McGill's & Alexander Dennis
South East Transport Changes from 2 December
Featured Bus Route – October 2018
DATE FOR THE DIARY - 25th November - Finchley Bus Running Day
Alexander Dennis & Lothian
Buses on Parade
The non-Inner West bus routes to be privatised
Leeds Considering Hydrogen Powered Buses
New CEO for First Group & Results for Six Months to September 2018
Alexander Dennis at Euro Bus Expo 2018
Public transport is slow enough without having to backtrack or unnecessarily change services.
Network design should enable people to reach popular destinations via reasonably direct routes. Unfortunately such principles are not applied consistently, as we’ll see today with Pakenham’s Route 925.
To set the scene, Pakenham is a fast-growing fringe suburb about 55km east of Melbourne. It got rail electrification relatively early for
a place so far out since it was on the main line to the power-producing Latrobe Valley (which once had electric trains as far east as Traralgon). Many can remember occasional electrified trains to Warragul but by the late 1990s these had been wound back to Pakenham.
Pakenham itself though has seen a steady rise in the number of trains terminating there. It joined the suburban network in 1975. In later decades off-peak frequencies were increased to 30 and then 20 minutes. And the long gap between Officer and Pakenham was filled by the new Cardinia Road station. Sunday morning timetables though remain a remnant of past lower service levels with only an hourly frequency offered until quite late.
Pakenham itself grew big enough to get its own bus network. It's original bus route was the very long 826 from Hampton. This was part of a three route group, including 827 and 828, that were shorter. In January 2006 Route 826 and 827 trips were folded into an upgraded 828 operating between Hampton and Berwick only. The eastern part of the 826 became the 926 from Fountain Gate to Pakenham. 927 and 928 became new local routes giving coverage to parts of Pakenham away from the station. Sunday service and further routes in the area came later.
Route 925's route map is below. It runs westwards from Pakenham north of the railway.
Part of 925 overlap other routes as can be seen on the network map below. However it stops short of Cardinia Road station. This means that those using this route as a train feeder need to backtrack to Pakenham, adding unnecessary time to their trip. This is a contrast to Route 928 that efficiently serves both stations south of the line.
Route 925 is Pakenham’s least used bus route on a passenger
boardings per hour basis. On weekdays it gets 12 boardings per bus service
hour. This drops only slightly to 11 boardings per hour on school holidays,
meaning that its major passenger base must be people other than
schoolchildren. Weekend use is in the
single digits, down to 8 and 7 boardings per service hour for Saturday and
Sunday respectively. These numbers place the 925 in about the bottom 15% of
Melbourne bus routes.
Other local Pakenham routes that have the same hourly
service frequency perform much better. For example the 927, 928 and 929 have
weekday productivity of 15, 20 and 30 boardings per hour respectively. Compared
to other buses in Melbourne this makes the 927 average with the 929 above
The overlap with other routes, the backtracking and it serving one instead of two stations would be factors in the 925's poor performance.
Route 925 runs to minimum service standards. Frequency is roughly hourly.
What would you do with the 925? Should it be extended to Cardinia Rd station? Is there scope for local routes to be simplified, potentially in conjunction with a 926 straightening? Please leave
your thoughts below if you have any ideas.
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This item was written by Peter Parker http://www.melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
This article first appeared on melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
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