The featured bus route this month is Route 357 operated by State Transit. It operates between Bondi Junction and Mascot Station via Randwick, Kingsford and Eastlakes.
The 357 has had an interesting history stretching back many decades and route numbers. Initially the corridor between Bondi Junction and Sydenham via Kingsford was serviced by route 358, with evidence of service from around March 1947. The service was later renumbered 367 and extended to operate between Bellevue Hill and Sydenham from July 1952. At unknown dates between 1962 and 1982 the service was truncated back to Bondi Junction, later at an unknown date between 1982 and 1997 the service was renumbered route 357.
The designation 357 had previously been used for a number of services including a Bondi Junction to Pagewood service in the 1940s and 50s and later local feeder services in Kingsgrove and Maroubra.
At least since the advent of Better Buses East in 2002, many of Route 357 services operated as short runnings between Bondi Junction and Eastlakes only, with service through to Sydenham limited to weekday peak hours. Up until April 2009, the service operated via Meeks street and Botany Street through Kingsford. With the abolition of route 359, it was rerouted to run via Avoca Street and Rainbow Street. On 20 October 2013, the route once again had a change in route number, merging with route 418 to become a Bondi Junction to Burwood service via Sydenham under the route 418 designation. From March 2017 as part of the Light rail works, the 418 stopped serving Randwick Junction, instead operating through the back streets of Randwick.
Due to the privatisation of bus routes in the Inner West Region 6 area, many cross regional routes such as the 418 were cut in half. The 357 designation was returned for the Eastern half of the 418 between Bondi Junction and Mascot Station from 30th September 2018, with the 418 operating between Kingsford and Burwood.