Transport planning and a supermarket relocation

Many things are taking into consideration when planning public transport routes, but I never expected that the relocation of a Coles supermarket would result in the creation of a brand new bus route.

Entrance to a Coles Supermarket

In August 2015 Public Transport Victoria announced the creation of a new bus service in Pascoe Vale:

Temporary Route 560 Bus
6 August 2015

A new Pascoe Vale bus service, Route 560, is being introduced on Saturday, 8 August so the community can continue to do their shopping locally.

With the local Coles supermarket relocating from Pascoe Vale to Sussex Street in Coburg North, it was identified that we needed a transport solution so the community can continue to do their grocery shopping.

The bus shuttle will operate between Pascoe Vale Station and the corner of Gaffney and Sussex Streets. From Pascoe Vale Station, the bus will depart from the existing Route 542 bus stop in Railway Parade, turn onto Gaffney Street, then travel along Cumberland Road, O’Hea Street, Sussex Street and terminate at the existing bus stops on Gaffney Street near the new Coles.

The bus service will operate every 40 minutes, 9.30am to 4pm, seven days a week.

The old supermarket was located in a small shopping centre at the corner of Gaffney Street and Cumberland Road.

Coles supermarket on Gaffney Street, Pascoe Vale

While the new supermarket was just one kilometre to the east, at the corner of Gaffney and Sussex Streets.

Coles bought the site of the new supermarket in 2010:

Coles Group Property Developments bought the 17,500 square metre site at 180-196 Gaffney Street for $6.297 million in mid-2010.

The property was previously leased to fellow Wesfarmers subsidiary Bunnings but was vacant for about three years after Bunnings moved to elsewhere on Gaffney Street. The building then burnt down.

Then applied for planning permission in 2013

Coles plans to spend more than $21 million to open a shopping centre in Coburg to counter rival Woolworths in the area.

The development in Gaffney Street is expected to drain millions of dollars from its competitors but will likely come at the cost of closing at least one of Coles’ own outlets nearby.

Coles has applied for a zoning change and planning permission to build a $15 million mixed-use ”Neighbourhood Business and Retail Centre” on the corner of Gaffney and Sussex Streets.

The mooted project would include a full-line 4000-square-metre Coles supermarket, 1200 sq m of shops, 760 sq m of office space and a medical centre.

In an economic impact assessment tendered to Moreland council on behalf of Coles, MacroPlan Australia said the centre could expect to generate $33.3 million in sales a year and create about 230 jobs.
Approval for the development would mean Coles had three stores in the surrounding trade area, compared with one for Woolworths and one for IGA.

But the creation of the centre could lead to closure of the ageing Coles store next to the Coburg railway station, the report said.

MacroPlan found that store was ”under trading” due to negative perceptions on its former use as a Bi-Lo outlet and the ”high quality” Woolworths supermarket nearby.

A Coles spokeswoman said ”no decision” had been made about the future of the existing stores. ”It’s early days and the proposed plan to consolidate the two Coles stores located on Sydney Road and Waterfield Street is still under review,” she said.

In the end, the closure of the older Gaffney Street store was a given, but local residents weren’t happy when it was announced in 2014:

Pascoe Vale residents are upset at a plan to close their neighbourhood supermarket.

Lyn Belcher and Graeme Wilde are among shoppers voicing discontent with a Coles proposal to close the Gaffney St supermarket – near the corner of Cumberland Rd – and replace it with a First Choice Liquor outlet.

But Coles says its new supermarket, planned for the corner of Gaffney and Sussex streets, will serve the needs of the whole community.

Even Federal Member for Wills Kelvin Thomson got involved with the protest, writing a letter to Coles management.

The new Coles store at Coburg North opened on Saturday 9th August, 2015.

As for the new bus route

From what I can tell, the new route 560 bus was a result of local member Lizzie Blandthorn raising the issue with Minister for Transport Jacinta Allan, who then pushed Public Transport Victoria to make the required changes.

Craig on the Bus Australia forums also has more detail on the new bus route:

I’ve got to hand it to PTV – when they get pushed, they can turn around changes to the bus network very quickly!

On nearby supermarkets

Last week I blogged about supermarket chains poaching their own market share – the duplicated Coles stores in Coburg are just one example.

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4 Responses to “Transport planning and a supermarket relocation”

  1. beren says:

    err, why not extend 531 from upfield to coburg?

    • Marcus Wong says:

      I’m guessing that with such short notice it was easier to find a spare bus and throw together an interim service, than to rework the timetable and bus driver roster for an existing bus route.

  2. beren says:

    im convinced bus routes were designed by idiots. they make no sense, my bus in the morning is once every two hours because the bus after it terminates early for no reason. moronic! youve got buses overlapping buses, for example from coburg to northland, a smart bus and a normal. its crazy! frequency sucks, i say convert all bus routes into smart buses, make them relevent.

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