Thursday, January 31, 2019

Timetable Tuesday #4 - Bus route 788

The most important factor that determines the usefulness of a public transport service is not whether it's a train, tram or bus but its timetable, route and stops.
Many are in beach holiday mode so it's only fitting we introduce bus route 788 running between Frankston and Portsea via Mt Eliza, Mornington, Dromana, Rosebud, Rye and Sorrento.


If there was one bus route that dominates its local government area, the 788 is it. Because for tens of thousands of people in Mornington Peninsula Shire, the 788 is the only public transport there is, Nothing significant runs close to it for most of its ~50km length / 100 minute run time. Forget this Zone 2 stuff - the 788 penetrates Zones 3 and 4 as well - just like the Geelong train.
Consequently the 788 is asked to do the job of both a rural and urban route. It does the job of a train line (that doesn't exist) or a freeway (that does) for long-distance trips to Frankston. As well as carrying sizable local shoppers between Rye, Tootgarook, Capel Sound, Rosebud and Dromana. Parts run fast along main roads while other parts serve narrow 20km/h speed humped local streets. Also, to speed travel buses towards Frankston will only call in at Mt Eliza if requested.
788 is so long that its stops are numbered. There are over 130 of them. Though there are pick up/set down restrictions nearer Frankston to speed travel through inner areas where other routes are available. 788 is the lifeblood of school time public transport up and down the peninsula. The length of 788 is such that it's a big deal if a service has been missed or a train connection broken - with trips of 30km or more casually calling a taxi or asking for a lift is not an option for many. Route 788 issues dominated last year's Metropolitan Transport Forum-sponsored candidate forum at Frankston and all parties promised to upgrade it.
788 buses fill on any warm weekend from November to Easter. Passengers get left behind and delays can be considerable. Varying road traffic volumes make efficient and reliable scheduling difficult. 788 is perhaps the only route to have its own Twitter hashtag frequently used by the operator.https://twitter.com/hashtag/r788
Route 788 runs about every 40 minutes on weekdays (including peaks). Services continue until unusually late at night on Fridays. On weekends gaps between buses are mostly 80 minutes. But there is a major exception, effective right now. 788 is the only route with extra trips over summer, with a 40 minute weekend frequency applying for a month after Boxing Day.
Regular timetable

Summer timetable

The question remains: What (if anything) would you do with the 788's timetable? Extra points if you consider wider regional travel including bidirectional connections with the Frankston train, which sometimes only arrives hourly (eg Sunday mornings) and scope for network coverage improvements (including any implications for Route 787 in the area).
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Timetable Tuesday originally appeared as an article on the Urban Happiness Facebook group. Maps and timetables are from the old PTV website . 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Timetable Tuesday #3 - Bus route 681

The most important factor that determines the usefulness of a public transport service is not whether it's a train, tram or bus but its timetable, route and stops.
This week we explore Route 681 in the City of Knox. It (mostly) runs from Knox City down Stud Rd, Stud Park Shopping Centre, Rowville, Lysterfield, returning to Stud Park forming a big clockwise loop. Interpeak and weekend trips mostly return to Knox City. The closely related Route 682 goes along the same streets except it runs anticlockwise. Both routes overlap the later-added 901 SmartBus along Stud Rd and on-demand Telebuses in Rowville and Lysterfield. But unlike the latter the 681/682 has 7 day service.
As far as timetables go the 681 is very special. It's one where you must study the footnotes. Otherwise you might find yourself taken well off the route to Waverley Gardens on a deviation. Where trips start and finish also vary with many short-workings. 681's times should be read in conjunction with 682 as if you wish to travel in the 80 - 120 min gaps between 681 services, catching the 682 may be faster, even if it's the long way around. But not all the time as some trips finish short.
681/682 are pretty much daytime shopper services with some peak trips tacked on. These accommodate the school peaks. City commuters will need to knock off early to use them. A tall order given the already long train/bus trip via Huntingdale Station and Route 900.



Like everything else about the 681, there are exceptions. In this case are the extra Thursday and Friday night trips (presumably for late night shopping). These became less prevalent since the 'minimum standards' upgrades of about 10 years ago. But 681/682, due to their early finish remain hold outs. Secondly there's public holiday service. In Melbourne if a route runs Sundays it normally also runs public holidays. But 681/682 are again exceptions, noteworthy for being the only 7 day routes not to run public holidays. So no Christmas visiting or Boxing Day shopping for you.


As with last time, there is just one question. What would you do with the 681's route and/or timetable? Extra points if you consider its relationship with surrounding routes. 

Timetable Tuesday originally appeared as an article on the Urban Happiness Facebook group. Maps and timetables are from the old PTV website . 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Timetable Tuesday #2 - Bus Route 800

The most important factor that determines the usefulness of a public transport service is not whether it's a train, tram or bus but its timetable, route and stops.
This week we explore Route 800 in Melbourne's south-east. It runs from Chadstone to Dandenong via Oakleigh Station and Princes Hwy. It serves many Monash students around Clayton North and low income earners towards Dandenong. It even runs past premier Dan Andrews electoral office!
800 has been around for years. It's the area's most direct bus route. Except for the few trips deviating via Springvale cemetery. These replace a train that closed in 1950. So the route is pretty important. Especially right now when people are doing their Christmas shopping and there's parking pressure at Chadstone.





The map shows the 800 goes to many places useful to many people. But is it running when people wish to travel? That can't be taken as given. Just because a bus runs along a main road is no guarantee that it's there when people need it. So timetable information is super-important.




Shown here are times from Chadstone (similar service levels the other way). Daytime Monday - Friday service is every 20 minutes. That's above average for a bus route in Melbourne. But it drops off after 6pm with nothing much after 7pm.
Apparently Saturday is the busiest shopping day of the week. Closely followed by Sunday at centres like Chadstone. Does 800's timetable reflect that? No you didn't misread - 800 only runs a handful of trips on Saturday and none on Sunday. You'll find better service in the back streets of Ballarat.
What about some historical context? Would you believe that the 2018 timetable is little changed from the 1991 timetable? It is also down on the 7-day service that visitors to a much smaller Chadstone enjoyed in 1988. https://sites.google.com/site/melbbustt800/

As with last time, there is just one question. What would you do with the 800's route and/or timetable? Extra points if you consider its relationship with surrounding routes (network maps above).

Timetable Tuesday originally appeared as an article on the Urban Happiness Facebook group in December 2018. Maps and timetables are from the old PTV website . 

Timetable Tuesday #1 - Bus route 609

The most important factor that determines the usefulness of a public transport service is not whether it's a train, tram or bus but its timetable, route and stops.
In the first of what could be a regular, we examine the occasional Route 609 bus that runs from Hawthorn to Fairfield via Kew. It's the only north-south cross-river route in the inner east.

 


There are only a few trips. Even fewer run the full route. 




There is just one question. If you were in charge, what (if anything) would you do with the 609, considering land use and density? Extra points if you consider its relationship with surrounding routes.

Timetable Tuesday originally appeared as an article on the Urban Happiness Facebook group. Maps and timetables are from the old PTV website . 



Monday, January 28, 2019

Revived!

I was never expecting to write this, but Melbourne on Transit is back!

Greater freedom due to an employment change, the cessation of other local transport blogs and (not least) encouragement from others all made a return enticing. Even the challenge of maintaining an adequate posting frequency has lessened by having available items from another transport writing activity I’ve recently commenced. More on that later.

I’ll not attempt to catch up on the missing 7 years in this post. But I will say the following:

On the large infrastructure side a lot has happened. In 2015 we saw the opening of the Regional Rail Link via Tarneit; the biggest rail infrastructure project since the City Loop. Numerous rail/road grade separations have occurred or are under construction (videos linked on backdated posts). The transformative Melbourne Metro is being built after a political contest on its alignment. And both political parties took large rail agendas to last year’s state election. 

Whereas on the service side it’s been quiet. Concerns about tram crowding and the lack of buses in new suburbs are not just anecdotes but backed by facts. Service kilometres per capita is declining (unlike a decade ago). Trips are being added but not at a rate that matches our high population growth. Willingness to reform local bus networks increased after 2012, peaked in 2015 and declined soon after, leaving many areas with inefficient routes reflecting past travel needs.


We’ve also seen changes in the political complexion of the state government, the style in which public transport have been administered and the extent to which network reforms have been able to be implemented. While exceptions exist, Coalition governments haven't been generous with service funding yet still approved major reformed bus networks in some areas. Whereas Labor comes with a list of routes it wishes to introduce and may spend more.  However it can be timid towards wider network and timetable reform, especially if there is the risk of some people being disadvantaged.  The preceding comments apply to governments between 2010 and 2018; with a new minister it is too soon to see if the above still applies.  Overall, political commitment to building new infrastructure (not all of which has been without controversy) has increased in the last seven years while interest in how we are using what we’ve got (including network planning matters affecting patronage, efficiency and service levels) has declined.

What can you look forward to in the revived Melbourne on Transit? The material referred to before is the Timetable Tuesday series on the Urban Happiness Facebook group. I started it late last year. Each week it looks at the service aspects of a selected bus, tram or train service in Melbourne. Currently few people see it because it only appears as an easily buried post on a closed limited audience group. Appearance here should give it a wider audience.  I’ll post several Timetable Tuesdays per week until we catch up. In between Tuesdays I may occasionally post on other topics.

That’s all from me. Enjoy the read and don’t hesitate to comment below!