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Many of us despise parking in large shopping centres. You have to navigate soulless and confusing concrete mazes. Sometimes it is really difficult to find a parking spot and you have to walk a long way in order to find an entrance to the shops.
Heading out, it is so easy to forget where you parked your car. There is also the issue of the cost. While shopping centres will allow you to park in their carparks for a cheap price after four or five hours, the cost of parking can go up exponentially.
This is often because such places are near transit centres and they want to prevent commuters from all day parking. But personally, I can shop for hours and usually end up paying heaps for my parking which just adds to the cost of the shopping trip.
So, how much nicer if you can avoid the whole parking your car fiasco and instead arrive in a shuttle bus that drops you close to the entrance and then picks you up afterwards.
Not all shopping areas have these but a few do. And it would be great if more had them because it would save a lot of congestion in shopping centre carparks as well as keeping shoppers happy.
Here are a few that do:
Chadstone -The Fashion Capital
If you haven't been to Chadstone the Fashion Capital in some time then it is incredibly impressive although I don't enjoy parking there or at any large shopping centre for that matter.
The free Tourist Shuttle Bus departs Federation Square daily, from its dedicated bus stop near the corner of Russell and Flinders Streets. Obviously, this is to encourage travellers coming from interstate and from Melbourne Airport to visit his home of high-end fashion. I thought at first it was just for tourists but when I inquired I found it is available for locals to use as well. So you can also head off to Chadstone in style just like the jetsetters do.
Bookings are essential for the free tourist bus service and you should be there 10 minutes prior to the scheduled service time. If there are passengers who do not board by departure time, then these seats are released to non-booked passengers.
While it leaves from Federation Square the pickup and drop-off point at the other end is located at Chadstone - The Fashion Capital on the ground level outside the Tiffany & Co entrance. If you are a tourist rather than a local, please note that this free bus also visits the hotels, Park Hyatt, Hotel Sofitel, Vibe Savoy Hotel, Crown Towers and The Langham, as well as SEA LIFE Melbourne.
The New Glen (Glen Waverley) is coming to life with five stages over three years resulting in a new town square with dining over two levels, a fresh food market hall and 240 select stores.
With so much development going on, the great thing is that you can bus it in rather than try and park. A FREE dedicated shuttle bus service operates between Glen Waverley train station and the centre. The bus travels in a continuous 10-minute minute loop.
Keep an eye out for the yellow markers on the footpath, which indicate the location of the bus stops (as shown in the photo above). Once you arrive at The Glen, simply follow the yellow markers on the ground, which will guide you into the centre.
The shuttle bus service is available seven days a week during the following times:
For the lucky people who live in the Port Phillip community, there is a free community bus and this drops passengers at a number of places but in terms of shopping, it will get you to South Melbourne Market. Unlike many other community buses, this is not simply for the elderly or those with mobility issues. The bus is available more generally.
But that said, this service is perfect for older residents or anyone who finds walking difficult. It can take wheelchairs, wheelie walkers and motorized scooters. There are also friendly transport officers who can help those who need it to get on and off the bus, and assist with loading and unloading of heavy shopping jeeps.
The Community Bus is a free service. The service operates Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.
The bus routes cover Elwood, St Kilda West, St Kilda East, Ripponlea, South Melbourne, Middle Park, Albert Park, Garden City and Port Melbourne areas. Routes start and finish at the South Melbourne Market and in St Kilda at the Library or at the St Kilda Town Hall.
Call the Community Transport Team on (03) 9209 6223 Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No, Doncaster Shopping Town does not have a dedicated shuttle bus, but the Shopping Town Hotel, which is directly across the road from the Shopping Town does. In fact, this hotel is so close that many shoppers cheekily try parking their cars in this hotel's top carpark in order to avoid the crowded parking at the shopping centre. This is often monitored on weekends and pre-Christmas, so you cannot do so.
I am in no way suggesting that you use this bus just because you want to go to Doncaster Shopping Town. But I am saying that if you plan to go to this hotel for lunch or dinner (and they do a very good meal) or perhaps your partner likes to play the poker machines and you don't, then before or after a meal you might like to walk up to Shoppingtown to do a couple of errands. The other beauty, of course, is that if you decide to have a few drinks here when you return, there is no concern about drink driving. This hotel also puts on some exceptional shows. Click here for some forthcoming ones.
This bus is for locals only. So you would need to live within 5km of the hotel in areas such as Doncaster, Doncaster East, Templestowe, Donvale, Balwyn, Bulleen, Box Hill, Box Hill North, Blackburn and Mont Albert.
Phone 9848 6811 for bookings or email. The service is not available on public holidays and runs on Wednesdays 3:30pm - 9:30pm, Thursday 11am - 9:30pm Fri - Sat 3:30pm - 9:30pm. It also sometimes operates later if there are special events on. For more information, click here.
If you know of any other free shuttles, please add them in the comments below.