McGill's & Alexander Dennis
South East Transport Changes from 2 December
Featured Bus Route – October 2018
DATE FOR THE DIARY - 25th November - Finchley Bus Running Day
Alexander Dennis & Lothian
Buses on Parade
The non-Inner West bus routes to be privatised
Leeds Considering Hydrogen Powered Buses
New CEO for First Group & Results for Six Months to September 2018
Alexander Dennis at Euro Bus Expo 2018
Sometimes the most humble bus services produce some of the best usage statistics. You wouldn't know from their termini, timetables or lack of high-rise housing along it. Today's example is Route 536 between Glenroy on the Craigieburn line and the very quiet Gowrie on the Upfield line. It provides northern Glenroy with its only public transport and locals vote with their feet to board it. It also skirts the north of Hadfield's square mile along Hilton St. The only significant shops the 536 directly serves are near Pascoe Vale Rd at Glenroy; it's too far north to serve Hadfield's nearest and busiest shops at West St. Most of the route is in the Broadmeadows electorate, safely held for Labor by Frank McGuire MP. Route 536's map is below. It's a fairly straightforward west-east route connecting two north-south rail lines. There is an alternating deviation, with half the trips via Evell St and the other half via Bourchier. You can see this deviation on the to-scale network map below.
Route 536's timetable, for ex-Glenroy trips, is below. Weekday service is a flat 30 minute frequency from 6am to 7:30pm. Off-peak connections with trains are inconsistent as these typically operate every 20 minutes.
Saturday operating hours are 7:30am to 5:30pm. Frequency is every 40 minutes. No Sunday or public holiday services operate. Despite its high patronage the route missed out on the minimum standards upgraded which would have extended evening service until 9pm and added Sunday trips.
The 536 can trace its history back to 1955 as a shorter route. It was extended in 1969 with a short-lived extension to Campbellfied in the '70s. The route took different streets but had assumed its current alignment by 1992. Some old timetables can be viewed on Krustylink.
Many of Melbourne's busiest buses bus routes are circumferential services feeding trains on two or more radial lines. 536 is no exception. In 2018 it enjoyed 45 weekday passenger boardings per operating hour. Saturday's usage is 38 boardings per hour. Both are extremely good and about double the average for buses in Melbourne.
Route 536 is up there with Route 800 (Chadstone - Dandenong) in being the busiest bus route without Sunday service. And like the 800 it had Sunday service before service cuts thirty years ago. The high usage, particularly on Saturday, makes the 536 one of Melbourne's thirteen bus routes that most justify Sunday service being added. This is because we know from routes that already run 7 days that if a route is busy on Saturday it is likely to be popular on Sunday (if the service exists).
What would you do with the 536? Should it be simplified so that all trips go the same way? Should an extension to Campbellfied be tried again? Or maybe Fawkner shops? Do we need to rethink local routes so more have access to the West St shops? And how important is an upgraded to minimum service standards? Please leave any comments below.
PS: An index to all Timetable Tuesday items is here.
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This item was written by Peter Parker http://www.melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
This article first appeared on melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
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