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It is difficult to traverse Melbourne's eastern and south eastern suburbs without crossing or paralleling bus route 742 at least once on your trip. At around 80 minutes long, it's longer than almost any other suburban bus route bar the orbitals. Although it didn't start off that way, with it being much shorter when it started. More on that later. DescriptionThe 742 is mapped below. It starts at Chadstone, then (like many other routes) runs to Monash Clayton via Oakleigh. However unlike all the others it stops on the north side of Monash rather than the south. From there it heads east and then north to Glen Waverley. This part of the route is only about 30 years old as before then other routes took its place. More established is the part north of Glen Waverley. that runs through Vermont South to Ringwood via mostly secondary roads. Its about as direct as the roads allow and provides significant unique coverage.
The thick black lines on the map below show 742's overlap with other routes. It has almost no unique coverage south of Glen Waverley. However it generally sticks to the main roads and provides some enhanced capacity on corridors (like Springvale Rd) that arguably need it as its 902 SmartBus is insufficiently frequent (every 15 min as opposed to every 5 to 10 min which the corridor justifies north of Keysborough depot).
The basic structure of the 742 hasn't had a rethink for 30 years. But it is getting two minor route tweaks next month as mentioned here. The first slightly extends it from Eastland Shopping Centre to Ringwood. People have wanted it for years but now it's finally happening. Secondly the route is simplified in Clayton North, near Monash University. Under the current timetable the route has three variations, including one via Ferntree Gully Rd, paralleling the 693. The new timetable simplifies this to two.
Route 742 can trace its history back to 1960 when it just operated between Vermont South and Heatherdale. It was extended to Eastland in 1975 and Glen Waverley in 1981. That Eastland terminus would remain for another 46 years (until April 2021), despite all other bus routes in the area meeting trains at Ringwood Station.
Glen Waverley remained as a terminus for 10 years as can be seen on 1987 and 1990 timetables at Krustylink. By the September 1991 timetable the 742 had nearly doubled in length, with its Chadstone via Ferntree Gully Rd and Oakleigh extension replacing the southern half of the old Route 702 alignment that you can see in the 1978 map here and the 1990 timetable here. Somewhere before the 702/742 changeover the 702 got a diversion off Ferntree Gully Rd to be nearer to Monash University.
Before myki came along fare zones were tied to bus routes rather than geographically. There were cases where parallel routes had different fare zones applying at the same stop. In some cases greater generosity was extended to routes serving universities and TAFE colleges. Examples from the 1992 network map included the 822 that extended Zone 1 to South Rd near Moorabbin TAFE (normally within Zone 2) and the 630 that extended Zone 1 to Monash Clayton (normally deep within Zone 2). 742 had a similar feature where it was the only bus route that you could use to get to Eastland on a Zone 2 ticket (it and Ringwood Station then being in Zone 3).
At first glance the 742 is your typical Ventura/eastern suburbs bus route. That is vaguely minimum standards operating hours (which it got about 15 years ago), a half-hourly weekday frequency and a 40 to 60 minute weekend frequency.
But it's actually more complex. And, apart from the Monash route simplification, the April 2021 timetable appears to have done little to simplify it or remove non-conforming elements.
To take the latter first, 742's operating hours do not meet minimum service standards, especially on Sundays. Most notable is the late morning start, but parts of the route also have an early finish.
There are also the complicated trips. Many trips, especially during peak periods, do not run the full route. This can result in gaps of up to an hour at missed parts of the route. The text below is too small to read but the large number of origins and termini can still be seen.
This has been a look at the 742. It's been in its current form for 30 years with some minor simplifications happening on April 10 as discussed. Is it worth a more thorough appraisal, especially on the Chadstone - Glen Waverley portion? Some discussion on that, especially in relation to the overlapping 693, appears in Useful Network Part 16.
See all Timetable Tuesday items here
This article first appeared on melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
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