Sunday, March 30, 2008

Route 900 SmartBus - a video presentation

Here is a recording made during a trip on SmartBus Route 900 to Rowville earlier this afternoon. Stop facilities, information, interchanges and patronage are some of the topics mentioned.

For non-Melbourne readers, Route 900 is an east-west bus route through Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs. It runs every 15 minutes weekdays and every 30 minutes evenings/weekends between Caulfield Railway Station and Stud Park Shopping Centre in Rowville. Major trip generators served include Chadstone Shopping Centre, Oakleigh Station and Monash Univesity campuses at Caulfield and Clayton.

Route 900 patronage is high between Caulfield, Chadstone, Oakleigh and Monash Univesity. It is lower east of Monash University. However it provides a useful service to eastern areas and links with all other current SmartBus routes (700, 703, 888/9 & 901).

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Route 401's first day

Today was the start of services on bus route 401, a limited stop service operating between North Melbourne Station and Melbourne University. The route is designed to relieve pressure on the City Loop by allowing passengers to get a direct bus to Royal Melbourne Hospital/Melbourne University instead of going via Melbourne Central and changing to a tram.

Services run Monday to Friday between 7am and 7:30pm. 401's frequent service (three minutes peak and six minutes off-peak) is unheard of for a Melbourne bus route. In addition it is a prepay-only route, meaning that passengers need to have a ticket beforehand and can't buy one from the driver.

Signage was provided at North Melbourne to market the new route. Staff were also posted at major stops to hand out leaflets and assist passengers.

Healthy patronage has been reported by others who were present earlier in the day. As would be expected there's a one-way bias, with afternoon services from North Melbourne being very quiet (1-3 people) and somewhat more usage (5 - 15) on trips towards North Melbourne.

Journey time between North Melbourne and Grattan Street is approximately 10 minutes. When the bus reached Lincoln Square North, another 10 minutes was required to go round the block to Grattan Street due to near-gridlock in Swanston Street. In the afternoons at least this choke-point is the main impediment to obtaining greater efficiencies.

Below are some photos taken during the pm peak.

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