In July 2011 the Victorian Government took a chance and commenced trailing new express bus services for students, workers and visitors attending Monash University Clayton and the surrounding precinct.
As the State Member for Waverley, I remember greeting the Minister for Public Transport Hon. Terry Mulder MLA and the State Parliamentary Secretary for Education Mrs Inga Peulich MLC at the bus interchange on a cool winter morning as they arrived to launch the $1.25 million twelve month trial.
We were all optimistic the express bus services trial would be a success based on the predicted demand for those services. However as successive state governments had decided against such express bus services for the Monash precinct, there was always a risk that the Victorian Coalition Government’s decision to invest in the express bus services would not be rewarded through patronage.
We need not have worried. Such was the success of the twelve month trial that once it was completed in June last year, the Victorian Coalition Government provided another $5.5 million in funding to have the new express bus services operate on an on-going basis. Now more than 22,000 passengers use the 601 service each week.
As the Monash express bus services celebrate their second birthday, it’s pleasing to see that the new services have been so well utilized by public transport users.
Buses depart from Huntingdale Station and run express along North Road/ Wellington Road to the Monash University precinct. During university semesters, Route 601 runs approximately every four minutes from 7am to 7pm on weekdays, and every 12 minutes between7pm and 9.30pm.
SmartBus Route 900 and local Route 630 continue to provide services on weekends and public holidays between Monash and Huntingdale.
Route 601 buses run express from Huntingdale Station to the Monash precinct ensuring a journey time of around four minutes.
The new Route 601 is the most frequent and direct public transport option for students travelling from Huntingdale Station to Monash University, with services approximately every four minutes during semester time.
With the introduction of Route 601, there are three bus routes and nearly 400 trips a day between Huntingdale Station and Monash University, which means shorter wait times and more frequent connections to the University precinct.
The new Route 601 bus operates on a pre-pay system, so passengers need to have a ticket before boarding the bus, which means quicker boarding times and fewer delays in peak times.
Importantly it operates in the Zone 1/2 overlap, which means passengers can travel with either a Zone 1 or a Zone 2 ticket.
The establishment and success of route 601 is an important milestone for public transport service improvements in Monash.
As a former Monash student and the State Member for Waverley, I understand the need to improve transport access to the University and surrounding precinct.