Melbourne Visitor Shuttle
The Melbourne Visitor Shuttle (formerly the Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle) is a tourist-oriented bus service that operates in the city of Melbourne, Australia. It is operated by Driver Bus Lines on behalf of the City of Melbourne, who receive funding through the state government road congestion levy.
The bus route encircles the heart of Melbourne central business district and Carlton in an anti-clockwise direction and has 13 stops near key tourist destinations. The service runs daily at 30 minute intervals between 9:30am and 4:30pm (except certain public holidays) and provides a running commentary on the city’s attractions.
A similar service, on a different route, is provided by the City Circle Tram.
Stops, attractions and destinations
- Stop 1: Arts Precinct - National Gallery of Victoria (NGV International), 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 (MCG) and Fitzroy Gardens.
- Stop 4: Chinatown and Theatres District - Her Majesty’s Theatre, Princess Theatre and Comedy Theatre.
- Stop 5: Melbourne Museum & Carlton Gardens - Royal Exhibition Building and 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 and Melbourne Aquarium
- Stop 12: Southbank & Yarra River - Southgate, Eureka Skydeck, Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex, Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre and Melbourne Maritime Museum.
- Stop 13: Shrine of Remembrance and Royal Botanic Gardens - Kings Domain, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Government House and 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 and Development Committee. The service, commenced operation in March 2006, to coincide with the staging of the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
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 came up for renewal, but it was instead retendered. Driver Bus Lines was subsequently awarded the contract, in favour of Ventura Bus Lines/National Bus Company, (the original operators of the service) and several others. Driver commenced operating the service with a somewhat-modified route on 1 September 2007, using four buses borrowed from other operators until new units could be delivered. These new units, Denning chassis with Custom Coaches bodies, entered service on 20 October.
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. On 1 October 2013 the current $5 per day fare for unlimited trips on the service was introduced.
- "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. Retrieved 2007-07-25.
- "Melbourne Transport Strategy: Submission from the Bus Association Victoria (BusVic)" (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.
- Miki Perkins (13 September 2011). "Traders fight for free tourist bus". The Age. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- "Reminder: important changes to Melbourne Visitor Shuttle ticketing from 1 October". Destination Melbourne. 27 September 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
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