Making sense out of Adelaide Metro’s bus route labeling system

If you’re a regular bus commuter in Adelaide, then you would’ve noticed some substantial changes to bus routes that have been taking place nearly once a year for the past several years. With each update to the timetables, the most recent taking place on January 16, more of the three-number routes are being replaced by ones with lots of letters. It’s almost as if someone in the ranks at Adelaide Metro suddenly learnt the alphabet and decided that replacing all the route numbers with letters would be a magical solution to improving bus services.

The three number system is a pretty easy and intuitive system to use once you get used to it. Even with the occasional bus showing a three-number route with a letter on the end, it would still be well understood what the stopping pattern of the service would be – F for a fast service, X for an express and numerous other letters to denote short running. But a system where numbers and letters are jumbled in all sorts of combinations has created all kinds of confusion, particularly since much of the consistency in the labeling of routes has all but disappeared.

How some of the bus routes got their labels can be determined with a bit of thinking and research. For example, routes that begin with “W” such as W90 and W91 run along the Winston Avenue Go Zone*, and routes that start with “G” such as G40 serve the Goodwood Road Go Zone. This might be great for those who use the bus along these corridors but hardly means anything to someone who lives at the opposite ends of these routes away from those roads at Marden (W90/W91) or Blair Athol (G10) where residents can barely remember the names of most Adelaide suburbs, let alone street names!

Some of the older buses with the rolling number displays are unable to display the new bus routes and either have missing letters or a letter placed at the end of the label instead of at the beginning, with G10 appearing as 10G for example. This should be less of an issue when these buses are eventually retired from service.

To be fair to Adelaide Metro, some bus routes have seen improvements in their coverage and service. After the timetable changes on January 16, there are an increased number of cross-suburban services with the biggest addition being route number 300 which replaces route 100 as the city’s suburban loop line and linking many of metropolitan Adelaide’s key activity centres including Marion and Arndale.

The former 143/145/146 services running through the eastern suburbs of Adelaide have been replaced by 140/144/147/148, which has improved coverage to some suburbs such as Kent Town and Eastwood while also removing difficult turns at some intersections. Across the entire system, the proportion of low-floor wheelchair accessible vehicles also seems to be on the rise which is important as Adelaide’s population median age, currently 39 years of age, continues to rise.

I hope Adelaide Metro comes up with a uniform and consistent bus route labeling system some time in the near future! It would certainly go some way to making the system more user friendly and less confusing.

*A Go Zone is advertising used by Adelaide Metro to designate a transport corridor which has “frequent” services, at least every 15 minutes during the day and 30 minutes at other times.


Tags: , , , , ,

One Response to “Making sense out of Adelaide Metro’s bus route labeling system”

  1. fat loss factor review Says:

    I was wondering if you ever considered changing the structure of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so
    people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or
    2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: