Saturday, June 27, 2009

Our Top 50 Bus Routes - Part 1

Which are Melbourne's very highest service bus routes or route 'families'? Many would rattle off some SmartBus routes, but with one exception this isn't quite right. For there is a cluster of local bus routes that, through history and continued patronage, offer almost tram-like service levels seven days per week.

Service levels can be measured in several ways, including counting the number of services run per day or week or examining timetables for service frequencies. In this part I did the former, and the result appears below.

The first graph shows the number of services run per week for the 50 most frequent bus routes in Melbourne. In this and other graphs the total number of services is documented, even though some might be short workings and not serve all stops. I have also grouped routes where they form a 'frequent service corridor'. Others may use different groupings of related routes, so rankings of service levels may vary slightly. Click the graph to enlarge if required.

The SmartBuses are circled in orange. Blue and green circled routes are special services that connect with trains and trams respectively.

Route 732, the Knox Transit Link, has more services than any other bus route. An intensive service is provided on the portion between Vermont South and Knox City; the rest of the route offers a standard local-type service. Its high frequency is because it connects with every tram and trams run more often than either trains or buses.

Second is Route 401. This runs five days a week over a limited (daytime) span. However its 3-6 minute frequency is enough to give it its large number of services per week.

Third is a cluster of related routes towards Manningham. Fourth is the first SmartBus - the new 903. 903 (and other routes included like 703 and 732) have many short workings. All have been counted, so actual service levels along a particular section of route may be less than stated here.

The number of services running each day of the week is shown below. Large variations, both between weekdays and weekends and between Saturdays and Sundays are visible.

Part 2 will include further graphs and compare service frequencies, which is more useful for both passengers and transit marketers.


Vic Rail (Riccardo) said...

Why do you measure frequency by route? Surely road segmenet is more important - as numerous routes overlap on major roads.

As a passenger I need to know:
-when is the next bus coming and
-does it take me ot where I want to go

So if 3 buses on the Box Hill deck are heading for Shoppingtown, maybe on three different roads, then that's the frequency I want to know. Not interested in whether someone has named it "274" or whatever.

Anonymous said...

how come 410 is not in the above graphs, it has over 620 services per week.

Ronnie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Parker said...

Late Changes: 406 & 467 have more services per week than 664 and 789/790/791 (406 has 638 & 467 has 616). 513 with 718 weekly services also replace 510. The graph above has been revised and will be posted in Part II.

Peter Parker said...

Ronnie: they're just counted from printed timetables. Yes there could be counting errors.

Ricc: yes, the corridor approach is better. I have gone part the way by counting route 'families' as a single route, but there are still sections where unrelated routes combined to provide a more frequent service (eg 903 with 527).