Photographs taken by the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) show large numbers of standing passengers, and the PTUA said the same buses waste a lot of time stuck in traffic in and around Chadstone.
“These photos show that buses to from Chadstone are overcrowded and slow, and urgently require more services and traffic priority,” said Jeremy Lunn, the PTUA’s Outer East Convenor. “Passengers on crowded buses deserve to have priority over other vehicles so they don’t end up with blisters from the time spent standing.”
The crowded buses were seen on a particularly slow section of the Smartbus route 903, which travels at 10 km/h – half the speed of the Melbourne average bus trip speed of 20 km/h . This is despite the fact that there are relatively few bus stops along the way.
Bus priority measures that the PTUA is calling for include:
* Bus lanes on Middle Road, between Warrigal Road and the bus interchange
* Increased green time for Warrigal Road at Princes Highway, which currently only gets 25%, with the addition of dynamic priority for buses.
* Priority for buses on Warrigal Road over cars entering/exiting the Monash Freeway
* Priority for buses at other busy intersections in the area.
Mr Lunn said that increased priority would also enable the same fleet to do more trips, providing a boost to service frequency and lowering costs.
“These photos taken on three different weekends including Saturday and Sunday services show that additional weekend bus services are also urgently required, to relieve overcrowding and cut waiting times”, said Mr Lunn. “There is no reason that passengers should be forced to stand when extra services could be added right away.”
The PTUA believes that the Smartbus routes could be upgraded immediately to run at least every 15 minutes between Heidelberg and Mordialloc, seven days-a-week, to cut waiting times on weekends. However, Mr Lunn said that the government should upgrade services to run every 10 minutes by 2012.
Over a year ago the PTUA identified a ‘hole’ in the Saturday timetable for the 903, leaving a half-hourly gap each hour , which has not been plugged. On Sundays there are gaps of up to 45 minutes.
“We tried to warn the Government but they didn’t respond. By failing to provide priority to buses, and enough buses to cope with demand, the Brumby Government is treating bus passengers with contempt.”
The PTUA recently launched a Facebook group ‘Better Public Transport to Chadstone’, for members of the public to voice their concerns about transport to Chadstone:
 Average travel speeds by public transport:
 Hole in the bus timetable – Please fix now, June 10th, 2009: