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
Today we'll look at the bus network for Kings Park, Albanvale and surrounds and discuss whether it merits an upgrade. Sitting on the east side of Kororoit Creek, the area is largely residential. The typical house has three bedrooms, was built in the 1970s and is on a block of around 600 square metres. Unlike the pattern in older areas, like Hadfield or Reservoir, where small strips of five to eight shops catered for daily needs, the most local shopping comprises of a single convenience store, often on a corner. It may however be set back from the road with parking out the front, unlike the older walking oriented milkbars or 'mixed business'. Partly offsetting this are two medium sized centres with supermarkets, both on Kings Rd/Station St (the same road). Buses are the area's only public transport with Sunbury line trains two or three kilometres to the east and Deer Park Station well to the south.
Both suburbs are largely peopled by residents of English-speaking background. Initially southern and eastern European and more recently Asian and African. Employment and income is less than the metropolitan average. The map below shows that they are in the largest cluster of disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Melbourne. https://medium.com/@nathan7x/victorias-twenty-largest-areas-of-disadvantage-332c5b4190d8Having this data is important as it affects the most appropriate types of bus services in the area. For example low employment participation and low car ownership suits routes that operate over long hours and with frequent service. Whereas a more white collar commuter-oriented area might need very high peak frequencies but a lesser service in the middle of the day. Even though the first type of network may have more concession ticketed passengers it may actually have a higher cost-recovery as it is used more consistently over the day and lacks the cost of providing an intensive peak service whose buses may be very quiet or out of service at other times. Existing Useful NetworkThe map shows both suburbs' existing Useful Network, that is services that operate every 20 minutes through the day at least on weekdays, and with a lesser service on weekends. The only route that qualifies is the 420 between Sunshine, Deer Park and Watergardens. This was put in as part of 2014's reformed Brimbank bus network and has since been upgraded to operate every 20 minutes seven days per week. Before the 420 the only local buses ran only every 40 or 60 minutes with limited operating hours, although some areas had up to three routes. The PTV map below shows all routes in the area. Apart from the 420 (red line) the most notable for Kings Park is the 425 from St Albans to Watergardens (purple line). Thus runs about every 40 minutes weekdays and Saturdays and hourly on evenings and Sundays. Service finishes around 9pm. The 424 is Albanvale's bus, though parts are near 423 to the south via Deer Park. Both these have similar frequencies to the 425 but finish early at night. Both operate to St Albans with it possible to ride them around as a loop, with the 424 forming 423 at Brimbank Shopping Centre (and vice versa). These routes gained Sunday service in the 2014 changes but the budget then was not sufficient to extend evening service to the 9pm minimum standard. This is despite a low income catchment with a high propensity to use buses. Meanwhile, on the other side of town there exist train-duplicating routes like the 603 at Brighton Beach with low usage but frequent service until midnight. Proposed Useful NetworkOther items in this series discuss the potential to make routes more direct. This is to free resources for upgraded frequencies. Because Kings Park and Albanvale had this done in 2014 there is no scope for further network reforms. The only possible exception is deleting the 422 in Deer Park which has little unique coverage. The 422 was not part of the original 2014 reformed Brimbank network but was later added due to political pressure for the retention of a one-seat ride to Sunshine. Usage on a boardings per kilometre basis however is lower than other routes in the area. The first and cheapest network upgrades would be to extend 423 and 424's operating hours to at least meet minimum standards. As the main road route connecting to jobs at Sunshine and Watergardens the 420 could also benefit from longer hours, especially given that its catchment is overwhelming areas away from trains. Secondly, if you wanted more 20 minute routes, the logical upgrades would be the 425, 424 and 423, probably in that order. More buses would be needed but the justification could be the area's low income catchment and the above average usage of the existing services that operate. 423 and 424's upgrade would provide direct feeders on two main roads. 425 looks more a local neighbourhood route. Still it provides unique coverage to a substantial low income area. And the economical network design mean relatively few overlaps.
Other changes? All of the above are purely service upgrades, with no route changes. Since the 2014 bus network started there have been level crossing removals that may give extra options. The railway remains an artificial barrier for bus passengers, with those going from west of the railway to substantially east needing to change buses. Opportunity may exist to rethink the network with 408 crossing the line to serve Furlong Rd west of Ginifer (terminating at Brimbank Shopping Centre to replace the 423) and the 424 extended east then south to replace part of the 408 to Ginifer. The former might make the 422 to Sunshine less necessary, with that bus instead being used to as a St Albans - Ginifer - Cairnlea - Deer Park north-south route. These would make the network more grid-like. However these would break some existing single seat rides, such as to Sunshine and St Albans from some areas. Sunshine is a major centre while the importance of buses to access St Albans should not be underestimated. ConclusionWhat are your thoughts on buses in Kings Park and Albanvale? Are these upgrades justified? Or is it desirable that other connections, for instance a new Deer Park - Cairnlea - St Albans route happen first? Please leave any comments below.
PS: An index to all Useful Networks is here.Melbourne on Transit bookshopFavourably reviewed books about transport and cities. Purchases via these links support this blog and its independent reporting (at no extra cost to you). This item was written by Peter Parker http://www.melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
This article first appeared on melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
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