A network of premium SmartBus routes operates across Melbourne.
The SmartBus network includes three orbital SmartBus routes and four Doncaster Area Rapid Transit SmartBus routes that run from Manningham to the City.
SmartBus has been designed to complement Melbourne's radial train and tram network by providing 'cross-town' connections to train stations, tram lines, schools, universities, hospitals, shopping centres. Services run along major arterial roads, making journey times shorter and journeys more direct for passengers.
SmartBus services run more often and for longer hours than most bus services.
On weekdays services run:
- every 15 minutes between 6.30am and 9.00pm
- on average every 30 minutes between 5.00am and 6.30am
- on average every 30 minutes between 9.00pm and midnight.
On weekends and public holidays:
- on average every 30 minutes between 6.00am and midnight on Saturdays and public holidays
- on average every 30 minutes between 7.00am and 9.00pm on Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas Day.
SmartBus routes undergo 'bus-friendly' roadwork to improve reliability and the way buses move in and out of traffic. Bus lanes are introduced in high-delay locations and in some areas SmartBus buses have the ability to request traffic light priority.
New technology gives SmartBus buses the ability to communicate with their depot during a journey, and to provide real-time travel information to passengers at selected high-use bus stops. Bus-train interchanges also have signs with real-time information on SmartBus and train arrival times, making journey transitions smoother.
Bus stops along SmartBus routes are safer and are highly visible, because they have been designed to the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) standards.
SmartBus stops feature tactile ground surface indicators and high contrast colour schemes that are used to meet the needs of people with a vision impairment. All SmartBus stops provide local area maps and stop specific timetables.
Low-floor buses are used on SmartBus routes. These buses are able to ‘meet’ the bus stop at the same level and eliminate a ‘step’ to board the bus.