Full timetables aren’t out yet, but some
reasonably good new maps are… note the symbolism of the Pakenham and Sunbury lines, diagonal straight through the middle — as it will be (more or less) in reality when the metro tunnel is open.
Nightrider is renamed Night Bus, with a re-organised network of 21 routes, with about half the routes originating in the city (including running a CBD loop anti-clockwise along Flinders, Russell, Lonsdale and Queen Streets) every half-hour, and the rest running suburban routes, co-ordinated with trains at some stations.
This is good — it made no sense to retain the existing Nightrider routes, which largely replicate rail lines. That said, it’s unclear if the suburban bus routes match the most heavily used daytime bus routes. They’ve included parts of the Dandenong/Knox City/Ringwood Smartbus, which is good, but other routes such as Elsternwick to Bentleigh are quite different from the day network. It’ll be interesting to see how successful these are.
To the regions there’ll be 4 Night Coach routes, departing at 2am.
It all looks pretty good, with some caveats. Hourly trains will solve the Nightrider bus capacity problem, but at the expense of frequency — they may or may not be attractive to enough people to keep the trial going after a year. (The publicity indicates stations on two lines, eg Caulfield, Clifton Hill, Footscray will get half-hourly trains.)
Oddly Southern Cross (and the City Loop) will be closed after 1am, with trains not stopping there, making it more difficult to get there to catch the Night Coaches or Skybus (which runs 24 hours) — though some of the Night Buses and Night Trams will stop there.
Apart from those out late at night, it will also finally fix the lack of services for early Sunday morning events, such as fun runs — Melbourne’s Sunday morning trains reach the CBD later than in any other city in Australia.
And it’s good to see that PTV is seeking feedback on the night network.