This week our route of the week is Route 374 operated by State Transit. It runs between Coogee Beach and City Circular Quay via Bream Street, Randwick Junction, Moore Park and Central Railway. Thanks to Eloise Kavanagh who requested this route.
Unlike most bus routes between the CBD and the Eastern suburbs, Route 374 actually predates the closure of the Sydney Tramways and is not based on any of the old Eastern Suburbs tramway routes.
Route 374 has a long history, beginning prior to the first government gazette on bus services in 1925. From an unknown date, at latest prior to 1925, Route 61 was operated between Coogee and Central Railway via Darlinghurst by the Coogee Omnibus Co. The route was altered to become a feeder service between Coogee and Randwick Junction due to its competition with the tramways from 31 October 1931. From 8 December 1931, Route 61 was replaced by the new route 74. This new route operated between Coogee and Daceyville by Mrs EL Tollhurst. It was later extended to Maroubra Junction from 21 May 1937.
On 4 January 1938, Route 74 was taken over by the Department of Road Transport and Tramways (DRTT). The DRTT reorganise the route so that Route 74 serviced the corridor between Coogee and City York Street, whilst the Randwick to Maroubra Junction section of the route was amalgamated with the existing route 159 Rose Bay to Randwick Service to become the Route 159 Rose Bay to Maroubra Junction service. Route 74 was allowed to operate alongside the tramways as it was not technically competing with it, as the route was being run by the tramway department. At this time Coogee terminus changed from Coogee Beach to Coogee Mount Street, located at the current site of Barden Park.
The route was renumbered the current 374 from 12 May 1940. Between May and September of 1942, the route was extended to Birchgrove on Sundays. However from 27 September 1942, all Sunday service on the route was cut. At an unknown date in the late 1940s, Sunday service was reintroduced, but from 22 June 1952 was cut to run was a tramway feeder service between Coogee Mount Street and Randwick Junction. Later on 9 November 1952, all off peak and weekend services were cut to run as tramway feeder services. From 23 October 1960, the Coogee terminus was moved to Coogee Beach and a day later on 24 October 1960 the City terminus was moved to City Spring Street. From this time all services operated the the full length of the route due to the closure of the Coogee Tramway.
From 25 June 1979 the 374 terminus was moved to City Circular Quay where it remains to this day. Better Buses East was introduced in 2002 and saw Route 374 rerouted away from Darlinghurst to operate via Central Railway. The current incarnation of Route 374 has been in operation since 4 October 2015, when minor changes were made to the route in the CBD in response to major network changes necessitated by construction of the CBD and South East Light rail project. It has been rumoured that due to the largely overlapping nature of Route 374 and the light rail project that the 374 may once again see major changes. This could potentially see be relegated to a tramway feeder service in the future, although plans sighted by Transport NSW Blog have also suggested a rerouting to Edgecliff Interchange via Darlinghurst.
The first inbound 374 service from Coogee Beach departs at 6am on weekdays and 6:30am on weekends. The first outbound 374 service from City Circular Quay departs at 7:15am daily. The final inbound 374 service from Coogee Beach departs at 11:30pm Monday through Saturday and at 10:45pm on Sundays. The final outbound 374 service from City Circular Quay departs at 12:10am daily. On average Route 374 takes 39 minutes to operate, with traffic condition variations seeing this fluctuated between 34 and 54 minutes depending on time of day. Route 374 has a peak frequency of every 10 minutes, off peak and weekend frequency of every half hour and a late night frequency of every 45 minutes.
State Transit operates Route 374 out of its Randwick Depot, with assistance from Port Botany and Waverley Depots. It is serviced using regular 12.5m buses, with most services operated by modern, low floor accessible, air-conditioned buses.