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Two new bus routes are starting later this month. Both provide much needed coverage to growth areas around Tarneit. Early advice of routes 152 and 182 was given on Facebook by Sarah Connolly MP.
RoutesThe map shows them relative to the existing network. Both are main road routes between two railway lines. The main area of new coverage is on Leakes Rd both east and west of Tarneit Station. They will fill many coverage gaps in the City of Wyndham between the Werribee and Geelong lines. The main remaining coverage gaps are in the fast-developing estates north of Tarneit off Dohertys Rd where no b buses run.
More detailed maps of each route, including stop locations, are below.
Both routes operate every 40 minutes off-peak. Route 152 operates about every 30 minutes during peaks while the 182 is about every 20 minutes.
Local bus routes routes are supposed to operate to minimum standards with regards to frequency (every 60 minutes or better) and operating hours (6am - 9pm weekdays, 8am - 9pm Saturdays, 9am - 9pm Sundays). Some routes are actually a bit better. It's widely recognised that these standards underestimated travel demand early on weekend mornings. As a result some new bus routes start about an hour earlier than the standard on Saturdays and Sundays. The minimum standards commenced in 2006 when there was a major program to upgrade buses throughout Melbourne. A lot was done but there was still unfinished work, especially for routes in some established areas. However most new routes do meet the standards.
Here 152 and 182 both skimp a bit. There should be an additional one or two early weekday arrivals at Williams Landing for the 152 as the first arrives as late as 6:40am. The last weekday departure of 8:17pm is also poor with one or two extra trips desirable. Sunday evening is the quietest evening of the week for travel demand yet its last evening trip is 30 minutes later than the last weeknight trip from Williams Landing. It's much more uniform going the other way with the last 152 departures just after 9pm on every day of the week from Tarneit.
Route 182 also has similar early finishes from the Werribee line direction except in this case it's 7 days per week (8:22pm finish).
Even though the catchment of both routes is nearer to Tarneit than Werribee line stations, if I was a local resident there would be times when I'd be catching the Werribee line train instead. This is because of (a) its superior evening frequency (now never worse than 20 min on any day of the week) and (b) direct services from Flinders Street. These considerations are why connections from the Werribee line should at least meet the 9pm minimum standard, which is not the case on neither route on any night.
Route 182 is mainly there for its northern part where it provides unique coverage. However it overlaps the 180 on parts of Tarneit Rd to Werribee Station. That can assist in improving frequency given the gaps the 180's timetable sometimes have. Earlier in the year I mentioned how DoT poorly scheduled the Route 180 am weekday timetable with a 28 minute gap in arrivals at Werribee at the height of the morning peak with no buses between 7:21 and 7:49am. Does the 182 fix this? The answer is it does, partially. The 182 has arrivals at 7:13, 7:40 and 8:00. This reduces the longest gap to 19 minutes. Ideally two nominally 20 minute routes would be offset by 10 minutes to provide a combined peak frequency nearer to 10 minutes (although it's a balancing act with regard to balancing return trips to connect with trains at Tarneit).
What about other co-scheduling opportunities? The schematic shows some related routes. Most local routes are typically half the frequencies of interpeak weekday trains (every 20 minutes). The best service is provided if times are offset so that those between both routes have the option of catching both at different times. In other words 167 and 182 should be offset by 20 minutes weekday interpeak to provide the best service. Unfortunately this does not hold on weekends due to the poor frequency of trains Tarneit gets then (trains only every 40 minutes) despite its high usage and populated catchment.
Something similar should apply for the 150, 151 and 152 although it is impossible to get it right to benefit everyone. For example the largest catchment benefits if 150 and 152 operate at the same times with 151, the in between route, offset by 20 minutes. However this provides a poor service on the 150 and 152 overlap with two buses every 40 minutes and nothing in between.
The 150 and 151 (and likely the 152 once it gets established) are some of Melbourne's most productive bus routes as measured by passeger boardings per kilometre. The most desirable outcome would likely be a doubling of interpeak train and bus frequencies to reduce gaps (eg trains every 10 minutes, buses every 20 minutes).
The diagram below shows some (but not all) relationships. The most notable omission is the 166 which should be offset by 20 minutes on its common path with the 167 between Hoppers Crossing and Werribee Plaza. Hence there are many trade-offs with scheduling and the best approach in such a high usage area with (already) efficiently planned routes is just to run everything as frequently as possible consistent with harmonising with trains (although even that becomes less important with high train frequencies).
ConclusionBoth the 152 and 182 are welcome additions to the Wyndham transport network. They are simple, direct and provide worthwhile new coverage in an area where bus usage is high. And where they overlap with established routes they provide some increased frequency. Hence they should be successful, although longer operating hours and higher frequency would always be welcome. Index of Timetable Tuesday items
This article first appeared on melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
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