Philip Mallis

Another bad week for PTV communications

Regular readers of this blog will know that one of my hobby horses is transport wayfinding and communications. This week unfortunately provided yet more examples of how far we still have to go before we have a consistent, intuitive and accurate information system for public transport in Melbourne.

In the space of just the past seven days we have had:

It really makes you wonder what’s coming next.

We have countless prior examples of the issues that we face in public transport wayfinding and communication in Victoria. There are a lot of good things and still others that are improving. But as this week has shown there is a lot more that needs to be fixed.

You can have the world’s best public transport – trains every minute, free trams and buses running everywhere – but none of that matters if people don’t know about it. That is why good communications and marketing is just as important as the actual network.

Hand drawn sign for 232, 235 and 237 bus stops near the intersection of Spencer Street and Flinders Street during Spencer Street tram works in June-July 2023, Melbourne

Passengers, especially occasional users, can be seriously put off by just one poor experience. For example, getting lost in a station or boarding the wrong train because of an incorrect or unclear sign. This then snowballs as they will often actively discourage other people form using it with their ‘horror story’ which either cements existing views about public transport or creates new (negative) ones.

Compared to building new infrastructure, getting these things right is cheap, easy and uncontroversial. There are mountains of good examples and case studies from even right here in Victoria that are ready to use and roll out.

I obviously can’t go through every single issue in this one post. But unfortunately this week is yet another illustration of the work that needs to be done to get us closer to a legible and intuitive public transport system.

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2 responses to “Another bad week for PTV communications”

  1. Just to add that at a micro level, PTV notices used for Frankston line closures on the weekend (and continuing this week) exclude Southland, have misleading info about Patterson, are incorrect for Parkdale, and misspell Glen Huntly (obviously this last one is of little consequence).

    1. Philip Mallis Avatar
      Philip Mallis

      Unfortunately unsurprising at this stage. I feel that a lot of these issues can be fixed with minor changes and minimal costs.

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