With uni starting up again this month, it is worthwhile for students, staff and visitors to have a good look at the various public transport options for their respective universities. I might do some similar posts in the future on transport options to the University of Melbourne and Monash University.
Like most tertiary institutions in Victoria, the Bundoora campus of La Trobe University is not located within easy walking distance of a railway station. PTV have produced a useful four page PDF for travelling to La Trobe which is worth a read. However, choosing which route(s) to take requires a little more digging.
There are many possible public transport combinations for getting to the campus from the CBD and it can be difficult and confusing to work out which is the best option.
For the purposes of this exercise, I am using the corner of Bourke Street and Swanston Street in the CBD as the starting point. I am also using the Agora at La Trobe University as the destination (being the hub of most activity on the campus).
From what I know, these are the most common five public transport options for this journey (in no particular order):
- Route 86 tram to Kingsbury Drive
- Mernda train to Reservoir, then the 301 express bus to La Trobe University Interchange
- Hurstbridge train to Macleod, then the 561 bus to Kingsbury Drive
- 350 bus from Lonsdale Street to La Trobe University Interchange
- 250 bus from Lonsdale Street to La Trobe University Interchange
There are theoretically tens more possible combinations. These are just the ones that I think are the most practical and/or common.
To answer the question requires knowing the day and time. During weekday morning peak, your best bet would be a train to Reservoir and changing to the 301 bus. However, during the afternoon peak, the 350 bus will probably be a little bit quicker (and is also a single seat journey). On a weekend, the 250 bus or the 86 tram are your best options – mainly because the 301 and 350 buses do not operate on weekends.
These answers rely on scheduled timetables, so the other major factor to consider when deciding on your journey is reliability. Given their general lack of separation from traffic and priority, buses and trams are more suseptable to unexpected delays, particularly during peak times.
In summary, there is no single answer to this transport question. The scheduled time differences between each option are not significant, so your main consideration may be reliability. In this case, the train to Reservoir followed by a bus would probably be your best choice.