Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle

Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle
Bus on the Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle in 2010

The Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle is a tourist-oriented zero-fare 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.[1][2]

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.[2]

A similar service, on a different route, is provided by the City Circle Tram.


Stops, attractions and destinations


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.[3] 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.[4] 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".[1]

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,[5] 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 September 1 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 October 20.

The bus has been recontracted to operate until June 2011.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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