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 . 

You might enjoy these well-regarded books on transport topics

Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit Steven Higashide NEW!

The Public City: Essays in honour of Paul Mees Gleeson & Beza

A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, Institutions (Access Quintet Book 4) David Levinson

Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking about Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives Jarrett Walker

Transport for Suburbia: Beyond the Automobile Age Paul Mees

(Sales links: I get a small commission if you buy via the above - no extra cost to you)

1 comment:

ange said...

Hello, very late comment but I was googling to see if anyone had noticed the appalling frequency of the 800 bus and found your blog. I used this route back in the early 80's as a Monash Uni student to connect me with the v line trains at Dandenong. This was usually on Fridays and Monday's coming and going home for the weekend. I had reason to use it recently on a Saturday- catching it at the stop just outside Dan Andrew's office and heading in to Oakleigh. Being overly optimistic, I decided spontaneously to run an errand in Dandenong Rd and just pick up the 800 to go home. I assumed I could turn up and a bus might turn up in anywhere from 0 to 20 minutes. Well, I turned up and the bus came about 5 minutes later. pretty good. However I was horrified to see on the timetable that if I had missed that bus I would have faced a 2 hour wait until the next bus. IT runs hourly Saturday am, and 2 hourly Saturday pm with no further buses after 4.26 pm. Not good enough especially for a bus heading to the busy centres of Oakleigh and Chadstone SC. To be honest, I don't know why they even bother. No buses at all on a Sunday. What.? Does Chadstone SC close on a Sunday? No. If you are going to run a bus service, there actually needs to be a service that caters for the needs of people who don't want to Uber (like me), don't drive (like me), are low income, live outside the city centre but still deserve to be able to get to places. A decent service preserves independence, and takes cars off the roads. Why can't our transport system provide this basic service? I think the wrong people are running it. Rant over.