Monash transport FAIL

Monash students going back decades will tell you of the poor connection from Huntingdale Station (the closest for people coming from the city direction) to the Clayton campus. Even after they added an extra bus route in 2006, most connections aren’t timed well outside peak hours, and during peak hours you get delays from long queues and packed buses. This year it’s been so bad the University themselves have funded shuttle buses.

Queue at Huntingdale Station for bus 630 to Monash Uni

It’s made worse by the fact that the two bus routes have their stops to campus at different locations, around the corner from each other, so you get the classic multiple queue conundrum for passengers arriving off the train, and sometimes apparently the queues (which head in opposite directions) even cross each other.

(Other buses from Oakleigh station to campus were, until recently, only able to be used by paying an extra zone 2 fare. This has been fixed, but it’s not clear if anybody’s bothered to tell the local users about it.)

The Clayton campus, like VFL/AFL park, was built there with the idea that a rail connection would be provided along Wellington Road, which was purposefully provided with a nice wide median strip to cope. But like the Eastern Freeway (where the median and overhead bridges were specially designed) it never happened.

What apparently usually happens is that by about mid-year, enough students have given up and bought cars and joined the traffic that the problem dies down for a while, apparently giving the Department of Transport an excuse not to do anything about it.

So in summary you have a bunch of people who want to use PT, but that option is made so hard that they give up and drive instead. More cost to them, more traffic on the roads, more congestion, more pollution. Sustainable transport FAIL.

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.

20 replies on “Monash transport FAIL”

Instead they’ve tried to make a bike path down the median strip which forces anyone daft enough to use it to dash across the centre of an intersection every time North/Wellington Rd crosses a road (hint: a lot). I’ve never seen anyone else on it. I used it once out of stubbornness, nearly got hit by two cars and gave up on it.

I don’t see anything stopping the DOT providing a bus every 2-4 minutes, especially when it is needed here. Assuming a capacity of 50 people per bus, and 4000 students in 2 hours, then that comes to around 40 buses, or a bus every 1-2 minutes. Unlike trains/trams, there is no limit on how many buses can be deployed, especially because there is a bus lane between Huntingdale and North rd/Princes Highway.

The DOT are now looking at it? The situation has been like this since I first attended Monash Clayton as an undergraduate in 1993. Since then they’ve added an extra bus service (but botched it so badly that you have to gamble on which queue to join for the next bus), and the problem’s only gotten worse. It should be a no-brainer to build a high-capacity, frequent heavy-rail route that services Monash and Rowville.

I think the Rowville Railway line should be built. It will serve the Monash University in Clayton Mulgrave Waverly Park Wheelers Hill and Maybe Noting Hill.

There’s a fair few buses from Clayton Station to Monash, about the same number of trips on weekdays as run from Huntingdale in the off-peak.

If you were coming from toward Dandenong and not the city it might be better to catch one of these buses but there is the Zone 2 fare thing if anybody wants to use one of these to go to the city.

It’s only about 3km between Huntingdale and Monash so if the service is so dire they should just buy 5 buses and have them run back and forth between the two constantly.

When I was starting my PhD at Monash I went there by train to talk to my future supervisor and ended up waiting for damned long time at the bus stop, wondering if the buses actually ran at all. By the time I had officially started my PhD I made sure I had a car and never took the train again. I might add that I had done my undergrad at Melbourne Uni and always went there by tram.

Indeed. Whoever’s bright idea it was to put university campuses away from existing train lines — or, worse, removing a railway line that was there — should—— Well, I will stop myself there because it was admittedly another age, and we’ve got the benefit of hindsight. But by now we should’ve worked out better.

Blame John Cain- he was the one who nixed the idea of a train line to Waverley Park- Andrew S will hopefully carry the story further! As a former Monash student, always found it cumbersome that the closest train station was miles away-once had to drive a fellow student to the station, and I couldn’t believe the difficulty, and he normally had to catch the bus to get there! Didn’t affect me much- I used to catch the bus from Dandenong North, but even that was an excrutiating 40 minutes, a normally 15 minute trip by car! The day I started driving there was my “promotion” of sorts, since then never looked back! Interestingly, I still work on Wellington Rd, my workplace being wedged between Waverley Park and the freeway exit on the way to Monash! The only PT are the handful of buses that drive past an hour! This area has been done a disservice by various state governments, like I said, Cain was the worst!

Hey, I’m agreeing with you for once- PT to Monash is awful, and something better needs to be done! I’ll let Andrew S explain the history of the Waverley Park line, and this AIN’T political! This is a South-Eastern thing- you don’t appreciate what Waverley Park meant to us- I live near and work near Waverley, and used to run laps around it for school cross-countries, and it peeved many of us off when they canned it! It was easy enough for us to get to! Cain was the one who prevented it’s expansion into a 160,000 seater stadium- could have been one of the biggest in the world, like I said, I’m sure Andrew S will be more than happy to explain the story!

Since I am being brought up, I’ll say there are a few truths in the argument and blame 40+ years of inaction to which Daniel is indeed correct!!

Indeed the line was brought up in the 1969 transportation plan as part of a line from Huntingdale to Rowville to Ferntree Gully. However like much of the plan it is rather vague as to where the route of the line exactly went – the ‘nice wide median’ only ever extended along North Road as far as Monash (since narrowed for the provision of bus lanes by the way); it narrows considerably after Monash Uni . It was also not obvious how the connection was to be made at Huntingdale as an overpass was built at North Road at the station between 1070 and 1972 (eliminating an awful 90° level crossing with North Road when North Road itself was at 45° to the line).

At least they did propose triplication from Caulfield to Huntingdale to cope with the additional traffic – something certain commentators from rather diverse backgrounds on this subject have dismissed since (likewise it seems to be forgotten the Doncaster line was to connect to the City Loop directly via a dedicated tunnel at with a station at Fitzroy as well as the Victoria Park connection). Admittedly from Wikipedia which is a bit light on detail on the road side of the plan but anyway …

Andrew V and myself are both Monash alumni in the late 1990s/early 2000s and live in the Dandenong North area, in the corner of the F14 and F35 freeways also both identified on the 1969 plan and both of which have since been built!! The choice was between a 10-15 minute drive to Monash, at worst a 30 minute drive in morning peak versus over an hour on the bus door-to-door, including walking – hardly a meaningful choice. The choice of routes are both operated by Grendas (802, 804) and include a very lengthy time stop in the Monash bus loop as well as another very lengthy one along Wellington Road near the Monash interchange. One route (804) then does an obscure detour into Wheelers Hill Shopping Centre before rejoining Wellington Road

All this for a 15 kilometre trip – the problem is more than just the city connection!!

The Waverly Park issue does have hint of truth in it – the VFL were pushing for government backing for the completion of the ground to a 160,000 seat venue – all completely pointless without a train connection – up until the 1980’s. A certain MCC-member-come-state-premier opposed the plan fearing his ground would play second fiddle for football and the plan never saw the light of day – so from that perspective he is worth singling out!!

I also recall some small scale PT connection along the route suggested in the 1990’s in the form of light rail along the line as far as Waverly Park. I am a little sceptical about the success of a single light rail line orphaned from the rest of the system – a little like the Victorian Railways’ foray into trams along the Sandringham-Beaumaris and St Kilda-Brighton Beach or the more infamous Box Hill-Doncaster line

Like Cranbourne East, Mernda, etc Rowville was developed on the promise of a train that never came and today it finds itself in the PT black hole of the south east!!

Correction … the North Road overpass was built between 1970 (not 1070) and 1972 (no its not ‘that’ old) :)

I went to Monash. In first year I hitched hiked (very successfully). Then when I got my licence I drove. Easy. I didn’t use the bus once in the three years I was there.
Sounds like car is still the only option.

the people waiting in that queue near huntingdale station are gruum-PY!

my first time waiting for a suburban bus i was rudely scolded by someone who appeared to be a monash professor for jumping the queue…i was shocked at first because i didn’t even realise there was a queue! just thought people were waiting around for the bus…and then a felt really bad because she made me look silly and also because i’d jumped the queue and maybe pissed a whole bunch of other people off :(

i bet if there were more buses there’d be a lot less grumpy morning people at monash!

The 40 years of inaction should be more like 80 years: the Doncaster line was proposed in 1929.

There’s also a proposed rail line from North Sydney to the Warringah area proposed about the same time (never built), so that makes two of them.

Kiwi Nick … Correct

The original incarnation of the line plan involved using the now-defunct Kew line and extending it via a short tunnel under the centre of Kew (I guess) and joining it to a part of the old Outer Circle line near East Kew/Willsmere stations. It would then generally follow the southern side of Doncaster Road with a crossing before the north side terminus …

Admittedly there would have been bugger all in Doncaster back then, like Glen Waverley in 1930

Daniel, you mentioned that students usually got a car mid-year, and thus didn’t bother with PT. Not so sure about that- my understanding was that Monash parking permits were rarer than gold! I suppose they could have used the free car park that was where the Synchrotron currently stands! Don’t know what it’s like now that that parking is gone! I recall wanting to get a parking permit once I got my car, but was told by many not to bother, as there’d be none left! I don’t remember if I actually tried, but I waited until the next year to get one! As I said, other than the unneccesarily long bus ride, it wasn’t that bad for me- one guy I studied with used to come all the way from Taylor’s Lakes- that’s dedication!

My brother would ride his mountain bike or motorbike from Mt Evelyn to Monash depending on his mood – the PT is useless if you’re coming from the outer east, and parking a car was impossible.

Andrew V, yeah it wouldn’t be all students who found alternatives (which might have included other PT routes, or driving, or cycling), or even most. Just enough to bring the bus crowding down to an acceptable level (though those travelling outside peak hours would be more inclined to look for alternatives given for instance in the evenings the buses were notorious for leaving just before the train arrived).

For me, commuter dedication to education was personified by a guy I knew at Melbourne High, who commuted daily by bus and train from Launching Place (near Warburton). Metlink’s Journey Planner says that today, you’d have to leave at 6:29am to reach South Yarra Station by 8:05am. Even by car, Google Maps optimistically says it’s about 90 minutes (in peak hour?? No way!) Another couple of guys were from around Mt Eliza, but that’s piss-easy in comparison to Launching Place.

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