Thursday, August 27, 2009

Connecting With Buses: Reducing transport disadvantage by supporting bus services in Western Sydney

Connecting With Buses - Full Report and Recommendations: click here PDF (974kb)
Executive Summary and Recommendations: click here PDF (218kb)

Western Sydney Community Forum (WSCF) has released their position paper on bus services in Western Sydney. The paper is the culmination of over 1 year of consultation and research and the paper is designed to provoke discussion and advocacy about how to improve the bus services in Western Sydney.

In 2003, a review of bus services in NSW was undertaken by the former Premier of NSW, The Hon Barrie Unsworth. The Review was delivered to the Ministry of Transport in February 2004. Soon after, the Ministry of Transport responded to the Review and commenced implementing the recommendations, with some qualifications as the Ministry saw fit. Now, in 2009, five years after the Unsworth Review was delivered, WSCF believes it is timely to review how the transformation of bus services in Western Sydney is proceeding.

The WSCF report reviews and restates many recommendations of the Unsworth Review and makes 57 new recommendations on how to follow-up and improve on the work which has followed from the Unsworth Review.

In August 2008 WSCF convened a transport forum at Granville Community Centre which was attended by representatives of many key stakeholder groups including bus companies, the Ministry of Transport, local Councils, the RTA and some community service agencies. A paper was prepared for that meeting which canvassed many of the topics discussed in this new position paper. The participants at this meeting provided comments on the topics and these comments have been considered in the writing of this paper. WSCF acknowledges and thanks all the participants at that forum for their contributions.

WSCF believes that by creating this report and provoking discussion and advocacy around how to improve the bus services in Western Sydney they can make a contribution to reducing transport disadvantage and social exclusion in Western Sydney.

WSCF plans to create a website to be able to make this report a living document so that it can grow and react as things change. WSCF welcomes comment and any information about errors or omissions that have been made.
WSCF - Transport Development Project

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The WSPTU Met on August 22

The new WSPTU representative committee met for the second time on Saturday August 22. We had representatives from Liverpool, Bankstown, Penrith, Blue Mountains, The Hills and Camden. We recieved reports from transport activities that are happening in each local area.

The WSPTU saw the call for submissions from the Sydney Morning Herald for an inquiry into transport issues in Sydney and decided to put a team of people together to make a submission for the inquiry. If you have any ideas for this submission, please make a comment on this blog below this message or email us as .

The meeting decided to create a small Governance Team to work on building the administrative structures of the WSPTU and to keep the representative group of the WSPTU as the main engine of ideas and policy.

If you are part of a local transport action group, or some other group like a resident's action group that is working on local transport issues in your area, and you would like to be part of the WSPTU please contact us so we can include you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Snap Strike Strands Western Sydney Commuters

Courtesy of ABC Online
Posted 8 hours 41 minutes ago
Updated 8 hours 18 minutes ago

About 130 drivers are taking part in the action. (ABC News: Giulio Saggin, file photo)

About 130 private bus drivers have walked off the job this morning stranding thousands of school children and commuters in western Sydney.

BusWays says drivers at its Blacktown depot called a snap strike over a dispute about the introduction of new timetables.

The Transport Workers Union's Darcy Waller says the drivers are worried that they will not work.

"Theyre'll be a lack of running time, a lack of turn around time, that will affect the connection of buses from one route to another," he said.

"It will also affect the amount of time drivers will spend behind the wheel without a break."

The company says it is seeking a hearing in the Industrial Relations Commission.

BusWays Regional Operations Manager, Brett Thompson, says its services will be off the road until the drivers return to work.

"At our peak in the mornings we have about 80 buses carrying about five or six thousand school kids maybe more probably the same in commuters, " he said.

"It is a very effective strike where it's inconveniencing a lot of people."

Busways can be contacted from their website:

WSPTU Comment:

It seems that the Bus Network Review maybe not that popular with drivers, and will be implemented at some point in the very near future. Lets just hope that common sense prevails and that the NSW Ministry of Transport is able to advise school children and bus riders of the change in timetable and routes before they change them.

Were you inconvenienced by todays strike?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Senate Inquiry Into Public Transport - report released

The Senate has brought down their report into Commonwealth investment in public transport.

Click here for the report

Greens Senator for Western Australia has made this release discussing the report from the Commonwealth Senate inquiry into public transport.

The Senate Inquiry into Public Transport has just tabled its report which makes a compelling case for but sadly falls shy of recommending substantial Commonwealth funding for public transport.

We hope that this will be of interest and may stimulate some discussion on the various transport websites, blogs and forums and might subsequently lead to increased public support for federal funding of public transport. So we encourage you to go to town with this info!

We also welcome your feedback on the issue.

The full report and media release is available on the website (

Well there it is on our WSPTU blog!

Will Bikes Be Allowed On The West Metro?

The West Metro preliminary environmental assessment has been submitted to the NSW Department of Planning. View the assessment here.

It appears that there has been no allowance made for bikes to be carried on the Metro. It has been suggested to this blog that bike riders need to:

1) register your concern about the lack of integration of Metro with bicycle travel
2) obtain the terms of reference and consultation process for the Blueprint Transport Plan.

Get on your bikes!

Monday, August 17, 2009

What About Casual Bus Users? Pre-pay tickets are not all good news.

PrePay undoubtedly increases the service speed of buses but a significant group of passengers and prospective passengers may be suffering discrimination. If so, it would be useful for government and the community to be made aware of the extent of any such discrimination.

I refer to the group as “casuals”. It could almost be defined as those who are not commuters – that is, they do not make frequent, repetitive bus trips through familiar territory. “Casuals” would include occasional bus users, people travelling in unfamiliar territory, tourists, the retired, the unemployed, and particularly those with weak communication skills. Such individuals can no longer negotiate with the bus driver, who generally has intimate knowledge of the complexities of fares, routes and timetables. They must now ask for a specific ticket from a retail shop assistant, after attempting to instantaneously absorb the complexities of the fares, routes and timetables from printed documents or posters.

Here are the main problems:

1 – The inconvenience of first having to find a complying retail outlet, wait in a queue, and discuss the ticket purchase with a shop assistant who has little knowledge of the bus network and its associated complexities.

2 – The problems arising out of language and pronunciation difficulties.

3 – The amount of information to be rapidly absorbed by the intending passenger, simply to undertake what should be a universal freedom – access to services. (For example, the brochure issued by State Transit for Bondi Junction Interchange alone, when it converted to PrePay, ran to 14 pages.)

4 – The sometimes trivial value of the cash transaction, for which the retailer has little time, interest, or reward.

5 – Anecdotal evidence suggests that many small retailers do not carry an appropriate range of tickets to satisfy the diversity of passenger needs. (Retailers are required to pay for ticket stock in advance of delivery and so they carry a minimum of stock and are out of pocket until the tickets are sold, if ever). This is known to have caused inconvenience to intending passengers.

6 – Is State Transit concentrating too much on the high-value, mainstream commuter market, and turning its back on the less lucrative “casual” market?

There are many other inconveniences to passengers arising from PrePay, especially now that there is a confusing mix of ordinary and PrePay bus stops, routes, and individual services. While particular inconveniences may be trivial, the cumulative effect is not, and it has all been done without consultation with, or the approval of, the travelling public.

Kevin Eadie
Action For Public Transport

New Outlets for Prepay Bus Tickets Highlights Lack of Ticket Options for Western Sydney

Minister for Transport David Campbell announced today that Australia Post offices in the CBD had signed up to sell Sydney Buses prepaid tickets.

Mr Campbell said Sydney-siders had embraced the cashless bus system in the city, which was already cutting travel times . See the Minister's release here:

Unfortunately this announcement highlights the lack of an integrated ticketing system which services all of Sydney, and in particular Western Sydney. These services are not available in Western Sydney.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Minister Announces Consultation for the West Metro

Here is some information from the Minister's media release. For the full release click here.

The Minister for Transport David Campbell has said in a media release that community consultation would get underway for the West Metro project, which is stage two of the Sydney Metro network. A Project Application for the West Metro, along with a Preliminary Environmental Assessment, had been lodged with the Department of Planning.

In the media release the Minister is quoted as saying "Local communities in the West will receive information through phone calls, face to face meetings and local community information sessions. Dedicated community liason staff, known as place managers, have been appointed to provide a single point of contact for the community. Information leaflets will be sent out to households and community information days will be held later this year."

It is proposed that the West Metro will link at Central Station with the Sydney Metro. Stage 1 of the Sydney Metro is planned to go 7klms to Rozelle.

Proposed stations for the West Metro are:
• Broadway-University of Sydney
• Camperdown
• Leichhardt
• Five Dock
• Burwood
• Strathfield
• Sydney Olympic Park
• Silverwater
• Camellia
• Parramatta
• Westmead
For further information visit or call the public information line on1800 636 910.

New Release Areas For Housing in the South West and North West

More news from the Department of Planning.
New land release precincts for Sydney
Planning work has started for five new housing and employment precincts in northwest and southwest Sydney. Together these precincts will bring a further 27,000 residential lots and 200 hectares of employment land to the market as part of the Government’s staged land release strategy. Following consultations with the local councils there will be a public exhibition process. Investigations will cease into a proposed housing release in Macarthur South, located south of Campbelltown. More >>

Riverstone West Rezoned

Riverstone West is a new employment zone that is part of the North West Growth sector. The Department of Planning has released the new plans for display. Below is an excerpt from their website.

Land with the potential for over 12,000 new jobs in Sydney's north west has been planned and rezoned for development.

The Government Gazette of 7 August 2009 formally rezones Riverstone West by making an Amendment to State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Region Growth Centres) 2006 (the Growth Centres SEPP). Click here to the see the final Indicative Layout Plan.

The Riverstone West Precinct is the first employment Precinct within the North West Growth Centre to be completely planned, publicly exhibited and rezoned via the Government's successful Precinct Planning Process.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Website for Transport Research and Information

Here is a website, based at Monash University, which publishes lots of reseach and information about transport issues. Sort Clearinghouse

CfIT Study, Social Inclusion and Collective Taxis

Professor Corrine Mulley is the new Chair for Public Transport at the Institute for Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS). She presented a public seminar at ITLS today on a study by the UK Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT) which compared various local transport schemes in Europe and the UK and assessed them for value for money and effectiveness. The seminar provided an opportunity for discussion about the use of "collective taxis" and the possibilities for this type of idea being used in NSW for rural and outer metropolitan areas to improve social inclusion through improved local transport options.

WSPTU has been working with many local groups in Western Sydney and has identified 'local transport' as a key issue in the wake of the Bus Network Review -which has mainly been focussed on improving commuter transport, or 'mass transit' as some call it. So this information is important in our advocacy to improve local public transport in Western Sydney. It was also noted how the current 'institutional framework' - the Legislations, Regulations and organisational arrangements which govern public transport in NSW - may limit the possibilities for finding alternative solutions to improving local transport.

Click on this link to get to the CfIT website and the report "A New Approach to Rural Public Transport" .