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Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

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Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby scottydl » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:41 pm

It is amazing how much things have changed in the over 30 years or so of travelling Melbournes bus network and collecting the timetables issued by all those companies during times of major changes and upheavals. As 2009 marches on I thought it a good time to reminisce on my early days of tracking down Melbournes bus timetables and tell those who may not have been hunting timetables down way back in 1979 just how things were back in those days. Some might say the "good old days".

Of course, back in early 1979, there was the Tramways board (the good old MMTB), operating all Melbournes trams and a sizeable bus network as well, and a whole myriad of private bus companies operating route services further out from the city, under contract to the Transport Regulation Board (TRB). Many small operators were still around, but it was a time when declining patronage, rationalisation and tough economic times meant it was a period of constant change as operators were very dependent on farebox revenue, and could only put on increased or decreased services based on public demand, and even then, only with the approval of the almighty TRB. Generally, services were decreased rather than increased.

Positively though, the small local operators knew their catchment areas very well and had a close, personal relationship with many of their regular fare-paying customers, not possible in todays times to any great extent. No such thing as multi-modal travel or periodical tickets on buses, generally the traveller paid their fare straight to the driver, without exception. It was a fascinating period with an enormous array of old and new buses, liveries, ticket variety and most importantly from my point of view, a bewildering collection of assorted timetables in all shapes & sizes.

Someone in another forum recently in here mentioned that only 2 of Melbournes bus routes now have a timetable that is not in the standard "Metlink" format. This may well become the first time in Melbourne's private bus history that "uniformity" is close to being achieved. It was never like that in 1979. And there was no such thing as a Central "Met Shop", or a railway station stocking copies of private bus timetables - no hope of that - you either had to
1. Hope the bus driver carried one, or
2. You visited a depot, or
3. At least wrote a letter to an operator asking them to send you one!!

I chose the second option much of the time - as MMTB drivers never carried timetables in those days, and for private buses, it was always "hit & miss" - some bus operators even had a small charge for their printed timetables - usually 5c, and sometimes 10c. Don't forget -the company had to arrange their own printer and meet the printing cost themselves back then. So timetable updates were very infrequent, and rare. Some timetables were out of print for years at a time back in those days, and I found some operators (though not many) did not print a timetable at all. Hard to believe, but true.

The best place to start, if you were a timetable collector back then, was with the MMTB, and fortunately, by the 1970's, detailed timetables were being produced for every tram and bus route, rather than the "summary" type leaflets and booklets produced in the 50's & 60's. Head office was in Little Collins St at the Spencer St end and its multi-level corridors all leading towards the back entrance at Bourke St - the "empire" so to speak. A fascinating, lovely old building with narrow corridors, but fortunately their customer enquiries area, with it's sliding glass was very helpful with timetable availiablity, and if you did happen to ask for all tram & bus timetables in the one lot, they had them all packaged together in a neat bundle bounded with a rubber band ready to hand out in one hit. No charge and a wonderful assortment of yellow and green thin folded timetables which opened out into large "wallsheets" with very detailed timetables were ready for your perusal.

A trip to the larger operators bus depots was a good way of getting hold of many timetables in one hit, Venturas main location (still was, up to recently anyway) at Centre Rd South Oakleigh, of course, and head office always had a ready supply. In those days, Ventura drivers usually carried them on the relevant route they were operating, but charged 5c. The depot kept the same copies, but usually did not ask the cover price if you visited them directly. I found Ventura had the most interesting assortment of timetables of any operator as they had kept a "standardised" format for many years, with colour variations across the routes, in a style similar to what the Bus Proprietors association had tried to go with as a generic format many years earlier. Some routes such as the Route 707 and 748 school bus run, and the 740, only had a small roneoed coloured sheet. Basic, but met the need for sure. Not many people would have bothered Ventura with the small routes back then.

Grendas with another recently-closed long-running depot at Foster St Dandenong, had a number of Dandenong-based routes, but produced only black & white timetables consisting of A4 sheets for most of the routes, along with even smaller sheets (almost like a newspaper cutting) for lesser services.

The outer-eastern Invicta company was the same - A4 white timetable sheets printed on both sides one to cover one direction and the other side to cover the other, but one did not really have to visit the depot back then (located somewhere way past Bayaswater heading out on Mountain Hwy towards Mt Dandenong as I remember) as most buses had a ready supply of multiple bus routes on a "help yourself" basis stacked in a metal container located near the front section of the bus. They have always been "user friendly" like that.

Moving up North, Dysons was an interesting place to visit, those days located not far from the old East Preston tram terminus in Plenty Road (but not for much longer) - a cramped depot, with a little head office and the usual "glass window" enquiries counter which produced an interesting variety of timetables for the various routes on mainly different coloured large cardboard which could be folded up if you so pleased. Sometimes the timetables went "out of print" so they would use their ancient photocopier and roneo you a copy of the original on thinner, shiny paper if they were out of stock. The timetables were particularly belwildering to follow, with use of all sorts of strange symbols and "runs up to last passenger" terminology prevailent for the last runs of the day. I do remember some routes ran till relatively late by 1979 standards, with a bus as late as 10.30 at weeknights heading out to the old Janefield colony & back via Plenty Road. Much of their operation was based on either Regent Railway station as the train feeder, or East Preston tram terminus as the tram feeder. Of course, when the tram got extended in stages along Plenty Rd to Bundoora, much of Dysons Plenty Road patronage went to the tram. Up to then, they ran a fairly extensive service along the corridor, with multiple routes forming a common 10-15 minute frequency all day long.

Reservoir Bus Co was of similar size to Dysons and with an almost identical enquiries counter, produced a basic variety of timetables on A4 black & white format.

Out West, there were a number of large operators including Sita (at that stage located near Spotswood station), Sitch (later known as the Kefford group) with depots at Sunshine, Altona & Yarravile, the now defunct Sunshine Bus Company (taken over by Sita), and a whole host of smaller operators. Sita produced different coloured small cardboard timetables and coloured paper ones from what I remember, whilst Sitch long used a "standardised" format unique to them with timetables listed in block format by location blocks and use of alternate red & black times on mainly white but sometimes green, thick paper. Sunshine Bus Company which operated the routes around that area as well as out to Deer Park etc still had a very extensive service back in 1979, which lasted longer than many other private operators that had already dispensed with late night & weekend services long before 1979. Some routes were still operating till 11.00pm at night including the ones out to Boundary, Robinsons Rd, and the Deer Park route, but by around 1980-81 they had all been cut back to about an 8.00pm finish due to poor patronage. Most buses were carrying fresh air after 8.00pm at night back then, a far cry from today. I even remember the 700 Box Hill to Mordialloc being mostly empty on weeknights after 9.00pm at night - hard to believe now!! This was one service that kept it's last bus on weeknights at 11.00pm right through all the tough times!! Even the last 703 out of Monash Uni to Blackburn at around 9.00pm at night carried only 2-3 passengers. Off peak and late night patronage was far less than now.

One of the trickiest of the largest operators to get a timetable off I found to be Southland Bus Company (later absorbed by Moorabbin transit of course). Their depot was a bit "out of the way" down in an Industrial area of Keys Rd Moorabbin (what ever happened to all those "Industrial only" buses the companies used to run back then?). Southland Bus Drivers NEVER carried a timetable so the easiest way to get one was to try and get to the bus depot - for me it meant a trip on the Route 700 down Warrigal Road then trek across to the depot along Keys Rd. You had to tramp through the greasy, grimy workshop and into a little side office, where an off-duty driver or office assistant would attempt to grab you one, usually a rough A4 roneoed sheet with times produced off some kind of "master stencil" - as no doubt many operators produced timetables back then. I always remember having to wait till about 1981 (2 years) to get a 654 timetable - the bus that used to run out to Westall from Moorabbin, as the stencil for the timetable had to be re-done. That is how things were back then.

Of course even after one covered all the large operators, you were still left with the massive task of covering all the small one-or-two route operators that prevailed in Melbourne back then if you wanted to seek the "holy grail" of obtaining every timetable of every service. It was no easy task and took weeks of trekking and travelling on these amazing variety of local bus services and mixing with regulars who must have been thinking "where did this guy come from" - it was like this back then in Melbourne. More often than not, a request for a timetable from a driver would be met with a blank stare - the sort of response you see when obviously they had not been asked for one of those for years. All their regulars just knew the timetable off by heart I assumed. So off to some small "bus depot" I would trek - when you think of "bus depot", this was not really the case with these small operators - the "depot" was usually somebodys private residence with a large garage to house the small number of buses needed to maintain their small route operation. There are too many of those to go into much detail here, but a few spring to mind.

Before the days of the big route rationalisation of the late 1980's, there was an amazing assortment of small operators in the South Eastern suburbs, and I visited all the small depots in turn to seek out those elusive timetables. Much pleasant trekking from railway stations on dull Winters days, or jumping on board some ricketty old bus with 3-4 pensioners heading home with their grocery shopping - to save on walking time for me a bit. Must carry some small change for the bus fare of course. At Sandringham, located a stones throw from the Railway Station, was Sandringham Bus Company, and they handed me a small blue sheet which represented their timetable of the time (644 I think). Blue & Silver were located in some back street in Mentone, and had a couple of bus routes I think, and they handed me some vintage coloured timetable leaflets dated 1972 and 1974 (timetables didn't change too much back then) with alterations (some trips deleted) done by hand. Primitive, but obviously little public demand for a timetable.

Another day saw me head to Hampton Railway station, and their interesting little bus terminal - a quick trip to Hampton Green Bus depot located just nearby in Willis Lane and their one bus route (and a printed timetable Green on white print which was appropriate I suppose) then a side trip out to Hampton Red Bus Depot located out in the back of someones backyard on the back streets of nearby Cheltenham - to be politely handed a little red cardboard printed timetable (of course it would be red) by a pleasant Italian gentleman who probably didn't hand out too many over the years. Further North came Bentleigh Bus Company, with a small depot located on Centre Road and a few routes centred on the area, long before Ventura took over the operation. More leaflets to be obtained of course. Hard to believe that away from Bentleigh, the poorly-patronised bus that took you along Centre Road all the way to the Warrigal Rd terminus only ran the entire length in off-peak on "shopping days" (Fridays). So you would have to get the bus that detoured up Mackie Road and detrain at the shops there and walk the rest of the way to Warrigal Road to get the 700. No Smartbus back then. Further north again came Nuline, with another 3 bus routes all cleverly interwoven into the one little timetable leaflet.

Out in the Eastern suburbs was Willis, a small one-route operation with a depot on Canterbury Rd Vermont, and operator of the now Ventura-ran 765 - but in those days it only went Mitcham-Nunawading via the backblocks of Jolimont Rd & Forest Hill Shopping Centre. Rickettty old grey buses, but one of the modern generic BPA style timetables similar to what Ventura issued at the time - amd carried by all drivers on the route. It may have cost 5c though, I cannot remember for sure now. Whilst on the subject, out the other side of town, I ventured to a bus depot in West Newport for Newport Bus Service (long defunct, now part of Sitas network) and was also amazingly given the generic BPA style timetables for their two bus routes - or at least so I thought till I opened them up to find the timetables had all been neatly over-written into the leaflet by hand, then photocopied - amazing and if there is any interest I may scan a copy and show you all in here!! One of the few other places where one could still find these "generic" style Ventura timetables were Hawthorn Bus Service, for their defunct route up Burnley St - I think their depot was not far from Auburn Station from what I remember - and a very modern bus depot and office as well. Also Reids Bus Service in Northcote, with their flagship 508 service which long had the generic BPA timetable. No such luck with the 507 which was just a small printed sheet and the only time I saw the words "Driver Meal Break" printed on a public bus timetable in Melbourne to show a gap in the service in the middle of the day. Another long-defunct route. Bell St Bus Company, another now-defunct operator with offices and depot not far from Bell Railway Station, had an attractive pink wallsheet style timetable for a time, with all bus routes on the one sheet.

Another small operation was the old 615, Box Hill to Nth Balwyn, operated for a long time by Whitehorse Bus Service - and the "depot" was a private residence in the back streets of Box Hill, near the hospital - no-one home when I visited the small garage at the back of the house one cold Winters day in 1979, and a knock on the front door saw the friendly lady produce me a small yellow card timetable from within. Personal service. No cup of tea and biscuits though - which was what I was offered when I took the torturuis trek to the original Phillips depot, (now Cranbourne transit) which in those days, when Cranbourne was still only a small country town, located on a side street between Kananook and Frankston, not far from Peninsula Bus Lines, and the Frankston Passenger service depot, so I could get to all three "depots" in one hit. Of course the Peninsula depot has not changed much in 30 years, but the Philips "depot" was located at the owners house in Frankston. I thought it strange to have to knock on peoples front doors to get timetables, but I always was met with politeness and a friendly chat, and sometimes more. I don't think many went to this much trouble to get timetables back then. It almost was always worth it, and I rarely missed getting that elusive timetable.

Another day saw me trek north, to take in Kastoria & Tullamarine bus depots (still at their same locations from what I can gather) and my first disappointment as well. I ventured out into the back streets of Essendon to get the timetables off Deveson Bus Services, who ran a route or two around the Essendon area, only to be told by the friendly fellow in charge that they had just sold out to Kastoria and only had a few weeks of bus operation to go. So of course no printed timetable was available any longer. I had to wait until Kastoria produced their own version.

Besides the ongoing saga with Southland Bus Service mentioned earlier, I also failed to obtain a timetable at the time for Route 404 (now Sita of course) as the small operator at the time did not seem to produce one - I think it was Nidis Bus Service or something similar - located out of someones house in Williamstown - whilst the same disappointment awaited me with Tarantos Bus Service who ran the 512 service aorund the Coburg area - I got the impression they never bothered with a printed timetable as they used a "memory" style service pattern instead. I thought I was headed in the same direction when I went to try and get a timetable for the 509 Hope Street Bus - amazingly this service still runs, albeit with a different operator on it's short haul along this Brunswick thoroughfare. Another stronghold for the local Italian & Maltese population, I patiently waited at the stop with 3-4 elderly ladies laden with their weekly grocery shopping, helped them stow their jeeps as we climbed into this tiny mini-bus that turned up, and the request for a timetable saw the driver reach into his bag and retrieve a small cardboard leaflet complete with bus times. A pleasant surprise!!.

By the end of 1979, I was down to the Southland 654, the aforementioned 404, the 512, as well as the Hurstbridge Bus Company School Run in Diamond Creek (which was surprisingly given the Route No 580 so it became part of the numbering system - so of course I had to chase a timetable) and the late Old Mr Pollard's 609 bus around the Kew Hospitals (which did not have a printed timetable for the whole time Pollard ran it from what I can gather) - although the Metropolitan timetable enquires centre help me construct a written version of each of the "missing" timetables, it was not quite the same. Fortunately, my never-ending requests and enquiries finally led me to the TRB head office, located in those days somewhere near the Housing Commission flats in Carlton, and a kind-hearted soul in there photocopied the TRB Master timetables, which were generic hand-written versions of timetables on blue sheets showing various timing points and times. So that is how I finally completed my collection circa 1979.

Boy have times changed. It is no longer a big challenge - and a lot of interest has gone with it unfortunately. Still, they were fun times. I will post some scans of these timetables of 30 years ago soon, if there is enough interest.

Regards

Scotty
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby Wally Otto » Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:38 pm

scottydl wrote:I will post some scans of these timetables of 30 years ago soon, if there is enough interest.

Oh, yes please! Seems like some very interesting adventures there.
Out of interest, whereabouts in Northcote was Reid's? I have scanned photo's (from the old chap) of the Reid's units, so they're of interest.
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby Desto Dave » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:18 pm

A good read there scottydl, thanks for taking the time to detail your adventures.

I remember as a kid, in 'The MTA' days, probaby the mid 80's>, I used to collect every bus timetable in Melbourne which were a lot easier to obtain from a grand old building in Bourke Street, just up from the corner of Spencer St. No. 673(?) Bourke Street from memory, which had all the timetables laid out in front of you and I would feel quite 'grand' walking inside this lovely old building and having all these timetables there, right in front of you, for the taking, no hassle, no having to ask for them! Take as many as you want! This I felt was fab and would spend quite a bit of time there with a list from home and go through and collect any new ones when they became available. My bag often heavy with all these new timetables to check out once home or on the train on the way home. Then I would have fun planning a day out using these timetables on journeys all over the metro area, planned down to the minute, connecting from one service to another.

Of course to add to the 'adventure' to town was the old Railfan Shop almost across the road which then had a lot more 'stuff' on offer than now. Stuff like old railway bits and pieces which I found very interesting to me anyway.
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby Paul_Nicholson » Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:06 pm

Fascinating to read Scotty's reminiscences; I don't think there were too many (bus) timetable collectors in those days. I used to get the "official" timetables from the TRB mailed to me (along with a couple of other enthusiasts). I sold my collection to a contributor to this Board and I expect they were helpful in his researches. Other timetables from the era have gone well at the twice-yearly auction conducted by the AATTC (Australian Association of Timetable Collectors). Most of the enthusiasts in those days, 30 years ago, were more into the severe gen than the timetables so I guess there aren't too many still around.

I've got a pile of the old TRB documents to "interested parties" about the various route changes. There are several hundred pages.

Anyone interested can have the lot for $10 so long as they can organise with me to pick them up from Ringwood.

Please contact me off list.

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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby scottydl » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:41 pm

Desto Dave wrote:A good read there scottydl, thanks for taking the time to detail your adventures.

I remember as a kid, in 'The MTA' days, probaby the mid 80's>, I used to collect every bus timetable in Melbourne which were a lot easier to obtain from a grand old building in Bourke Street, just up from the corner of Spencer St. No. 673(?) Bourke Street from memory, which had all the timetables laid out in front of you and I would feel quite 'grand' walking inside this lovely old building and having all these timetables there, right in front of you, for the taking, no hassle, no having to ask for them! Take as many as you want! This I felt was fab and would spend quite a bit of time there with a list from home and go through and collect any new ones when they became available. My bag often heavy with all these new timetables to check out once home or on the train on the way home. Then I would have fun planning a day out using these timetables on journeys all over the metro area, planned down to the minute, connecting from one service to another.

Of course to add to the 'adventure' to town was the old Railfan Shop almost across the road which then had a lot more 'stuff' on offer than now. Stuff like old railway bits and pieces which I found very interesting to me anyway.


Ah Yes - the MTA head office - the very same old MMTB head office I mentioned in my earlier posting. Actually, I know the section you are talking about - it was located near the back Bourke St entrance. For a time, they held stocks of all Melbourne private bus timetables neatly laid out around 5 different large desks on a "help yourself" basis. No staff in sight either unless you summoned someone for help. Quite useful for collectors - I think this was around the mid-80's when a few generic MTA "Neighbourhood" style of timetables were already appearing (and disappearing), and many of the timetables were already back to a standard B & W photocopied A4 style. I think this office remained open until all those "Met shops" started appearing around Melbourne shopping centres, only the current City one still surviving of course, albeit in a different location. The days of having to trek to a bus depot to grab some obscure private bus timetable are long gone. For better or worse I suppose.
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby scottydl » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:54 am

Wally Otto wrote:
scottydl wrote:I will post some scans of these timetables of 30 years ago soon, if there is enough interest.

Oh, yes please! Seems like some very interesting adventures there.
Out of interest, whereabouts in Northcote was Reid's? I have scanned photo's (from the old chap) of the Reid's units, so they're of interest.


The Reids depot was at 304 Darebin Road Northcote - heading away from Northcote towards Fairfield just opposite John Cain memorial reserve. Not sure what is there now, but Google maps might reveal something. You can see the address on the side of one of the old Reids bus photos showing in another old forum on this site. They always did well out of Route 508 as it was a heavily patronised service and ran till at least 11.00pm 7 nights a week even in 1979. A very frequent 12-minute weekday off peak service as well from what I remember, which was eventually cut back to 15 minutes later on. The 507 was the complete opposite to 508 and often ran with only fresh air and the driver in the last days. I am not sure when the 507 stopped running but it would have been well prior to the Dysons takeover. One of my fondest remembered bus companies of the time. Provided very exceptional service.

I will dig out some of those pre-1979 timetables and scan them for here. I wil try to dig them out from storage.
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby scottydl » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:14 am

I also seem to recall many Melbourne private bus operators plastering big versions of their timetables on the interior upper panels and near the roof of the bus passenger saloon. I know the MMTB did this during the 60's and 70's on some of the routes they operated out of Box Hill, while Southland were another who also displayed the timetable in a big banner near the back of their buses for many years. It was just always hard to get a paper copy of the same timetable!! Made for an interesting challenge!!
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby krustyklo » Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:47 am

Reservoir Bus Co was of similar size to Dysons and with an almost identical enquiries counter, produced a basic variety of timetables on A4 black & white format.


I have a copy of a booklet of the Reservoir timetables that was available on buses for (I think) 20c by at least the early 80s. It was black and white and had a photo of a Midland coach on the front. From memory the timetables were in number order from the 552 to the 559. I can dig it out if anyone is interested in any more info.

Dysons also produced a booklet of timetables for the Plenty Rd services for 10c available on the bus - the one I have was effective 16 November 1975 and I don't think it changed much as I would have got this later than then.

Great read!
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby 1whoknows » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:20 pm

A couple of comments on scotty's great notes which brought back many memories of my own childhood timetable gathering experiences around Melbourne.

Back in the 1970's, he could have obtained a 404, 580 or 609 "timetable" as I did from the Transport Information Centre which was located at one of the counters in the old Victour building in Collins Street. For quite a while they had the M&MTB timetables displayed and also a number of private ones (usually those in the semi standard format of the era approved by the then Bus Proprietors Association).

Additionally, whilst not a formal printed timetable as we understand them, they also had all Melbourne timetables available in folders of the old block format type sheets (sort of a printed version of todays excel spread sheet) which had been filled in by hand which they could (reluctantly) photocopy for you. These folders were also used by their telephone operators to answer timetable queries. Thats how I got my oddity ones like the 3 mentioned above.

I would, however, have to take issue with the comments about the 654 though. As an old habituee of Southland Bus Service (I was a sort of unofficial driver trainer on the 652 from about the age of 10), I seldom had any difficulty in obtaining a 654 (pink) timetable when periodically visiting the depot - though I do remember the broken stencil era referred to.
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby tonyw » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:43 pm

Well, I just want to say how much I enjoyed scotty's story. It brought back a lot of memories for me. As a new member of this board, who has only now realised that I am a bus enthusiast, one of the things I am most enjoying is the memories that are being brought back.

I remember as a little kid standing outside The Mall shopping centre in West Heidelberg on a Saturday morning for hours, while my parents did the weekly shopping, watching in fascination the endless deprtures of the McEwan Road- The Mall bus run by Ivanhoe. Always an old Bedford. It was obviously a Saturday morning shopper service as it only ran on Saturdays.

I was always fascinated by the MMTB buses which I thought were better and more professional as the drivers always wore a uniform and the Ivanhoe drivers were casually dressed. Bell Street drivers wore a brown uniform and alwasy looked very professional too.
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby krustyklo » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:50 pm

I was always fascinated by the MMTB buses which I thought were better and more professional as the drivers always wore a uniform and the Ivanhoe drivers were casually dressed. Bell Street drivers wore a brown uniform and alwasy looked very professional too.


Clearly brown was the colour as Dysons uniform was brown also.
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby 1whoknows » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:49 pm

I can remember back before the days when uniforms were common outside of the MMTB - the standard outfit was whatever, maybe with one of the BPA produced red or green ties thrown in (still got two of these at home), but all covered by the good old fashioned grey dustcoat.
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby system improver » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:26 pm

Yes, I add my thanks to scotty for the story too. My local bus line, Clarinda Transport (later acquired by Ventura) produced a little folded cardboard timetable, something that was needed because the times were quite irregular. Here are the weekday Oakleigh departures for Clarinda and East Clayton from around 1958:

7.30am;8.20am;9.20am;10.15am;11.15am;12.15pm;4.00pm;5.00pm;5.30pm;6.40pm;7.40pm.

You didn't want to just miss the 12.15pm!

The drivers wore the grey dust-coat, but always with a collar and tie, and a hat!
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby scottydl » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:04 pm

Firstly, thanks all for the kind comments & feedback. Also plenty of PM's. I have tried to send a few responses out to people but my PM system seems to be down at the moment - I have messages stuck in my Outbox waiting to go out since about 4.00pm today. Anyone else having this problem with their PM's at the moment?

Anyway, here are a few timetable scans from the period.
r410v1s1.jpg
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby howlerbus » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:13 pm

Nice collection of timetables there!
As for the PM's, I think they stay in the outbox until the recepient logs in and opens it.
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby scottydl » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:33 pm

Thanks very much - that explains the problem with the PM's then!!

A few more as well
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby scottydl » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:43 pm

1whoknows wrote:A couple of comments on scotty's great notes which brought back many memories of my own childhood timetable gathering experiences around Melbourne.

Back in the 1970's, he could have obtained a 404, 580 or 609 "timetable" as I did from the Transport Information Centre which was located at one of the counters in the old Victour building in Collins Street. For quite a while they had the M&MTB timetables displayed and also a number of private ones (usually those in the semi standard format of the era approved by the then Bus Proprietors Association).

Additionally, whilst not a formal printed timetable as we understand them, they also had all Melbourne timetables available in folders of the old block format type sheets (sort of a printed version of todays excel spread sheet) which had been filled in by hand which they could (reluctantly) photocopy for you. These folders were also used by their telephone operators to answer timetable queries. Thats how I got my oddity ones like the 3 mentioned above.

I would, however, have to take issue with the comments about the 654 though. As an old habituee of Southland Bus Service (I was a sort of unofficial driver trainer on the 652 from about the age of 10), I seldom had any difficulty in obtaining a 654 (pink) timetable when periodically visiting the depot - though I do remember the broken stencil era referred to.


Thanks for all the info - great to see others were actually collecting way back then as well!! I do remember the old Tourist Bureau in Collins St, and the stock of Tramways timetables and a few of the standardised BPA format ones - I think they had the Melb-Brighton bus company ones and a few others in the 1970's. You are right about that folder too - the old "block format" sheet filled in by hand was the same thing the TRB had when I visited them to pick up the last few elusive timetables. I will locate one of these and scan it & post it here as well so people can see. The "Standardised" BPA format mentioned can be seen with the 508 timetable scanned in my previous posting, and the 433, butchered as it had been!!
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby Wally Otto » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:47 pm

Yes, the 507 was a one bus job, run by Reid's 26. :wink:

As I can't remember, do you have a scan of the 571? (Bottom end of present 567, before Albert St was extended to Station)
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby system improver » Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:33 am

Gee, a great display of timetables past. I really like the West Newport Bus Service one. Not only has it been hand written, but the final service does not necessarily cover the whole route, running only to "the last passenger'. Mind you, they weren't the only company to do this. Many did so "unofficially", especially some drivers. I would be interested to know whether it still happens on the odd occasion.

And on the question of last services, have you ever noticed that the speed limits don't seem to apply to these runs? I can remember catching last trams and trains where it appeared that "world records" were trying to be set. I was told by one train driver, that in the fifties when the Tait "Red " trains were still dominating, the last train into Flinders Street from Caulfield once clocked 60mph on the stretch to Hawksburn, apparently it was some sort of challenge. And I can personally remember a Z class tram travelling down St Kilda Road, passing the cars which were going the same way! I never took too many last buses, maybe others have stories.
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby scottydl » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:21 am

Wally Otto wrote:Yes, the 507 was a one bus job, run by Reid's 26. :wink:

As I can't remember, do you have a scan of the 571? (Bottom end of present 567, before Albert St was extended to Station)


I should have it - I will have a bit of a look tonight and post it up here if I can find it. Also, sorry about the tears & staples in the timetables - unfortunately I used to staple each route together with all versions going forward in time - so for example with Sitch I would have the 1974 version stapled together with 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 84 and so on. For some route timetables there are anything up to 12 versions over 15 years or so!! I wish I hadn't stapled them up now, as the staple has rusted over the decades and damaged some of the timetables. It was fortunate many timetables were printed only once every 4-5 years especially those smaller operators. Even the larger operators such as Dysons though used to have timetables that were current for many years - for example that 564/6/8 combined one that is scanned in here was in place from 1976 till at least late 1980.

Regards

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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby 1whoknows » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:51 am

Not only last trips were high speed runs.

Before Southland opened, what became the 654 (then operated by Elston's) was Moorabbin to Clayton via Bernard Street and Heatherton and generally had 30 minutes for the trip. However there was a lunchtime departure from Clayton (the last bus until around 3pm rather like Clarinda Transport) which was given only 20 minutes for the journey. As this was often done by one of the 4 cylinder Syd Wood bodied Albions you can imagine the hammering that was required to achieve a timely arrival!! At least it was direct via Kingston Road and did not require the Old Dandenong Road diversion.

Victorian timetables these days have very few references to "to last pass" runs however there are stilll numerous examples of it in NSW.

Also nice to see those old timetables - I reckon I had all of those myself except the 404 (and still have some).
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby Mike M » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:05 am

Thanks for a fascinating series of reminiscences on timetable collecting in the past Scotty. It very much reminded me of my own collecting days in Sydney back in the 70's when they were many more operators than are left today. Sadly the small one or two route operator is just about extinct in that City.

Melbourne is lucky in still having a few left, particularly in the northern suburbs, even if their timetables are now produced in the standard corporate style. I guess that's progress.....
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby RabidRabbit93111 » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:22 am

Wow, fascinating! I used to collect timetables when I was younger. Many thanks to everyone for their reminscinces, scans and postings:) It's a bit sad how, with the advent of the Net, the thrill of the chase is gone, timetable-wise. This sounds like something I would have really enjoyed, had I been born earlier.
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby tonyw » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:23 am

system improver wrote:And on the question of last services, have you ever noticed that the speed limits don't seem to apply to these runs? I can remember catching last trams and trains where it appeared that "world records" were trying to be set. I was told by one train driver, that in the fifties when the Tait "Red " trains were still dominating, the last train into Flinders Street from Caulfield once clocked 60mph on the stretch to Hawksburn, apparently it was some sort of challenge. And I can personally remember a Z class tram travelling down St Kilda Road, passing the cars which were going the same way! I never took too many last buses, maybe others have stories.


I have been on night riders which have set land speed records too.
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Re: Collecting Melbournes Bus Timetables 30 years ago...

Postby John » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:48 am

tonyw wrote:I have been on night riders which have set land speed records too.


I was passed by a Nightrider one evening in a 60 zone, I sped up a little to work out how fast he was going and worked it out to be about 80. I knew there was a fixed speed camera coming up but the driver backed right off, passing through slowly before speeding up again and disappearing off into the distance.
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