I sent the following feedback to Metlink. I also considered contacting Connex and US Bus Lines directly, however last I tried contacting both operators I got no response. It is this kind of situation where we really need a central authority to manage this; at present when I talk to the bus drivers they blame Connex and when I talk to Connex they blame the bus companies.

I didn’t mention that I refused to wait one hour for the next bus, and instead got somebody to give me a lift instead.

Maybe I should have mentioned that I have to get out of work 15 minutes early to catch this train, and as such I catching the prior train isn’t really a good option. Besides the timetable says these services should connect.

The bus driver might argue that he had no way of knowing it was the 5:48 train running late and not the next train running early, and maybe he really didn’t see me jumping up and down and waving from the station as he was pulling out from the bus stop.

I might add the reason the train was late in the first place was because the prior Lilydale train was held up at Box Hill station (and just before Laburnum station) for about 5 minutes waiting for the Blackburn train, which presumably was running late and had priority where the two tracks merge into one.

Case Number: 2008/006687, 2008-08-12


Normally I catch the 5:00pm Melbourne Central train. It is due to arrive at Upper Ferntree Gully station at 5:48pm, in time to meet the 5:53pm 698 Bus service to Olinda. It is clearly indicated in the official printed Metlink timetable that this bus meets this train.

Today the train was running 6 minutes late by the time it reached Ringwood station. This is not normally a problem, as the train normally catches up by the time it gets to Upper Ferntree Gully station.

This time however, when the train stopped at Bayswater. The driver left his cabin, and didn’t return for 5 minutes. What was the train driver doing all this time?

The train arrived at Upper Ferntree Gully station at 5:54pm, just in time to exit the train and see the bus depart. The bus driver must have seen the train arrive. Why didn’t he wait? The timetable clearly says that the bus connects with this particular train service, I feel this means the bus should wait for the train if the train is running late.

As such, I had to wait one hour for the next bus.

Please forward my feedback to the relevant companies.


Brian May

I got feedback from PTUA saying bus drivers have to make a hard decision. Wait for the train that is running late, or keep to the timetable? This is made worse by the fact the bus driver doesn’t know when the bus is going ro arrive. In this case it could be argued the bus should have waited though, because the train had arrived at the station at much the same time it departed.

The ideal solution would be to increase the frequency of the bus service. If there was one bus every ten minutes, it wouldn’t worry me if I just missed one bus. In fact I would expect the bus to leave even if the train just arrived at the same time.

Of course, if the first service is running late, missed the first connection, and the 2nd connection was cancelled due to “short circuit in air-conditioner”, I might be slightly irritated, however it still is only a 20 minute wait maximum. I would be prepared to wait that long, as long as it doesn’t happen often. 60 minutes on the other hand is excessive, even if by pure luck (as opposed to adherence to the timetables) it doesn’t happen often.

It looks like my email was forwarded to Connex. I got an automatic response. Lets see what happens…

Later: I got a response from Connex:

Case no: lm/006687

27 August 2008

Mr Brian May

Dear Mr May

We refer to your email received in this office on 12 August 2008.

Your comments regarding the 5pm Melbourne Central station service to Belgrave on 12 August are acknowledged, and we welcome the opportunity to provide the following information.

_Service History – 12 August_

Our records indicate that the 5pm Melbourne Central station service to Belgrave was delayed in transit due to an increase in customer boarding and disembarking timeframes.

The initial delay was compounded after a smashed carriage window was identified on the service, and our driver was instructed by Metrol, our train control centre, to check for damage to ascertain if the train was safe to continue to Belgrave.

In regards to ‘connecting’ bus services, we can advise that the integrated public transport timetable is the responsibility of the State Government.

Connex, Yarra Trams, the State Government and local bus operators are currently working on a system of increased communication between the transport operators in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, with the intention that this would include a system capable of alerting the bus drivers of delays on the train network.

In a current trial of a new communication system, train arrival information is currently being provided to bus drivers at the transport interchanges in Ringwood and Frankston. If beneficial, this system will be implemented at transport interchanges across the train network.

Notwithstanding the above, we fully acknowledge the inconvenience experienced as a result of this disruption.

Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention.

Yours sincerely

Luke Morrison

Customer Resolution Co-ordinator