I finally got around to seeing it just before Christmas.
My first impressions…
- All the buses serving Chadstone go to one spot, which is far less dispersed than the old bus interchange. This is a massive improvement — to get to some buses before you had to exit the centre and take a long walk, crossing multiple access roads.
- It seems to be closer to the middle of the complex.
- Shade cloths should provide a reasonable level of shelter from sun and rain.
- It’s quite spacious — the old interchange was somewhat cramped and could get quite crowded.
- There’s a Myki machine present for top-ups and card checking and purchase (but remember, you can also top-up and buy a card on buses).
- Buses 800 and 802/804/862, which all go in the same direction, have been grouped together at bay 10.
- The nonsensical (and outdated — route 700 was replaced by route 903 in 2009) signage below is gone. The new signage is much clearer.
— Daniel Bowen (@danielbowen) July 1, 2015
- Buses still have to navigate quite a way via the car park access roads, in shared traffic, to get to the interchange. This poses the risk of delays during peak times, particularly for Warrigal Road routes, which take quite a detour to get in and out.
- There’s no rain cover between the interchange and the centre entrance. (Granted there’s a balance to be found here. At Southland the bus interchange is undercover, but this causes problems with diesel fumes.)
- There’s also no inside space particularly near the buses for those boiling hot days. The closest place you could wait in air-conditioned comfort is inside the centre itself.
- Despite being advertised as a joint frequent service, buses to Oakleigh Station are split all over the place: route 625 in bay 1; 903 in bay 2; 742 in bay 6; 900 in bay 8; 800/802/804/862 are in bay 10. As you can see from the diagram below, these bays are quite separate — bay 1 is isolated, bays 9 and 10 are also on their own, and the others are grouped together. (Route 624 also goes to Oakleigh, but the long way round.)
- Someone’s messed things up in the PTV Database (which drives the apps and Journey Planner). If you search for Chadstone you get two options. “Chadstone Shopping Centre (Malvern East)” is a lone stop on the western side serving ONLY route 623. “Chadstone SC/Eastern Access Rd (Malvern East)” is the main interchange.
- The Smartbus realtime information sign has been located at such an angle that it is completely impossible to read when approaching the interchange from the shops, or when sitting at the Smartbus stops!
Do you ever get the feeling they have nobody considering how actual passengers will use these things?
Certainly it’s an improvement over the old interchange, but I suspect that with a little more thought, it could have been so much more usable.
And of course the biggest problem remains: most of the bus routes are hopelessly infrequent, with mostly hourly services on the busiest shopping days — weekends and public holidays.