The newly expanded Footscray station – last week I dissected the new but misleading next train displays on the V/Line platforms, but now I’ll look at a bigger problem – the useless next train displays on the main concourses.
The problem – Footscray station now has six platforms, yet passengers are only told the next four trains!
How many different destinations could a passenger at Footscray station be intending to travel to? Let us take a trip around Victoria from south-west to north, from the suburbs of Melbourne all the way to the Murray River, and look at all of the rail services that pass through…
- Bacchus Marsh
- Swan Hill
That is 13 different destinations headed away from the city, and we can add two more citybound ones to the list:
- Flinders Street via Southern Cross
- Flinders Street via City Loop
So what kind of information should passengers at Footscray receive?
Southern Cross has a massive next train display, displaying suburban trains on a per line basis and the country trains ordered by departure time.
Flinders Street Station has a dozen platforms, with a large display displaying the next two departures on every route. Unfortunately it is ordered by the name of each ‘parent’ line, which makes things confusing when a short working service is the next one to depart – such as a Broadmeadows train on the Craigieburn line.
Richmond station has ten platforms, and LCD next train displays scattered around the station displaying the next departure for every line, as well as a next few departures for the city.
South Yarra station has six platforms but only has a LED display installed, but at least the number of the visible departures matches the number of platforms, which suffices for the half-dozen different routes possible for a passenger headed away from the city.
(also note the newly installed TramTracker LCD screen alongside for the route 8 tram along Toorak Road – Footscray could do with the same for the connecting route 82 service)
And finally, North Melbourne. It has six platforms and an array of LCD next train displays visible from different locations, displaying the next two departures for each line passing through.
North Melbourne also has a number of dedicated screens to display V/Line departures – now useless since Regional Rail Link altered all Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo services to bypass the station!
So back to Footscray…
At a minimum at Footscray a passenger should receive the same level of information they used to get at North Melbourne – the next two departures on each suburban line, the next few departure times for the City Loop and Flinders Street direct services, and a list of the next half-dozen V/Line services to pass through.
Displaying the next departure for each possible route through Footscray might be nice, but I’m guessing that knowing the next Echuca service is eight hours away won’t be of much use to passengers!