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Melbourne Bus Rapid Transport Network

Leon Grammenos's picture

Melbourne is heading towards a population of 8 million by 2050. It’s CBD keeps growing with more and more office buildings being built. How will Melbourne’s train network cope with such intense peak hour demands in future? Even if Metro 2 gets built, will it be enough to deal with Melbourne’s fast growing population? Will it satisfy the growing demand for public transport in Melbourne? Will a Metro 3 even be enough?
How far, would the well over ten billion dollars (according to Infrastructure Victoria) required to build the Metro 2 go if it was invested in a Bus Rapid Transit network. Just say the network was designed to support the needs of a monocentric Melbourne as well as assist in the gradual growth of a polycentric Melbourne as the Suburban Rail Loop will do? In this way it would take pressure off our radial train network and at the same time provide links with the future orbital network and sub-centres.
If the existing Melbourne bus network was redesigned to provide more direct routes on main roads (rather than slow routes that run through back streets), with faster and more frequent services, this bus network could become a powerful force as a feeder network for a Bus Rapid Transit network, in addition to it’s ongoing support for the rail network. Additionally, vehicle passenger information systems (as is currently on some of Melbourne’s tram routes) to inform passengers of connections will make a big difference towards making both bus networks more appealing.
Melbourne will have a dedicated bus passage along the Eastern Freeway. This could be converted to a rapid transit line as previously proposed by Transdev, running from Doncaster along the Eastern Fwy, Hoddle St, Victoria Pde and Lonsdale St (to Spencer St). Digging under the rail yard at Spencer St could create a rapid transit bus interchange next to Southern Cross Station. Buses would also enter and exit this interchange from Wurundjeri Way.
Yes, lanes will need to be hijacked from a number of arterial roads and motorways. But the question is, will it pay off? Currently (before COVID-19), such roads are clogged during peak times with mostly private single occupant vehicles. The busiest bus rapid transit routes could have vehicles carrying up to 150 passengers running every few minutes during peak hour.
If I had to catch a packed train at South Morang Station - after just finding the last car parking spot at the train station car park - in order to get to the CBD, I would rather save the stress and get to a comfortable seat on a Rapid Transit bus that ran along Plenty Rd, via La Trobe Uni, down Albert Rd, Grange Rd, Heidelberg Rd, Chandler Hwy and onto the Eastern Freeway into the city. Will it be quicker? Probably not. Commute times are about the suburban sprawl. If we want faster commute times, we need to move closer to where we work. It may just make life more bearable though.

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