Back in 2007 I wrote that bus route 627 is the most confusing in Melbourne, due to the fact that it doubles-back on itself — from Elsternwick, it goes east to Oakleigh, then up to Chadstone, then south to Mckinnon and East Brighton.
Even worse, in parts of Koornang Road in Carnegie, two parts of the route run together.
To illustrate the problem, take a look at these two pictures, of bus stop signs on each side of Koornang Road near the corner of Oakleigh Road:
How would you know which bus stop to wait at, if you wanted to go to Brighton East, Elsternwick, or Chadstone?
It’s so dumbfoundingly confusing that they actually got the signs wrong.
The sign on the right is at the southbound stop, and despite what it says neither bus from there goes via Chadstone.
The sign on the left is at the northbound stop, and what it should say is that both buses from that spot go via Chadstone. After that they loop around and come back past here (southbound), to their final destinations.
(Admittedly these pics were taken in 2007; the signs may have been fixed by now — I haven’t checked.)
Can we fix it? Yes we can!
Well, the Review has been completed, and the final recommendations are out. It’s a little underwhelming, but among the changes they’re going to implement is the splitting of the 627 into two routes:
- 625 from Elsternwick via Oakleigh to Chadstone
- 626 from Chadstone via Carnegie to Middle Brighton
The southern end of the route is being extended from the middle of nowhere in East Brighton to Middle Brighton station, and the hours of the route will also be extended — though it’ll still be only half-hourly on weekdays, hourly on weekends.
So there you go. They may not be giving all of Melbourne a grid of frequent public transport services, filling in the gaps between the trams and trains with Smartbuses — you know, a public transport network someone can actually use by choice instead of a car to get places — but at least they’ve fixed this particular problem.
What is not clear is how many of the other recommendations of the review are actually getting implemented. The Department makes you ask to see the full review report, rather than just publishing it on their web site so you can see if for yourself against what’s being implemented. Sneaky, huh? I’ve asked for a copy, but it hasn’t arrived yet.