McGill's & Alexander Dennis
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Alexander Dennis & Lothian
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Alexander Dennis at Euro Bus Expo 2018
The most important factor that determines the usefulness of a public transport service is not whether it's a train, tram or bus but its timetable, route and stops.
Residential - industrial - residential - industrial - residential. Part main road, part local. That's a summary of Route 414 between Footscray and Laverton. One of the oldest routes in the area, it is the only public transport in parts of Brooklyn and Altona North. It was also the nearest regular service to the old Toyota factory; the only other bus route, the 232, runs as an extension once each way from and to the city. Parts of the route are overlapped by the newer 417 in the Laverton North industrial area.
The 414 performs a variety of functions. These include (i) connections from the residential area of Brooklyn to Footscray (and the broader network), (ii) as a Laverton North industrial area route from Footscray and Laverton, and (iii) along with routes 400 and 417, a train feeder from residential areas of Laverton to the station. Route 414 is the longest established of those routes along Bladin St. This feeder role is recognised in the weekday timetable where there is a short after 8pm trip from Laverton.
Route 414's map is below.
You can see how it fits in with the general area on the network map below.
Route 414's timetable is below. Service frequency is close to a flat 40 minutes through the day on weekday. Although serving an industrial area, where people typically start work early, the 414's start time is not particularly early. It does however carry significant usage on its first service.
Service levels have stayed broadly unchanged for years if not decades. It missed out on the hourly minimum standards upgrades introduced from 2006. You can see this in its early weekday finish and lack of a Sunday service. Saturday service runs during daylight hours only, with an 80 minute frequency. Unlike other Monday to Saturday routes (that got public holiday standardisation) Route 414 does not operate on public holidays. More about public holiday service patterns here.
In terms of service level, Route 414 is almost identical to Route 415 between Williamstown and Laverton via Altona. This also has a partly industrial catchment and hasn't received minimum service standards upgrades.
What would you do with the 414? Would it get more usage if it went via Altona Gate Shopping Centre? Should it run seven days per week over longer hours? Or should it be regarded as an industrial route without a need for much weekend service? Please leave your comments below.
This item was written by Peter Parker http://www.melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
This article first appeared on melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
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