Melbourne's long-standing yellow-and-blue train network map is headed for the bin, to be replaced next year by a new, rainbow-coloured map aimed at making it easier for passengers to navigate around the city.
But the new map, a trial version of which has been put on show at just three stations on the Frankston line and at the PTV Hub at Southern Cross Station, lacks key information such as fare zones and whether a station has car parking or a connecting tram or bus.
The current Metro map, with its simple two-tone design in which yellow signifies zone one and blue zone two, has been around for several years but will be scrapped in time for the opening of the Regional Rail Link next year.
Public Transport Victoria is already piloting a potential version of the new map, but expects to make several changes following public feedback before officially launching the map.
The trial map also includes the wider V/Line rail network for the first time, shaded in grey, as well as where myki is valid and where paper tickets are still required.
Modelled on London's world-famous Tube map, the new map also better represents the way each line moves through the City Loop and is colour coded to show where it is possible to transfer between lines.
A Public Transport Victoria spokesman said: "The current train map has a number of limitations that may confuse visitors and occasional travellers. For example, a customer wanting to travel from Flagstaff to Sandringham may not realise that they need to catch the next train to Flinders Street or Richmond and change to a connecting service."
Zones had been done away with not because of the Napthine government's recent scrapping of combined zone one and two fares but because including them added a confusing amount of detail, he said.
"A number of drafts of the map were created with and without zones, and experimenting with a number of formats," the spokesman said. "It was found that including zones significantly added to the complexity of the map and reduced the usability."
The three stations where the concept map is on show, Malvern, Bentleigh and Moorabbin, are also the first to get "rainbow boards" – multi-coloured live service information screens with updates about train delays on the network – that are being delivered as part of the $100 million bayside rail upgrade.
Public Transport Users Association spokesman Daniel Bowen said the new map improved on the current one in a number of important ways.
"My initial impression: I quite like this," Mr Bowen wrote last week on his blog, Diary of an Average Australian.
"Colour-coding the lines helps make sense of the way the network actually runs (or will run in the near future). It allows them to add detail such as the stations usually skipped by expresses on particular lines, which lines run via the City Loop, and which sections run as shuttles."
The scrapping of zone information made sense given public transport fares are due to be overhauled from January 1, Mr Bowen wrote.
But he said Public Transport Victoria ought to look at creating a multi-modal map that included connecting trams and buses, "though of course, that would be a much more complicated and difficult visualisation to get right".