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Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

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Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby MetroLine » Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:51 pm

Free Wollongong shuttle bus begins today
BY BRETT COX
18/03/2009 2:37:00 PM
Wollongong's free bus service begins at 3pm today.
The CBD Shuttle, launched by Minister for the Illawarra David Campbell and NSW Premier Nathan Rees, will travel in both directions between the university, TAFE, Innovation Campus, beach, entertainment precinct, CBD and Wollongong Railway Station every day of the week.

The CBD Shuttle will operate from 7am-10pm weekdays and 8am-6pm on weekends. Weekday services will operate every 10 minutes in the morning and afternoon peaks, and every 20 minutes in the middle of the day and evenings.

Freely Adopted from Illwarra Mercury: http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/news ... 62959.aspx


This service just commenced hours away and there are staff currently giving out route maps on buses as well as in the University Campus. Took the service at 5pm towards Wollongong (Anti-clockwise Loop), there were around 20 commutors abroad from University, with nobody else abroaded the service all the way to Crown Street Busway. However, due to traffic jam around the area, we need to take 25 minutes to get to Crown Street Gateway.

Furthermore, can't see there is a siginificant commutor change in Route 9 though, as the 3.28pm Northfields Ave to North Wollongong Service is still overcrowded with 5 commutors standing.

Comments Welcomed.
Last edited by MetroLine on Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby Simes » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:05 pm

MetroLine wrote:
Furthermore, can't see there is a siginificant commutor change in Route 9 though, as the 3.28pm Northfields Ave to North Wollongong Service is still overcrowded with 5 commutors standing.

Comments Welcomed.


The CBD service just started today - a bit early to make judgments don't you think?
http://19302413.blogspot.com/

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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby Skindog the Hawk » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:34 pm

Keep in mind that the 55 will not service North Wollongong Station during weekdays.
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby RailwayBus » Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:46 pm

MetroLine wrote: as the 3.28pm Northfields Ave to North Wollongong Service is still overcrowded with 5 commutors standing.


Five? OH NOES!
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby tonyp » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:33 pm

How nice of them to be handing out route maps (and timetables?) to passengers who've already found the bus/route and got on it. There's nothing on 131500 or anywhere else I can find for potential users. Is this going to be another secret operation that will fail because nobody uses it (because nobody can find out where it runs, how often...)?

Nowra Coaches may be about to lose the coveted "Keep Your Services a Secret from Your Customers" award after more than six triumphant years. :roll:
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby Skindog the Hawk » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:38 pm

tonyp wrote:Nowra Coaches may be about to lose the coveted "Keep Your Services a Secret from Your Customers" award after more than six triumphant years. :roll:

Well...they are related (NC and Premier Illawarra, that is) :lol: 8)
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby tonyp » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:06 pm

Skindog the Hawk wrote:
tonyp wrote:Nowra Coaches may be about to lose the coveted "Keep Your Services a Secret from Your Customers" award after more than six triumphant years. :roll:

Well...they are related (NC and Premier Illawarra, that is) :lol: 8)

Ah, so they're planning to transfer the award to another operating arm out of modesty.

And yes, obviously true to form, Premier's webpage has nothing about the new service. Indeed the "latest breaking news" is the 2008 Christmas holiday, wow!:

http://www.premierillawarra.com.au/

But with an update as recent as 2008 I'm afraid they won't have a chance of snatching the award from their kin who've been asleep since 2001 on some of their timetable pages:

http://www.nowracoaches.com.au/serv03.htm

(Love the "This page is under construction. Last modified: December 06, 2001" :roll: )
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby mrobsessed » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:27 pm

Where the hell did they get route 55 from? It doesn't fit into anything in the area! What a great way to take revenue away from their already pathetic services - possibly to enable their reduction or cancellation (I am a cynic!)
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby Volvo Super Olympian » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:53 pm

Maybe similar to Sydney's 555? Just cut one of the 5s out.

If Newcastle gets a free CBD route, maybe it will just be a route 5.
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby Skindog the Hawk » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:56 pm

mrobsessed wrote:Where the hell did they get route 55 from? It doesn't fit into anything in the area! What a great way to take revenue away from their already pathetic services - possibly to enable their reduction or cancellation (I am a cynic!)

All Wollongong routes are either single or double digits, so 55 fits in perfectly. As for the "taking away revenue", it will only do that for as long as it takes people to realise it will become over-crowded at times and the fact of the matter is that PI wouldn't really give two hoots about revenue as they're paid under their contract with the MoT. :?

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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby MetroLine » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:50 pm

For the revenue thing, think the MoT will pay PI an amount based on number of commutors on board route 9 & route 55. Otherwise surely no one is going to run these services, and even to increase their frequency on Route 9 today to Every 5 Minutes during PM Peak.

Drivers are required to press "F5" button (They name it UNI CEN) for every commutor on board Route 9 or Route 55, followed by a 'Beep' sound.

I want to talk about the fleet as well.

Route 9 is now serviced by 3 rigid buses on selected Peak Hours. Other than the Man 18.280 (MO6463?), there is another Leyland bus (which was broken and towed away at North Wollongong Station yesterday, making so much noise to us :twisted: ), and one more Volvo B7R.
Today think the Leyland is replaced by the (Volvo B12BLE?) with Custom Body.

Think someone was asking for Route 9's timetable which they doesn't appear on 131500. Here is the link for the service, please note that NEW services are in RED colour & REVISED services are in BLUE colour:

http://www.uow.edu.au/content/groups/pu ... 016737.pdf

Finally, if you have any complaints regarding Wollongong Route 9 (eg. you still can't get on a bus), please e-mail buildings_service_centre@uow.edu.au instead calling 131500.

For the new Route 55, they are operating with a COMPLETELY NEW fleet of buses. From my incomplete observation, I think most buses are operated with Volgren Benz O500LEs (With Orange LED Destination Signs), others in the Rt. 55 fleet include 1x Custom Body (B12BLE?) and 1x BCI Body bus (What is its engine?), both Custom & BCI buses are in the Clockwise Loop today.

Finally, I'm giving out some useful information in case you want to SCOOP those buses this weekend:

Route 55 University of Wollongong to University of Wollongong
Operating Hours & Frequency:
Weekdays
0700 - 0900 10
0900 - 1500 20
1500 - 1800 10
1800 - 2100 20

Weekends
0800 - 1800 30

Fare: $0.00
Travelpasses/Tickets Required: None. Absolutely Free.

Route: Please refer the 131500 website. (Service extends to North Wollongong Station Loop weekends)

Best spotting point & time:
1. University of Wollongong Bus Terminus (3.15pm - 5.45pm WD)
- The time where most uni students finish their uni and most bus service at that time. Plus you are going to see how serious the overcrowding problem on our Route 9

2. Crown Gateway (2.00pm - 5.00pm WD)
- Most services departing Wollongong to everywhere.

3. North Wollongong Station - Porter Street/Hindmarsh Avenue (8.00am - 6.00pm WE)
- Both clockwise & anti-clockwise services operates here on weekends. You can stand around the turning circle and spot how the 12m O500LEs make their turns into North Wollongong Station. Also its light traffic would help you to spot buses sololy.

4. Cliff Road/Georges Place (WD & WE before 7.00pm)
- Buses & Beaches!!!

Enjoy scooping & spoting on Thu/Fri and this weekend! See you there! :lol:
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby Deano » Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:46 am

MetroLine wrote:For the revenue thing, think the MoT will pay PI an amount based on number of commutors on board route 9 & route 55. Otherwise surely no one is going to run these services, and even to increase their frequency on Route 9 today to Every 5 Minutes during PM Peak.


This service would be jointly funded by Council and State Government on a Per Kilometre basis not per passenger.

Drivers are required to press "F5" button (They name it UNI CEN) for every commutor on board Route 9 or Route 55, followed by a 'Beep' sound.


Thats just a count button. Dunno if they'll do that on the 55, which is the wrong route number for that area. It should be the 5. 50 series numbers have always signified Springhill Rd buses going via Warrawong. Moreso to Kiama, but previously Buses to Port Kembla and Berkeley were included later these were renumber to 60 series numbers.

I want to talk about the fleet as well.

Route 9 is now serviced by 3 rigid buses on selected Peak Hours. Other than the Man 18.280 (MO6463?), there is another Leyland bus (which was broken and towed away at North Wollongong Station yesterday, making so much noise to us :twisted: ), and one more Volvo B7R.
Today think the Leyland is replaced by the (Volvo B12BLE?) with Custom Body.


The Leyland 6365 has done that service for years since the JJH days. The MAN SB40 is exclusively used on that service. I'm sure anything else will cover for these if needed.

For the new Route 55, they are operating with a COMPLETELY NEW fleet of buses. From my incomplete observation, I think most buses are operated with Volgren Benz O500LEs (With Orange LED Destination Signs), others in the Rt. 55 fleet include 1x Custom Body (B12BLE?) and 1x BCI Body bus (What is its engine?), both Custom & BCI buses are in the Clockwise Loop today.


There is about 6 of these Volgrens, and 2 or 3 Custom Coaches bodied all Mercedes O500 chassis. The old route 5 BCI is used on the service too.

Fare: $0.00
Travelpasses/Tickets Required: None. Absolutely Free.


Dunno why you mentioned Travelpass when none are valid on Wollongong.

I'll be out tomorrow checking this all out.
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby Fleet Lists » Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:40 am

Deano wrote:
MetroLine wrote:For the revenue thing, think the MoT will pay PI an amount based on number of commutors on board route 9 & route 55. Otherwise surely no one is going to run these services, and even to increase their frequency on Route 9 today to Every 5 Minutes during PM Peak.


This service would be jointly funded by Council and State Government on a Per Kilometre basis not per passenger.

.

This would definitely apply to the new route 55 but does it also apply to route 9 which I am not sure whether it is part of the contract system?
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby MetroLine » Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:58 am

There is one travelpass vaild in Wollongong, and unfortunately is widely used by commutors (but don't know how to get it) - Pensioner Excursion Ticket.
Even families with children and people in their 30s use PET that I never seen it before on Sydney Buses :!:

Anyway, do you agree that the biggest loser on the New Route 55 service would be Dions?
Think they will not only lose lots of commutos taking $1.90 short rides from Wollongong to North Wollongong/Fairy Meadow, also University students heading to Northern Suburbs may save some bucks by taking Route 55 to Fairy Meadow then change, hence they will be benefited from reduced charge sections they need to travel.

Adhere, I would strongly recommend the Wollongong City Council should help and subsidise Dion's by Giving out Routes 3 & 8 to Dion's, or subsides Dion's to operate another FREE University Shuttle from Waterfall to University of Wollongong.
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby tonyp » Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:01 am

MetroLine I was asking about route 55's timetable not route 9. They have had months to prepare for this and there is nothing that I can see on 131500 except a vague press release. Somebody on another forum has given me a link to a route map on a well-buried page on the MoT website. All in all a very poor show for the public transport user and visitor to Wollongong (and even the residents of Wollongong).
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby Fleet Lists » Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:09 pm

MetroLine wrote: Adhere, I would strongly recommend the Wollongong City Council should help and subsidise Dion's by Giving out Routes 3 & 8 to Dion's, or subsides Dion's to operate another FREE University Shuttle from Waterfall to University of Wollongong.


The allocation of routes has nothing to do with the Council - that is an MOT matter.
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby Fleet Lists » Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:24 pm

tonyp wrote:How nice of them to be handing out route maps (and timetables?) to passengers who've already found the bus/route and got on it. There's nothing on 131500 or anywhere else I can find for potential users. Is this going to be another secret operation that will fail because nobody uses it (because nobody can find out where it runs, how often...)?

:

Well I have seen a message on 131500 since 2.15pm yesterday about this - see http://www.131500.com.au/servicechanges ... m_id=33962
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby Skindog the Hawk » Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:26 pm

The Route 55 is similar to Sydney's 555 in that it will not have a timetable as such (at least not one published to the public). University of Wollongong's transport co-ordinator sent an email to all staff today clarifying that whilst the press release may state that the service commences at 7:00am and runs till 10:00pm, it actually only starts at the University at 7:00am, with the first service reaching Wollongong CBD about 7:10/7:15.

As for Route 9, unless something has changed, that is a charter service which has a route number. University of Wollongong commenced this joint venture with Premier several years ago, with the 60 cent fare running contra to the hire charges that PI would have charged the Uni. This cost the University somewhere in the scale of ~$70,000p.a., however having said that, the arrangement may have changed.

With regards to the re-allocation of routes, I would have argued that the introduction of new contracts to the Illawarra region several years ago would have been an opportune time for the northern suburbs area (routes 3, 6, 7 & 8) to be given to Dion's, with Premier to concentrate on the Inner City and Southern areas. However, maybe Dion's don't want that area?? (who knows, really?!)

I know which operator I would much prefer operating my local bus service. ;)

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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby Mercedes_MkII_2125 » Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:29 pm

Does PI still have that dayrover ticket?
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby tonyp » Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:33 pm

Yes I've seen that press release Fleet Lists.

If it's not going to have a timetable then it has to be provided as a walk-up-and-ride service, which means a bus at least every 10 minutes at the outside. Any less frequency than that needs a public timetable.
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby Skindog the Hawk » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:16 pm

Mercedes_MkII_2125 wrote:Does PI still have that dayrover ticket?

No - DayRover got canned when the PET was introduced.

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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby Deano » Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:26 pm

Skindog the Hawk wrote:
Mercedes_MkII_2125 wrote:Does PI still have that dayrover ticket?

No - DayRover got canned when the PET was introduced.

SD.


Long before that. it got canned about 3 years ago.
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby MetroLine » Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:00 pm

Took another service departing 12.25pm from University (Anti-Clockwise), here are some of my observations:

1. There is a problem in the Uni where both directions of the Loop stop at University and sharing the same stop, students and commutors cannot identify which bus is clockwise & which one is anti-clockwise. This ended up with drivers and promotors shouting out loud at the bus stop for their direction. Think they should change their display or add a cardboard in front to indicate their direction, especially in the University & in North Wollongong Station Loop (On Weekends) :(

2. Buses DOES NOT follow the route map as distributed. All directions are supposed to go into Porter Street, Carwford Avenue and Gipps Street after/before University Avenue, but what I see is all buses are just turning straight to Porter Street and Foley Street. This is a seriously problem and makes me pretty angry about it. I will make a complain to PI pretty soon about this. Furthermore, according to the Route Map as distributed, they deliberately skipped all stops in North Wollongong Station on weekdays which they can do it by adding 2 stops - 1 at Porter Street/University Avenue and 1 at Crawford Street/Porter Street. I would make this point as well in my complain. :evil: :evil:

3. I arrived 12.40pm in Crown Gateway, 15 minutes after departure from University. The traffic is pretty busy at Crown Street, and the bus needed to wait for a minute to get into Crown Street from New Dapto Road and into the Crown Gateway Busway. Think RTA should adjust the lights that can reduce bus waiting time in those areas.

4. Most commutors out of 40ish boarded at University alighted in Wollongong Town Centre. That only remains 10 to Fairy Meadow, and about 20 from Fairy Meadow to University. :arrow:

5. Also surprising is NO PROMOTORS giving out brochures (Z-Cards) in Wollongong City!! How worse can they promote such a good bus service.

6. Surprisingly, this service is a Limited Stops service :evil: This will bring many commutors in trouble and not taking this service, because they have to walk up to 5 Minutes to the nearest Route 55 Stop.

7. The service hours finishes too early on weekends - I recoknd there are hundreds of people still going out to Harp Hotel and night churches which commeces at 7pm and people usually go back at around 10 - 11pm. Extending the bus service till that time might help Wollongong to become more secure by having less street assults at night. This service is preferably to run 24/7, or run until 2am on Wed - Fri to facilitate Uni students going party @ Wollongong Town Centre/North Wollongong etc.

8. Wollongong Shuttle is now Wheelchair accessable, how about University Shuttle? It is really unfair to the disabled having no air-conditioned, wheelchair accessable Benz O500LEs to run Route 9. Think PI should change their fleet on Route 9 asap.
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Re: Wollongong Route 55 Just Commenced Service

Postby Skindog the Hawk » Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:00 pm

A few possible solutions/rebuttals to the issues raised:
1. Make the To Fairy Meadow stop across from the main University, as currently the only service to Fairy Meadow is the hourly Route 1/4 (Dion's) and the 3-a-day Route 3. (hence by leaving the To Wollongong 55 on the main side you would have most of the Wollongong-bound services at the main interchange).
2. Refer my previous point in NSW Timetables Forum - if the 55 were to run via Crawford & Porter it would provide people with a quasi-North Wollongong Station stop (albeit 200-250m from the station) and take pressure off the 10/11 (thereby allowing PI to save some route km's by cutting the 10/11 back to a Wollongong-University via Coniston/Figtree service).
3. Why bother? Changing the phasing would affect more buses than it helps as Crown St is your major artery.
4. Good to see good patronage - it will be interesting to see whether these will be new users, or simply people sliding over from fare-paying services.
5. Why does that not surprise me??? AFAIK it was not coming in until April, however seeing as though it is the Rees Mess (sorry, Guv'mint) it doesn't surprise me in the least.
6. Not a surprise at all and to be honest, that's probably exactly what this service needed to be. If it stopped at every stop for every Tom, Dick & Harry, you'd be caught up in congestion and you'd have issues around keeping to schedule. Keep in mind that the longer this service takes, the less convenient it is for everyone using it, and the more buses that are required (therefore, more $$ required to be spent). Hence, absolutely no issue with this service being limited stops...if people want to go to their personal bus stop, then they can pay for it ;)
7. The service is for the majority of people. Wollongong is not like Sydney where the inner-city has a raging nightlife, and those who are out on a Saturday or Sunday night either sure as hell aren't going home at 9:45pm (btw, check when the last service ex Wollongong is...I'll bet it's about 9:30pm [Mon-Fri] heading in both directions) or live outside the Wollongong CBD catchment. Running it 24/7 isn't the answer either.
8. University Shuttle (AFAIK) Route 9 is still a UoW-subsidised charter, and hence it will all depend on whether UoW could convince PI to provide a wheelchair-accessable bus. Having said that, Route 9 is a 5-minute trip from the University to the Rail - if you don't like the lack of air conditioning then you could walk to the Station in that wonderful sea breeze we get in the Gong!!! :twisted: 8)

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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Splited into 55A/C

Postby MetroLine » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:04 pm

Yesterday was actually the last day of service for the confusing Route 55, as to reduce further confusion and commutors getting into the wrong direction bus, Route 55 has been Cancelled and splited into Routes 55A (Anti-Clockwise) & Routes 55C (Clockwise).
This new services has been sooooo popular that buses are oftenly FULL, especially for buses departing University. Think 55A & 55C should run every 10 Minutes from 7am - 6pm Every weekday.

Tomorrow would be the first weekend service for 55A & 55C. They will be servicing North Wollongong Loop, hence leisure commutors from Sydney to Wollongong don't need to walk anymore to Crown Gateway/North Beach from Station but simply to take Routes 55A & 55C from North Wollongong.

Note: Weekend Servicing Hours for 55A & 55C are: 8am - 6pm (From University of Wollongong)

May I encourage all boardmates around Sydney/Wollongong are welcomed down to take pictures and try out the service that hopefully tomorrow and Sunday most buses can be full and frequencies can up to every 20 Minutes weekends + extended service hours.
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