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
We haven't had a regular Timetable Tuesday for a while. Today though we return to normal programming by taking a look at the 270 between Box Hill and Mitcham. The 270 is the main north of the railway bus serving Blackburn North. The area is typical 1950s and 60s eastern suburbs Melbourne middle class suburbia. It is in the marginal Labor seats of Box Hill (Paul Hamer MP) and Ringwood (Dustin Halse MP).
The 270 is a long-established route though it's had changes over the years. As you can see from the map below it's not quite a straight line, veering off Springfield Rd (whose western section has no or limited buses).
The area map below shows the 270 in relation to surrounding routes. Not a lot has unique coverage but it's the dominant route in the area. This is helped by it running to Box Hill, which is the area's largest centre.
The 270's timetable reflects its ex-government, and later National Bus, heritage. That is a service continuing until unusually late on weeknights (after 11pm) but finishing very early on weekends (before 6 or 7pm). Early finishes were abolished on many routes in the 2006 - 2010 Meeting our Transport Challenges minimum standards upgrades. However these were rarely implemented on National Bus Company routes. This is why you still see a lot of limited hours and even sometimes two hour Sunday frequencies on Transdev services in the old National Bus area.
On weekdays though Route 270 runs more frequently than the average Melbourne bus. Weekday peak services are every 10 to 15 minutes from the Box Hill end. The 10 minute service however drops off quite early (5:35pm) from Box Hill. After subtracting train travel time this is just before the peak of the peak in the CBD. From Mitcham the pm peak service is an even 20 minutes. The am peak is the reverse, also favouring Box Hill. Hence the timetable is best for those who work in Box Hill (or finish around 4pm in the CBD) and get the bus home.
Interpeak service is every 20 minutes. While better than average for a local bus it does not evenly mesh with trains at Box Hill, which unlike the 10 minute frequency on upgraded lines like Dandenong and Frankston, still run to a base 15 minute frequency. However 270's interpeak frequency continues quite late; until 7:45pm from Box Hill and 8:20pm from Mitcham. Night service is also high for buses both in frequency and span, with a half-hourly service until after 11pm from Box Hill. That's almost as good as a SmartBus.
Saturday frequency is every 30 minutes from first to last bus. However there is an early finish (7:25pm from Box Hill). Given the route's 24 minute run time it could have been possible to extend the span to 9pm for no extra cost by dropping to hour gaps in the early evening. Sunday service is a flat 60 minutes from approximately 8am to 5pm. Both finish times are earlier than the 9pm enjoyed by minimum standards local bus routes.
Route 270 is a very well used bus route. According to 2018 DoT figures it attracted 40 passenger boardings per bus hour on school day weekdays. That's nearly double the average for buses in Melbourne. On school holidays it drops to 28, which is still above average.
Saturdays is a very high 35 while Sundays is an even higher 37. The latter indicates a high underlying weekend demand for buses. In other words having Saturday service every half hour but Sunday only hourly is a remnant from past planning practice rather than based on an analysis of modern travel needs which would specify Sunday frequencies similar to Saturday's. It is quite possible that an extension of weekend services to at least 9pm and a frequency increase on Sunday would be rewarded by strong demand given high existing established usage.
The 200-series route number gives a clue as to its origins. It's an ex-government route that became run by National. National got bought by Ventura. However that did not stop Ventura losing their ex-National routes when the National (and MBL) franchises went to Transdev. A couple of years later 270 had some changes in the 2014 Transdev network restructure.
What we now know as the 270 was once the 290 from Box Hill. This was only a short run. The eastern portion was served by the old 287. You can see this in these 1970s - 1990s maps. The 290 can trace its history back to about 1950. You can look up one of the last 290 timetables (December 1992) on Krustylink. Quite striking is the similarity of some of its weekday service patterns (and even evening times) to today's 270. There was no Sunday service then but Saturdays then had a 20 minute morning and 40 minute afternoon service to reflect the old Saturday morning shopping rush. There's about the same trips as now but trips have since been spread to operate at an even every 30 minutes over the day.
By 1994 Met Bus and the 290 had gone with the new National Bus Company and the 270 in its place. It became a Box Hill to Ringwood service. It was also somewhat related (including a partial overlap at the Box Hill end) to the 271 from Box Hill to Nunawading. Mid - late 1990s timetables for these routes can be found on Krustylink. Off-peak both ran every 30 minutes for a combined 15 minute service to evenly feed trains at Box Hill. A similar arrangement initially ran on Saturdays with a combined 20 minute service. By 1997 NBC had cut Saturday service to every 30 minutes combined, removing connectivity with trains. This was not immediately made obvious as the new 1997 printed timetables removed train times. Sunday though retained the 120 minute frequency (on the 270 only) that it got in 1994.
Not much seemed to happen for many years. Then Transdev came along with its 2014 network restructure that affected the 270. A detailed BCSV article on this is here. The route was changed to finish at Mitcham with the new 370 to Ringwood. This is likely why the map presented before shows both the 270 and the 370. Also there were some service increases on the 270 to compensate for the removal of the overlapping 271 in the area. These included an off-peak increase from every 30 to 20 minutes and Sunday service improving to hourly.
What are your thoughts with regards to the 270? Is there scope for network reform in the area? Are upgrades to hours and frequencies justified? Please leave comments below if you have any thoughts.
You might enjoy these well-regarded books on transport topics
Steven Higashide The Public City: Essays in honour of Paul Mees
Jarrett WalkerTransport for Suburbia: Beyond the Automobile Age Paul Mees
(Sales links: I get a small commission if you buy via the above - no extra cost to you)
This item was written by Peter Parker http://www.melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
This article first appeared on melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
About this website
Railpage version 3.10.0.0037
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is © 2003-2021 Interactive Omnimedia Pty Ltd.
You can syndicate our news using one of the RSS feeds.