Updated: Dec 12, 2022
In the first of our articles on Perth I looked at the Passenger Experience provided across the city. In this second article I’m concentrating on the quirks found in the central interchange stations. For a relatively small city centre, there is a lot of public transport: the high-quality, modern infrastructure provides a comfortable travelling environment but it was the consistency of integration between modes that needed some improvement.
Perth is the main station in the centre of the city and looks like a traditional central station but has been refurbished and provides quite a comfortable space to transit though with clear platform identification and interchange routes (apart from connecting long distance services – mentioned below).
It looks out onto the central square and has a connection to the small network of raised walkways between shopping streets. I highlight this as it’s sort of integrated, confusingly, with Perth Underground station which is a few streets away – with its separate station branding and urban integration. Perth Underground is also included within Perth station’s platform numbering sequence and is linked by an underground walkway.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that only Transperth services operated from Perth Station; however, there’s also a long distance train (TransWA’s Australind) that’s seemingly hidden around the back, accessed via a separate entrance under an overpass. The only obvious reason for this appears to be because it’s run by a different part of the state government – the state-wide TransWA.
Hidden in the image below, easily obscured by a small child, is one of the few signs within Perth Station for the Australind service. It’s a similar story for passengers arriving on this service hoping to change onto a local train, as shown in this vine. Furthermore Transperth network maps also omit to show interchanges for TransWA services.
More on the Australind service on the next article.
Clearly purpose built for a mass transit system, Perth Underground looks more like a city centre metro station and serves the Mandurah and Joondalup lines that aren’t able to call at Perth Station itself. I thought it interesting to note that the new station platforms are numbered 1 and 2, and the old station platforms continue on from 3 to 9 – where was 1 and 2 before?
Train departure information at the entrance to Perth Underground unhelpfully shows departures for all 9 platforms, without indicating that these departures are spread across two discreet stations, as a unfamiliar user, it is easy to find yourself descending to the Underground platforms only to realise that your train departs from another station entirely.
The third city centre station, Elizabeth Quay is connected to the bus station and the boat pier, both of the same name. My paper ticket actually said I was using Esplanade station: I have since researched that the name change too place in early 2016, not without controversy, though a lot of signs still refer to this old station name.
The video below shows the interchange walkway between the bus station and the rail station, highlighting the problem of signage consistency when these walking routes pass along private land.
Here, on entry is the Bus station is a helpful map that doesn’t actually show any bus routes – only rail routes.
Away from the city centre, East Perth station acts as a commuter station for the Transperth network, yet also hosts two long distance services – TransWA’s Prospector and Great Southern Rail’s IndiaPacific service from Sydney. When I had a look, there was very little going on at the station but I assume that it is more exciting when these long distance trains are on the platform. It is unfortunate that these trains can’t travel right into the heart of the city to Perth Station but the local network but the tracks are incompatible so passengers must change here from the long distance services and continue on a local Transperth train further into Perth. East Perth is the only station that appears to be an integrated station where signage and information is reflective of the multiple services that use the station.
Transperth’s central facilities are high quality, bright, inviting environments. The issues that could restrain the Passenger Experience in are related to a passenger’s confidence in using the service. Again, it is the local quirks, such as a station name change or split central interchange, that transport operators assume passengers understand but it is just these local nuances, that are the most important to guide a visitor though.
Author: Liam Henderson
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