Widened freeway slows buses to a crawl — Urgent action needed

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has expressed concern that increased traffic from the widening of Monash Freeway is already slowing down buses on Warrigal Road. The section of road is used by two of Melbourne’s major SmartBus routes and a number of other routes servicing Chadstone Shopping Centre.

“Buses are scheduled to take 10-12 minutes to travel the two kilometres between Chadstone and Oakleigh Railway Station,” said Jeremy Lunn, the PTUA’s Outer East Convenor. “However, our members are reporting that travel time is consistently taking much longer than this”.

The Melbourne average speed for bus trips is 20 km/h [1], though according to the schedule buses are crawling along at 10-12 km/h. The PTUA is furthermore concerned that at certain times it may actually be closer to a mere walking pace.

Mr Lunn said that bus travel time between Holmesglen and Chadstone, which is also just under two kilometres, is also getting bogged down by traffic. Currently it takes around ten minutes and it is getting slower.

“We’re seeing significantly slower bus travel times as a direct consequence of the Monash Freeway widening,” Mr Lunn said. “You can’t call these times fast by any measure; something needs to be done before this problem spirals further out of control”.

The PTUA believes that travel time between Chadstone and Oakleigh, which only has one regular stop en route, should be between two to five minutes at most. Travel time from Holmesglen should also be two to five minutes.

“The only way out of this mess is to give priority to buses, both inside Chadstone and on surrounding roads”.

The PTUA has proposed the following measures to free up buses:

  • 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 at the Monash Freeway on/exit ramps
  • Priority for buses at all other intersections in the area.

According to the PTUA, bus users are already a significant proportion of patrons visiting Chadstone.

“Our proposed solution would create a significantly faster bus service, further increasing the number of people using the bus to get to Chadstone instead of driving. We call on both the State Government and Chadstone management to fix this problem.”

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Bus routes affected by traffic snarls around Middle Road, Chadstone include:

900 SmartBus — Caulfield to Rowville
903 SmartBus — Altona to Mordialloc.
767 Box Hill to Southland
800 Dandenong to Oakleigh/Chadstone (via Princess Highway)
802 Dandenong to Oakleigh/Chadstone (via Mulgrave)
804 Dandenong to Oakleigh/Chadstone (via Wheelers Hill)
862 Dandenong to Oakleigh/Chadstone (via North Dandenong)
623 Glen Waverley to St. Kilda
624 Kew to Oakleigh/Chadstone
627 Brighton/Elsternwick to Oakleigh/Chadstone

[1] Average travel speeds by public transport: