Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Timetable Tuesday #143: Up to 115 min between buses - Scoresby’s unloved 757 758 twins

 


Little exemplifies the stagnation of buses in the City of Knox more than the two bus routes we’ll talk about today. 757 and 758 started as limited service daytime shopper services in 1982 to then new subdivisions. Nearly 40 years later that remains their role today. 

I’m doing them together since their histories and alignment parallel. For example they started on the same day, are of similar length and have similar service levels. Both run south from Knox City, finishing at a dead end terminus near Ferntree Gully Road. They are like inkblots on card with Stud Road forming the crease. 757 is west of Stud Rd while 758 is east. Both have complex loops near their bottom ends. Compare them below: 


The maps above can be zoomed in on the PTV website but they miss other information. Possibly more helpful is the City of Knox network map below. 


This shows the 757/758 mirror image more clearly as well as these routes’ role. Basically they are coverage routes servicing pockets off the main roads. Road layout design has made such routes more necessary. This is because traffic engineering doctrine states that main roads like Stud Road should be limited access with residential streets behind them having, at best broken grids, and at worst ‘spaghetti style’ streets.  This results in main roads having limited walk-up access for main bus routes and local routes (like 757 and 758) being slow and indirect. Neither are conducive to efficient, well-used and economical bus networks. 

In terms of coverage, 757 serves the strip of housing between Eastlink and Stud Rd. It has pretty much unique coverage if you ignore the Stud Rd routes.  758 covers the wide area between Stud and Scoresby roads. In the south it has overlapping catchment with the complex 753, though they have differing destinations.  

Both routes have multiple loops in their bottom section. In some pockets they are the only pubic transport within reasonable walking distance of homes. Both southern termini are weak. On the map they intersect with the 693 along Ferntree Gully Rd but its unlikely few would make connections due to low frequencies and poor pedestrian access. Neither the 757 nor 758 run to any train station. Hence a city trip using one of these routes would be a multi-hour affair with two or three changes. 

Timetables

Both routes run Monday to Friday with no weekend or public holiday service. Like many routes in Knox they missed out on the ‘minimum standards’ upgrades of 10 to 15 years ago. The number of trips on both routes can be counted on two hands, with some digits remaining.

Operating hours are limited. Starts are roughly 8 to 9am with finishes 5 to 6pm. This makes them suitable for weekday shopper trips to Knox City and possibly some school trips. 757 starts and finishes earlier than 758, with neither having sufficient span to provide a generally useful commuter service. Frequency is also limited; Intervals between services average about 90 minutes with some approaching 2 hours. 

Patronage

Both routes are poorly used, attracting less than half of the average number of boardings per service hours compared to the rest of the network. On weekdays (the only day these routes run) 757 attracts 10 boardings per service hour with 758 slightly busier at 11. 

Although the catchment is regular outer suburbia, everything about these routes contributes to their poor patronage performance. This includes their restricted operating days, hours and frequency. They don’t run to a train station and their southern termini aren’t anywhere useful.  Consequently about their only use is for Knox City shoppers, and even there other routes like the 901 provide a more attractive service due to their higher frequency if people can tolerate the extra walking. 

Conclusion

The 757 and 758 routes are both underperforming and unloved. Reviews about 10 years ago suggested reforms but none got implemented.  More recent governments have emphasised infrastructure at the expense of service so nothing has happened lately either. 

I’ve already said what I’d do with bus services in the Scoreby area – you can read it here. If you've got any thoughts please leave them in the comments below. 


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