‘Blaze it’ on Melbourne’s route 420 bus

Everyone loves to chuckle when the route 69 tram is mentioned, but there is another Melbourne public transport route with a number worth a smirk – route 420 from Sunshine to Watergardens via Deer Park.

Sita bus on route 420 along Glengala Road, Sunshine

Melbourne’s first route 420 bus route ran from St Albans to East St Albans, and was operated by the Footscray – Yarraville Bus Company, part of the Sitch Group. It commenced operation in January 1957 as route 139A, gaining the route 420 number in 1971 as part of the wholesale renumbering of bus routes in Melbourne.

1978 Melbourne Public Transport Map

But by 1992 it had gone up in smoke, apparently replaced by nearby route 419 in 1984.

1992 Melbourne Public Transport Map

But in 2014 a new bus network was launched in Brimbank.

In July 2014, Public Transport Victoria (PTV) introduced a new bus network in the Brimbank area of Melbourne’s western suburbs. The network featured more direct and frequent services, better connections with trains, buses finishing later at night, Sunday services on all routes and better connections to key local destinations. This paper analyses the early patronage performance of the new network, and examines the contribution made by its service design features.

With plenty of new route numbers.

Which gave the 420 route number a second wind.

The flagship of changes in Brimbank is the introduction of the new route 420 service linking Sunshine and Watergardens via Glengala Road in Sunshine West, Station Road in Deer Park and Kings Road in Delahey, providing direct access to local trip generators, including Brimbank Central.

Running between Sunshine station.

Sita bus #155 5355AO on route 420 at Sunshine station

And Watergardens station.

Sita bus #49 6026AO on route 420 at Watergardens station

Operated by Sita Buslines, the service initially operated every 20 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays, with Sunday services every 40 minutes, but later improved to 20 minute frequencies seven days a week. Running times were adjusted in 2015 after some buses were arriving up to 15 minutes early.

And more 420s

There are multiple buses in Australia with the fleet number #420 – Transdev Melbourne being one of them.

Transdev bus #420 7520AO

But at Sita Buslines, operator of route 420, the highest numbered bus is #361.

And another one

Murrumbeena station has a ‘D420’ sign at the city end of the platform.

Signal D420 for up trains departing Murrumbeena

It’s the identification plate for signal D420 – located 14.3 kilometres from Flinders Street on the line to Dandenong.

Signal D420 for up trains departing Murrumbeena


Melbourne has a “Christmas For Potheads” every April 20, but nowhere near the route 420 bus.

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9 Responses to “‘Blaze it’ on Melbourne’s route 420 bus”

  1. Peter says:

    Thanks Marcus. I’m at least partly to blame for this. The map shows the original 420 alignment. Unfortunately the placement of stops on Station St weren’t ideal as regards access to Brimbank Central Shopping Centre. So the route was made less direct and deviated in to the shopping centre bus interchange.

    There was also a local campaign to preserve the Route 451 so eventually a new route 422, with almost no unique catchment, was introduced over the top of the revised network. It’s a similar arrangement to Brunswick’s Hope St 509. The original bus was approx every 20 min, there was a gap when it didn’t run, then it was brought back as an hourly service under Labor.

  2. Andrew says:

    420? Which ever way I say it, nothing works for me. Four two oh may come close.

  3. indigohex3 says:

    There is a Route 420 in Sydney (Burwood-Sydney Airport-Eastgardens) which is operated by Transit Systems NSW, which bizarrely enough is Sita Busline’s sister company (Sita Group, which includes Sita Buslines, was taken over by Transit Systems last year).

  4. Paul Westcott says:

    The link embedded in “commenced operation in January 1957” is faulty.

  5. Malcolm says:

    I must live a very sheltered life as I had to google 420.

  6. indigohex3 says:

    For you guys out there, in the 1971 Metropolitan Public Transport Map, there was a route 666 in the eastern suburbs (seriously) as well as the aforementioned 420. For those who are interested, http://bcsv.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Melbourne-PT-Map-1971.pdf.

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