This is a guest post from reader Nik
With the start of the academic year in both secondary and tertiary institutions along with everyone having settled back into work, March has traditionally been the time of the year when Public Transport is strained the most, as is often talked about within the blog.
This article talks about one aspect of this in the context of Sydney, more specifically the locally infamous route 891. A small note, the photos at central were taken on 28 Feb 2018, between 0745 and 0835, so it almost March, but not quite.
Essentially it is a bus route that connects Central Station and University of New South Wales (UNSW) based at Randwick. The route itself is 5.2 km long, with no stops, roughly equivalent of Albany to Sunnynook on the Northern Busway, which is kind of fitting as part of this route operates on a busway (next to Moore Park) and some of it is in general traffic.
All very interesting you say, so what. I thought I’d take some photos of what this route does, so that you get a sense of the scale of this one route. When I arrived to take these photos this is what I saw:
The points I’d like to make are that the tape that runs from the bus shelter on the left to the one on the right. This is used to corral people who want to catch the bus. There are 6 marshals who are wearing fluoro jackets and appear in most photos near the end of the queue on the left or assisting with the all door loading of the buses.
Over time the queue got to be this long:
Noting that there are other bus stops operating from the same strip of road, so the queue I’m talking about goes behind the bus shelters.
This is the most number of buses I saw:
The bus on the extreme left is articulated (a bendy bus) and as is the one I can’t locate in this shot, but they both loaded at the same time.
I also saw this:
Where the two buses on the left are on route 891, and the two buses on the right are running on normal routes (372 & 374) both going to Coogee, which incidentally go past the UNSW campus. Although it doesn’t show it, the bus loading at the front is stopping the articulated one entering the stop, which in turn is delaying the two 891 services from leaving. This is one of the reasons that the City to South East Light Rail project (L2), which part of the construction can be seen in the foreground on this photo.
In total I saw:
2 double rear axle buses
9 articulated buses
This was in 50 minutes and relatively early, although it is the beginning of the trimester, so you’d expect that there would still be some keen students around. The other point to note is that the buses are full, with lots of people standing.
Route 893 & 898
So if all of the students go, how do they get back? They have two routes the 893 and 898 that do this, mainly because the UNSW campus is big, (it is approximately 1 km down the side of the campus), so dropping off in two places is ok, but if you only had one start point, the bus would be full before it got to the second stop, so a little useless for some.
I was at UNSW on 1 March for a meeting and saw another queue, this time for the 898, which I later caught to return to the city:
The queue continues down the hill to the orange/yellow sign, so is about 5 times longer than the bus. This photo was taken at 1.30 pm, so hardly peak time.
This last photo shows part of the UNSW campus on the right and the construction of some of the L2 Light Rail on the left. The large building in the centre is either part of the Childrens Hospital Randwick or Prince of Wales Hospital, which is near the termination of that branch of L2.