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
One of Melbourne’s shortest bus routes is the 706 between
Chelsea and Mordialloc. It is also one of the simplest, with about 90% of it
running along Station St, parallel to the train line. The map is below.
The area map shows the 706 in relation to other routes and
stations. It serves no major destinations the train doesn’t. It overlaps the
much more frequent 902 SmartBus between Chelsea and Edithvale. Edithvale and Aspendale
stations are already fairly close (about 1km) with the distance set to shrink
when it is rebuilt and moved north as part of the level crossing removal.
However the 706 provides unique coverage in the residential pocket
between the widely separated Aspendale and Mordialloc stations. If this did not
exist then the 706 would have no rationale.
Official attitudes towards this have varied. At one time 706
was a much more comprehensive service. Service cuts in the ‘90s put an end to
that. Then just a couple of years ago the (then) Transport for Victoria decided
that the area between Mordialloc and Aspendale wasn’t worth serving at all. They
proposed that the 706 be deleted with no other route to take its place.
This was part of a wider Mordialloc area review that
included an ill-advised splitting of a route popular with school children (708)
and a dubious rerouting of another service (705) away from industrial area jobs. One of the stated benefits of this rerouting was to serve the Don Tatnell Leisure Centre (indoor pool) but it wouldn't have helped much as the peak-only 705 doesn't run when the pool would be busiest. Probably for the overall good the Mordialloc review sunk almost without trace. Except for some extra school time trips added to the 708's timetable. Not proceeding also meant a reprieve for the 706.
Could something else have been done? Unfortunately the area’s
road network is a major constraint. Aspendale is the nearest station (as the
crow flies) to the residential area of Aspendale Gardens and parts of
Waterways. Unfortunately there is no direct road between them. If there was
then it would have been possible to run a bus from Mordialloc to Waterways via
Aspendale Station and Aspendale Gardens, providing good coverage with only
Route 706 is a very quiet route. It attracts six passengers
per service hour. This is below what would be considered viable. On the other
hand it runs during the off-peak weekday period only, meaning it would not
increase the operator’s peak bus requirement. This greatly reduces its
operating costs, especially if the bus used can form a service on another
route. As you’ll see from the timetable discussed later it’s not much of a service
but deleting it is unlikely to save much money. This is why I’m more tolerant
of it remaining than in numerous other cases of duplicating and overlapping
Route 706 is strictly a weekday shopper service
with three trips per direction operating between the am and pm commuter peaks.
There is a late morning, midday and early afternoon service. The timetable (in one direction) is
Mention should be made of the 706’s history. The route can trace its origins back to 1936. In its heyday through to the 1980s it operated many more trips, including during commuting times and Saturday mornings. Up to the 1990s its route was a little different, using Nepean Hwy instead of Station St at the Chelsea end. Cuts early that decade deleted Saturday service and lessened weekday operating hours. Then it disappeared, with two or three trips operating as occasional extensions of the
Route 700. Hence at one time you could catch a bus from Chelsea to Box Hill and
back again. Much later, when the 903 orbital replaced the 700 the Chelsea to
Mordialloc portion got its old route number back but retained its reduced number of trips.
What would you do with the 706? Was Transport For Victoria
right to propose its deletion given its low usage? Or would you have retained
it given its likely small running cost? Is the Chelsea – Edithvale portion
needed or would an amalgamation with the weakly terminated 858 be worthwhile? Please
leave your thoughts below if you have any ideas.
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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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