Thursday, January 25, 2024

Public Transport to public swimming pools

It's summer which means many will be heading to swimming pools to cool off. How good is public transport, especially weekend public transport, to them? To find out I grabbed a list of public swimming pools and did a quick assessment of routes and service levels (like I did for hospitals).

Criteria include proximity, destinations and availability of transport from multiple directions with 7 day service and frequency (especially on weekends). But I will make some allowances for area. Eg if an area has poor public transport but the pool is well located within it (eg handy to local shops) then I've been more generous as it's more convenient for people to walk to or combine with other trips. Conversely pools less well located or near walking hostile roads with large roundabouts that lack pedestrian crossings are marked down even though they may have more bus routes nearby. 

Pools are listed roughly in order of suburb name.  

* Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre - MSAC (Albert Park) 

Trams 12 and 96 nearby. 

* Bayfit Leisure Centre (Altona North) 

Buses 412 and 432 nearby. 412 is only every 80 min on weekends while 432 is slow and indirect. 

* Ascot Vale Leisure Centre 

FAIR Nearest transport is tram 57 and bus 472 (Moonee Ponds - Williamstown). 472 is every 15-20 min Mon-Sat but only every 50 min on Sunday. Also about 10 min walk from station. 

* Ashburton Pool and Recreation Centre (Ashburton)

FAIR Within 10 minutes walk of Ashburton station on Alamein train line, bus 734 along High St and 903 on Warrigal Rd. 

* Boroondara Sports Complex (Balwyn North) 

FAIR Bus routes 302 and 304 stop outside. This provides a reasonable east west service most days, although Sunday frequency drops. Lowering the score is the near absence of north-south connectivity on nearby Balwyn Rd, with only a poor weekend service offered on the 285 (which doesn't run on Sundays). 

* Belgrave Swimming Pool 

POOR The nearest public transport is the only occasional Route 699. 697 is next closest. It's more frequent than the 699 but is still very limited on weekends. A few might walk from the station (trains every 30 min on weekdays) but the area's hilly terrain and limited footpaths may put many off. 

* Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre (GESAC) (Bentleigh East) 

POOR-FAIR Served by one bus - the 627 - which runs north-south every 30 min weekdays and 40 min weekends. The 822 - another north-south route - behind the pool is another option for some. The pool's location away from major east-west roads limits access in that direction. However there is the 703 on Centre Rd every 15-20 min weekdays and 30 min weekends. The centre is not near any train station. 

* Knox LeisureWorks (Boronia) 

POOR No buses within about 600m. The nearest routes are 737 and 753 which are typically only every 40 - 60 min on weekends. An indirect 10-15 min walk from Boronia station which has only a limited (every 30 min) weekday service. 

* Aqualink Box Hill (Box Hill) 

FAIR Not near station but about 300m from Station St served by 732, 735 and 903. These offer a reasonable number of buses per hour on weekends but reference to timetables are still needed. The pool is also about 400m from Elgar Rd which has the 767. Access from the east and west is poor due to the absence of a bus on Canterbury Rd. 

* Broadmeadows Leisure Centre 

FAIR - GOOD Walkable from a variety of local and Smart bus routes and the train at Broadmeadows station. Area is walking hostile for a town centre though. 

* Brunswick Baths (Brunswick) 

FAIR - GOOD Very close to frequent 19 tram on Sydney Rd. Even closer to the Upfield line but about midway between Brunswick and Jewell stations. Both provide efficient north-south connections. East-west access is however limited with the popular 506 bus reducing its frequency on Saturday afternoon and not running Sunday. 

* Latrobe University Sports Centre Indoor Pool (Bundoora) 

FAIR The location deep within the university campus is not that convenient if walking from the 86 tram on Plenty Rd. Frequent buses operate on weekdays (including the 301 university shuttle) but  only the 250 and 561 runs 7 days. 

* Carlton Baths Community Centre Outdoor

Right on the 250/251 bus route which form a frequent corridor. Also walkable to 1 & 6 trams on Lygon St and 96 on Nicholson St. East-west connectivity is however poor with the nearby 546 bus not running weekends. 

* Clayton Aquatics & Health Club Indoor

FAIR - GOOD On popular bus routes including 631, 703, 704 and 733 although with typical 30 - 40 min weekend frequencies. About 10 min walk to Clayton station which offers trains every 10 min 7 days a week. 

* Doug Ellis Pool Monash University (Clayton) Indoor

FAIR - GOOD Approx 5 min walk from bus interchange which includes routes from a wide area. Weekend frequencies are however limited, being typically every 30 to 60 min with some routes not operating. 

* Collingwood Leisure Centre Indoor

VERY GOOD Opposite Clifton Hill train station with frequent service. Also served by frequent 246 bus. 504 bus in area but less frequent on weekends. 546 connects to north-east but doesn't operate weekends. 

* Coburg Leisure Centre Indoor

VERY GOOD Close to frequent 19 tram and walkable from Coburg Station. Also has frequent east-west connections via buses 513/514, 527, 561 and 903 SmartBus.  

* Coburg Olympic Swimming Pool Outdoor

POOR - FAIR Nearest route is 526 which doesn't run Sundays and has limited hours on other days. 561 a little further away offers 7 day service every 50 min on weekends. Some may also walk from 19 tram which runs frequently 7 days. 

* Splash Aqua Park and Leisure Centre (Craigieburn) Indoor

FAIR On edge of town centre with several bus routes to surrounding areas typically every 40 min on weekends. No frequent 7 day route runs to local stations. Walkability also uninspiring. 

* Casey Recreation & Aquatic Centre (RACE) (Cranbourne) 

POOR - FAIR Not in town centre. Near 897 bus that runs every 20 min 7 days but limited access from other parts of Cranbourne especially to north. 

* Crib Point Pool Outdoor

POOR - FAIR Within 600m of Crib point station and 782 bus. Low frequency of both (approx every 2 hours) limits access. 

* Croydon Leisure & Aquatic Centre (AquaHub) Indoor

FAIR Nearest bus, about 200m away, is 664 every 30 - 60 min. About 500m from station and bus interchange. Local buses are limited and train only every 30 min on weekdays. 

* Croydon Memorial Pool Outdoor

FAIR - GOOD Short walk from station and bus interchange. No crossing of major roads. 

* Dandenong Oasis Leisure Centre Indoor

POOR - FAIR Well beyond walking distance of station. Served by multiple bus routes but all are infrequent weekends or (like 802 and 804) do not run 7 days. 

* Diamond Creek Outdoor Pool Outdoor

FAIR - GOOD Very good location only 100 metres from train station but rating was held back by trains only every 40 min. Buses 381 and 580 run 7 days, 343 does not. 

* Doveton Pool in the Park (Doveton) Outdoor

VERY POOR Only bus is 844 which finishes early Saturdays and does not run Sundays. 

* Emerald Lake Park Wading Pool (Emerald) Outdoor

POOR - FAIR About 400m from 695 and 695F buses. 

* Eltham Leisure Centre (Eltham) Indoor

POOR No public transport to centre. Nearest buses are 513 and 902 on Main Rd accessible via Wingrove Park trail. 

* Fawkner Leisure Centre Indoor & Outdoor

POOR - FAIR 530 bus stops outside but limited frequency. About 700m to limited service weekday only 531 bus on Sydney Rd. 800m to station. 

* Fitzroy Swimming Pool Outdoor

FAIR - GOOD Short walk from frequent Route 11 tram on Brunswick Street and somewhat longer to 86 tram on Nicholson St. East-west transport is however poor with nearby 546 bus not running weekends. 

* Yarraville Swim Centre (Footscray West) Indoor

POOR Served only by Route 414 bus. Operates limited hours, every 80 min Saturdays with no Sunday service. Train at the uninviting Tottenham station approx 800m walk away. 

* Aqualink Nunawading (Forest Hill) Indoor

POOR - FAIR Only nearby public transport is the Route 902 on Springvale Rd which runs every 15 min weekdays and 30 min weekends. Absence of a bus route on Canterbury Rd means there is no east-west transport to the centre. Indirect and not frequent bus 765 is however an indirect walk to the south. 

* Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre (PARC) (Frankston) Indoor, two water slides

GOOD Short walk from Frankston Station and bus interchange (including 901 SmartBus). Connections to Mornington possible via Routes 781, 784 and 785. On weekdays frequent buses operate to Karingal (789, 790, 791) with a lesser weekend service. Rating would be higher if other local routes ran more frequent and/or 7 days (many don't). 

* Pines Forest Swimming Centre (Frankston North) Outdoor

FAIR Directly served by Route 833 between Frankston and Carrum which runs every 30 min weekdays and 60 min weekends. Approx 1km walk from 901 SmartBus on Frankston - Dandenong Rd which offers half these waits along with local route 832. 

* Harold Holt Swim Centre (Glen Iris) Indoor & Outdoor

FAIR - GOOD Directly on tram route 6 which offers frequent service. Tram 5 and 72 are a further walk away but may be useful for some. Poor access from south with only option being 624 bus (hourly on weekends) on Tooronga Rd. 

* Monash Aquatic & Recreation Centre (Glen Waverley) Indoor & Outdoor

POOR Located on Route 623 which offers east-west connectivity with buses every 30 min weekdays and 60 min weekends. Unfortunate placement in middle of large block distant from north-south main roads limits north-south connectivity. However a number of buses run to Glen Waverley from Springvale Rd (about 600m east). 

* WaterMarc Banyule (Greensborough) Indoor, water slides and splash park

GOOD Area a little hilly to walk but still within 200m of Greensborough station served by numerous bus routes including 901 and 902 SmartBuses (each every 30 min weekends). 

* Pelican Park Recreation Centre (Hastings) Indoor

POOR - FAIR About 400m from 782/783 buses in Hastings town centre. These run approximately hourly each day. About 1.2 - 1.4km east of Hastings station on infrequent Stony Point line. 

* Hawthorn Aquatic & Leisure Centre (Hawthorn) Outdoor

EXCELLENT Opposite Glenferrie Station with Route 16 tram even closer. 

* Healesville Outdoor Pool 

FAIR - GOOD About 300m from Route 685 to Lilydale. About 10 min walk from town centre.

* Jack Hort Memorial Indoor Pool (Healesville) 

VERY POOR No nearby public transport. Significant walk to 685 bus. 

* Heidelberg West Olympic Leisure Centre Indoor

GOOD Multiple bus routes nearby including 250, 517, 903. 549 does not run 7 days. 

* Highett Waves Leisure Centre Indoor

POOR - FAIR Distant from station or local shops. Served by 767 bus (every 30 - 40 min weekends) and infrequent 811/812. No east-west routes. 

* Wyndham Leisure & Events Centre (Aqua Pulse) (Hoppers Crossing) 

POOR - FAIR Served by 170 bus every 20 min 7 days between Werribee and Tarneit. Not near station. East-west routes on Heaths Rd but some distance away and poor walkability. 

* Ivanhoe Aquatic & Fitness Centre Indoor

POOR Only bus is 549 which is infrequent and doesn't run 7 days. Next nearest bus is 548 which also doesn't run 7 days. Route 250 does run 7 days but is some distance to west. 

* East Keilor Leisure Centre Indoor & Outdoor

POOR - FAIR Nearest bus is indirect 469. 465 and 903 are somewhat further away (typically every 20-30 min Sat, 30-40 min Sunday). 

* Brimbank Aquatic and Wellness Centre (Keilor Downs) Indoor

FAIR 418 and 421 (every 40-60 min weekends) stop nearby. Pool is close to shopping centre. About 1km to station. 

* Springers Leisure Centre (Keysborough) 

POOR Located in middle of park hemmed in by freeway and school, increasing distances. About 400m south of busy Cheltenham Rd which has buses 812 and 828 (both hourly on Sundays) but walking distance is increased further by lack of convenient pedestrian crossing causing backtracking. 

* Laverton Swim and Fitness Centre Indoor

POOR Approx 400m to buses on Bladin St. Of the three routes (400, 414, 417) only 400 operates 7 days (every 40 min approx). Over 1km from station. 

* Lilydale Swimming Pool Outdoor

FAIR - GOOD Approx 400m to station and bus interchange. Weekday trains only every 30 min while weekend buses are either infrequent or do not run. 

* Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre Indoor

FAIR - GOOD Close to 82 tram and generally frequent 223 bus. 409 bus also nearby. Some other bus routes eg 408 have infrequent Sunday service. 

* Melbourne City Baths Indoor

EXCELLENT Near numerous trams and Melbourne Central Station. 

* Melton Waves Leisure Centre Indoor

POOR On two indirect bus routes (453 & 455) that each run only hourly on weekends. Distant from station and not near shopping centre. Area has poor walkability. 

* Mill Park Leisure Centre Indoor

POOR On bus route 382 (every 40 min). East west access provided by bus route 566 which is indirect, confusing and infrequent. Area has poor walkability with pedestrian-hostile roundabouts. 

* Monbulk Aquatic Centre Indoor

POOR - FAIR About an 800m indirect walk from the main shops the site is served by bus 663. This is every 30 min weekdays and 60 min weekends. 

* Mordialloc Aquatic and Leisure Centre (proposed) 

LIKELY POOR Located in an industrial area the site has a discontinuous path from Mordialloc station and limited bus services. The nearest routes to the Governor Rd site include the weekday peak only 705 and the hourly (on weekends) 708 between Hampton and Carrum. Route 709 operates every 30 min 7 days but is further away, requiring negotiation of a walking hostile roundabout. Improved walkability and a weekend upgrade to 708 to run every 30 min would increase its rating to fair. 

* Healthways Recreation Centre (Mont Albert North) Indoor

POOR - FAIR Served only by the limited service daytime only 612 bus that runs hourly on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays. A 1km (approx) indirect walk to the 109 tram on Mont Albert Rd. 

* Queens Park Outdoor Pool (Moonee Ponds) Outdoor

FAIR - GOOD On frequent tram route 59 and a short walk from Moonee Ponds Junction. Holding back the score is poor east-west connectivity due to infrequent buses on weekends. 508 is only every 30-40 min on weekends while 506 lacks Sunday service. Route 404 from Footscray also doesn't run Sundays.   

* Casey Aquatic and Recreation Centre (ARC) (Narre Warren) Indoor

POOR Nearest bus stops are on busy Princes Hwy with no pedestrian crossing. Otherwise passengers can alight at the uninviting Fountain Gate bus interchange. Typical weekend service every 40 - 60 min only. 

* Noble Park Aquatic Centre Indoor & Outdoor

FAIR About 10 min walk from station with frequent train service and some local buses. Buses in some directions are however limited with 811 only every hour and no route connecting the area to Noble Park North. 

* North Melbourne Recreation Centre Outdoor

GOOD - VERY GOOD Within 200m of 57 tram and 402 bus. Will be even closer to Arden station served by Metro Tunnel trains. 

* Oakleigh Recreation Centre Outdoor

POOR Nearest service is 624 and 693 on Princes Hwy (both hourly weekends). Poor pedestrian connectivity across major highway to stops. 800, 802, 804 and 862 stop on Warrigal Rd but only indirect pedestrian access and only Route 862 runs Sundays. 

* Olinda Outdoor Pool (Olinda) 

VERY POOR Route 696 stops nearby but this is a limited service weekday only shopper route. Otherwise approx 1km walk west to Olinda shops where the 7 day 688 can be caught. 

* Cardinia LiFE (Pakenham) Indoor

* Pakenham Outdoor Pool (Pakenham) Outdoor

POOR Distant from station. On bus routes 925 and 926 which typically have 60 - 80 min gaps. 

* Oak Park Aquatic Centre (Pascoe Vale) Outdoor

FAIR Approx 500m walk from Oak Park Station. Closer to 542 bus but this is limited service with no Sunday service on this portion. Route also lacks stops right near Pascoe Vale Rd. 

* Pascoe Vale Outdoor Pool 

FAIR About 700m walk from Pascoe Vale Station. Bus routes 513 & 514 stop nearby. Every 20 min weekdays but drop to a combined 40 min service on Sundays. 

* Prahran Aquatic Centre Outdoor

VERY GOOD Near intersection of 72 and 78 tram routes. Also served by 603 and 604 buses. Prahran Station about 600m away. 

* Reservoir Leisure Centre Indoor & Outdoor

POOR - FAIR Served by several bus routes including 552, 556 and 561. Typically every 15-25 min weekdays, around every 40 min weekends. Getting to bus stop may require crossing large unsignalised roundabout. Approximately 800m east of station. 

* Richmond Recreation Centre Indoor

VERY GOOD Near intersection of 48/75 and 78 tram routes. Approx 10 min walk from 12 & 109 trams. Approx 1km east of West Richmond Station. 

* Ringwood Regional Aquatic & Leisure Centre (Aquanation) Indoor

FAIR Approx 300m east of 901 bus on Wantirna Rd (every 15 min weekdays, 30 min weekends). Approx 1km south of train station and large bus interchange.  

* St Kilda Sea Baths Indoor

GOOD 16 and 96 trams stop close by. Also served by 606 (nearby) and 623 bus (slightly further). Both are every 30 - 40 min on weekends. 

* Sunbury Aquatic & Leisure Centre Indoor & Outdoor

FAIR - GOOD About 500m from Sunbury station and bus interchange. Services typically every 40 min. 

* Sunshine Leisure Centre Indoor & Outdoor

FAIR - GOOD Nearest buses are 408 and 410 on Devonshire Rd. Each is every 15-20 min Mon-Sat but drop to hourly on Sundays. No convenient pedestrian crossing on Devonshire Rd near Kennedy St. Handy to shopping centre on Hampshire Rd where other buses eg 220 and 903 stop. Approx 800m to station. 

* Doncaster Aquarena Aquatic and Leisure Centre (Templestowe Lower) Indoor & Outdoor

FAIR Located on main road served by buses 279 (some trips), 293 (hourly weekends) and 902 (every 30 min weekends). 

* Thomastown Recreation & Aquatic Centre (TRAC) Indoor & Outdoor

FAIR Bus 357 (every 40 min most times) stops close by. Approx 500m west of station. 

* Werribee Outdoor Pool 

POOR - FAIR Approx 300m to infrequent 153 and 443 routes. Past end of long shopping strip, approx 1km away from station and even further from bus interchange. 

* Whittlesea Swimming Centre Outdoor

FAIR - GOOD About 300m from town centre and 382 bus stop (service every 40 min).

* Yarra Centre (Yarra Junction Aquatic Centre) Indoor

FAIR - GOOD Opposite main shops. About 100m from 683 bus (approx every hour). 


A summary of transport to each known operational public aquatic centre or swimming pool has been presented above. Assessments are only approximate and you might disagree with some - opportunity to comment below. 

Some centres are so poorly located that when they become too expensive to repair the best option may be closure and relocation to a more transport-friendly site. 

However most others are in at least reasonable locations. These have opportunity for service improvements to improve access to them. The most important of these include:

* Good active transport access including direct walking and cycling paths, pedestrian crossings on 'desire lines' to remove backtracking, traffic calming and large roundabout removals/intersection signalisation for better walkability.

* Bus operating hours and frequency upgrades, especially on weekends where many routes still run half (or less) service compared to weekdays. 

* Bus network reform where scope exists to improve connections between a pool and its surrounds. 

Because local councils are heavily involved in the funding, construction and management of pools and leisure centres they have a strong role in advocating (and in some cases construction) for necessary transport and access improvements.