Car parks full, bus terminal empty

At most suburban shopping centres, Southland included, Sunday is the second-busiest day, closely following Saturday. As you can see from this photo, at 3:30pm, while the carparks were full, the bus terminal was empty of buses.

Southland bus terminal, 3:30pm Sunday

While some parts of the city get trams, trains and buses every 10-15 minutes, 7 days-a-week (the 19 tram runs every 6 minutes for much of Sunday, and almost every tram route runs every 12-15 minutes), a lot of areas miss out on frequent services, including Southland and its surrounding suburbs.

The Frankston line runs every 20 minutes, but despite trains running past the back of the centre, there is no station — it’s a 10 minute walk away — too far for most people to bother.

Ten bus routes serve Southland. Eight of them run on Sundays. One runs about every 20 minutes. One runs every 40 minutes. The rest are hourly.

Which is why almost everybody drives there, despite having to hunt around to find a spare parking space.

It’s part of the plan.

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.

8 replies on “Car parks full, bus terminal empty”

Every 40 minutes is a slightly weird headway, isn’t it? It hardly encourages use of the service!

(There’s a single route in Bath that runs like that and it seemed very odd to me then, too.)

Chadstone seems to be an exception. Buses there are routinely busy on weekends. Not only on the 903 but also the 900 and even minor hourly routes such as 623 to St Kilda. Needless to say though, the car parks are also full.

@Ian, 40 mins is half the standard weekend train headway of 20 mins. I don’t know if that’s why it’s come about though – the survey of bus/train connections showed route 767 doesn’t have very good connections, at least at Hughesdale, where the average connection time is over 10 minutes. (other stations couldn’t be surveyed in that data though, and 767 intersects train lines at several other locations).

@Terry, yeah the 903 and 900 would be busier thanks to their higher frequencies. From my observations at Southland, the 600/922/923 (the one running every 20 mins or so) was reasonably busy. The other routes (including the ones we caught) had perhaps 6-8 people aboard each bus coming in and out… not empty, but not heavy use either.

My kids can get to Southland by bus, but we almost always drive them there (<10 minutes vs 40 minutes by bus).
By the way, the 600/922/923 buses are destined to change if the Bus Review recommendations are implemented.

Daniel, love the “it’s part of the plan” line. Shows up that its about spin over substance – typical for our polity.

Route 286, Sunday – frequency: every 2 hours.
For a train-less area (i.e. Manningham), this is quite outrageous.
And most of the other routes run hourly, except for the 903, and the new 905/6/7/8’s, which are more suited for city commuter’s.

@Ronnie. I live on the 286 line. The new route 901 bus, which runs from blackburn station to the pines shopping center, seems to be a good substitute for the 286 for most of the trip.

It’s a smartbus, so should be more convenient on the weekends. It’s only been running for a couple of weeks, so worth checking out :)

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