It’s all part of the spin

The new 903 Smartbus runs from Mordialloc to Altona, every 8-15 minutes in peak hour, 15 minutes off-peak, 30 minutes evenings and weekends.

I don’t for a moment believe anybody in their right mind will catch it from end to end, but it feeds into most of the city’s rail lines, connects major shopping centres such as Chadstone, Northland and Doncaster Shoppingtown, and will be good for some cross-suburban trips.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a big upgrade. So I think the half-page advert in the local newspaper is probably justified.

Advert for new Smartbus route 903

But another half-page advert promoting the fact that they’ve added a measly 6 services a day to the 630? Puh-lease.

Advert for a measly 6 extra services on bus route 630

Be nice if they fixed the weekday 20 minute frequencies that are mismatched with the 15-minute trains it connects to. Or the hopelessly confusing 25 minute frequencies on Saturday mornings. Or the hopelessly infrequent 40 minute frequencies on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. Fixing those might be worth shouting about.

PS. Call me a cynic, and I haven’t got a copy of the old timetable, but the claim that the 1:48pm bus from Elwood is an extra is suspicious, as it would mean that before there was a 40-minute gap in an otherwise 20-minute timetable… I wonder if that one was just an adjusted time that’s been counted as an extra.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

9 replies on “It’s all part of the spin”

Wow. Looking at the time table it’s over an 8 hour round trip. If you wanted to go from Mordialloc to Altona and back, and that’s not including any pit stops. I feel strangely compelled to make this trip one day.

I also felt compelled to do the full 903 route, but after starting in Oakleigh I bailed out at DFO Essendon which took about two and a half hours, and the legs were getting stiff. Some drivers do the full trip, but stretch their legs when there are a few minutes available at various stops along the way. The 903 was free for two weeks which finished yesterday (Sunday 3/5). I found it quite interesting, particularly around Doncaster and Heidelberg where views of the city are good. During the free time I also travelled from Oakleigh to Mordialloc a couple of times. There is an interesting bus forum at which I recommend.

To be honest I’m not sure I could handle that distance in one bus trip. Those buses aren’t exactly made for comfort, though I suppose you might see bits of the city from a different angle. (The view of the bay from the 232 bus on the Westgate is much better than in a car.)

I’m very disappointed that they cancelled the proposed “Blue” inner suburbs Smartbus that was going to run Williamstown -> Moonee Ponds -> Brunswick -> Sandringham.

If you want to travel along that route currently, it’s a complicated mess of mismatched routes, changes and infrequent services (like most of Melbourne, really).

Any word on whether the government might rethink their decision on that?

I have used the part of the 903 between Box Hill and Heidelberg and vice versa a few times in the past few weeks, and for the most part there seems to be little difference to the old 291.

I have noticed that there seems to be a lot of slack in the timetables with the buses standing for some time at both Box Hill and Heidelberg.

Have to agree Peter, the views of the city from the Manningham Road roller coaster are pretty good.

I 903 route goes past my work and a few of use kept of saying we should get on it and see how long we can last! I think I’d make it about 5 mins before I’d want to jump off.

Good idea though!

Paul, I wouldn’t count on them reviving the Blue orbital. Personally I thought the prospect of throwing resources at a Smartbus through Brighton which parallels the train line would have been a waste. They already have some of the most frequent, but lightly used, buses in Melbourne.

But there would have been a lot of benefits to upgrading the existing 246 and 472 and linking them through Brunswick.

I heard on Facebook that some people are planning to do it end to end. They will get off to go to the dunny though. I doubt they will be able to smuggle drinks on it like they are saying.

I caught the 903 the other day and sat next to an indian lady who was doing her second trip end to end – during the free intro period. It was for a day trip purpose rather than commuting. She said that it was just a good way to see other parts of melbourne.

Comments are closed.