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Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Perth / Western Australia Transport Discussion

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Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby simonl » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:35 am

Does Perth have many limited stops bus routes? I've been here a couple of months and the only one I've come across is the 380. Surely there is a need for express/limited stops routes at least in peak hour. Perhaps I just haven't seen them?
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby Mr OC Benz » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:59 am

There are only a handful of limited stops bus routes and no express bus routes (school routes excluded). See the list below:
Daily: 114, 115, 361, 362, 380, 549, 998, 999
Weekdays: 360
Peak hours only: 66, 295, 370, 385

There appears to be more of a policy on increasing stop spacing, enhancing and consolidating all stops services and/or providing feeders rather than providing extensive varieties of limited stops and express routes like those seen in Sydney and elsewhere. Passenger kms travelled by bus is fairly low in Perth as a lot of the network comprises feeder services which connect to the train lines. There are only a handful of routes where passengers are travelling relatively long distances by bus, but even those which aren't limited stops already, have sporadic gaps in stop spacing due to passing by nil population catchments, but they are not considered limited stops because technically they are not skipping any stops. There'll be even less of these once Forrestfield-Airport Link opens with many more routes converted to feeders.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby Merc1107 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:58 pm

114 sort-of-is, sort-of-not Limited Stops. After Booragoon, its All-Stops along Risely St. and along Canning Highway.

Of course, it's still labelled "Limited Stops," but I have to nitpick
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby Mr OC Benz » Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:44 pm

So are most of the LS routes. They are generally only limited stops for a portion of the route, typically at the inner-end of the route (114 is an exception of course!), as the idea is to generally bring people from outer suburbs into the city (and vice-versa) faster in those cases.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby simonl » Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:35 am

I would have thought it would make sense to have a limited stops service on a high frequency route like the 950 even if it needs to be an additional service.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby Mr OC Benz » Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:22 pm

There is. Route 66 which operates along the same route as the 950 between Elizabeth Quay and Morley. But since the 950's introduction, it has had its service levels cut drastically and now only operates for one hour during each "peak of the peak". The spared resources were transferred to provide additional 950's - that is where a lot of the patronage ended up going. A lot of people think there is no point waiting 10 mins for a 66 when there's a 950 every 3-4 mins. Ends up being almost the same in the end.

Mind you, the 66 has actually gradually been downgraded over the past decade. It was once an express service. But there wasn't enough people travelling end to end to justify, so it was converted to limited stops. It only continued to survive because of the failure to review all the surrounding routes back then which meant it provided the quickest journey by far between Perth and Morley. Then the 950 was introduced travelling exactly the same route (as an all stopper however) which was seen as a more attractive option due to the higher frequencies and somewhat competitive (although still slightly longer) journey times to the 66.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby simonl » Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:00 pm

That doesn't go to UWA though. Isn't that going to be a major trip generator for the 950? I'd be surprised if the Morley side was greater than the QEII/UWA side for the 950.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby Mr OC Benz » Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:26 pm

The UWA side is definitely more intense during the peak uni hours. There are a lot of scheduled short journeys that aren't included in the public timetable for instance. But outside of this, not at all.

The Beaufort St side has a more spread out level of demand which is increasingly becoming more balanced (off-peak vs peak). A lot of short casual trips are taken up and down Beaufort St during the day and night (and growing!), as well as trips to/from Morley Galleria during retail hours in addition to the traditional CBD-oriented trips that occur. Also a few schools along there generate more pax during those targeted times too.

But back to the limited stops, there would be little time improvement with such service to UWA. There are only six stops between EQ and UWA spread over a 4.5km distance (average spacing of 750m although it's more like two small clusters and the old brewery stop). There isn't many people boarding/alighting at these intermediate stops, so most buses don't need to stop anyway.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby Bus Suggestions » Tue May 23, 2017 3:44 pm

With the 13 limited stops bus routes in Perth - with one to be withdrawn after losing to the SuperBus and another in 2020, which makes it 11 - does anybody think that it's time to come up with a brand name for these routes? Fastworker, BusyBee, Fastrak (but no Traklink)?
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby Leyland B21 » Tue May 23, 2017 8:23 pm

Bus Suggestions wrote:With the 13 limited stops bus routes in Perth - with one to be withdrawn after losing to the SuperBus and another in 2020, which makes it 11 - does anybody think that it's time to come up with a brand name for these routes? Fastworker, BusyBee, Fastrak (but no Traklink)?

TransPeak, But I reckon bring back the citylink branding

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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby tonyp » Wed May 24, 2017 7:01 am

In a city where the broad policy direction is to feed people to a train station (and with more train lines still to be built), the train provides the fast part of the overall journey. Thus I would think there is limited scope for express or stop-skipping bus services and many of those, where they do exist, will be temporary in the long term.

In other Australian cities these services exist generally along long-distance corridors where a rail line hasn't been built so they're basically providing a pseudo train service. In Sydney such services originated in the 1950s when it was found in the process of closing down the trams and replacing them with buses that the buses couldn't match the trams' faster journey times, so express bus services were introduced to bait people away from preferring the trams.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby simonl » Wed May 24, 2017 7:47 am

Trains can't go everywhere.

There is room for limited stops services in almost every city. The 950 would be a case in point.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby actually » Wed May 24, 2017 3:01 pm

simonl wrote:Trains can't go everywhere.

There is room for limited stops services in almost every city. The 950 would be a case in point.


The 950 is a success BECAUSE it's an all-stop service. The 66 in peak hour would still benefit from being an Express service instead of limited stops. The few Limited Stops services I do, work nicely...very effective
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby simonl » Wed May 24, 2017 3:37 pm

How do you figure that?
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby Mr OC Benz » Wed May 24, 2017 4:31 pm

This has been discussed before, but the peak hour 66 now only operates for an hour of the peak compared to four hours of the peak that it used to operate. This is because when the 950 was introduced, the time benefit for waiting for a 66 instantly disappeared given the frequency that the 950 operates at. People who caught the 66 started to catch the 950 as a result. One of the success factors for the 950 as actually points out was the legibility and simplicity it created (consistent stopping pattern, frequency, one route number etc) from the removal or reduction of other less frequent routes.

Similar case with the 354/870 combination along Flinders St (870 being the weekday limited stops service and 354 a mostly direct all stops route) being withdrawn in favour of one simple direct route (and a peak hour supplementary limited stops service similar to the 66). Same thing. One frequent route (970) serving all stops for most of the day that everyone knows about while the slightly faster limited stops (370) available in the peak for commuters with regular travel patterns (and thus typically have a greater understanding of the local bus routes).

But to put simply, the average passenger km travelled by bus is quite low (given the extensive feeder bus system to trains that exists) and so the bus routes simply aren't long enough (or indirect enough) for there to be a significant travel time saving with limited stops services. For those routes which travel much further, there simply isn't the population density or demand to sustain both a limited stops and an all stops service. There are a few exceptions of course, particularly in areas quite far from a rail line (e.g. Alexander Heights/Ballajura services) as well as some specific cases during peak periods. But it's better to focus on improving one service, keeping it simple and making it legible. That will attract new passengers more (in the inner areas at least) along with stop rationalisation rather than a limited stops service which skips half of the potential catchment area of a route and introduces a new layer of complexity which may not even be necessary.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby simonl » Wed May 24, 2017 5:06 pm

I can see the point about the simplification but that doesn't mean that all stops is a part of the success of the 950.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby Perth Jaywalker » Wed May 24, 2017 5:29 pm

actually wrote:The 950 is a success BECAUSE it's an all-stop service. The 66 in peak hour would still benefit from being an Express service instead of limited stops. The few Limited Stops services I do, work nicely...very effective

Yes, making the 66 express again would make it more attractive in terms of the time advantage. Currently the 66 beats the 950 by about 7 or 8 mins (more if the run of lights is good), while its frequency (10 mins) loses to the 950's (3 or 4 mins) by a bit less than that amount of time. If the 66 arrives late though, then all bets are off and it would have been better taking the 950.

Still, the pm 66 (from Perth) is used by a small but noticeable chunk of passengers to get to the Beaufort/Walcott hub. On the other hand the am 66 (to Perth) hardly ever stops there.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby Bus Suggestions » Wed May 24, 2017 7:28 pm

Perth Jaywalker wrote:
actually wrote:The 950 is a success BECAUSE it's an all-stop service. The 66 in peak hour would still benefit from being an Express service instead of limited stops. The few Limited Stops services I do, work nicely...very effective

Yes, making the 66 express again would make it more attractive in terms of the time advantage. Currently the 66 beats the 950 by about 7 or 8 mins (more if the run of lights is good), while its frequency (10 mins) loses to the 950's (3 or 4 mins) by a bit less than that amount of time. If the 66 arrives late though, then all bets are off and it would have been better taking the 950.
Sure, it's 3 or 4 mins in peak on the timetable but it can be as close as every 30 seconds!
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby Mr OC Benz » Wed May 24, 2017 9:47 pm

simonl wrote:I can see the point about the simplification but that doesn't mean that all stops is a part of the success of the 950.

It is from a legibility perspective and being able to provide a higher frequency to a larger catchment. What was previously five routes running different lengths of Beaufort St is now just one route which is becoming well recognised. Well, technically there is still a few routes, but the 950 in itself is frequent enough that the other routes are really only used by those who have to travel to unique locations on those specific routes; or if they are PT gurus that know exactly how much of Beaufort St or which stops that route may serve. Even myself, knowing that I can catch another route to the same place, I will still often just wait for the 950 because I know that one will be coming soon (sooner than one of the other routes most likely) and that it will stop all along Beaufort St including where I wish to go.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby goroundandround » Thu May 25, 2017 4:48 pm

The 295 to/from Kalamunda replaced the 799 which ran without stops between the Tonkin Hwy bridge and the Transfer Station. It had stops added along the way because of middling patronage and the perceived frustration of passengers watching a half-empty bus bypassing them.
This change was a pain at the time because the main advantage of the 799 was being able to access any lane to avoid traffic spots, however the upgrades to Great Eastern Hwy reduced the benefit of getting out of the left lane.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby PoweredByCNG » Thu May 25, 2017 10:16 pm

There are, in my opinion, two things that prevent Perth from having effective 'Limited Stops' bus services.

1. The use of trains as a 'line-haul' mode on many major corridors. Perth is a city that mainly sprawls from north to south and this main corridor is covered by high quality heavy rail services.

2. The general lack of corridors with exceptionally heavy patronage and existing high frequency bus services that would dictate the need for 'skip stop' services in order to isolate large groups of travelling passengers.

A good example of where 'Limited Stops' services are effective exists in Sydney's northern beaches. The Military Rd/Pittwater Rd corridor experiences very heavy patronage throughout the day and there are no rail services within easy reach. The corridor has a large number of bus services plying the same route but with varying stopping patterns. 'Limited Stops' and 'Express' services in this case reduce travel time (although this is heavily dependent on traffic as per usual in Sydney) and helps alleviates overcrowding by ensuring that those passenger travelling further have better access to services that may otherwise be full.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby theenglishguy » Fri May 26, 2017 11:12 pm

PoweredByCNG wrote:There are, in my opinion, two things that prevent Perth from having effective 'Limited Stops' bus services.

1. The use of trains as a 'line-haul' mode on many major corridors. Perth is a city that mainly sprawls from north to south and this main corridor is covered by high quality heavy rail services.

2. The general lack of corridors with exceptionally heavy patronage and existing high frequency bus services that would dictate the need for 'skip stop' services in order to isolate large groups of travelling passengers.

A good example of where 'Limited Stops' services are effective exists in Sydney's northern beaches. The Military Rd/Pittwater Rd corridor experiences very heavy patronage throughout the day and there are no rail services within easy reach. The corridor has a large number of bus services plying the same route but with varying stopping patterns. 'Limited Stops' and 'Express' services in this case reduce travel time (although this is heavily dependent on traffic as per usual in Sydney) and helps alleviates overcrowding by ensuring that those passenger travelling further have better access to services that may otherwise be full.


I think the lack of very long routes in Perth also plays an important role. In Sydney it is common to have 1+ hour long services, so it makes sense for passengers to wait 5-10 mins for a limited stops service because they might save 10-15 mins. Whereas in Perth, it is generally pretty rare for passengers to catch a bus for more than 30-35 mins, so the potential time saving from a limited stops service is generally quite small (5 mins or so).

Just look at the 66/950. Even if I want to go to Morley from the city, it's probably quicker to just catch the 950 (which turns up every couple of minutes) rather than waiting 5-10 mins for a 66 that will only be slightly faster.

For a limited stops service to be successful time savings really need to be 10+ minutes, otherwise it won't be get much use.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby Merc1107 » Mon May 29, 2017 11:25 am

The only city routes that are really long enough to start showing the benefits of Limited Stops are the 114 (previously 881) to Munster, and 115 (previously 940) to Hamilton Hill Hall.

The 114 is Limited Stops between Booragoon and Munster, all stops between EQBS and Booragoon.
The 115 is Limited Stops between Hamilton Hill Hall and EQBS.

Naturally, the 114 in particular does most of the work along Risely St. and Canning Highway, but it seems quite a few passengers during peak stay on beyond Booragoon.
The 115 generally carries ex. city passengers as far as Kardinya & Coolbelup, after that its short trips. Both services, on their Limited Stop segments do seem to stop quite frequently, so it seems if the selected stops are chosen appropriately, they can be quite beneficial, connect with local services and save time. How much? I can't say for certain. With departures scheduled a couple of minutes apart, it does seem the 115 catches up to, and overtakes the 114, so thats a couple of minutes.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby actually » Mon May 29, 2017 8:46 pm

Mr OC Benz wrote:
simonl wrote:I can see the point about the simplification but that doesn't mean that all stops is a part of the success of the 950.

It is from a legibility perspective and being able to provide a higher frequency to a larger catchment. What was previously five routes running different lengths of Beaufort St is now just one route which is becoming well recognised. Well, technically there is still a few routes, but the 950 in itself is frequent enough that the other routes are really only used by those who have to travel to unique locations on those specific routes; or if they are PT gurus that know exactly how much of Beaufort St or which stops that route may serve. Even myself, knowing that I can catch another route to the same place, I will still often just wait for the 950 because I know that one will be coming soon (sooner than one of the other routes most likely) and that it will stop all along Beaufort St including where I wish to go.


As soon as most 21's (all stops-all day everyday) were replaced with the direct service 22, with increased services, there was an instant increase in pax numbers to Morley/Perth. A noticeable decline in pax on the 60 I also noticed too. Then once the already popular 22 was combined with the popular corridor to the UNI it was bound to succeed.
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Re: Limited stops bus routes in Perth

Postby goroundandround » Tue May 30, 2017 5:43 pm

Commuters at Kalamunda Bus Station routinely watch a 283 and a 296 leave empty while waiting 5-10 minutes for the limited-stops 295. And, generally, they get to the city sooner.
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