Melbourne Visitor Shuttle
|Melbourne Visitor Shuttle|
|Operator||Driver Bus Lines|
|Began service||1 March 2006|
|Ended service||31 August 2017|
University of Melbourne
Queen Victoria Market
Waterfront City Docklands
Shrine of Remembrance
|Journey time||90 minutes|
The Melbourne Visitor Shuttle (formerly the Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle) was a tourist-oriented bus service that operated in the city of Melbourne, Australia from March 2006 until August 2017. It was operated by Driver Bus Lines on behalf of the City of Melbourne, who received funding through the state government road congestion levy.
The bus route encircled the heart of Melbourne City Centre and Carlton in an anti-clockwise direction and had 13 stops near key tourist destinations. The service ran daily at 30 minute intervals between 09:30 and 15:45 (except certain public holidays) and provided a running commentary on the city's attractions. A similar service, on a different route, was also provided by the City Circle Tram.
Stops, attractions and destinations
- Stop 1: Arts Precinct – National Gallery of Victoria, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Malthouse Theatre, State Theatre and Hamer Hall
- Stop 2: Federation Square – Melbourne Visitor Centre, Australian Centre for the Moving Image and Birrarung Marr
- Stop 3: Sports Precinct (except on MCG event days), Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park, Olympic Park, Melbourne Cricket Ground & Fitzroy Gardens
- Stop 4: Chinatown, Theatres District, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Princess Theatre & Comedy Theatre
- Stop 5: Melbourne Museum, Carlton Gardens, Royal Exhibition Building & Old Melbourne Gaol
- Stop 6: Lygon Street Precinct
- Stop 7: University of Melbourne
- Stop 8: Queen Victoria Market & Flagstaff Gardens
- Stop 9: Waterfront City Docklands including Harbour Town
- Stop 10: Docklands Stadium & Victoria Harbour
- Stop 11: William Street, Immigration Museum & Melbourne Aquarium
- Stop 12: Southbank & Yarra River, Southgate, Eureka Skydeck, Crown Melbourne, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre & Melbourne Maritime Museum
- Stop 13: Shrine of Remembrance and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kings Domain, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Government House & La Trobe's Cottage
The idea for a north-south loop service arose in the late 1990s when the City of Melbourne proposed a tram service that would complement the City Circle Tram service which operates on an east-west loop. By 2000, the idea had evolved to a free shuttle bus service and a fully detailed proposal was presented in November 2005 to the council's Planning & Development Committee. The service commenced operation in March 2006 to coincide with the staging of the 2006 Commonwealth Games under contract by Ventura Bus Lines.
The concept and funding of the shuttle service has received some criticism. In a submission to the Melbourne Transport Strategy from the Bus Association Victoria in September 2005, prior to the establishment of the service, concerns were raised including the duplication of existing bus and tram services, encouragement of commuters to park just outside the levy zone, failure of previous tourist bus services and additional complications to the bus network. In June 2007, City of Melbourne Lord Mayor, John So, responded to criticism of the council using money generated by the car parking levy to fund the service commenting: "The tourist shuttle bus is funded through the parking levy because the levy is used to fund sustainable transport-related initiatives".
In mid-2007, the contract for operation of the service was re-tendered. Driver Bus Lines was awarded the contract, Driver Bus Lines commenced operating the service with a somewhat-modified route on 1 September 2007, using three buses borrowed from Buslines Group and one demonstrator from Volvo until new units could be delivered. These new units, Custom Coaches bodied Denning Manufacturing chassis, entered service on 20 October. Driver were awarded a further five year contract in 2012.
Initially the bus service was free, with the City of Melbourne covering the estimated $1.8 million a year to subsidise the service through, but in 2011 councillors proposed charging users, and a $10 ticket was introduced. Passenger numbers dropped significantly from 330,000 in 2014 to 43,000 in 2016. Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle suggested that the introduction of the Free Tram Zone (free tram travel within the Melbourne CBD) in 2015 was one of the factors in the decline in patronage. In May 2017, City of Melbourne councillors voted to withdraw funding for the service, and it was discontinued on 31 August 2017.
- "Drivers 'conned' on car levy". The Age. 2007-06-24. Retrieved 2007-07-25.
- City Of Melbourne. "Melbourne Visitor Shuttle". Retrieved 1 October 2013.
- City Of Melbourne (2005). "Proposed Tourist Shuttle Bus Service" (PDF). Planning and Environment Committee Report. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-25.
- "Melbourne Transport Strategy: Submission from the Bus Association Victoria" (PDF). 30 September 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-25.[dead link]
- "Tender Evaluation Report:Tourist Shuttle Bus Service" (PDF). Finance and Governance Committee Report. City of Melbourne. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 September 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
- Coming clean with Cummins power Cummins 30 August 2012
- Miki Perkins (13 September 2011). "Traders fight for free tourist bus". The Age. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- "Lord Mayor Robert Doyle is worried free Melbourne CBD trams discourage people from walking". Herald Sun. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
- "Melbourne Visitor Shuttle to end". Bus and Coach Society of Victoria. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
Media related to Melbourne Visitor Shuttle at Wikimedia Commons