Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Timetable Tuesday #112: Little change since Hamer - the 753 bus in Melbourne's east

A return to normal fare this week with a look at individual bus routes and their timetables. Today we look at Route 753, a long-established bus route in Melbourne's east. It passes through several seats including Mt Waverley (Matt Fregon MP - marginal Labor), Mulgrave (Daniel Andrews MP - safe Labor), Rowville (Kim Wells MP - safe Liberal), Ferntree Gully (Nick Wakeling MP - marginal Liberal) and occasionally Bayswater (Jackson Taylor MP - marginal Labor). 


The 753 runs is roughly east-west. It starts at Glen Waverley Station, heads south and then directly east along Ferntree Gully Rd. Then it snakes around Knoxfield before heading north-east to Boronia, mainly through residential streets. Only a few trips extend to Bayswater. Apart from The Glen at Glen Waverley it serves only ‘second tier’ shopping centres, conspicuously missing Knox City. 

Not all trips go the same way. I’ve already mentioned the occasional Bayswater extension. There is also another deviation in Bayswater (for certain school trips) and a Kathryn Av Knoxfield cut through on one afternoon trip and some weeknight trips. 

Route 753 has been around for a long time. There has been no significant and implemented bus network review in all areas it passes for at least 20 years. The last bus review from 2010 (Knox/Maroondah/Yarra Ranges) proposed some changes to the 753 but like most of its recommendations was never implemented.   

More than half of Route 753’s coverage area is overlapped by other routes. This is chiefly the popular 693 along Ferntree Gully Rd. The difference is that 693 continues west to Oakleigh whereas the 753 turns north to Glen Waverley Station. There is also an overlap on a section of Scoresby Rd with Route 755, whereas another section of Scoresby Rd near Bayswater has just the once-daily 745A.  


Route 753 meets minimum standards, having got an upgrade, like many other routes, in the 2006-2010 period. It is your standard Ventura eastern suburbs route. That is a half-hourly weekday interpeak service and an hourly weekend service. I should mention that this standard applies only between Glen Waverley and Boronia. Peak service is roughly every 20 to 30 minutes. Also of note is the Saturday timetable has an irregularity with a 30 minute interval between consecutive trips in the late morning. 

The Boronia to Bayswater service is irregular with only occasional trips operated. This includes trips during the school peak. There are also some trips in the early commuter peak (around 4-5pm). However there are no trips at the peak times that commuters would be coming off trains (around 6pm). 

Unusual for a weekday peak service the Bayswater extension does run on weekends. Again oddly is that there is a better service on Sunday than there is on Saturday. For example Saturdays has 5 hour midday gaps whereas Sundays has a more regular timetable with 3 hour gaps. 

There are some short workings. These are most notable at the start and end of the day with some trips starting and finishing at Knoxfield. This may be due to a depot location. 


Route 753's patronage is almost exactly average for a Melbourne bus routes. In 2018 it attracted 23 boardings per hour on weekdays. Weekend and school holiday usage was a touch under 20 boardings per hour. Being a long route it performs several functions, including as a train feeder for Glen Waverley  Station and a local service in the Knoxfield area (where it is the area's only 7 day route). 


Old network maps published by BCSV give some clues as to the evolution of the 753. In 1971 the 753 was just a short Boronia Station - Knoxfield feeder route. The following year it was extended a little west to Stud Rd. This would have connected people to their nearest main shops near the station (Knox City not opening until 1977). 

From the Glen Waverley end was a route 743 via Watsons Rd to Wheelers Hill. Both this and the 753 could be considered to have had weak termini. In 1973 both routes were joined, with the combined 753 assuming pretty much its current alignment between Glen Waverley and Boronia. 

Some time later (1990s?) some trips were extended to Bayswater. 

The above history has a large bearing on where people can and can't get to on buses even in 2021. For example the logical western destination for people on the Ferntree Gully streets that the 753 plies is Knox City. However the bus misses there, instead going south to Knoxfield, a residential area with few useful destinations. 

Those curious about old timetables can find a 1988 one on Krustylink. Peak service was a more even 20 minutes. The interpeak frequency was the same 30 minutes that runs today. However service was only Monday - Saturday daytimes as was widespread back then for outer suburban buses (some inner and middle suburban buses had better service but much of this was axed in the 1990-91 cuts).  


753 is a legacy bus route that has had few changes to its alignment since the 1970s and no changes to its basic service level in the last 15 years. Is this appropriate or do you think there is scope for reform like I suggest here for its eastern portion? If you have ideas for improving it then please post them in the comments below. 


Unknown said...

The extension to Bayswater happen in the mid-2000s.

Craig Halsall said...

The 753 extension to Bayswater was introduced in April 2001 (I seem to recall for a 2 year trial). Effectively every second weekday bus ran to Bayswater, so there was roughly a 40 min peak & hourly offpeak service (slightly better in AM school peak)

From the Internet Archive - https://web.archive.org/web/20010421081017fw_/http://www.venturabus.com.au/ven_753.shtml

In October 2004 the trial was deemed a failure, and it was cut back to just the peak service, with Ventura reallocating the resources to revised runtimes across Knoxfield depot routes.

The largely hourly Saturday service was maintained at the time, but would be cut back to current levels in May 2005 to provide some slightly later trips on the more popular 737 extending the span between Boronia & Knox City to about 8:30pm (as mentioned in the June 2005 "Table Talk" - http://cdn.timetable.org.au/tabletalk200506issue.pdf)

Craig Halsall said...

Further background...

A few years earlier in February 1998, as part of a series of route changes in Bayswater North and The Basin (following the departure of Quince's) 755 was modified to run via The Basin and then onto Bayswater instead of Croydon. This removed duplication with the 737 on Dorset Rd and introduced a service on Mountain Hwy between Bayswater Rd & Dorset Rd.

On weekdays a 30 min service along Mountain Hwy was provided (consistent with the rest of the route) but this proved unsuccessful. In September 2000 the Mountain Hwy section was replaced by a shuttle from Bayswater to The Basin, with large gaps during the middle of the day.

In late December 2000 this shuttle model was scrapped and a further reduced timetable implemented, with 755 now only running to Bayswater on a handful of peak trips (but still all day Saturday)

Link - https://web.archive.org/web/20010407100546fw_/http://www.venturabus.com.au/ven_755.shtml

To me it would appear that Ventura got permission from the then DoI to reallocate the 755 savings into the nearby 753 trial instead, which was also unsuccessful.

The May 2008 upgrade of 755 to minimum standards levels restored an all day service along Mountain Hwy albeit only every 2nd service and finishes around 7:30pm.

Invicta's 691 also had a failed extension from Boronia to Bayswater along Power Rd between December 1998 & September 2003, when service was reduced to a limited peak service primarily serving the Jersey Rd industrial area. A further timetable review in December 2011 saw this deleted this altogether.

Craig Halsall said...

Another related tid-bit from twenty years ago...

The April 2001 753 extension onto Bayswater also had ramifications for the existing Scoresby Rd service, the infamous alphabet soup that is the 745.

Since the eighties the skeleton timetable had at least offered shoppers a morning 745A trip in either direction between Knox City and Bayswater, allowing return trips mid afternoon (albeit with a overly generous 5 hours (!!) provided for errands to be done in Bayswater, although it did allow a day trip onto Eastland)

These morning trips disappeared in April 2001 leaving the current afternoon only service level that remains today.

Online timetables from 2001 via Internet Archive for comparison:

February 2001 capture - https://web.archive.org/web/20010221011035/http://www.venturabus.com.au/ven_745.shtml

April 2001 capture - https://web.archive.org/web/20010421080543/http://www.venturabus.com.au:80/ven_745.shtml

(Note the November 1995 effective date at the top of the 745 page wasn't updated, although this eventually disappeared in mid 2002)

More bizarrely, the 745 paper timetable was never reissued despite the significance of the change - Ventura was still distributing the November 1995 timetable for another four years until the Metlink format timetables appeared in mid 2005.

There was even a footnote on the AATTC (now ATA) website about this oddity at the time with Ventura's reasoning being the route's low patronage - https://web.archive.org/web/20041209222209/http://www.aattc.org.au:80/melbourne.htm

Bayswater, like much of Knox, has certainly been a place of contempt for bus users since the Hamer years...