The Lonsdale Street bus mess

(This post adapted from a Twitter thread posted yesterday)

Rail replacements on the Caulfield line are not the only major disruptions to public transport at the moment.

Bus routes from the eastern suburbs into the CBD are some of the busiest in Melbourne.

All of them are currently terminating on the edge of the CBD for five weeks due to power upgrade works.

Bus passengers are asked to make their own way to/from Exhibition/Lonsdale Streets.

From the western end of the CBD, it’s a long walk to Exhibition Street, or a ride in a very packed tram.

Smartbus sign advising of Bus diversions on Lonsdale Street

Caulfield rail replacements also drop people on the edge of the CBD, though the frequency of north-south Swanston Street trams connecting to Federation Square and the Arts Centre is far better than the east-west trams along Bourke and La Trobe Streets.

Making it even worse for bus passengers: more roadworks elsewhere this week resulting in more delays even once you’re on the bus.

Back to the signage. Kudos to them for programming the Smartbus sign to say the County Court stop is closed.

But some other routes from the western suburbs continue to serve this section of Lonsdale Street as far as Queen Street. Confusing much?

At least those routes don’t generally pick up passengers along here – because they terminate in Queen Street.

216 bus in Lonsdale Street

Also baffling: remember how some 232/235/237 buses from Port Melbourne are diverting away from Collins St due to heavy traffic?

Some of them are choosing to join the congestion in Lonsdale St. This doesn’t seem like the best idea.

235 bus in traffic in Lonsdale Street

Anyway, it’s understandable that Transdev didn’t get want their eastern suburbs buses getting stuck in heavy traffic every day during the works. This caused lots of problems during the William Street works in November.

Rather than just leaving people to walk (fun this morning in the heavy rain) or catch a packed tram that doesn’t really connect to where the buses run, there are things they could have done.

Maybe they should have set up a shuttle bus service along Lonsdale Street to Exhibition St to help people connect with their service?

It probably makes sense to do these works in school holidays, but it’s a myth that everyone’s on holiday for all of January.

Better co-ordination/staggering of works, and some kind of provision for passengers who can’t walk the length of Lonsdale Street certainly wouldn’t go astray.

The Doncaster area may never get a rail line to the City. It’s important that their bus services run as smoothly as possible.

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.

6 replies on “The Lonsdale Street bus mess”

Andrews is trying to catch up with years of overdue infrastructure upgrades at once. While it is appreciated that something is being done, unfortunately it’s all kind of happening at once and it hasn’t been very well planned.

216 is not servicing lonsdale st stops for 5 weeks despite no works at that end. There is notice on all Sunshine Depot buses about this. And actually outbound you do get few get on 216 at Lonsdale St

@Jason, interesting, thanks. Found the Transdev web site notice about this:

13 Jan – 16 Feb 2020
Lonsdale Street, CBD
Due to Citipower power upgrade works, Route 216 will not operate down Lonsdale Street in the CBD from Monday 13 January to Sunday 16 February. During this time, customers can use the stops located at the corner of Jeffcott Street/Spencer Street and Queen Street/Bourke Street.
N.B. If you require accessible transport, please see customer service staff onsite or call 1800 800 007.

And yet the pic I posted above of a 216 is inbound on Lonsdale St (waiting to turn into Queen St). Maybe that driver didn’t get the memo?

No the driver get the memo the wording online wrong. 216 still will run along Lonsdale St but just go express through all stops there for 5 weeks.

Definitely caught the 216 on Spencer St at Lonsdale St out to Footscray on the day of the latest V/Line strike on the Geelong line. Also rekindled another bugbear – express replacement coaches to Geelong stop at Footscray to pickup in the morning, but don’t stop to set down in the evening (hence either a trip into Southern Cross and then back out – 216 better than catching the train – or take the scenic route out of Geelong and through the outer western suburbs!).

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