Creating connections to Clayton

Monash University might be recognised as one of Australia’s finest academic institutions, but its main campus at Clayton hasn’t always been easily accessible by public transport.

Clayton, the nearest train station, is about two kilometres away and the route 75 tram is more than six kilometres to the north. 

That makes the bus the best bet to complete the final leg of the public transport journey. 

One of the most popular public transport options to Monash University Clayton is the route 601 shuttle bus from Huntingdale station. 

The pre-paid all-door boarding service, which departs every four minutes and completes the non-stop three-kilometre trip in around five minutes, is popular with students and staff. 

Third-year science student Alex Miles catches the 601 most days for the hour-long journey to Clayton from her home in Kew. 

“It’s generally the easiest way for me to get to uni,” she said. “The shuttle bus between Huntingdale station and Monash is good, especially compared to a regular bus that does multiple stops. 

“I’m only ever waiting a few minutes between buses. Usually it gets crowded at peak times but because of COVID it’s pretty easy to get a seat most of the time.” 

Data science lecturer Simon Clarke usually cycles to the Clayton campus from his home in Box Hill.  

He catches the 601 when he has meetings at other Monash campuses and universities accessible by train. 

“It’s usually in the middle of the day I catch the 601 because I’m going other places,” he said. “I’ve just been to Swinburne in Hawthorn for a meeting and now I’m going into Clayton for work. 

“I think it’s greatly improved the transport between the train station and the university. It’s a lot better than when we had to catch the route 630 that trundled along North Road.  

“The 601 is a reasonably efficient way to get to Monash and I prefer to take public transport where possible. During the rush hour it’s pretty packed, but they have a number of buses lined up.” 

DoT’s Senior Transport Innovation Advisor Adrian Webb said route 601 became Victoria’s first pre-pay, all-door boarding service early last year. 

“This experience was important in the decision to roll out pre-pay during the pandemic and to deliver all-door boarding by the end of 2021,” Adrian said. 

“Route 601 shows that buses can be used to deliver high-quality, targeted services to major locations that can result in significant increases in the number of people using public transport.  

“The high-frequency bus, connecting to a train line that operates every 10 minutes, provides a high-quality experience for customers. 

“The 601 bus provided significant impetus to build new interchanges at Huntingdale railway station and Monash University, ensuring passengers have a great user experience.”

- Andrew Bartram