Proposed changes to the Yarra Valley bus network

Consultation about the proposed changes to the Yarra Valley bus network has now closed.

A summary of feedback has been drafted and will be published following the approval of the final changes to the network.

Thank you to all who contributed.

Click below to read about the proposed changes

  • Route 684 will no longer run from Eildon to Southern Cross Station. All services will start/finish at Chirnside Park Shopping Centre. Passengers for Melbourne CBD will transfer to train services at the brand-new Lilydale station giving them a comfier and more reliable service without the need to sit in peak-hour traffic travelling to and from the Melbourne CBD.
  • This proposed change is due to low patronage on services that run all the way into Southern Cross.
  • 2019 passenger data (pre-COVID) – shows a total of 3-4 people use the Route 684 to get to Southern Cross service per weekday and 4-5 people use the service from Southern Cross towards Healesville per weekday. An average of 3 people use the service to and from Southern Cross on weekends.
  • A minor route realignment will be added to extend bus coverage to the eastern area of Coldstream. This will add a few minutes to journey time.  
  • A standardised and consistent weekend and public holiday timetable will be implemented with an improved Sunday timetable reflecting travel demand originating in Eildon.  
  • The service span and frequency will remain the same. There will be two round trips on weekdays and a round trip on each weekend day.   
  • With extra resources assigned to improve Route 685, passengers will experience more services, more regularly, with a consistent and easy-to-read timetable.  
  • This route will have a consistent alignment between Healesville and Lilydale meaning passengers can say goodbye to those complicated route deviations. 
  • An extension to Healesville Sanctuary will be put in place meaning visitors can leave the car at home.  
  • The improved Route 685 will cover areas previously serviced by Route 686 including an extension to Badger Creek.  
  • Residents of Badger Creek and those near Healesville Sanctuary will have a one-seat ride to Lilydale every day of the week. Passengers will save valuable time by no longer needing to transfer in the centre of Healesville between Routes 685 and 686.  
  • An extension to Healesville Hospital will be introduced during the weekday interpeak making it easier to visit patients or get to the surrounding areas.  
  • Residents of Coldstream and Yarra Glen will enjoy a more regular service with better frequency and span.  
  • Route 685 will cover school deviations in place of discontinued Route 686.  
  • This service will be consolidated into Route 685 reflecting the need to retain coverage and improved connections to Lilydale. Most bus stops will be consolidated for use in the expanded route 685 while some will be removed (if not used by school specials or other services).  
  • Route 685 will be extended to cover the Badger Creek and Healesville Sanctuary areas with more frequent services, a better span of hours and a consistent timetable for users. 
  • Current users of Route 686 will benefit from a one-seat journey to Lilydale Station with Route 685. 
  • Route 685 will cover school deviations in place of Route 686.  
  • This service will be decommissioned due to extremely poor usage and weak catchment area. This resource will be reallocated in upgrading Route 685 to serve more passengers across a wider area and will improve services where they are needed most.
  • 2019 passenger data (pre-COVID) shows this service runs empty for nearly every service. On average fewer than 1 person catches the Healesville – Chum Creek and Chum Creek – Healesville service on weekdays.
  • Bus stops serving Route 687 in Chum Creek will be removed.  

Frequently asked questions

The Yarra Valley bus network currently consists of four bus routes, Route 684 Melbourne to Eildon via Healesville, Route 685 Healesville to Lilydale, Route 686 Healesville – Badger Creek and Route 687 Healesville – Chum Creek.

Key service issues have been identified on each route:

Route 684 Melbourne to Eildon via Healesville (provides long distance bus travel from Eildon – Alexandra to Melbourne CBD):

  • This service runs from Eildon to Southern Cross Station, duplicating the Lilydale train line. During periods of heavy traffic, this service is at times delayed when travelling through metropolitan Melbourne.
  • There is a greater demand for weekend travel from Eildon to Melbourne, which is not reflected in the current Sunday timetable. Sunday services focus on day travel from Melbourne to Eildon, but not vice versa. 

Route 685 Healesville to Lilydale (mainly provides connectivity between Healesville and Lilydale)

  • This service has multiple complicated route deviations across the week and an irregular timetable with lengthy gaps in service on weekdays. The timetable can be very hard for users to understand.
  • The public holiday timetable is not clear for users and infrequent Sunday services limits travel choices for users.
  • The current span of hours is very limited and does not meet travel expectations for a route of this size.

Route 686 Healesville – Badger Creek (provides local town coverage around Healesville)

  • This service has extensive route deviations and inconsistent service extensions which can be confusing for users.
  • This service operates on weekdays only with an infrequent and irregular timetable and large service gaps during the day.
  • There are poor transfer connections to Route 685 for passengers wishing to travel to or from Lilydale.
  • This service overall has low patronage. On average there is one touch-on per service outside peak school hours with the route going through a farming area in outer Healesville with only a few stops along the regional highway with no pedestrian catchment.

Route 687: Healesville – Chum Creek (provides limited connections to farming areas north of Healesville)

  • This service has extremely low patronage with an average of three touch ons per weekday or less than one boarding per trip. Most trips run completely empty.
  • This route has a restrictive route alignment that includes one-way sections and only a few stops along a regional highway with no pedestrian catchment or safe walking access to existing stops.
  • No weekend services.

Route 684 weekday service trips will remain the same, however the Sunday timetable will be made consistent with the Saturday timetable to support Eildon residents to get to Melbourne and back during the day.  

Route 685 will see a service upgrade on all days of the week with additional services added. The new timetable will also be simplified and easier to understand, making it easy for new users. 

Final network structure and timetables are subject to feedback from public consultation, further analysis, and budgetary constraints. 

There will be an increase to the weekday service spans for Route 685. However, the exact amount is subject to final analysis, timetable, and budgetary constraints.  

School buses will retain their current timetable and route alignments. Some trips in the current public timetable will be removed as these are specifically school special trips and are not aimed at the general public.  

Alternative arrangements are proposed between Lilydale Station and Oxley Christian College to compensate for the shortening of Route 684 which will not extend past Chirnside Park Shopping Centre on weekday mornings. Please note this will not be shown in public timetables as it is a school special.   

We will consult with Oxley Christian College about any proposed changes. 

The below options were considered during the planning process:  
 
Option one: Retain Route 685 and 686 and make timetable adjustments only. However, this will mean residents in Badger Creek will still be served by Route 686 on weekdays and 685 on weekends. To ensure a consistent route throughout the weekdays, this is not a preferred option.   
 
Option two: Keep both Route 684 and 685 on the Maroondah Highway in Coldstream to retain a direct path to Lilydale. This would mean some residents on the eastern side of Coldstream would be out of service coverage.  

Will new bus stops be installed to meet the changes?

New bus stops may need to be installed along Lauriston Drive in Coldstream and in Healesville, however this has not been finalised and is subject to final analysis, timetable, and budgetary constraints. 

How is a bus stop location determined?

The Department of Transport, your local council, and the bus company work together to determine the location of bus stops and consider whether: 

  • the new bus stop location is safe in terms of visibility for passengers, car and bus drivers 
  • there is enough space for pedestrians and passengers to safely access the new bus stop 
  • buses can easily access the new bus stop 
  • the new bus stop location means that stops along the bus route are evenly spaced 
  • there is space to include all the design features required under the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and Austroads standards. 

DoT will notify residents, traders and landowners in writing six weeks prior if a bus stop is being installed directly outside their property. 

When will the new services be introduced?

Final changes to the Yarra Valley bus network will be introduced in late 2022.  

When will the new timetables be available?

New timetables will be released four weeks in advance of changes being introduced. 

How will we know when the changes to the Yarra Valley Bus Network will be introduced?

DoT will conduct an information campaign four weeks in advance of the final changes being introduced.  

Do these buses allow for use of myki?

Yes, myki fares will be payable.  

Maps

Yarra Valley bus network - current

Yarra Valley bus network map - current (JPG) 505 KB

View a larger version of the current network map (JPG) 505 KB

Yarra Valley bus network - proposed

Yarra Valley bus network map - proposed (JPG) 463 KB

View a larger version of the proposed network map (JPG) 463 KB