Friday, June 29, 2007

Submission to Hume/Moreland Bus Review

For those following the DOI bus reviews, listed below are the main points of a submission made for Hume/Moreland.

* Better east-west travel across the north by starting existing routes 513 and/or 527 at Pascoe Vale instead of Glenroy and Gowrie.

* New local routes from Broadmeadows/Glenroy to Coburg that are better connected with local trains and direct Broadmeadows services from Hadfield and Coburg.

* A revamped network for Melbourne Airport: Route 500 Trainlink to Broadmeadows (meeting every off-peak train & every 20 min peak), Route 501 to Watergardens via Airport West (meeting every second train off-peak), Route 502 to Sunbury (meeting every regional train).

* A new east-west service between Pascoe Vale and Airport West via the Essendon Airport DFO, Niddrie and part of the existing route 501.

* A local town link in central Broadmeadows to improve connections with the railway station making use of existing services.

* Extended hours and increased frequency on popular or strategically important routes (eg 532, 544 and 560).

* A rationalisation of bus service frequencies (eg from 25, 35 and 50 minutes to 20 and 40 minutes) to provide harmonised connections with trains and other buses.

* Improved services to Fawkner including better connections with the Upfield line and consideration of a short busway across the Merri Creek to Reservoir.

* A deviation of route 540 to serve parts of Dallas remote from existing services.

* An upgraded and renumbered 571A from Greenvale to Epping.

* Removing deviations and renumbering of some existing routes.

* Non-bus capital works such as a railway station at Campbellfield and easier pedestrian access to bus stops on bus roads.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Run it and they will come

No less than 23 people boarded the westbound 5:15pm Route 623 bus at Chadstone last Sunday. Route 623 runs between Glen Waverley and St Kilda via Chadstone Shopping Centre. Last Sunday was the first day of the new Sunday service; previously it (like most routes) ran six days per week and finished just after 6pm.

This success indicates the real demand for Sunday bus travel, a fact only recognised very recently. Indeed with an equivalent service, a route like 623 is the sort that could end up carrying more passengers on weekends than it does during the week.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

BYO boltcutters?

What do you take when you're planning a public transport trip? The following might be a reasonable list:

(i) Ticket (remember BATBYGOBSTOPL?)
(ii) Timetable
(iii) Timepiece
(iv) Street directory or other map
(v) Boltcutters



If you want to take Route 440 to get to Werribee Plaza from the houses pictured (Melway 205 G2 & H2), and don't wish to duck (or jump over) the chain you'll need to do a round trip of some 340 steps (west to the Purchas Street intersection) for a break in the chain. Or get out the boltcutters and make your own path.

It's only a bit better if you live nearer to Purchas Street. Although it runs through the middle of the established Riverdene subdivision (built c1980) and is a logical collector of pedestrian traffic, no bus stop has been provided for it at Heaths Rd. Instead passengers must either use the stop pictured or board near the Italian Club across the water channel. As is familiar to veterans of the tram stop debates, having stops midway between streets increase walking compared to if they are located at intersections.

The cul-de-sac layout of the area already doubles walking time for many local trips compared to a porous grid-style layout. Bad stop placement and poor foot access to them (eg having to negotiate chains or uninterrupted traffic) means that public transport isn't effective either.

The example demonstrates that road builders alone can't be trusted to do the right thing for either pedestrians or public transport. Hence it is important that plans for new and redeveloped subdivisions be checked for pedestrian and transit amenity. Fortunately for Heaths Rd, the solution is simple - some boltcutters and an extra stop.