Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Timetable Tuesday #28: Where there's no return - Bus route 745's alphabet soup

We're not like Adelaide. Or Sydney.

Melbourne doesn't do letters on bus route numbers.

With one exception(*).

The 745.

With variations A, B, C, and D, it's one of the long term bus routes serving the City of Knox in Melbourne's outer east.  PTV's web timetable dates its last change as May 2008 but the routes have been running for decades before that. 

All start from or finish at Bayswater Station. Apart from that they don't have much in common. If it was anywhere else and they'd have their own unlettered route numbers. The map below shows their destinations.  

Primary schools normally have small (ideally walkable) catchments. It is unusual for regular bus routes to have them as destinations. However 745C and 745D do. 745B operates between two adjacent train stations via a residential area. 745A is (mostly) a main road service between Bayswater and the large Knox City Shopping Centre.  

The Knox network map below shows where the four 745s fit within the network. All are fairly short. In some cases they are about the only routes on the roads they travel on. That includes main roads like Mountain Hwy and Scoresby Rd. Whereas an inner suburb would have a bus every 20 minutes or better along such roads, and a middle to outer suburb every 30 or 40 minutes, Knox never got a real bus network when development started in the 1960s or in the fifty years since.   

Possibly the greatest surprise is the timetable. Each 745 variant has just one trip each.  Their purpose is unclear. All operate in the afternoon but appear too early or too late for school finish times. Even if you could take a 745 somewhere you can't return on it.

745A operates to Baywater, as you can see from the schedule below.

745B, 745C and 745D operate from Bayswater. Again it's uncertain who they're trying to cater for. While it backtracks towards the city direction, the 6:30pm departure is a potential commuter route. However there is no corresponding morning trip to Bayswater. 

There's 745 patronage numbers here (and reproduced below). 

They jump around quite a bit. There's no reason I can see for this since the timetable, dated 2008, has not changed in the whole period. Unfortunately they are not separated by A B C D variant. 

There's roughly 250 odd weekdays per year. With roughly 2500 passengers per year that amounts to 10 passengers across the four trips daily. In other words 2 or 3 people per trip. Which is low, given the 745 runs in school or commuter peak time. If its trips represent needed positioning moves for busier school or commuter trips, its running cost may be low. But dear or cheap, its limited timetable and consequent low patronage makes the 745A, B, C or D useful for very few people. 

What was the 745 like in the past? Krustylink has 1984 and 1991 timetables.  In both years 745 was an irregular service with many variations, like now. There was no 6:30pm trip. But there were morning trips. The 1984 bus timetables contained a handy guide to train frequencies at Bayswater. These remain fairly similar today, including the 30 minute off-peak frequency. 

What would you do with the 745? Is it worth upgrading at all? Or is it so useless that it should be deleted? Is there scope for a better bus network in the area, including along main roads? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

(*) Actually there is one other, also in Melbourne's east, but that's a story for another time.

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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

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Luke M said...

For long time, 745 has puzzled me as to how it could be improved, until it clicked a few years back. First of all, the route needs to be divided into 3, for this purpose, I will call them: 744, 745 and 746.

744 - Bayswater to Vermont South via Wantirna.
Run as the current 745C route to Wantirna Primary, but extend the route to the Vermont South tram. I do not see how this could not operate as an alternative for residents of Wantirna to get around. I could also see it would be possible to run this as a full time service.

745 - Bayswater to Knox City.
This is the current 745A. Couldn't there be potential in this being a few time service.

746 - Bayswater to Boronia via Studfield. "Peak Service Only".
Mountain Highway, Stud Road, Coleman Road, Lewis Road, Boronia Road to Boronia.

What do you think of these Peter?

John Wayman said...

I drive route 745 buses quite often, and agree with Luke’s suggestions re proposed routes 744 and 745.

The proposed route 744 would probably be more viable if extended to Glen Waverley. It would serve Knox Private Hospital which currently is served by routes 901 and 738.

The proposed route 745 would serve the Melbourne Eastern Private Hospital which is only served by route 753 with few trips at school times, and is a kilometre or so from route 737 on Boronia Road. It would also enable FairHills Secondary students to reach the school by bus from Bayswater station.

Luke’s route 746 proposal would be a waste of a bus as it would generate little traffic.

Coleman Road, Terama Crescent and Pindari Drive are already well served by route 737 and the existing 745 services aren’t required.