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
Today we'll look at what I'll call the '824 corridor' in Melbourne's south and south east. What we know as the Route 824, from Moorabbin to Keysborough, has been on its current alignment for the better part of 30 years.
Pretty much the only thing that's
changed since is its timetable when it gained 7 day service and extended hours
about 15 years ago. These were part of a 'minimum standards' program rolled out
to over 100 bus routes.
Other structural issues with bus
timetables were not always changed then. For example a busy route may run every
15 or 20 minutes Monday to Saturday but Sunday service was left at every 40 to
60 minutes despite usage justifying an improvement (such as on routes like the
408 to Highpoint). Or frequencies might not have been adjusted to harmonise
trains with chronic non-connections remaining to this day (particularly in
the northern suburbs).
Oddities that date from when shorter
routes were merged and one area having historically higher frequencies than
another have also persisted for decades. For example Moorabbin Transit routes
were typically every 20 or 30 minutes while Grenda routes around
Springvale/Dandenong were more often hourly, even during peak times. The 824
reflects this with the Moorabbin end operating every 20 minutes but the
Keysborough end having only a 40 minute frequency as only every second bus
extends there. This is despite Noble Park/Keysborough having more favourable
demographics for buses than Moorabbin. You can see this illustrated in the
timetable fragment below.
The map below shows the 824's
alignment. It could be described as being in two parts. There is a direct
west-east Moorabbin to Clayton portion and a diagonal Clayton to Keysborough
The Moorabbin - Clayton half is
mostly continuously residential with a TAFE and some light industrial. It could
not be made straighter than it is. It has mostly unique coverage with
little overlap from other routes. Its 20 minute weekday frequency meshes with
every second train at Moorabbin and Clayton.
The Clayton to Westall part, through
the 'poets streets', is mostly residential. Then there's some dense housing
near Westall Station. It then becomes a mix of housing and light industrial
down the pedestrian-hostile Westall Rd which presents a formidable barrier.
Despite its frequency having by now dropped to 40 minutes, the 824 is still the
most frequent local bus in the Springvale South area. It also has a lot of
unique residential catchment in the south-west part of Keysborough. However
access to it is not helped by impermeable street layouts. Finallly the 824
overlaps two other routes (that are even less frequent than it, namely the 812
and the 813) via Kingsclere Av to Parkmore Shopping Centre.
There is no logical reason why the
824 need be a single route. They perform different functions east and west of
Clayton. It is likely that the turnover of passengers at Clayton would be quite
high, with few passengers travelling through. There is a possibility that if
routes were split they could be freed to serve more popular destinations.
The remainder of this post will
discuss these opportunities, starting from west to east.
The Brighton end
If you were a car driver heading west
along South Road you would be able to remain seated until you risk falling into
the bay at Brighton Beach. Whereas bus passengers are artificially required to
change at Moorabbin from the 824 to either the 811 or 812. And, because the 824
is every 20 minutes and the other two combined are every 30 minutes, waits will
be uneven and in some cases long.
Then there are issues with the bus
network in Brighton itself. It has too many (four!) bus routes that parallel
the train while there are too few good services that feed it from the east.
Those routes that run north-south collectively operate at excessive frequency
and for excessive hours for their low usage. The local council once tried a
feeder shuttle bus to relieve parking pressures at local stations. With service
either every hour (823) or every half-hour (811/812) regular bus routes are
currently inadequate to perform the train feeder function. It has been
demonstrated that you start to get people using buses as train feeders only
when bus frequency gets to every 20 minutes or better. Local routes rarely do
this and when several overlap they form a complex mess with people having to
check multiple timetables.
A way to simplify the local network
could be to extend Route 824 westward to Brighton to replace the Route 811/812.
This would deliver a frequency increase and a simple South Rd route operating
both sides of Moorabbin. 811/812 could start at Southland to go to Dandenong as
present. The area east of Moorabbin could potentially be served by the 627
extended to Southland instead of Moorabbin. The map below presents the idea
(click for clearer view).
Are there shortcomings? As with
almost any bus reform there will be. For instance Brighton people no longer
have a one seat ride to Southland. However the current 811/812 is infrequent
and indirect. Also, since this network was designed the Frankston line has
improved from every 20 to every 15 to every 10 minutes. Last but not least
Southland now has a station. Therefore a bus/train connection at Moorabbin
would be a good substitute option especially if 824's weekend frequency was
improved (20 minutes suggested but even 30 minutes would mesh with trains at 2
out of 3 stations).
There would be a small increase in
service kilometres (due to the increase from 30 to 20 minutes for the 824's
extra portion). However it may be possible to claw some of that back by pruning
the timetable for routes such as the 603. Its frequency of every 20 minutes
until 1am, for example, is excessive for its current usage especially given how
close it is to the train near Brighton Beach. Routes 600/922/923
could also be reformed and simplified since this also has low usage
around the Brighton area.
Clayton / Monash precinct
I mentioned before that few would
travel between both halves of the 824. However just north of Clayton Station is
a major hospital precinct. Then to the north-east is the area's major employer
at Monash University which nevertheless has poor bus access to some surrounding
The concept here is to split the 824
into two routes at Clayton. But instead of terminating there both would run to
Monash University Clayton as shown on the map below. The western portion (which
I've kept as 824 but could revert to a 600-series number) would be little
different except for the Monash extension. That would greatly improve access to
the campus from Clarinda and areas further west near South Rd. This should be a
strong route with good patronage.
The eastern portion could be a whole
new route between Monash, Westall and Keysborough. I've labelled it 817 on the
map below. It would fill a major transport gap in the area with many short but
currently difficult connections now possible. These include connecting the
high-rise (but poorly served) M-City development to Westall Station and
providing a much easier Monash University connection for areas like Springvale
South and Keysborough. Service on this route could be every 20 minutes (7 days)
given the strong trip generators in the northern end and the high patronage
propensity on the southern end. It could build on local Keysborough network
upgrades discussed last week in Useful Network
As with almost any realignment things
need to be done to other routes to avoid coverage losses. Rerouting the
southern part of 824 means that areas south of Westall Station need a service.
A possibility could be to reroute the 704 and extend it to Springvale. This
would improve connections to local shopping since the existing 824 skips
Centre Rd also needs a route to
Clayton to replace the moved 704. This could be done by extending the 814 to
Clayton, as discussed in Useful Network
48. The portion of Springvale South that would no longer have the 814
could have service provided by either a rerouted 811 and/or the extended 704
mentioned above. Unlike the current 814 both of these replacement routes would
operate 7 days per week, improving service in a pocket of Springvale South that
The above is not a cost-neutral
upgrade. The additional service to Monash University and the increased
frequency suggested for the 817 will need buses. However it is unquestionably a
good place to deploy buses given the improved connections to jobs in the Monash
Precinct and the good patronage performance of existing bus routes in the
The current Route 824 looks like two routes tacked
onto one another. They miss key education, health, job and transport hubs by a
few kilometres. The revisions suggested here could greatly improve access
through a large part of Brighton, Moorabbin, Clarinda, Clayton, Springvale and
Keysborough to these important services.
If you have any thoughts or alternative ideas
please post them in the comments below.
Building Melbourne's Useful Network items hereThis item was written by Peter Parker http://www.melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
This article first appeared on melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
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