next train. He’s usually stationed on Chapel Street, but he figured he could make a few extra bucks busking for commuters forced off trains and onto buses at Moorabbin.
“These people need some entertainment,” he told me. Miko has swapping busking at Chapel St for Moorabbin stn this AM because he feels for stuck commuters @theagehttps://t.co/3LFkAkuYzG— Liam Mannix (@liammannix) January 26, 2016
Buskers, who rely on their wits to survive, may be some of our community’s most entrepreneurial members. Unfortunately, Miko was not making much.
“Nah. People are too busy having to race through to leave a tip,” he said.
Still, he was happy. Which left only me disappointed. Things went far too well at Moorabbin. A journalist never likes good news.
There were lots of Metro staff, including a large group of casuals hired for the day; they were all in good moods. And there were lots of buses. @[email protected] bus replacement service from #moorabinn to #Caulfield well handled…..why can’t u sort your trains out to run like this?— Michael Zajer (@mzajer) January 26, 2016
Meanwhile, Moorabbin-Caulfield #bustitution seemed to be fairly smooth this morning, though at one point some people left waiting at Moor.— Daniel Bowen (@danielbowen) January 26, 2016
This was the major complaint raised about the disruption – Metro had not catered for the number of commuters. Perhaps Tuesday morning was a response, because there was a veritable oversupply of buses at the station. They were lined up neatly in two rows, and the flow of commuters was directed onto first one and then the next until all were full. The coaches departed immediately.
Nary a commuter was left behind or stranded, at least that I could see. Everyone boarded, everyone got a seat. Everything was fine. Everybody calm down.
Admittedly, and let’s make no bones about this, buses suck. I come from Adelaide, where we used buses instead of trams, and buses sucked over there. And they suck in Melbourne.
Photo: Chris Hopkins
Buses are slow and noisy. They have only a single door, making them slow to board. But their worst fault by far is they get stuck in traffic. We chugged from Moorabbin towards Caulfield at what felt like walking pace. I was tempted to get out and push, reader, but that would have required physical exertion, which I try to avoid at all costs.
Most of the commuters I spoke to reckon the bus journey added maybe 15 minutes to their trip. I met a couple whose travel time had increased by 30 minutes. But they, like most, were philosophical: “We should have been better prepared.”
Perhaps grumpiest about the whole thing was a lovely lady – let’s call her Pam – who I met sitting on the platform at Caulfield.
Pam had heard about the transport problems, so had avoided her normal stop, Mordialloc, and taken a bus from Chelsea Heights to Moorabbin. Unfortunately, she was unaware she would need to take another bus from there to Caulfield, and then a train into the city.
She is something of a veteran of the Frankston line’s many transport woes.
“Horrific,” she said, shaking her head. “This happens all the time. It never gets better.”
That may be true, but today, Pam, your story is illustrative. Check the Metro site for details. Allow the advised extra 45 minutes. Relax, and remember, it’s only for a few days.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.