Confusing bus routes

What are some of Melbourne’s most confusing bus routes? There’s pretty strong competition.

Bus route reform has gone some prominence this week, following an Infrastructure Victoria report released on Monday, an IV webinar on the topic…

…and some related coverage in The Age:

This morning ABC Melbourne 774 asked me to name my top 3 most baffling bus routes.

There’s some strong competition for this, but I ended up with:

Route 558’s figure 8 magical mystery tour around Reservoir. (How do you tell which direction is clockwise and which is anti-clockwise when they swap along the way?)

558 bus route map

Route 600/922/923’s combined service from St Kilda through Elwood and Sandringham to Southland. Three slightly different variants with confusing route numbers. This is so baffling that it killed the PTV web site when I was trying to display the map.

PTV web site error while trying to display 600-922-923 bus route map

Route 800’s bafflingly poor service. It’s a direct route, running mostly along Princes Highway, and it serves Chadstone, one of the country’s biggest shopping centres, which is busiest on weekends… but it only runs once every 1-2 hours on Saturdays, and not at all on Sundays.

Route 800 bus Saturday timetable

Audio from ABC 774 Melbourne is here (starts at about 1 hour, 47 minutes)

Bus route reform has proven successful both here and overseas in recent years – modernising routes and timetables to be less confusing, and to run at the times when people actually need them.

A prominent local example is the Smartbus routes, mostly formed from existing routes, but made more direct and to run more frequently and for longer hours. They’re not perfect, but they’re now some of the most popular bus routes in Melbourne.

What’s your most baffling local bus route?

More reading:

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 “Confusing bus routes”

Unfortunately the article about this in today’s Age appears to have omitted a paragraph preceding the discussion about three overlapping routes from St Kilda to Southland – which are Route 600/922/923 as your piece today makes clear.

I’m always annoyed by the 467, which wanders west from Moonee Ponds station only to die an ignominious, useless death somewhere near a small park in Aberfeldie;

Far better would be to swing it north to Buckley St, then east to terminate at Essendon station. That way, regardless of which way you caught it, you’d always end up at a useful spot with decent onward connections. (But don’t get me started on dismal Craigieburn line frequencies…)

Might favourite recent one is the 202, which is a new route which duplicates a section of the 200/207, but gets stuck in the same traffic along Johnston Street and also for some reason, needed the creation of separate stops along the street about 200 metres from each other but opposite sides of victoria park station, so need to choose which bus will come next and hope for the best.

My favourite is the 897 for arriving at Cranbourne station 1 minute after the train departs, when running towards Clyde. Very fun waiting for 20 minutes for no reason. They did remember to time the connection for people from the Clyde side as the route towards Lynbrook usually connects with the train.

Such an easy connection to put into the timetable, could be perfect for commuters if they did it right: Cranbourne station has 9 minutes between a train arriving from the city and the next one to the city during the day, the bus just needs to arrive about halfway between.

The 624 from Oakleigh to Kew. It is basically 2-3 routes all joined together. First is Oakleigh to Chadstone via areas of Mt Waverley. Then it goes via 2 different routes to Caulfield depending on whivh service you catch. Finally there is the direct section from Caulfield to Kew along Tooronga rd. The section from Kew to Caulfield should really be it’s own route with higher frequencies and joined to the 548 to make a cross-town orbital service between the north eastern suburbs down to Caulfield, connecting Latrobe, Swinburne and Monash University.

Ahh, the 624 lucky dip… do I remember correctly that it leaves from either the north OR the south side of Caulfield Station, depending on which variation you strike ?

Gosh are these buses tourist buses? These routes look like tourist bus routes! Being very circuitous and indirect.

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