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Plenty Valley Bus Network

Melbourne / Victoria Transport Discussion

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Plenty Valley Bus Network

Postby Roderick Smith » Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:34 am

Students in Melbourne’s north celebrate new bus routes.
November 14, 2015 Whittlesea Leader.
Diamond Valley College students Bella, Laura, Ally and Oscar, with local MPs Danielle Green and Vicki Ward and assistant principal Allison Bennett, celebrate the news of the new buses.
TWO new school bus services will be introduced in Melbourne’s north next year.
One service will run from South Morang to Diamond Creek, while the other will run from South Morang to St Helena Secondary College in Eltham.
The services will run through Doreen to pick up students from late January 2016.
“This is a big win for students at St Helena College who catch the train part of the way to school or live in South Morang or Doreen, providing direct services to and from school every day,” Eltham state Labor MP Vicki Ward said.
Yan Yean state Labor MP Danielle Green said the new routes were introduced to cater for population growth in Doreen and Mernda.
“We are introducing these new school bus routes, reviewing the broader bus network and building the Mernda rail extension,” Ms Green said.
“It has been great to get input from the community on the new rail link to Mernda, and I look forward to hearing from residents, businesses and passengers about what they want out of their bus network.”
Public consultation will start soon for more new and improved bus services for Whittlesea, Greensborough, Diamond Creek, South Morang, Doreen and Mernda.
The new bus network will include a service from South Morang railway station to Diamond Creek railway station via Doreen.
The new routes will link the South Morang and Hurstbridge train lines and connect to Diamond Valley Secondary College before and after school.
The Whittlesea to Greensborough service will also be reinstated.
“The new bus services announced today, and the new bus network we will soon be consulting about, will improve connections from South Morang station for students, local residents and workers,” Mill Park state Labor MP Lily D’Ambrosio said.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/nort ... 9da912f4ca
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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby krustyklo » Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:21 pm

TWO new school bus services will be introduced in Melbourne’s north next year.
One service will run from South Morang to Diamond Creek, while the other will run from South Morang to St Helena Secondary College in Eltham.
The services will run through Doreen to pick up students from late January 2016.
“This is a big win for students at St Helena College who catch the train part of the way to school or live in South Morang or Doreen, providing direct services to and from school every day,” Eltham state Labor MP Vicki Ward said.
Yan Yean state Labor MP Danielle Green said the new routes were introduced to cater for population growth in Doreen and Mernda.


The new bus network will include a service from South Morang railway station to Diamond Creek railway station via Doreen.
The new routes will link the South Morang and Hurstbridge train lines and connect to Diamond Valley Secondary College before and after school.


If they are genuinely school buses, fair enough but hardly news (not criticising Roderick for posting, more it must be a slow news week at the Leader). OTOH, wasn't a South Morang to Diamond Creek bus route an election promise? If this is genuinely the introduction of that route, then if it is just a school bus it sounds like a token keeping of said promise, or if it's the introduction of the route for more than one school bus each day (could be inferred from the second comment quoted above) than I wonder why the big deal about linking the South Morang and Hurstbridge lines between South Morang and Diamond Creek? There is already a reasonably quick link between South Morang and Greensborough, and Diamond Creek only has a train every 40 minutes with the only shortened journeys being those from South Morang / Doreen to Diamond Creek or Hurstbridge. I can't imagine there are lots of those journeys. Otherwise it would be quicker to go via the existing Greensborough routes (901 and 520).

I would have thought a better use of such additional buses would be to fill in the 40 minute gaps on the 520 and/or the 572 to provide a consistent 20 minute service connecting from Doreen to every train at South Morang and/or Greensborough.

The Whittlesea to Greensborough service will also be reinstated.

Assuming the Greensborough TAFE reopens, I can see the point. But the Greensborough TAFE was not that busy a campus when it was open (hence why it closed when funds were cut back) and many students would have driven anyway given the old 562 only ran every 40 minutes and was unreliable. In addition, the argument for serving RMIT more quickly doesn't stand up much either for the same reason of lack of frequency and unreliability. If the peak extras ran back the other way from Greensborough to RMIT later than 8.30am then it could be argued it was more useful for students than the 566, but they didn't so they were useless for most students except those with 9am starts. Again, I'd rather see the resources go into filling in the 40 minute gaps on the existing 562 to make interchanging less painful to achieve the same end, for example extending the current peak extras to LaTrobe Uni (including past the 902 to Greensborough although the interchange there is rubbish) and connecting with other services there as well as serving the larger LaTrobe campus.

The point of the old service to Greensborough was to connect to a closer railhead than Regent Station. Now that South Morang has opened, this reason no longer exists.
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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby Roderick Smith » Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:53 pm

Yes, I thought that the whole lot was typical modern spin, but couldn't see the loopholes. Long experience: never trust anything which comes from a PTV press release.
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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby Craig » Sun Nov 15, 2015 9:21 pm

The way I read the article is that from the start of the 2016 school year there would be a dedicated school bus to Diamond Creek College, allowing students to take advantage of it sooner rather than later.

I then take it that there will be further consultation of the network in the outer northern suburbs shortly, presumably in a similar vain to the previous Brimbank and Wyndham network revamps. These had lead times of 6 - 9 months, meaning that we would expect the changes to be implemented in the middle of 2016. This would then be when a permanent full-time link would be introduced to fulfil the election promise as well as the reinstatement of a direct Whittlesea - Greensborough connection.

The other official promises for the north were the new network for Epping North & Wollert, due to be delivered "this coming summer", plus extra 517s to serve Viewbank College at school times, which was delivered in July - http://www.anthonycarbines.org.au/media ... -viewbank/

BTW, for anyone interested, Bus Plan from the election is still online - http://www.danielandrews.com.au/wp-cont ... -FINAL.pdf Of course, $100M is a lot of money, even when spent over four years, and I'd expect we'll see a few more upgrades than were promised.

I'd have thought the reasoning behind the link from South Morang to Diamond Creek was an east-west link to serve the estates along Bridge Inn Rd that the 520, 562 and 572 poorly serve, as well as serve the northern fringe of Diamond Creek that currently misses out on a service - this should also allow the 580 to do a more conventional loop of the eastern part of town only, rather than it's current convoluted path as the "Diamond Creek Town Service". Probably not enough to get the round-trip for 580 under 40 mins though. But you are right, the half-hourly peak trains at Diamond Creek will probably set the frequency of the route.

(My first guess was the route would travel into Diamond Creek via Ironbark Rd and Black Gully Rd)

As for school buses not being newsworthy - for some years DoT/PTV has been reluctant to add more in Melbourne or within regional cities (as each one generally requires an extra peak vehicle) they have become politically motived as a result and usually take a big push from a local member to be delivered - it's not as simple as a school or operator showing there is demand for it, with funding constraints being cited as a constraint. PTV simply directs students to alternative options.

Even overcrowded buses are a struggle to be addressed, as these examples illustrate:
Luther College - https://michellepinisblog.wordpress.com ... the-bus-2/
Wheelers Hill Secondary College - http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/east ... 955cd03625
Marcellin College - https://my.marcellin.vic.edu.au/mod/for ... .php?d=826
Berwick College - http://www.berwickcollege.vic.edu.au/ge ... rcrowding/
Catholic College Bendigo - http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/sto ... -concerns/

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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby V981 » Sun Nov 15, 2015 9:59 pm

Does anybody know if Yan Yean is a marginal seat?
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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby krustyklo » Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:43 pm

Does anybody know if Yan Yean is a marginal seat?

Yes it is. I suspect this is more the impetus for improved services than purely the local member being good at petitioning (see also Mernda rail). Source: http://www.vec.vic.gov.au/Results/State2014/YanYeanDistrict.html

Viewbank isn't overly marginal though, and that school has needed extra school buses for at least the last 10 years. The 517 often effectively runs not picking up anyone until Greensborough, and the boarding times near the school throw the timetable into disarray. I've had to wait 24 minutes for the next bus before if I caught the bus in that area around school finishing time due to it being overcrowded and not picking up, along with students at the stop with me who couldn't get on. However, might it be better to run an extra service in between existing services along the normal route rather than a dedicated school bus? Or a second bus at the same time as the existing service when it is busy like the MMTB and The Met used to do on the 246 over summer in the 80s (and possibly before and after)?

I'd have thought the reasoning behind the link from South Morang to Diamond Creek was an east-west link to serve the estates along Bridge Inn Rd that the 520, 562 and 572 poorly serve,

That route doesn't need to go to Diamond Creek to exist though, it could go anywhere to the east, or simply connect to the 520 at the Doreen town centre. I agree the existing routes poorly serve the area, but just as much in that the 572 goes near some of those estates but is indirect. I went for a job interview near Bridge Inn Rd close enough to walk to the 572 in Overland Dve, and was surprised how long it took just to get out of Doreen onto Yan Yean Rd - over 10 minutes and closer to 15. It would have been just as quick to walk up to Yan Yean Rd along Bridge Inn Rd or Cookes Rd.

as well as serve the northern fringe of Diamond Creek that currently misses out on a service


The one housing estate along Brownlow Drive / Lanvos Drive with around 40-50% in the 580 catchment along Broad Gully Rd? I honestly don't see that as a high priority - I doubt a South Morang to Diamond Creek bus service would be much better than hourly, and highly optimistically at best every 40 minutes to connect with trains to or from the city. Hardly enough to get anyone out of their car that already has one, or even if they don't. For a similar comparison, consider the 575 in Epping North which has a 40 minute service most of the time. Here is a photo of one just before it leaves the estate:
Image
Full sized version:
http://www.walkerm.info/photogallery/upload/2013/09/21/20130921161452-06728cf7.jpg
I count a lot of empty seats and one person. And there are a lot more people in Epping North.

If it needs to be served and the 580 made quicker, maybe a town bus would be more appropriate?

(My first guess was the route would travel into Diamond Creek via Ironbark Rd and Black Gully Rd)

I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere. It would probably carry as many people as the 578 and 579 do given they also go through areas with minimal population. My kids love going on that bus, having the bus to themselves going through the beautiful scenery of North Warrandyte and Kangaroo Ground until a few people get on in Research going to Eltham.

PTV simply directs students to alternative options.

Maybe that's appropriate though? How many students at Diamond Valley College are coming from South Morang or Doreen? To be fair, there may well be enough, but I would be surprised if every school needs extra buses, or even the ones they have in some cases. Maybe it would be better to use those resources to beef up existing routes around school leaving times benefiting more than just school students, or benefiting students from multiple nearby schools?

Personally I would rather see existing services become more viable in order to fund other more marginal services, than fund marginal services that can be pointed out as ghost services wasting taxpayer money on the evening news. There is definitely a need for better bus services in Yan Yean, but I would start with removing the ridiculous 40 minutes gaps in the 40/20 timetables of the existing services. Hopefully the review will resolve this.
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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby werd » Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:45 pm

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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby Craig » Sat Nov 28, 2015 5:16 pm

The main map for quick reference - not that not all routes in Mill Park are shown - eg 564, 566 & 569.
Image

First thoughts - good that they are simplifying the route structure of 572 in Mil Park (which currently zig-zags endlessly) but not sure about the legibility of the routes in Mernda and Doreen. It also seems to keep their promise to Whittlesea voters, they have had to come up with a convoluted solution that detours via too many residential areas, not to mention passengers will have to change buses to travel to South Morang.

There also doesn't been to a concise numbering system - and they are even intruding into the 310-series which has been used for Eastern Fwy corridor routes.

Some suggested changes I'd make:
311 - make it a direct Plenty Rd bus between Northland and Whittlesea with an obvious deviation via South Mornang Station & Plenty Valley Town Centre. If you wanted to keep the promise of a Greensborough bus, alternate buses between Northland and Greensborough (20 mins to RMIT, 40 mins south / east).

317 & 322 - As 311 is now covering Plenty Rd, travel via Betula Ave, Mill Park Stables S/C & Morang Dr instead. At Mernda, continue as the 317 to Greensborough via Apollo Parkways.

323: Becomes South Morang - Diamond Creek, incorporating the eastern third of 311 through Doreen

327: No change

346: Keep unchanged. University Hill estate however would be best served by an eastward extension of 570 to Greensborough, as suggested in the bus review (achievable with a bus only road between Worcester Cr into Killarney Ridge)

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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby BroadGauge » Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:22 pm

Doesn't seem like a great improvement that Whittlesea loses a direct bus route along a main road to the nearest suburban railway station, continuing via a tram terminus and a university (route 562), to be replaced with a new service that turns off the main road and diverts via numerous back streets and housing estates in order to reach a further away railway station on a different line.
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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby krustyklo » Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:51 pm

The first most obvious reaction would be that it would be far more logical if there was a station open at Mernda. Otherwise, many of the changes are detrimental.

Minuses
For example, if I were a 562 bus user who changed trains to go to the city, I would be majorly annoyed and probably drive instead somewhere where I could catch a train. Anyone who found it useful to interchange from a 562 to a station somewhere on the Hurstbridge line has long since found other ways to get where they want, in most cases probably by car. Now, anyone who found it useful to interchange from a 562 to a station somewhere on the South Morang line is about to be equally disenfranchised until the Mernda extension opens - by which time they will have found some other way to get where they want, most likely by car. Better still, anyone who changes from the 562 to a train to go to the CBD will have 30 minutes added to their travel time by no longer catching the train from South Morang, but instead will have to meander through Doreen, find out first hand that Yan Yean Rd is just as bad as Plenty Rd for traffic congestion (but without even the minimal bus lanes Plenty Rd has on the divided section) and then deviate via Apollo Parkways (unless they use the PTV app to change to a 901 which potentially saves about 10 minutes if it isn't too long a wait as I found recently).

No wonder people push for rail and tram extensions where, if implemented, there is little likelihood of having their travel patterns screwed around so much in such a short time.

The second reaction is to ask what happened to the stated bus network planning principle of direct buses, neighbourhood buses, and special buses. This network throws all that out the window. Under the current recently changed network currently in place, Whittlesea buses run directly down Plenty Rd to South Morang station, then reasonably directly along main / mainish roads to Northland. Under the new network, once it gets to the site of the proposed new station not open for a few years, it then becomes a local bus for Doreen and Apollo Parkways. From the other direction, Northland buses run the same direct route to Bridge Inn Rd, then reasonably directly to Doreen town centre, then become the suburban bus around Doreen, then along rural roads to Diamond Creek. In one sense, this may actually be quicker than sitting in congestion along Yan Yean Rd in peak hour, presumably enhanced once roadworks start for the Yan Yean Rd widening if it ever starts. On the other hand, the length of the 311 and multiple needs for connection may well mean that it may not interchange well with the relatively infrequent rail service at Diamond Creek, in which case it will be a hopeless mess. Either way, the purpose of the route seems diluted between direct service along main roads between Northland, South Morang and Doreen; suburban route around Doreen north; and regional link between Doreen town centre and the hamlet of Diamond Creek. Maybe a more appropriate route number should be '563'...

Lastly, the information given does not support the claim that "More frequent, direct services between the Route 86 tram terminus to South Morang Station via Plenty Rd and Bush Bvd then continuing along The Lakes Bvd to Mernda" or "Additional bus services along Civic Dr improving the link between Mill Park Secondary College (Senior Campus) and South Morang Station". If hypothetically the existing single route along Civic Drive runs every 20 minutes is replaced by 2 routes running every 40 minutes, then there is no improvement - in fact things are worse as casual users need to remember 2 route numbers and destination instead of one, and TBH I don't trust the PTV as far as I can throw a Smartbus totem (ie, not very far given they are bolted to the ground), so the two routes may well run within a few minutes of each other depending on the need for other connections and coordination, so effectively the section along Civic Drive goes from every 20 minutes on one route to 38/2 on a new set of routes. In case there is any thought that there is likely to be an improvement in frequency compared to the current 40 minutes or 20/40 minutes on most routes in that area, "The frequency and span of services will be influenced by the final design of the network. "

Pluses
Lest I be seen as a Grumpy Old Man (no comment from you, Jacob :wink: ), the network does give the promised and much needed extra coverage to allow for the growth of the estates around Mernda and Doreen. Another good feature is that the 573 takes on the indirect nature of the 572 which is better as it is shorter, whereas the longer distance 572 becomes more direct.

Interesting
Another point of interest would be that when the 562 was diverted from the Ring Rd and Greensborough to go to Northland instead, comment was frequently made about the loss of a direct, fast link between RMIT and Greensborough. I wonder if extending the 322 in the new network to Greensborough via the Ring Rd would be useful? In the past I wouldn't have been particularly receptive as the old 562 to Greensborough was not particularly reliable, and was infrequent, and apart from providing a link for students slighlty faster than the alternative 566, there was nothing else in Greensborough not also at or around Plenty Valley shopping centre and MacDonalds Rd, especially given the South Morang rail link had also opened giving significantly new travel opportunities. However, the Banyule council are strongly pushing Greensborough as an activity centre, and putting their money where their mouth is by adding 3 stories of offices to Watermark which is near the station, the Main St bus interchange, and the bus stops at the station. In addition, they are encouraging developers to add more office space elsewhere in the Greensborough Activity Centre. Once this develops, I can see a purpose for such a fast link from the north to Greensborough.

Conclusion
Hence my dilemma - is it good that "The new network is anticipated to be implemented mid 2016." to finally give those estates a service where there currently is none? Or would it be better if the new network waits for the Mernda rail extension to be complete given it very clearly anticipates it? My view may be jaundiced by the 86 tram extension running late in July 1986 when the network changes linked to it changed anyway, and my family travel patterns were completely screwed over for months until (and even after) the extension opened. The same principle screws over Whittlesea bus users in the new network. However, I recently went for a job interview at a location that would be served far better by the new network than the current and the new network would have suited me well had I got the job, especially if the frequencies were around the 20 minute mark as seems to be current for "direct" routes, and given we have a relatively PT friendly government compared to the previous one, and given the area is a very marginal electorate.

My 2c worth, FWIW.
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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby Craig » Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:51 pm

One thought that popped into my head yesterday was that the 322 bus has been designed to follow the potential 86 tram extension to South Morang (East) via Plenty Rd, Bush Bvd, Plenty Valley Town Centre, South Morang Station and The Lakes Bvd to terminate around the potential Hawkstowe Station site.

Now, wouldn't be nice if funding was made available for the 322 to meet every tram, ala the Knox Transit Link. This would also double as a full time "TrainLink" style link between South Morang and Mernda until the extension opens in 2019. Unlikely, but has more legs in the short term than extending the tram.

The tram extension idea is being pushed by Whittlesea Council and more recently a Facebook campaign has been started.

Whittlesea Leader wrote:Whittlesea transport activists push for tram extension
CHERYL BALFOUR
WHITTLESEA LEADER
AUGUST 20, 2013 12:00AM

Trevor Carroll and Alahna Desiato are spearheading the campaign to extend tram route 86 from RMIT University in Bundoora up to South Morang.

WHITTLESEA transport activists are determined to put the extension of tram route 86 to South Morang on the agenda ahead of next year's State Budget.

The Friends of South Morang group has collected more than 1000 signatures on a petition calling for the extension, but the group is aiming for 5000 names by May.

>>Check out the City of Whittlesea's visions for transport links in South Morang. - https://www.whittlesea.vic.gov.au/build ... 20map.ashx

Alahna Desiato, 20, is spearheading the campaign and rallying support among student circles using social media.

Ms Desiato, a friends group member, wants the government to fund Whittlesea Council's public transport plan for South Morang.

The plan proposes an extended tram route along Plenty Rd, Bundoora, turning in to Bush Blvd and travelling through The Lakes Blvd before terminating at Plenty Rd, South Morang.

"The route makes sense, it connects well to Westfield, the train station and all the houses around there," Ms Desiato said.

"We got the train line to South Morang; we should get the tram as well that would help the car parking issue at the South Morang train station."

Resident group secretary Trevor Carroll said the group planned to mount pressure on the government ahead of budget deliberations and next year's state election.

Whittlesea Council advocacy director Griff Davis said the council identified the need for a tram line extension as early as 1989, but the idea did not gain traction with the government or residents until now.

"The Department of Transport had disputed the demand for pubic transport travel into the city, even through trams tend to be used for short haul journeys," Mr Davis said.

"The South Morang activity centre is taking shape; people are travelling north and south by road during both peak periods.

"Three public transport modes (train, bus and tram) can connect well into that area.

"There is an extensive residential catchment in the Lakes Blvd area."

Mr Davis said while land has been preserved for the tram extension through South Morang, a further extension north was not possible because there was no more land available.


Whittlesea Leader wrote:Friends of South Morang group steps up campaign to extend tram link
November 8, 2015 12:00am
Melissa Merrett
Whittlesea Leader

Image
WHITTLESEA transport activists Trevor Carroll and Alahna Desiato are gathering support for the extension of tram route 86 to South Morang. Picture: Carmelo Bazzano
THE Friends of South Morang group is stepping up its campaign to extend a tram link to South Morang.

The group will hold a public meeting on Saturday, November 14, to consolidate public consensus for tram route 86 to be extended from its terminus opposite RMIT’s Bundoora campus to South Morang.

The proposal would see the tram line extended 5km north from the Plenty and McKimmies roads intersection to the South Morang railway station, through the Mill Park Lakes estate and finish at Plenty Rd.

RELATED: Whittlesea transport activists push for tram extension - http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/nort ... 6699961858

RELATED: Mill Park 72-year-old Lynnette Ansell helps Friends of South Morang call for tram route extension - http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/nort ... 6865466281

Friends group secretary Trevor Carroll said the project would ‘‘complete the missing link’’ between the east and west of the City of Whittlesea and ease pressure on the fast-growing municipality’s strained roads and public transport.

“The main issue is there is a missing link on the eastern side of the municipality, no rail line at all on the eastern side,” he said.

“The advantage in all this is the land is already there and the planning has been done since 2002.

“The extension is on the list of the top 10 transport priorities for Whittlesea Council.”

Mr Carroll said the launch of the campaign was aiming to put the tram extension back on the agenda ahead of the 2018 state election.

Friends member Alahna Desiato said now was the time to garner more support for the project.

“It has been a waiting game so far but it is now time, with the rail extension to Mernda committed to,” she said.

“I would like to see a lot of people show up at the meeting as it’s a chance to have a say.”

Public Transport Victoria spokeswoman Jess Maguire said there were no immediate plans to extend tram route 86.

“There are already a number of public transport options between South Morang and route 86 tram services including bus routes 562, 564, 572 and 573,” she said.

“Public Transport Victoria is reviewing bus services in Mernda, Doreen and South Morang.

“Opportunities to improve the links between tram route 86 terminus, South Morang station and The Lakes Blvd are being considered.”

The Friends of South Morang Extend the Tram Link public meeting will be held on Saturday at the Riverside Community Activity Centre, 8 Doreen Rogen Way, South Morang, from 11.30am-1.30pm.

Lunch will provided, with RSVPs to be received by Thursday via email at extend86tram@gmail.com


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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby crakening » Fri Dec 04, 2015 4:03 pm

Can't see an 86 extension happening in a lot of our lifetimes, but improved connecting services, especially to the South Morang line at various points (Reservoir, Thomastown and South Morang) would be worthwhile. Fixing the 570 in particular and, fixing the 555/556 frequency (from 22 to 20) and service spacing (all over the place on weekends) and ensuring the 322 provides at least a passable service would make the 86 much more useful.
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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby Alex on the Bus » Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:24 am

While there has been planning for an extension to the 86 tram along the full length of the Bush Boulevard / The Lakes Boulevard complex since the Plenty Valley Growth Corridor plans of the late 1980s, I believe there would be little worth in extending the tram any further north than South Morang station.
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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby krustyklo » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:58 pm

The first most obvious reaction would be that it would be far more logical if there was a station open at Mernda.

One thing I seem to have got wrong in my response is that I assumed the Mernda rail extension goes as far as Hazel Glen Dve, Mernda. I wonder if the bus network designers made the same mistake when they designed this network?

According to the Mernda rail extension documents on the PTV website (https://getinvolved.ptv.vic.gov.au/mernda-rail-extension), the last station at Mernda will be located at Bridge Inn Rd, Mernda opposite a new town centre. Yet from the map above and https://getinvolved.ptv.vic.gov.au/South-Morang-Doreen-Diamond-Creek, the only route which passes this point is the proposed 311. The proposed 317 from Whittlesea to Greensborough will not serve the new Mernda station, and the proposed 322 and proposed 323 will terminate at the major activity centre on the corner of Hazel Glen Dve and Plenty Rd, Mernda, currently consisting of a Woolworths service station and a set of traffic lights.
Image
(The service station is to the right, the traffic lights are to my left. When I went past today, the PTV had finally installed a shelter but no flag for the northbound 562 stop)

Have I missed something? Or is the proposed new bus network genuinely going to terminate in the middle of nowhere, and the new station only served by a single route?
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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby Craig » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:14 pm

krustyklo wrote:Have I missed something? Or is the proposed new bus network genuinely going to terminate in the middle of nowhere, and the new station only served by a single route?


Good point up, glad I'm not the only one who noticed this.

My guess is that is that this an interim arrangement as there is nothing at either location yet, and that the routes will be sent south once the town centre and station opens, saving a few minutes in peak hour traffic on Plenty Rd with no-one onboard and the associated KMs for now.

Presumably at that point the Whittlesea bus terminates at Mernda and the southern half of the 317 heads north from the station and then into Doreen before changing direction towards Greensborough?

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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby burrumbus » Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:07 pm

Fascinating isn't it!!
To attract pax in these car centric areas you need to provide the most direct service possible to the nearest rail station and activity centre to have any chance of getting the car drivers out of their cars.
The proposed route structure really doesn't do that especially for Whittlesea,Doreen and parts of Mernda.I gree with Krustyklo above that Whittlesea continues to be "screwed."
I would have thought a direct trunk route from Whittlesea via Plenty Road and Plenty Town centre to Northland would be the way to go.Then a direct route from South Morang-Doreen-Greensborough.
I understand the concept of putting the bus over to Diamond Creek station from Doreen as the nearest station,but attention to detail to connection times will be important.
But really the horse has bolted here.Direct and frequent buses to the nearest stations should have went in 6-7 years ago when the estates developed.The services that were there were too indirect and infrequent and people just bought cars.I suspect this network will not attract those car drivers.
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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby Craig » Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:01 pm

The nature of the route structure shows PTV has not used the same train of thought of the recent network changes in Brimbank, Wyndham and to a lesser extent the new routes in neighbouring Wollert which have several direct and medium frequency routes on main roads, but rather they want to sending everything on a cook tours of the local area to maximise coverage resulting in a number of slow options.

They started off well in Mill Park, but the structure in Doreen in particular is a failure - they have tried to cover off the suburb with two routes, when it needs at least three. Expanding on my first lot of suggested changes:

322 continues straight along Hazel Glen Dr, Brookwood Dr and then down Yan Yean Rd towards Apollo Parkways & Greensborough - once the Mernda town centre and station are built, route will detour to serve both.

323 turns right out of Mernda Village Dr, past the proposed town centre & station, into Bridge Inn Rd, along Resort Bvd and Elation Bvd to Yan Yean Rd onto Diamond Creek. No longer travels through Hawkstowe Estate.

Additional route from South Morang to Laurimar Town Centre, up Plenty Rd, through Hawkstowe Estate terminate at Laurimar Town Centre via Bassets Rd, Cookes Rd, Painted Hills Rd, Overland Dr, Flaxen Hills Rd, Elliot Ave and Laurimar Bvd. Once train line extended, originates at Mernda and 323 assumes role of Hawkstowe estate.

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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby krustyklo » Fri Jan 01, 2016 7:18 pm

The nature of the route structure shows PTV has not used the same train of thought of the recent network changes in Brimbank, Wyndham and to a lesser extent the new routes in neighbouring Wollert which have several direct and medium frequency routes on main roads, but rather they want to sending everything on a cook tours of the local area to maximise coverage resulting in a number of slow options.

Yep, as I said they seem to have abandoned the idea of direct routes (frequent routes down major roads), neighbourhood routes (the ones that meander down side streets at a lesser frequency), and special routes (oddities that run for specific reasons such as serving industrial estates at knock off time and school routes).

In addition, they seem to have messed up the route structure to not allow for Mernda station being at Bridge Inn Rd, hence my comments that I genuinely suspect someone stuffed up as the proposed route structure would make much more sense if the station was at Hazel Glen Dve with the Mernda neighbourhood routes finishing there, and the Whittlesea bus from the north connecting at the soonest possible opportunity to a rail service (assuming a station at Hazel Glen Dve).

The main positive as you point out is that they left the Mill Park routes largely as is. The South Morang bus route structure was largely well done, albeit for the issues with frequencies.

Doreen has always been a mess for the local bus network. Effectively at present a single route (520 / 572) meanders through as many housing estates it can (that had been built at the time), the same problem as Epping North that is partially about to be fixed with the changes there. In doing so, it removes directness for coverage. To be fair, the route seems reasonably well used whenever I've been on it, but if I lived up there I would probably only use it for certain journeys on "my side" of the estate, eg from the west side to South Morang or the east side to Greensborough. Trying to get from the east side to South Morang wastes a lot of time reversing west-east direction twice, and in some cases you would need to travel north before going south to South Morang via all the Mernda housing estates. Ditto the west side to Greensborough, although once on Yan Yean Rd it is mostly direct.

Mernda is marginally better, the 572 is unashamedly the local neighbourhood route and the 562 the direct route.

The problem is the new network entrenches the same issues, only being slightly less indirect. To make things worse, the only direct route (562) is removed from the area with all routes effectively being windy neighbourhood routes. In Mernda there are few direct roads apart from Plenty Rd so this is a necessity, but the same cannot be said for Doreen where there are a number of direct east-west and north-south roads. Bridge Inn Rd and Hazel Glen Dve are good east-west direct routes and Plenty Rd and Yan Yean Rd are good direct north-south routes.

My guess is that is that this an interim arrangement as there is nothing at either location yet, and that the routes will be sent south once the town centre and station opens, saving a few minutes in peak hour traffic on Plenty Rd with no-one onboard and the associated KMs for now.

Presumably at that point the Whittlesea bus terminates at Mernda and the southern half of the 317 heads north from the station and then into Doreen before changing direction towards Greensborough?

I'm afraid I don't share your optimism, I doubt that the PTV will implement a major network change for 12-18 months or so until the extension opens and then the whole thing changes again. The other issue with your suggestion is that the current government promised the Whittlesea bus will go to Greensborough, so to Greensborough it shall go come hell, high water, or death by a thousand suburban streets.

After a bit of thought, I think the structure could be made to work assuming:
  • The current number of routes is seen as optimum.
  • The Whittlesea bus has to go to Greensborough.
  • As many routes as possible need to serve the combined Mernda station and Town Centre instead of the current single route.
This could be done by:
  • The 323 follows its proposed route from South Morang through Mill Park and Mernda south. It then goes from Breadalbane Rd into Bridge Inn Rd, passing the station, then along the 311 route to Eminence Blvd, then the 317 route to Doreen Town Centre.
  • The 317 runs the proposed route from Whittlesea, then continues along Plenty Rd past Masons Rd / Hazel Glen Dve to the Mernda station / Town Centre. It then goes along Bridge Inn Rd to Resort Dve, then follows the proposed route south to Greensborough. The disadvantage of this compared to the current proposed network is that the 317 will no longer serve the main part of Doreen, but I don't see that as a big deal. For those north of Masons Rd / Hazel Glen Dve, there is no difference compared to the current network, and they get fast access to Mernda station in lieu. For those along Elation Dve and Resort Dve, they don't get access to Doreen, but in lieu they get direct access to Mernda station as well as the same mix of shops but in Mernda instead of Doreen. The main loss is direct access to Hazel Glen College, but it is only a short walk from Bridge Inn Rd.
  • The 311 follows the existing proposed route from Northland to Mernda station / Town Centre, then heads west along Bridge Inn Rd, Mernda Village Dve, Plenty Rd, Masons Rd, McCrae St, Overland Dve and Waterways Dve to Doreen, then along the remainder of the proposed route to Diamond Creek.
  • A further option at the expense of a small number of extra route kms would be to extend the 323 to cover the northern section of the proposed route 311 along Laurimar / Elliot / Flaxen Hills Rd, then loop around Landano Way and Brookwood Ave to Flaxen Hills Rd. Or if loops are no longer out of fashion then you could return to Doreen Town Centre via Mulberry St. This would allow the 311 to go straight down Hazel Glen Dve to Yan Yean Rd making the route more direct thus suiting its purpose.
Whilst not perfect, I suspect my changes above better suit the idea of the 311 and 317 being reasonably direct routes given the constraints, although the 317 still suffers from deviating via Apollo Parkways, and the 311 from deviating via Orchard Rd and Serle St (and potentially northern Doreen). At least my proposed changes remove the Doreen neighbourhood routes from the 311 and 317 and add them to the neighbourhood 323. The 322 can only be fixed by adding extra route kms running it down either Bridge Inn Rd midway along the Mernda part of the route to the station or else south down Plenty Rd from its current proposed terminus. For train users it isn't worth it as if the Option B station is built then it will simply meet the rail extension there. If I have read between the lines correctly, the Mernda report pushes the Option A station, so if this is the one built then the 322 won't serve any of the nearest stations unless the northern part of the route extends down Plenty Rd.
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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby Craig » Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:05 pm

Today's media release for announcing the Mernda extension has now gone to market advises the new bus network discussed above is due to commence in April but does not go into detail if any changes have been made since consultation.

http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/getting-o ... to-market/

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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby Craig » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:45 pm

In addition to the associated changes to 567 from 1st May, PTV have announced the new 381 service will commence on 1st May.

PTV wrote:New bus route 381(South Morang to Diamond Creek via Doreen)

From Sunday 1 May bus route 381 South Morang to Diamond Creek via Doreen will commence providing local residents with a regular bus services to trains and key shopping destinations.

Route 381 is part of a new bus network for the area and includes seven new, extended or realigned bus services for improved train connections and increased coverage for South Morang, Doreen and Diamond Creek.

Key features of route 381 include:
  • Services every 20 minutes during the AM and PM peak from Doreen to South Morang train station
  • Provides connections between Diamond Creek train station, Laurimar Town Centre, Westfield Plenty Valley and South Morang train station
  • Services every 40 minute between South Morang and Diamond Creek
  • Extends s coverage into the north-west corner of Doreen along Laurimar Boulevard and Eliot Avenue
  • Morning and afternoon extensions for students attending St Helena Secondary College or Diamond Valley College to replace the school special services that currently operate.
  • Morning and afternoon deviations for students attending Hazel Glen College.


381 takes in the northern half of the proposed 311 Northland - RMIT - Mlll Park Stables - South Morang - Laurimar Town Centre - Diamond Creek route.

There is a vague summary report for the consultation period available here - https://getinvolved.ptv.vic.gov.au/Sout ... 6/download

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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby Craig » Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:28 pm

Dysons have now published details for 381, including a route map, to their website - http://dysongroup.com.au/route-381

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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby crakening » Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:44 pm

They're just plopping this bus down on top of the existing network? It will be interesting seeing if it meshes with the 562, since that runs every 40 mins as well, and 20 mins at peak; plus the 520 which runs every 40/20. A 20-min offpeak service down Plenty Rd and Yan Yean Road is pretty good relative to a lot of places in Melbourne.
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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby krustyklo » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:27 pm

They're just plopping this bus down on top of the existing network? It will be interesting seeing if it meshes with the 562, since that runs every 40 mins as well, and 20 mins at peak; plus the 520 which runs every 40/20.


I'm guessing that it is the easiest of the routes to provide on top of the existing bus network. In addition, if you read the document Craig linked to, one of the big pieces of feedback was running the 562 from Whittlesea to South Morang station. The new network doesn't do this. It might be possible that the early introduction of the new route (which was to replace some of the 562 along Plenty Rd between Bridge Inn Rd and McDonalds Rd) is to gauge whether, having tried the replacement route, this is still a factor or whether the 381 is sufficient and the route from Whittlesea can continue to go to Greensborough as per the new network. Pure speculation on my part of course!

Personally, I think the 562 replacement should continue to South Morang as the existing route currently does. The government should do some research, but I'm guessing the political promise to run the Whittlesea bus to Greensborough may have been misguided, especially once people see that the promise is being kept but not by running it along the previous routing past RMIT and along the Ring Road which would have been the original expectation.
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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby Craig » Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:41 pm

New timetables for 381, 541, 567 & 577 are now up at http://ptv.vic.gov.au/timetables

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Re: New northern bus routes (Melbourne, Vic.)

Postby crakening » Fri Apr 22, 2016 2:50 pm

Unfortunately the 567 still runs at stupid 22-minute frequencies. I guess it will continue to run empty out of Regent most trips. The 381 is not offset from the 562 either, so during the day the buses arrive within about 5 mins of each other, while maintaining nearly 40 minute gaps.
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