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Melbourne's busiest bus route?

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Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby tonyp » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:03 pm

I'm doing a check around Australia to find which are the most heavily-patronised individual bus routes in each major city. I'm talking about patronage (passenger journeys) per annum on individual routes, not where groups of routes go along one section of a common corridor.

From a little initial investigation, it seems that Smartbus 903 might be the most highly patronised individual route - but I'm open to correction. I'm looking for an annual patronage figure. TIA.
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby Mr OC Benz » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:43 pm

This information for 2014/15 is available from here: https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/about-ptv/pt ... tatistics/
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby tonyp » Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:04 pm

Mr OC Benz wrote:This information for 2014/15 is available from here: https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/about-ptv/pt ... tatistics/

Yes I've already come across that page thanks but I can't get the bus information to open.
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby paulgersche » Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:11 pm

Click on the link, and when an excel spreadsheet appears, click on the "Enable Editing" button and "presto".

Regards, Paul.
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby tonyp » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:11 pm

paulgersche wrote:Click on the link, and when an excel spreadsheet appears, click on the "Enable Editing" button and "presto".

Regards, Paul.

Thanks, I finally got to it on another device.

It seems that the Smartbuses crown the list with 903 at 6 million passenger journeys per annum, 901 with 4.5 million, 902 with 4.4 million and 703 with 2.2 million. This places the three 9xx routes as, individually, apparently the heaviest carriers of any single bus route in Australia. It's not clear whether Perth's 950 has crossed the 4 million mark yet, as the only figure given is in a range bracket. Sydney's 400 could be a contender with a guesstimate of maybe 3 to 4 million, but getting any bus statistics out of TfNSW is near-impossible. The only figure that's been released in NSW (and only in response to a political crisis) is Wollongong's 55 which is 3.3 million ppa. M44 in Adelaide and 66 in Brisbane, those cities' best contenders, don't make it past the 2.2 and 3 million mark respectively.

The performance of the Smartbuses is interesting as Melbourne is commonly perceived as a tram city, with buses only in a subordinate role, yet 903 is busier than most tram routes. Incidentally, I note that Yarra Trams has stopped publishing individual route patronage and PTV doesn't seem to be doing it either. It would be interesting to see which routes benefit most from the huge patronage upsurge since the introduction of the CBD FTZ. The four CAT routes in the Perth CBD FTZ are raking in about 8.5 million ppa between them - though treating them as single routes averages out at about 2.1 million per route (whether they share patronage evenly I don't know).

Out of interest, are there any individual bus routes in Geelong up among the above figures or are they all quieter?
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby MAN 16.242 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:31 pm

tonyp wrote:
paulgersche wrote:Click on the link, and when an excel spreadsheet appears, click on the "Enable Editing" button and "presto".

Regards, Paul.




The performance of the Smartbuses is interesting as Melbourne is commonly perceived as a tram city, with buses only in a subordinate role, yet 903 is busier than most tram routes.
Yes but don't forget 903 along with 901 & 902 are much longer than tram routes.
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby BroadGauge » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:35 pm

tonyp wrote:The performance of the Smartbuses is interesting as Melbourne is commonly perceived as a tram city, with buses only in a subordinate role, yet 903 is busier than most tram routes.

Route 903 is 86km long. The very longest of long tram routes is around a quarter of that length, so it's not that surprising. You might be better off comparing services based on a boardings per kilometre basis.

tonyp wrote:Out of interest, are there any individual bus routes in Geelong up among the above figures or are they all quieter?

No. There's only so many car-less or underage people in a city of 200,000 (there is not much reason to not drive everywhere down there).
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby tonyp » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:00 am

BroadGauge wrote:Route 903 is 86km long. The very longest of long tram routes is around a quarter of that length, so it's not that surprising. You might be better off comparing services based on a boardings per kilometre basis.

Yes I'm aware of that, that's the next job. Just getting any patronage figures at all was the first mountain to cross (and it's not fully crossed in some states)!

Thanks for giving me the length of 903. It's yet another task working out the length of every route since these are rarely publicised.
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby PaxInfo » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:53 am

While it doesn't give route lengths, this clickable map can give a rough idea.

https://www.melbournebybus.com.au/
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby burrumbus » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:30 am

Tony,The 901/902/903 are busiest on the eastern side of their long routes.The northern and western sides do not carry large numbers of pax.I would estimate an 70/30 split there.
Still very successful routes ,which have been affected by Transdev's trevails.
I note that the busiest routes are generally the Smartbus branded routes.Something for the government to consider for future changes.Shame Transdev have trashed that to a good extent.
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby tonyp » Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:42 pm

I haven't got the route distances yet for 703, 901 and 902 but I have some preliminary findings on passengers per route km per year among the highest-patronised routes in Australia. As expected, long distances take their toll and the impressive 903 works out at 70,000 passengers per km per annum. Adelaide's M44 (about 30 km on average) is similar at about 76,000 and Sydney's 400 (38 km) may be about 100,000, but that's taking a wild guess at patronage which TfNSW won't disclose.

At the other end of the scale, the shorter, busy routes return some impressive figures. Perth's 950 may be over 250,000 (subject to knowing the exact patronage figure). Brisbane's 66 about 270,000 and Wollongong's 55 (Gong Shuttle) 236,000 (only because we know the exact patronage of 3.3 million ppa thanks to political controversy). Superficially, these three may well be the most intensely used bus routes in Australia, but there's so much more information needed. For example, the 380 to Bondi Beach is heavily used over a relatively short distance but NSW won't release figures. I've been lucky to get figures for the Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne examples, but Perth, which is normally excellent and open about statistics, only yields bus patronage grouped in ranges (e.g. 950 sits in the 3 to 4 million ppa range and I am assuming from other observations that it's nearer the 4 end of the scale).

The Perth CBD CATs I'm not sure how to treat because there are four separate routes but they're closely intertwined in a mutually dependent way in a small area. Together they move an impressive 470,000 passengers per route km, which works out at an average of about 120,000 each if you separate them..

I'll move all this information to the General national section soon as it is about more than Melbourne.

If anybody has the route lengths for 703, 901 and 902 at their fingertips it would be a pleasant shortcut for me TIA!
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby burrumbus » Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:11 pm

The 216/219 and 220 routes are very busy routes too.The pax figures are skewed because of their through routing from the western suburbs through to the Brighton area.When these routes are separated next year will reveal a very high per pax kilometre figure on the City to Sunshine sections .The sections from the City to Brighton are very low and do not justify the resources allocated to it.
I reckon the Perth CBD CAT routes would have the highest per km figures in Australia.I can't think of anything else,other than the 380 in Sydney that would get close.
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby BroadGauge » Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:30 pm

tonyp wrote:If anybody has the route lengths for 703, 901 and 902 at their fingertips it would be a pleasant shortcut for me TIA!

Route 703 is 30.6km long, including the Forest Hill Chase diversion.

Route 902 is 77.7km long.

And finally, route 901 is 113.3km long.

You're welcome Tony ;)
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby PaxInfo » Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:33 pm

tonyp wrote:If anybody has the route lengths for 703, 901 and 902 at their fingertips it would be a pleasant shortcut for me TIA!


Some distances for the 900 series at viewtopic.php?f=4&t=52141 & https://www.busaustralia.com/forum/view ... &p=1005447

Further comments:

* Melbourne's busiest routes fall in either of the following groups:
- SmartBus orbitals 901,902, 903
- SmartBus CBD-based DART radial routes 905, 906, 907, 908 (feeder only off-peak)
- Smartbus other serving various Monash Uni campuses (703 & 900)
- Ex-government inner-suburban routes with long operating hours that are effectively trams in areas without them (eg 200/207, 216/219, 220, 236, 246, 250/251, 302/304).
- Very short university - train station shuttles operating every few minutes on weekdays (eg 401, 601)
- Medium length middle suburban routes serving major universities or with large commuter catchments (eg 408, 465, 508, 630, 733, 737, 767, 828)

* Notes:

- All SmartBus orbitals pass through industrial, semi-rural land that don't on their own justify the service provided. Or they overlap other routes. This depresses their boardings/km compared to routes with continuously unique and dense catchment (eg look at area around Mt Waverley for example where main roads are widely spaced and there are no routes in between them).
- Route lengths can be misleading as some routes have short trips providing a higher frequency over a section. Eg 703 & 903 during the peaks.
- Route 703 was one of the first two SmartBus trial routes (Clayton - Blackburn portion only) starting in 2002. But it never got upgraded to the SmartBus minimum frequency and span standards in 2006 when the 900 SmartBus commenced (unlike 888/889 which were incorporated into the 902 orbital). The Bentleigh - Brighton section of the 703 only recently gained Sunday service. This however might increase 703's average passengers/km compared to other routes with a more intensive evening/weekend service.
- While they don't always have the highest absolute numbers due to their shortness, routes serving low income areas away from stations score well on a boardings per kilometre basis. Eg 410, 423, 424, 425, 813, 815, 844. Again their lack of after 9pm or intensive weekend service might make their boarding / km numbers look better than routes with many late night trips (eg 223 which was an old tram).
- Rating routes by individual patronage is misleading where two or three are offset to form a high frequency corridor along the majority (or busiest) part of its corridor. Some are listed above.
- Generally speaking the busiest routes have the highest frequencies. However there are cases where top performing routes may have a low off-peak (eg 767 every 40 min) or Sunday (eg 733, 828 every 60 min) frequency. These tend to be either long with the same seat being used 2 times per trip (767), serve multiple train lines and shopping centres (828) or are the only significant service to a huge catchment (788).
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby tonyp » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:02 pm

burrumbus wrote:I reckon the Perth CBD CAT routes would have the highest per km figures in Australia.I can't think of anything else,other than the 380 in Sydney that would get close.


It's very frustrating that we can't get figures for NSW as I'm sure that 380 would be a contender in this list. It's only about 9.5 km with heavy use and high turnover en route. Maybe somebody needs to stir up a political crisis there as it seems to be the only way that TfNSW will divulge a figure (though after Wollongong they probably won't any more)!

PaxInfo wrote:
Some distances for the 900 series at viewtopic.php?f=4&t=52141 & https://www.busaustralia.com/forum/view ... &p=1005447

Further comments:

* Melbourne's busiest routes fall in either of the following groups:
- SmartBus orbitals 901,902, 903
- SmartBus CBD-based DART radial routes 905, 906, 907, 908 (feeder only off-peak)
- Smartbus other serving various Monash Uni campuses (703 & 900)
- Ex-government inner-suburban routes with long operating hours that are effectively trams in areas without them (eg 200/207, 216/219, 220, 236, 246, 250/251, 302/304).
- Very short university - train station shuttles operating every few minutes on weekdays (eg 401, 601)
- Medium length middle suburban routes serving major universities or with large commuter catchments (eg 408, 465, 508, 630, 733, 737, 767, 828)

Thanks, yes I understand the complexities and variables. I also look at the timetables to see what sort of headways they have and other clues like that - but there are a lot of variables.
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby krustyklo » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:10 pm

I note that the busiest routes are generally the Smartbus branded routes.Something for the government to consider for future changes.Shame Transdev have trashed that to a good extent.

It is interesting to compare some of the figures to the previous set of data covering 2012 as well.
For example, in 2011-2012 the 903 carried 6,739,436 passengers, yet in 2014-15 it carried only 6,070,959 - nearly 700,000 fewer or 12,855 fewer a week / 2571 per weekday if these losses were all from weekdays.
The comparable figures for the 901 is 4,315,891 / 4,539,319
and 902: 4,196,707 / 4,402,214
and 905: 827,213 / 1,036,289
and 906: 924,443 / 1,310,844
and 907: 1,135,963 / 1,789,203
and 908: 633,324 / 685,889
and 703: 2,171,526 / 2,260,787
and 900: 1,830,307 / 1,889,150

Whilst most of those routes have a small amount of growth between the 3 years, the standouts of the Smartbus routes are the 906 and 907. The 907 has had some frequency upgrades recently but I suspect the 906 may well be due for some too if the growth continues. It would be interesting if the trend for data collection continues to compare the 2016-2017 to 2014-2015 to see what the Transdev effect has been in raw data.
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby PaxInfo » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:25 pm

krustyklo wrote:and 908: 633,324 / 685,889


Something to be aware of if looking at more recent data is the effect of the 2014 service changes which were quite significant. There used to be 4 DART routes heading into the CBD full-time (905, 906, 907, 908). Now there's three (905, 906, 907). Off-peak 908 users now have to get the 907 and change at Park & Ride. There have been subsequent upgrades to weekend frequencies on 907, 908 and (just recently) 246. So I'd expect a big increase for 907 and a drop for 908 everything else being equal.

While it wouldn't make the busiest route list (being a peak only service) the 303 was deleted then reinstated so expect some odd numbers for that as well. More recently (November 2017) I'd expect a drop for Route 216 (and 216/219) since the portion west of Sunshine is now run as the Route 426, providing a new combined frequency corridor with the 456 along Ballarat Rd to Burnside.
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby system improver » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:48 pm

So, not the 704 then?
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby paulgersche » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:17 am

Hey, SI ...
Don't forget the 509!!!

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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby PaxInfo » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:47 am

Both 704 & 509 would likely be packed compared to 673, 687 & 777!
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby tonyp » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:47 am

Looks like you guys have all the information you need for a passengers per route km list for Victoria at least (it would be good to include tram services too for comparison). If anybody wants to do that exercise I'd be interested to see the results.

I'm just looking at the national level and the statistical availability scene is pretty bleak. Victoria is obviously excellent. There's a basic set for SA. WA, which normally is excellent on stats, appears to only have a list grouped in bands of patronage. Queensland is patchy, mainly what you can pick up in the press, while NSW is an information-free desert for buses.
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby BanksfielderIdiot823 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:26 am

I just wanted to throw this in; another thing to keep in mind regarding the 901 is that there's quite a portion of those passengers riding between MEL Airport and Broadmeadows Station, so that little bit may have its ups and downs in patronage throughout the day.

Good luck trying to get any stats out of TfNSW however; you're looking at the world experts of denial and hiding and covering up things.
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby tonyp » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:42 am

BanksfielderIdiot823 wrote:
Good luck trying to get any stats out of TfNSW however; you're looking at the world experts of denial and hiding and covering up things.

Tell me about it, NSW runs on spin. If it wasn't for spin, the state would grind to a halt. You have freedom of information, we have freedom from information. I remember one jaded NSW professional at a conference once referring to NSW as "the State of the quick thrill". Yep.
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby burrumbus » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:15 am

BanksfielderIdiot823 wrote:I just wanted to throw this in; another thing to keep in mind regarding the 901 is that there's quite a portion of those passengers riding between MEL Airport and Broadmeadows Station, so that little bit may have its ups and downs in patronage throughout the day.

Good luck trying to get any stats out of TfNSW however; you're looking at the world experts of denial and hiding and covering up things.

Yes ,the 901 does have consistent patronage from Broady to the Airport.From observations and riding up to 20 per trip,plus all their luggage.There is also a reasonable loading from Broady to Gladstone Park Shopping Centre,which basically all came off the 477,because of the direct trip.That has been a very successful innovation,giving a quick trip on that section.The only issue is the bus terminal at the airport is miles away from the airport terminals.
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Re: Melbourne's busiest bus route?

Postby burrumbus » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:28 pm

paulgersche wrote:Hey, SI ...
Don't forget the 509!!!

Paul
http://www.busaustralia.com/forum/posting.php?mode=quote&f=4&p=1017590#
The 509 patronage was not too bad for a very short route.
I was told by the former proprietor that it averaged 200 pax per M-F. On the list that compares very reasonably with many other routes,especially on a per pax per km basis.On only a 2km long route.
From observations the patronage has not transferred to the reinvented 509 or the surrounding bus routes.Just lost patronage from a poor decision.PTV just made the call they wanted it gone,regardless.There were a number of ways and means to reduce the cost of the route but keeping the basic 20 minute core frequency most of the time.No investigation into that.They could easily have pulled $100k off the cost of the operation.
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