Monday, September 15, 2008

The best of Melbourne public transport

A few of the 'bests' in Melbourne public transport services.

Best span

Skybus runs 24 hours. Runner-up is Route 896, the Cranbourne TrainLink, which is somewhere near 20 hours.

Most frequent daytime service

There's several tram routes that run better than every 10 minutes, with 19, 59, 86 and 96 rating highly. 19 takes the cake for its frequent service seven days per week and except Sunday mornings would win 'best weekends' as well.

For buses the new 401 from North Melbourne Station runs every 6 minutes off-peak weekdays. The other bus route with a 10 minute or better frequency is 246 up Punt Rd. Ditto for the Knox Transit Link portion of Route 732

Most frequent weekday peak service

401 again for its 3 minute peak service. Belgrave/Lilydale line trains manage a similar service level, at least to Blackburn. Second place amongst the buses is held, not by a SmartBus, but by the low-profile but well-used 465 between Keilor Park and Essendon with a 7-8 minute average frequency.

Best weekend service

Pretty much any tram route will win here with services at least every 15 minutes. This includes Route 82, our only tram route with a better service on weekends than during the week. This is followed by trains with a 20 minute frequency at most stations.

As for buses, some of the MBL 200-series routes do well (every 15-20 minutes), followed by Knox Transit Link 732, South Morang TrainLink 571 and the 700 SmartBus (on Saturdays).

Best night service

Skybus without a doubt, with the new timetable extending 15 minute service until late seven days per week. The only other bus to run a 15 minute night service is 220 between Sunshine and Gardenvale on weeknights. On weekends service is comparable (though earlier finishing) to trams, with a 20 and 30 minute Saturday and Sunday evening frequency respectively. Honourable mention goes to the new SmartBus Route 901 between Ringwood and Frankston, with weekday services every 15 minutes passing Knox until after 10pm.

Most trams run a flat 20 minute service until about midnight, with later services on Fridays and Saturdays and 30 minute service on Sunday evenings. Night trains on most of the network are a flat 30 minutes except for the ex-Hillside lines where they're every 40 minutes on Sundays. Caulfield is the furthest suburban station which receives a 15 minute night service until last train seven nights per week.

Best transport corridor

Swanston Street/St Kilda Road wins due to its length, the number of routes and combined frequency. Others to rank highly include Oakleigh to Chadstone, Doncaster to Box Hill, Southland to Cheltenham and Footscray to Highpoint and Clayton to Monash University, probably in that order.


Anonymous said...

No mention of the 20 minute weekend service between Frankston & Mornington?!

The Chadstone - Clayton North section of 800/2/4/62 could also rate a mention on weekdays, with 7 buses an hour. Although the service on weekends lets this corridor down - 3 buses an hour on Saturday mornings is the best on offer, with only hourly services on Sundays.

Anonymous said...

The combined 1/8 tram service on Lygon St deserves a mention: every 10 minutes at least until 1am (2am Fri/Sat), as long as you're not north of Moreland Road. This would probably rate as the most frequent evening service in Melbourne.

Daniel said...

Combined corridor services do mix it up a bit. 216/219 is almost equally worthy of the gong that 220 gets. Route 1/8 would rate higher for evening services, in fact, and there are a few other corridors in a similar situation -- eg see these maps.

Anonymous said...

For Most frequent weekday peak service you forgot to add 220 at 7/8 mins
and 220 also runs 15 mins at night on saturdays. - Jason

Anonymous said...

Route 465 runs at an average of 5 minutes in the AM peak, making it more frequent than the 220. In the PM peak its about the same as the 220.

Probably a good thing you didn't include trains in the daytime service as its all set to change next year anyway. - Damo

Anonymous said...

And when the 903 starts next year.... 465 and 903 combined will be even more buses for me!!!!!!!

GO 465! - Damo

Anonymous said...

With Skybus winning so well, I can't understand why people demand a rail link to the airport. - Evan

Anonymous said...

Coz trains are better!!!!!!!!1111Eleventy-one!!
Though the Skybus is still the best bus we have.

Any train to the Airport MUST stop at Essendon!!! :-D - Damo

Anonymous said...

Mine: 401 and the bus connection to the Vermont Sth tram (the later has best visibility and navigability)

Withhold an award for urban trains this year, but award commuter trains for Bendigo service

Agree re tram 19 but only as far as Brunswick Rd!

Loose Shunter said...

My picks: Bus is definitely route 401.

Tram is a split decision between Route 96 (speed) and Route 19 (frequency). Route 96 is very fast into or out of the City once outside the CBD. Route 19 has high frequency that makes up for the road congestion on the stretch of Sydney Road between Albion Street and Brunswick Road. Although if you catch the tram early (like I do), then congestion isn't really an issue.

Train - None in Melbourne. Perth is the gold standard in Australia for a high level of service throughout the day with no catastrophic transition from peak to off-peak.


Peter Parker said...

LS: Agreed with you about Perth's daytime service frequencies, though they, like almost everything else*, collapse in the crucial 7pm - 9pm weekday slot.

Our best performer here is the Belgrave/Lilydale line; their 15 minute service remains until 8:35pm. This beats any train line in Perth.

(*) A few exceptions being Brisbane BUZ buses, Canberra's intertown and our Route 901. Also before the 1978 service cuts Melbourne trains held up better as the basic evening frequency was 20 rather than 30 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Tram Route 86, whilst frequent, is a slow and ponderous service. Traffic congestion and an indirect service to the city don't improve things either.
Route 112 - along St Georges Road - would be better serviced with more frequent services.

Having said that, Barcelona's metro run on two-minute frequencies.