Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Timetable Tuesday #35: To the lake on the 673

On Fridays we talk about the Useful Network - that is routes with destinations and service good enough to meet a wide variety of peoples' travel needs.

Today we'll feature what may be the direct opposite; a bus route that the uncharitable might consider useless.

I'm talking about Melbourne's shortest bus route - the 673 from Lilydale Station to Lillydale Lake (note spelling).

Its route map is below.

For a better idea of Route 673's relative insignificance see the local network map below. You can see it if you look carefully. Except for one stop (by the lake) it overlaps two other bus routes; the full-service 663 and the weekday-only 680.  

Bus route overlaps aren't necessarily a bad thing. Especially if you can evenly stagger timetables to form a more frequent corridor. Or it's a densely populated area and you need the capacity. However the latter is unlikely to be the case on this section of Swansea Rd (where the 673 overlaps with 663 and 680).  

Below is the complete timetable. You might be confused at first, because although it is a linear route, PTV has presented it as if it was a loop, with Lilydale being shown as the first and last stop. 

But once you've got over that the 673 is easy to understand. It's just a flat hourly weekday off-peak service. There is no weekend or public holiday service. 


It is difficult seeing how bus route 673 would be very useful for many peoples' trips. Existing annual patronage is a touch over 4000 - in other words, for a 250 day weekday year, about 16 passenger per day across 6 return trips. A redeeming feature is that it is probably fairly cheap to run as it would unlikely increase the bus operator's peak bus requirement.  

But is it necessary? Does the Lillydale Lake Community Room have enough activity to justify its own bus route? Or does it just make the network more complex and sap off-peak driver resources that could be better used elsewhere? 

Your comments are appreciated and can be left below. 

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