Thursday, December 17, 2009

What's Up West? - Youth Transport Issues Prioritised

A workshop about transport was held recently at the 'What's Up West' conference with the Youth Action And Policy Association (YAPA) Western Sydney. In the workshop a group of young people developed a list of their three top priorities on how to improve transport in Western Sydney. The group was 8 young people, under 20 years, who live in a variety of areas in Western Sydney and go to different schools. Here is their list:

Top 3 Priorities For Young People To Improve Public Transport In Western Sydney.

1. Safety
Safety on buses and trains and in public spaces, like when riding your bike or walking. How can we get home at night if we aren’t safe on the buses and trains (or if our parents don’t think we are safe)? How can we promote a healthy lifestyle if we are not safe cycling on the street or walking home?

2. The Availability of Transport and Information
We’d like to catch the bus but if it only comes every hour it’s not very helpful - this happens a lot in Western Sydney. We need more frequent services. Some places in the North West don’t even have a train. We also need better information at bus stops. We need to know when the bus is coming and where it’s going - pretty basic.

3. The Cost of Public Transport
If you have to make a change between trains and buses or between two buses it can be pretty expensive. Buses can be more expensive than trains when you compare the distance travelled. We need a ticket system which works between buses and trains and the fare is calculated on where you are going not by how many changes you make. Why can’t we have what other places have, like in Melbourne, or what the pensioners have with the Pensioner Excusion Ticket? This would make public transport cheaper and we would be more likely to use it.

You can find out more about YAPA at

New Posts By Mt Druitt Save Our Buses

The Save Our Buses group in Mt Druitt have posted several new items on their blog talking about their experiences of the changes to the local bus services in Mt Druitt and the surrounding areas. To see these articles click on the links below:
Save Our Bus Services - The Story so far!
Are buses Straighter?
Safety Issues affecting
Unanswered questions
Community members not Informed!

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Timetables and Buses For Region 13

New buses and timetables were announced and will be starting on December 14. There appears to be some new services and some improvements to the services in Region 13.
To find out more from Veolia (the bus company), click here: Veolia

Public Transport Is "Safe, Easy and Convenient"

Results of the "Community Pulse" survey by Cumberland-Courier newspapers have given an interesting result for public transport.

"Almost half the people who responded to the Cumberland-Courier Newspapers Community Pulse Survey said public transport in Sydney was usually on time, and worth paying for.

Sixty per cent said public transport was safe, 73 per cent said it was easy to use and 62 per cent said it was convenient.

Almost 20 per cent said public transport in their suburb was very good, 33 per cent said it was good and 27 per cent said it was average. Just 10 per cent said it was poor while 6 per cent said it was very poor" reported the Fairfield newspaper.

This is reasonably consistent with the survey done by the Independent Transport Safety and Reliability Regulator (ITSRR) earlier this year - (see a previous WSPTU blog entry).

Given the current level of public debate and the controversy around public transport issues, this is particularly interesting.

Here is a link to the full story in the Fairfield Advance.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rail Prices On The Wrong Track - APT

Action For Public Transport (APT) has released an analysis of the rail fare increases that are about to happen and developed a strong argument about how public transport ticketing needs to be changed to a zone/time based system.

"From 1st January 2010," said Mr Miles, a spokesman for APT, "Sydney will be the only capital in Australia where you can still buy a train ticket for suburban travel. Everywhere else," said Mr Miles, "passengers just buy a zone ticket for use on any tram, train, bus or ferry."

APT also question the role of IPART in the price rise process.

Mr Miles said that IPART is more concerned with whether its actions will drive away existing passengers rather than finding a price structure that will attract new ones.

"The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has stuck doggedly to its cost accountant's approach," Mr Miles said, "and has ignored or over-ruled calls for a broader approach to pricing public transport."

APT also provide some handy advice for commuters.

Mr Miles said that users of weekly TravelPasses can still make savings by stocking up now. "The price of these tickets does not increase until 3rd January," he said, "but undated tickets bought now can be used at any time in the future".

In their release they also provide a breakdown of all the price increases.

To see the full release click here: Action For Public Transport

Save Our Buses - Mt Druitt and Surrounding Suburbs

Save Our Buses (Sobs) is a new group in Mt Druitt which is advocating to fix some of the problems that local people are experiencing as a result of changes to the bus routes which came in as part of the Bus Network Review on October 11.

They now have a website which is linked to the WSPTU site (check links on the left side of this site). Check their site for new information and information about how to contact them.
You can email them here:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


This is an excerpt from a press release from The Greens.

Residents of Shalvey, Lethbridge Park. Emerton and Whalan have been left high and dry by the recent cuts to the 755 bus service. Older residents are particularly affected by the long walk to the new bus route, which sees them have to walk up to 800 metres to Luxford Rd.

For the full release click here

Friday, November 27, 2009

Western Sydney Public Transport Users Comments 2009

During 2009 we have been inviting people to make comments about the changes to public transport that they would like to see that would improve the system for them.

We have collected those responses, unedited, and have published them here for you to see: Western Sydney Public Transport Users Comments 2009

Notes from WSPTU Meeting on Nov 21

WSPTU met again last Saturday November 21 at Western Sydney Community Forum.

Seven WSPTU members attended representing groups from the Hills, Liverpool, Mt Druitt and St Marys, Oatlands and North Parramatta. We had apologies from our Bankstown, Blue Mountains and Penrith reps.

Members from Ecotransit attended and we discussd how Ecotransit and WSPTU members could work together better. Thanks to Ecotransit for coming to the meeting.

Local reports featured:
- meeting at Whalan regarding the bus network changes
- the upcoming implementation of the Region 3 bus network changes in the Liverpool area
- the problem of a reduction of bus services into Miller which has 21 local doctors and other medical services
- Liverpool Council is considering putting a toilet into Bigge Park to help with the lack of a toilet at the bus interchange
- Western Sydney Community Forum (WSCF) attendance at the IPART bus fare inquiry and the Sydney Morning Herald Independent Transport Inquiry.
- WSCF discussion paper 'the Gap' describing the gap between access to community transport and the route bus system.

If you have a local group which is interested in working on local transport issues and you would like to make contact with the WSPTU please contact us because we would like to invite you to be part of our work: or phone Hugh on 02 9633 5068.


Safe Alternative Transport (SAT) for Young People

Youth Safe have released a report describing the Safe Alternative Transport (SAT) schemes that are running in New South Wales. They also provide advice and tips for people who are thinking about running a SAT scheme.

These schemes are primarily focussed on getting young people home after social events and are particularly helpful in outer metropolitan and rural areas. There are two main target groups; school-aged young people getting home from officially sanctioned events, such as a youth centre event, and over-18 year olds who are needing to get home from the city or towns after a night of socialising at licenced premisis.

A video produced by Youth Safe showed the experiences of young people, after a night, out trying to get home during the 'dead-zone' time between midnight and 5am. The video reminded us of how dangerous this can be for young people and the risks that they take to get home.

There are a number of projects that are now being supported by local 'Liquor Accord' groups. These Liquor Accord groups are usually comprised of local licenced venue operators, local police, local council and local community sector organsations.

To look at the report go here:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Super High Speed Train

Sent to us by Bill Craig here is some amazing video of a new high speed train test in France - 570klms/hr!!

Victory For Residents

Here are excerpts from an article in the Penrith Press by Nicole Hasham. Susan Day and the South Penrith Action Group are members of the WSPTU.

Susan Day of the South Penrith Action Group, which spearheaded the community campaign, said “people power” meant authorities had reversed plans to scrap four important routes.

“We held meetings and forums and lobbied hard to keep services, and they’ve listened to us - they had no choice,” Ms Day said.

“But Glenmore Park seems to have missed out and St Marys has lost services”

But Warragamba’s Lori Jeromin was left fuming after south-bound services from Penrith were slashed.

“There’s one bus at 9am and not another one until 2pm - it’s really shocking,” said Ms Jeromin.

Many older Warragamba residents had been left housebound by the changes, she said.

For the full story go to

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Next New Release Areas In the North West and South West

Planning Minister Kristina Keneally has declared the release of five new precincts in the Growth Centres.

The next five precincts are Austral (8,000 dwellings) and Leppington North (12,000 dwellings) in the South West and Box Hill (10,000 dwellings), Box Hill Industrial (employment land) and Schofields (5,000 dwellings) in the North West.

These new releases will provide land for around 35,000 new dwellings and 200 hectares of employment land. This means on completion of detailed Precinct Planning, activity in the Growth Centres will help improve the housing market and allow lot production to commence bringing land to market without delay.

For more information from the Dept of Planning website click here

Monday, November 9, 2009

Whalan Protests Loss Of The 755

Around 60 people attended the Whalan Community Hall last Saturday to tell their local NSW parliamentary representatives, Richard Amery, Alan Sheeran and Ray Williams, that they were unhappy about some of the changes to the Region 1 buses in the Mt Druitt area. The meeting was organsied by a new local action group called SOBS (Save Our Bus Services).

Like other areas in Western Sydney, it seems to be older people and people with mobility problems that can be badly effected by some of the changes in the Bus Network Review. Several people with serious medical conditions and disabilties told their stories about how they had organised their lives around knowing that they could catch the bus only to find it had now been taken away.

While some areas also celebrated the fruits of 10 years of lobbying which seems to have paid off in the Region 1 changes (Willmot was finally connected to Emerton) people in Whalan who had previously had the 755 come into their street to take them to Mt Druitt and Blacktown were now finding it too difficult to get to the new services which only run down the main roads - Woodstock, Luxford, Belmore and Popondetta - and no longer go to Blacktown.

The local MPs committed to approaching the NSW Transport and Infrastructure department to discuss the issues and to try and find ways to get services to the people who had been disadvantaged by the changes. They were unconvinced that they could get the 755 restored. That, however, was what people wanted.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

West Metro Consultation at Western Sydney Community Forum

There will be a meeting with Environmental Assessment team for the Sydney Metro Network Stage 2 (Central – Westmead) project at Western Sydney Community Forum. If you have an interest in the West Metro and want to find out more or want to express your views to the project consultant you are invited to the meeting.

Level 4, 146 Marsden Rd, Parramatta.
Wednesday, November 18, 2pm.

The venue is disability accessible and is close to Parramatta station and on the route of the Parramatta Council Loop bus.

If you would like to come please let me know before the day by emailing Hugh Worrall at or phoning 02 9633 5068.

Alternatively if you can't attend the meeting but want to get your views across to the consultant you can email, write or ring me and I will pass on your views. You can also view the consultants' details and the project information at their website .

Here are the details from the consultant:

Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) and Manidis Roberts have been employed by Sydney Metro to prepare a detailed Environmental Assessment for Stage 2 of the Sydney Metro Network.
Stage 2 (Central – Westmead) is a 24km underground metro line extending from Central to Westmead via Parramatta and the inner west.

Stage 2 stations will be located at Westmead, Parramatta, Camellia, Silverwater, Sydney Olympic Park, Strathfield, Burwood, Five Dock, Leichhardt, Camperdown and Broadway-Sydney University.

The purpose of our meeting is to gain your feedback on the Stage 2 proposal, related key issues and concerns. Your feedback will be addressed in the Environmental Assessment, which will be placed on exhibition for public comment early next year.
For your information here is a copy of the Stage 2 (Central – Westmead) Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) summary. For a full version of the PEA and more information about the proposal please visit the Sydney Metro website

I look forward to meeting you. In the meantime please feel free to contact me on 9248 9800 during business hours if you have any queries.

Yours sincerely,
Prudence Burke
Communications Coordinator
Sydney Metro Network, Stage 2
Level 9, 17 York Street,
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: 9248 9800

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Contract For 131500 - New Services

Press Release from NSW Transport and Infrastructure.

Passengers will benefit from the next generation of transport information services following the signing of a NSW Government contract for Transport Info 131500 services.

NSW Transport and Infrastructure Director General Les Wielinga said that the five-year contract starting 1 July, 2010 with international services company, Serco Australia, will take transport information services to the next level.

“Our Global City will have transport information services similar to those now available in London, San Francisco, Vienna and Munich. We are positioning ourselves to quickly adapt and respond to technologies that haven’t been developed, by focusing on data and enabling application developers to get on with the job of innovating."

"The new contract will provide NSW residents with easier access to better information, and will bring about improvements in transport integration and customer service."

A good night out…a safe journey home.

Community options for safer youth transport.

Socialising is an important part of young people’s lives and should be encouraged and supported. However getting home safely after a night out can be an ongoing challenge for many young people and their communities.

On Thursday 26 November 2009, Youthsafe will be hosting a free professional development forum which will present a range of potential community transport options suitable for young people as well as exploring ways to assist programs address local community needs, be successful and most importantly be sustainable.

The forum will take place at Australian Technology Park, Redfern between 8.30am and 3.00pm. For more information about the forum and details on how to register visit:

Mixed reaction as bus changes bed in

Excerpt from Penrith City Star newspaper (29/10/09) about the bus network changes in Region 1. The paper talks with people about the positive and negative aspects of the bus changes.

"RESIDENTS and university students have had mixed reactions to the new bus timetable."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

WSPTU October Meeting Postponed

The meeting scheduled for this Saturday, Oct 24, has been postponed until Saturday Nov 21 because the majority of participants are either away or unavailable.

Next WSPTU meeting
Saturday November 21, 2pm
146 Marsden St, Parramatta

If you are part of trying to improve the publc transport services in your local area, and would like to meet people from other parts of Western Sydney also doing this work, then why not send an email to or ring on 9633 5068.

Transport Job At Western Sydney Community Forum

Regional Resource Worker - Transport

Full time (35 hours per week)
Parramatta Location
Above award conditions and salary packaging
SACS Award Grade 4-5 ($54,600 - $58,531) plus 9% superannuation
Family friendly work environment

WSCF is seeking an enthusiastic individual with a commitment to social justice and community development principles, who has an interest in improving transport systems for the Western Sydney community. This project’s key work is in researching and sharing information about transport in Western Sydney and promoting social inclusion, particularly for those who are transport disadvantaged.

Closing date: Friday Nov 6, 2009

Full job description - click here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Positive Response To The Bus Timetable Changes In Penrith

From a WSPTU blog reader:

I'd just like to add a positive comment about the new bus timetable.

From my perspective, there's a definite improvement in service over past years. The 774, 775 and 776 buses travel from Penrith down Derby St, past Nepean Hospital, UWS and to St Marys before they take different routes to Mt Druitt.

For anyone living along the main route between Penrith and St Marys we now have a bus every 10-15 minutes (certainly no more than 20 minutes between buses) from just after 5am to after 11am Mondays to Fridays and at least every 20 minutes on weekends. It's certainly every 10 minutes in peak hours - no need for looking at bus timetables here. The frequency does diminish after 9.15pm (half hourly), but hey, we've still got buses till just after 11pm. It's certainly an improvement over the last bus leaving just after 8pm.

Having said that, I am disappointed that the 790 has disappeared - it's replacement, the 770, isn't quite as good for me. But a slightly longer walk will take me to a very frequent service, so I'm hardly in a position to complain too much.

This frequency and span of hours is something that ALL the bus routes should have. I'm just lucky to live close to a good one (and I'm very grateful).

I can't comment on the trains and the links between trains and buses (something which is critical), as I don't catch trains often, but I thought that positive news on bus timetables should be mentioned.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tram Exhibition At Museum of Sydney closes Sunday

Shooting Through: Sydney By Tram, an exhibition at the Museum of Sydney about trams in Sydney, closes this Sunday October 18.

Trains On The South Line, Cumberland and Inner West Line

We have received this comment from a train user on the South Line:

Just wanted to say that now there are two services from Macquarie Fields to the City via Granville on the South Line between 7am and 8am. There is a 7.23 Cumberland Line to Blacktown but of course it will always be the first to be cancelled. This leaves me either coming to work 30 mins early or 30 mins late! For anyone who lives in south-west Sydney and works further north it is very frustrating.I sent my concerns to CityRail before the new timetable started and never received a response.

There has also been concern about the level of service on the Inner West Line which goes between Cabramatta and Lidcome to the Sydney CBD. This line has very poor accessibility - there are no disability access stations between Carramar and Sefton - and very poor frequency of service. Analysing the timetable for this line compared to others shows the lower level of service for the people wanting to use this line.

See the Action For Public Transport timetable analyser - here

Invitation to Sydney Metro Evironmental Assessment

Invitation to Community Information Sessions - Sydney Metro

Dear Sir/Madam,

An Environmental Assessment is currently being prepared for Sydney Metro Network Stage 2 (Central – Westmead). As part of this process, a number of Community Information Sessions are being held to provide local residents and businesses with more information about the project and an opportunity to comment.

Members of the project team will be available to answer questions related to the project. There is no need to make an appointment to attend - simply drop in:

Saturday 17 October
Parramatta RSL – Linden Room, Macquarie Street, Parramatta, 10am – 2pm

Thursday 22 October
C3 Church Conference Centre, Cnr Silverwater Road and Egerton Street, Silverwater, 3pm – 7pm

Saturday 31 October
The Russian Club, 5 Albert Road, Strathfield, 12pm – 4pm

Thursday 5 November
Burwood RSL, 96 Shaftesbury Avenue, Burwood, 3pm – 7pm

Thursday 19 November
Club Five Dock – Mirrors Room, 66 Great North Road, Five Dock, 3pm – 7pm

Saturday 28 November
Leichhardt Town Hall, 107 Norton Street, Leichhardt, 10am – 2pm

The Environmental Assessment is scheduled to go on public exhibition early next year, during which time written submissions will be invited. Further Community Information Sessions will be held during the public exhibition period.

For more information about the project, please call 1800 636 910 or visit our website at . We hope to see you at one of the Community Information Sessions.

Rodd Staples
A/Chief Executive

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

IPART Bus Fare Increase Recommendations

IPART have recommended a series of small increases to bus fares of 1.5% per year above the expected rate of inflation over the next three years - a total rise of 14.6% over 3 years.

They have used a very rigorous and transparent process to explain the increases which relates to the 'efficient costs' of running the buses and providing the infrastructure such as buslanes.

IPART also provide the logic of why they have allocated about half of the cost of running the bus system to be paid for by the passengers through ticket sales (excluding concessions) and half to be paid for by taxpayers through the Government; this half share paid by the Government equals the 'external benefits' derived by everybody, including non-bus users, from reduced traffic congestion and reduced air pollution when people use the bus instead of drive a car.

For the full IPART draft report click here: IPART Draft Bus Fare Determination


It appears that while short distance single tickets on buses will remain fairly good value, even with a rise from $1.90 to $2 in the first year and maybe up to $2.30 over 3 years, the people who travel greater distances of more than 5 sections, and don't have access to multi-trip tickets or flexible time-based tickets, will feel the increases much more. A single 3 - 5 section ticket is likely to increase from $3.20 to $4.50 and the 6 - 9 section tickets are likely to increase to more than $5.50. These are large increases and make regular return trips very expensive - particularly if you are trying to combine this with other train or bus trips.

Some of the main issues that have been pointed to by various transport advocates have been largely ignored. In particular IPART has disagreed that it is worth considering a shift to a zone/time-based integrated ticketing, which offers discounts for trip bundling.

It appears that we are going to be stuck with a flag-fall / distanced based ticketing system, even if we achieve an integrated ticket: ie the ticket will be integrated but many of the fares will not. This has the potential to be very bad for people in Western Sydney because of the greater reliance on the private bus system and the greater distances travelled. It is also not very 'family-friendly' because of the multiple transport needs of people trying to manage a family.

As an example, using the current fares, one return off-peak trip between St Clair and Castle Hill is likely to be $19.00. There is no potential for any integrated fares or multi-trip discounts (although you could get separate discounts for weekly bus tickets and train tickets if you are a regular commuter). A Cityrail day tripper ticket, however, which allows you unlimited, all-day travel on all STA buses, CityRail trains and Sydney Ferries is $17 (ie $2 less to travel from St Marys to Brookvale and return via the Manly Ferry and unlimited travel in the Sydney CBD).

This is an example of how an 'integrated fare' (the day tripper) compares to simply an 'integrated ticket' (several fares combined on a single ticket). The integrated fare provides additional discounts and the flexibility to travel multiple trips and stops whereas the integrated ticket simply makes it easier to pay the fare (even though they are expensive). It seems less likely that public transport will effectively compete with private cars, and the flexibility that they offer, without this kind of change. It is like having a toll on every road - it would be interesting to see how road users would react to that ....

New Train Timetables - New Bus Timetables

This week saw the introduction of the new CityRail timetable and the introduction of the new bus timetables for Region 1 (Blacktown and Penrith).

We would be very interested to get any feedback, positive or negative, about these changes so we can inform the readers of the WSPTU blog of your experience and knowledge.

If you have feedback about these changes please comment below or send an email to .

If you would like to make a formal comment about the changes to the train timetable or the bus timetables, you can use the feedback section of the website or or you can contact your bus company directly. See the the list on the left of this website for links and phone numbers.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Train Connection at Clyde from Carlingford

This week I changed from the Carlingford train for the first time in several years. I was surprised to find none of the new indicator boards had been installed at Clyde and that no old fashioned indicators were in use on any platform.

Many years ago I recollect the guard on the branch train informing passengers of the platforms they could catch various trains. Guards today should have access to much more data but on this occasion we were not even told to change platform despite the fact out of town visitors would be among those from the bus show at Rosehill.

One old practice could be resurrected to overcome some of these problems. This is stopping the next express on the Western Up Main at platform 2 whenever a crowd has just alighted from the branch train.

Friday, October 9, 2009

WSPTU Meeting Notes from Sept 26

Representatives from local groups met as WSPTU on Sept 26 (a cold and windy day).
The topics discussed were:
  • how to better connect with EcoTransit
  • creating a vision statement for WSPTU
  • the SMH Independent Transport Inquiry
The next WSPTU meeting is on October 24.

If you would like to participate in WSPTU activities please let us know. WSPTU is for people and groups who are interested in public transport issues in their local area and are working with other local people to solve the issues (or would like to work with people in their local area). Please contact us at or ring 02 9633 5068.

WSPTU Submission to the SMH Independent Transport Inquiry

WSPTU have collected ideas from members (as best we could in the time available) to create a submission to the SMH Independent Transport Inquiry. You can read the WSPTU submission here: WSPTU Submission

The main topics covered are:
  • Integrated Ticketing
  • Increased capacity of the 'trunk' routes
  • Improved off-peak services
  • Planning issues
  • Local service planning
  • The North West and South West rail links
  • Feeder services and local transport options
  • Social inclusion and public transport

Region 1 Bus Timetable Goes Active On October 11

Along with the new train timetable and some changes to bus services in other areas, the new Region 1 bus system, the whole new route map, takes effect from October 11.

Region 1 covers from the western part of Blacktown, to Penrith, Riverstone, past Richmond to Pitt Town and across to Glenmore Park.

Bus timetables are available now from the bus operators and

Bus Users Survey Report Now Available

The Independent Transport Safety and Reliability Regulator (ITSRR) has released the results of their survey of bus users in Sydney. In general, the results show very high levels of satisfaction, over 70%, for all the things that they asked about except one. On-time running was around 60% satisfaction because of more dissatisfaction with the Sydney Buses (mostly buses nearer to Sydney city) running not according to the timetable. Interestingly, the private bus operators, including all the Western Sydney operators, rated well; better than Sydney Buses for on-time running but worse for having timetables on bus stops.
You can see the report here: Bus Users Survey
You can go to the ITSRR website:

Bus Stop Pictures

We want your best and worst bus stop pictures to post on this site. See the pictures on the left side of this blog. Send them to

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Annual Taxi Licences To Be Issued

From NSW Transport and Infrastructure:

The NSW Government has announced reforms to the taxi industry which aim to get more taxis on the road, improving services for passengers. A new type of licence will be introduced which can be renewed each year and that will allow more people to get into the taxi market.

Anyone interested in running a taxi, including existing taxi operators and drivers, will have the option to obtain a new annual non-transferable licence from NSW Transport and Infrastructure. Existing transferable licences will still be able to be bought, sold and leased on the open market, but the Government will not be issuing any further tradeable licences.

For the Minister's Press Release click here

WSPTU has just made submissions regarding the improved use of taxi resources, particularly the use of multi-hire maxi-taxis, to assist fill the gap between the route bus system (which can require a lot of walking), the existing taxi system (which can be expensive) and the intensive door to door service provided by Community Transport for HACC elligible people (which has narrow elligibility criteria). This gap is effecting active people, who want to live independently, but who have some mobility difficulties and don't drive a car. This can be well older people, people with disabilites or single parents with young children - particularly if they are trying to do their shopping.

While simply increasing the number of licences will not directly help with that issue, it does show that there is some interest from the Government in improving the system for passengers. The reforms advocated by WSPTU require some regulation and legislative changes as well as some community education. The WSPTU changes would make the system more flexible and useful for a broader range of people.

Friday, October 2, 2009

West Metro Social Impact Workshops

Notice from Hill PDA Consultants:

I am writing to invite you or your nominee to attend a consultation workshop concerning the West Metro. The aim of the workshop will be to discuss the potential social impacts of the proposed metro line for you and the communities / social organisations you represent.

The workshop will help to inform the Social Impact Assessment currently being prepared by Hill PDA. The Social Impact Assessment will form part of the Environmental Assessment that will be submitted to the Minster for Planning in early 2010.

Workshop Dates, Locations & Times

§ Thursday 8th October 2009 from 6:15pm to 7:15pm at Hill PDA’s office in Sydney CBD
RSVP by the close of business on Wednesday 7th of October

§ Tuesday 20th October 2009 from 5pm to 6pm at Burwood RSL
RSVP by the close of business on Friday 16th of October

§ Tuesday 27th October 2009 from 6:15pm to 7:15pm at Parramatta RSL
RSVP by the close of business on Friday 23rd of October

To find out more about the project you can:

1. Access the website at

2. Call the toll free number 1800 636 910

3. Email your queries to

Four Corners looks at Transport in Sydney

ABC Four Corners Programme, 8.30pm, Monday, 05/10/2009

The Programme will examine the alarming transport disconnect between people in the suburbs of Australia's biggest city with major tracts of the west without public transport. Business owners unable to employ people unless they have their own car because of a lack of public transport and workers who spend at least four hours a day commuting to and from work.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Notes From the SMH Independent Transport Inquiry

Some very interesting information from the Public Inquiry presentation:

Western Sydney (includes Blue Mountains)

- Forecast increase in population between now and 2031 – 350,000 to 500,000 (does not take into account Australia’s revised population growth)

- Estimated increase in the number of dwellings between now and 2031 – 46%

- Estimated increase in the number of jobs between now and 2031 – 29%

- Key centre for Australia’s population growth (especially given Australia’s population is set to reach 35 million by 2035)

Macquarie is set to become Australia’s 4th largest employment and business centre within the next 2 years, it is currently bigger than Parramatta and has the highest GDP growth of any centre in Sydney including the CDB.

Approximately 55% of people who work in the Parramatta CBD commute by car whereas only 25% commute by train

In NSW $22.9 billion is spent on private motor vehicles each year whereas only $3.2 billion is spent on public transport (includes fares and State Government contributions) – this gives you an indication of how our society prioritizes its transport spending

The City Metro is budgeted to cost $5.3 billion to construct a system that will only be 7 kilometres long!

Finally a financial analysis of the cost of modes of transport per passenger kilometre:

- Private car $0.83 per passenger kilometre
- Bus $0.57 per passenger kilometre
- Train (heavy rail) $0.47 per passenger kilometre

Transport affects us all, especially given more than 50% of Blue Mountains residents who are employed commute from the Blue Mountains each day to get to work. Our tourism economy is dependent upon visitors being able to get to the Blue Mountains safely and easily. The Blue Mountains is more dependent on its transport links than any other local government area in greater Sydney except for the Central Coast.

The Blackheath Highway Action Group is working on a joint submission to the SMH Independent Public Inquiry.

Kind regards,

Michael Paag
Blackheath Highway Action Group

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Marketing Public Transport - International Competition

The UITP Marketing Awards aim to reward creativity in the field of communication and adver­tising. The objective is to highlight creativity and innovation aimed at inducing a positive percep­tion of the general public and ensuring that the users themselves feel a sense of pride when using public transport.

The Programme Committee of the Marketing Conference had the difficult task to select the 10 finalists amongst more than 60 campaigns coming from Asia, Australia, Latin America, North America and Europe.

To increase the campaigns’ visibility, UITP invites all members to add the link to this webpage on their own website to encourage the public’s vote for the best campaigns.

Finalists:Commercial Campaign
TRANSPORT FOR LONDON: Considerate Travel campaign
TMB: Corporate Campaign
LVB: Auf den Hund gekommen
WIENER LINIEN: With Wiener Linien to the European Championships!
DE LIJN: Penguins and Fireflies

Printed Campaign
SMRT: Escape with SMRT
YARRA TRAMS : Did you know?
METRO DE SANTIAGO: I got you under my skin

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Integrated Ticketing

A WSPTU member has just returned from New York and brought home a MetroCard. The MetroCard is a simple, magnetic strip, paper ticket which works on the New York subway, the New York buses and even across the state border to New Jersey, on the PATH subway to Jersey City. Click here to see all the details of the MetroCard:

The ticket can be reloaded with new credit and there are discounts if you buy amounts in bulk, the discount increasing from the purchase of $7.50 in credit to the maximum of $45 in credit. The journeys can be subtracted from the ticket as they are used and there isn't a time limit or you can get a time limited 'unlimited trips' ticket. The ticket works on a 'pay per ride' basis (there is no distance charging) and each ride is $US2.25. Click here to see the pricing:

The turnstiles tell you how much credit and time is left on your ticket as you go through.

It would be good if we could have such a system in Sydney.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Transport Shake Up in Penrith

Penrith Weekender Online

Penrith residents who utilise public transport may soon find their regular routine changing, with a new bus timetable and new train timetable coming into effect next month.

The changes to the bus network follow extensive community consultation that yielded over 1,600 public responses, and local members Karyn Paluzzano and Diane Beamer are encouraging the community to check out the results.

“Many of the proposals originally put out have been changed as a direct result of community feedback, so I am grateful that people took the time to make a submission,” Ms Paluzzano said.

Susan Day of the South Penrith Action Group is one of many locals eager to see the new timetables when they are released on September 14.

“On a positive note, it proves as a group we forced the Government to listen to us, that we would not just accept the reduction in services without a fight and we put up a great fight,” she said.

“However, I am disappointed with the timing of the announcement and the release of the new timetables, with them not being available until the 14th of September. People will be left wondering and this will cause real worry for some wondering if they were actually listened to and if their service has been increased/decreased or has finished.”

A spokesperson from Transport Minister David Campbell’s office said many of the changes were established as a direct result of feedback from the local community, such as Route 791, which next month will operate as a full-time service seven days a week, with evening services provided.

“This will mean residents in South Penrith and parts of Jamisontown have improved access to both the Penrith CBD and Southlands Shopping Centre, as requested by the community during consultation,” the spokesperson said.

“This will provide one consistent route replacing the current evening and weekend service that operates in one direction only, and has generated local concern over a number of years.”

Meanwhile Route 790 will soon be known as Route 770, and extend to Mt Druitt as well as run later into the evening.

In addition, a 793 local service will be introduced, serving parts of South Penrith adjacent to the 791 six days a week, providing direct access to Penrith for residents unable to walk to the 791.

“The changes improve consistency of the network, making it easier to understand, and gives residents of St Clair, Erskine Park, Colyton and Oxley Park direct access to Penrith,” the spokesperson said.

“It also introduces a direct link from Penrith and Cambridge Park to Mt Druitt, and new services to the Erskine Park Industrial area for the first time.”

New timetables can be collected onboard buses or downloaded from operator websites, and will come into effect on October 11.

New Bus Routes for Penrith, Blacktown & Richmond

NSW Transport & Infrastructure and Area 1 Management Company are pleased to announce that following community consultation, the new bus network for Busways and Westbus services in Blacktown, Penrith and Richmond will be introduced on 11 October 2009 in conjunction with the new CityRail timetable.

As part of the NSW Government's bus reform, Area 1 Management Company has a contractual arrangement to provide bus services in this area. Working closely with NSW Transport & Infrastructure, Area 1 Management Company has developed a new bus network that will provide fast, frequent and direct services to major centres such as Blacktown, Mt Druitt, Penrith, Richmond and Rouse Hill, whilst maintaining links to employment, educational and recreational facilities.

After extensive community consultation and consideration of all feedback, the new network will be introduced on 11 October 2009.

New timetables will be available from 14 September 2009 and advertisements will be placed in local papers.

Timetable information and a detailed map will be available shortly on

Don't Rip Up Our Rail

Dear all, Please take some time to visit the EcoTransit website and start sending this postcard to your local MPs, The Premier, The Minister for Transport, relevant shadow ministers. This is an important piece of legislation that should NOT be allowed to pass.

Here are the email addresses you will need. Please note that you can only send it to two adresses at a time.,, (Liberal Transport and opposition leader)

That's just a start. Yrs, Leah Mason
Sent: 15 September 2009 - 9:59am
From: Leah Mason

Sydney's Long Term Public Transport Plan Meetings

Public meeting details

As you are aware, an Independent Public Inquiry has been established to create the Long Term Public Transport Plan for Sydney to inform decisions by future governments on the priorities over the next 30 years.

Thank your for letting us know you would like further information on the public meetings to be held in the first round of community consultation.

The inquiry is being chaired by Mr Ron Christie, AM, who will attend most of the "town hall meetings" along with several experts assisting him during his information gathering stage. The initial round of meetings is being held before public submissions close on October 8, 2009. A Preliminary Report will be released in December, 2009 for public review. A final report will be released in Autumn, 2010.

Community discussion

Members of the public are invited to attend community meetings to share their thoughts about public transport in their area.

Each meeting will focus on the issues in the local region or strategic corridor after a brief overview of the metropolitan outlook so please choose your venue carefully to reflect your interests. The final meeting of the first round will be held in Central Sydney and will cover transport issues from the grouping of inner suburbs.

The meetings are as follows:

North-west Sydney
Tuesday, September 15, Castle Grand, Cnr Pennant & Castle Streets, Castle Hill. 6.30pm - 8.30pm. This meeting is hosted by the Hills Shire Council.

North-east Sydney
Thursday, September 17, Dee Why RSL, 932 Pittwater Road, Dee Why. 6.30pm - 8.30pm. This meeting is hosted by Warringah Council

South-east Sydney
Monday, September 21, University of NSW, Leighton Hall, Scientia Building, Anzac Parade, Kensington. 6.30pm - 8.30pm.

South-west Sydney
Tuesday, September 22, Casual Powerhouse, 1 Casula Road, Casula. 6.30pm-8.30pm. This meeting is hosted by Liverpool City Council.

Western Sydney corridor
Thursday, September 24, Riverside Theatre, Parramatta. 6.30pm-8.30pm. This meeting is hosted by Parramatta City Council.

Central Sydney
Thursday, October 1, City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney. 6.30pm-8.30pm. This meeting is hosted by City of Sydney.

In addition, two further meetings are being scheduled for Sydney's south (St George area) and Sydney's north (Chatswood/North Ryde area). Dates will be advertised once arrangements are confirmed. Alternatively, please respond to this email and type the word "south" or "north" into the subject line to receive venue details as soon as they are available. The "town hall meetings" are being presented with the assistance of local government, regional government associations and The Sydney Morning Herald.

About the inquiry

The Independent Public Inquiry has been established with the support of The Sydney Morning Herald to create a Long-term public transport Plan. The inquiry is independent of government and the newspaper.

The chair of the inquiry, Mr Ron Christie, AM, is a former chief executive of the Roads & Traffic Authority, chief executive former head of the Olympic Roads & Transport Authority, former Co-ordinator General of Rail in NSW and former Director-General of Public Works and Services.

For the inquiry terms of reference please visit

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" .

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Agenda for Sustainability and Wellbeing

Last year the Western Sydney Regional Organisations of Councils (WSROC) released the Agenda for Sustainability and Wellbeing. This is a terrific resource for policy and research on transport and land-use. See it here:

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Release Areas for the North West and South West

New release Precincts
Planning Minister Kristina Keneally has announced consultation will begin with local councils regarding the release of five new Precincts in the Growth Centres.
The next five precincts to be released across the North West and South West Growth Centres will be Austral (6,700 lots) and North Leppington (9,000 lots) in the South West and Box Hill (7,700 lots), Box Hill Industrial (employment land) and Schofields (3,600 lots) in the North West.
You can subscribe to the Growth Centres planning email news here:

Fixing The Network - report from RBTU

The Rail Bus and Tram Union has released a report titled "Fixing The Network". It advocates for 3 "shovel ready" projects:
1) North West Rail Link - Epping to Rouse Hill
2) Epping to Parramatta link via Carlingford
3) South West Rail Link - Glenfield to Leppington
They also advocate "Rail Strengthening" which is about upgrading signals and other infrastructure.
You can read the report here:

Friday, July 24, 2009

WSPTU Umbrella Meets For The First Time

People representing public transport users in Penrith, the Hills, Oatlands, Bankstown, Chester Hill, Liverpool and the Blue Mountains met for the first time last week to discuss the creation of the WSPTU umbrella group.

This meeting was to follow-up from the Transport Symposium where people clearly said that they wanted an 'umbrella group' to support the work of people working in local groups. We wrestled with how this could work and decided to develop the idea further. We want something that can give Western Sydney public transport users a more powerful voice.

The idea of the Umbrella is to be able to identify issues which are common to many Western Sydney public transport users and to try and gather support to advocate for solutions to these issues. The issue which is most strongly represented to us is that of 'local transport'.

Older people, and people living with mobility difficulties, who have been badly effected by the Bus Network Review are looking for people to support them to get transport services in their local area that better suit their needs. People repeatedly, and with great passion, say that they want their independence and don't want to be confined to their house.

Of course other issues, such as a better mass transit system into the Hills and the need for an integrated ticketing system are also issues likely to be important to the WSPTU. We also did a brainstorm about why Community Transport isn't working as an effective local transport system for older people. Most of the WSPTU participants (many in their 80s) are too young and healthy to qualify for community transport!!

We also decided to pick up on some local issues in between meetings to see if we could progress them.

Watch this space!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

West Metro Station Recommendations

The NSW Government has revealed 11 proposed stations and a corridor alignment for the first extension of the Sydney Metro - the West Metro between Westmead, Parramatta and the city.

The Minister for Transport, Mr Campbell, said the recommended station locations for the West Metro are:
Sydney University
Five Dock
Sydney Olympic Park

The West Metro will plug into the Sydney Metro to link Central, Town Hall, Martin Place, Barrangaroo, Pyrmont and Rozelle.

Read the Minister's Press Release here:

Audit of the Bus Network Review

Improving the Performance of Metropolitan Bus Services

The bus contracts program places significant responsibility on government to ensure that passenger bus services are delivered in the right number, at the right place and at the right time to meet the needs of commuters without being an excessive burden on taxpayers.

In this audit, we look to see how well the Department of Transport and Infrastructure is managing the performance of metropolitan buses.

Our report will answer the following questions:

  • Have clear performance objectives been set?
  • Is operator performance closely monitored?
  • Is performance information accurate and timely?
  • Is action taken to correct any deficiencies?

For further information contact Sean Crumlin on +612 9275 7286or Chris Yates on +612 9275 7252.

New Train Timetable from October 11

"From today the new Timetable is available on the Transport Info website and I’m encouraging commuters to go online and familiarise themselves with it so they are prepared well in advance of October." the Minister of Transport said in a media release.

The Minister said the benefits of the new timetable would include:
. additional peak services to the Western, South and East Hills lines
. additional services 9am to 12 noon for Western, South, Northern and North Shore passengers
. additional carriages on peak hour trains to increase capacity
. a more even spread of patronage across peak hour trains
. additional weekend services on the Bankstown and Inner West Lines
. crowd relief at CBD stations through altered platform arrangements
. direct rail access from the CBD to the Macquarie Park/North Ryde employment corridor.

See the release here:

New M2 Services to the City from the Hills

Four extra Hillsbus services would operate on the M2 every weekday from today, bringing relief to passengers travelling from the North West to the City and North Sydney.
See the Minister's media release here:

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cheaper fares for seniors around Australia

Media Statement - 6th July 2009
Jenny Macklin - Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Jenny Macklin

Australian seniors will be able to benefit from nation-wide, reciprocal public transport concessions, as part of a $50 million national agreement.

All seniors throughout Australia can now access concession fares on interstate public transport systems as part of the National Seniors Transport Scheme.

The Scheme will provide incentives for seniors to spend their tourist dollars in Australia and is a boost for communities and businesses that depend on tourism.

The commencement of a nation-wide Scheme follows the Western Australian and Queensland Governments' decision to adopt the new concession arrangements.

New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmanian, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory implemented the Scheme from 1 January 2009.

Until the beginning of this year, Seniors Card holders were only able to access public transport concessions in their home state.

This Scheme will benefit 800,000 Senior Card holders, who were previously unable to access public transport concessions outside their home state. This brings the total number of seniors who can access interstate concessions to more than 3 million.

The new Australia-wide concessions will enable older Australians to save money when they travel interstate, and make it more affordable for seniors to visit friends and families outside their home state.

The commencement of a nation-wide scheme delivers on a major election commitment.

This announcement builds on the Australian Government's recent agreement with Great Southern Rail to introduce concessions for Seniors Card holders on its services (the Indian Pacific, the Ghan and the Overland).

Seniors Cards are issued by state and territory governments to residents who are generally aged 60 years and over and no longer working full time.

Australian Government funding to states and territories for National Seniors Transport Scheme

State Four year funding

New South Wales $22,649,177

Victoria $6,272,885

Queensland $14,491,320

Western Australia $1,552,613

South Australia $1,401,448

Tasmania $431,995

Australian Capital Territory $648,866

Northern Territory $277,888

Total funding $47,726,192

Note: $2 million has been allocated for the provision of seniors concessions on Great Southern Rail services.

Source Link

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Transport Symposium Creates a Western Sydney Umbrella for Local Transport Action Groups

Western Sydney Transport Symposium 2009
20 June 2009

Western Sydney transport users join forces to fight for a better transport system

Over 50 individuals and representatives from community organizations from across Greater Western Sydney met in Granville today to discuss how to improve the liveability of the region.

People came from Campbelltown, Camden, East Hills, the Blue Mountains, Liverpool, Bankstown, Parramatta, Penrith and the Hills District.

The meeting expressed its grave concerns about rising petrol prices and the burden it places on people living in Western Sydney due to the long distances to travel and the inadequate public transport, walking and cycling facilities. They were also concerned about greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

The meeting heard tales of bus services cut, lack of bus shelters, people with prams walking on the road because of the lack of footpaths, poor or non-existing toilet facilities at transport interchanges, overcrowding and fears of using night time services. One senior citizen was forced to sit on an electrical meter box because there wasn’t a seat at a bus stop. The meeting also heard that people are forced to catch three different buses to get to hospital and health services.

Transport is an essential service for all people. Older people are voicing their concerns about their growing loss of independence.

‘This group will be able to represent transport disadvantaged people in Western Sydney and advocate for better public transport for people who live, work and study in Western Sydney" said Paul Falzon, one of the organisers.

The organizations decided to keep working together. They plan to make Western Sydney a better place to live by improving the transport and planning systems to overcome the problems of social isolation, environmental degradation and the financial burden that have become a fact of life in Western Sydney.

For more information

Bus Reform, Older People and Route 606 in Winston Hills

Many elderly folk live here in Winston Hills, -----all the people who live in woodbury Village---- also disabled people--- and the local school Winston Hills Primary has a unit for the intellectually impaired. Many of these children have to be travel trained, a task which requires a good bus service.

We depend on the buses to go to Parramatta and Castle Hill. At Parramatta we can get a train into town. The 606 used to go to Parramatta and Castle Hill. My dentist and Doctors are at Castle Hill. I could walk down to the bus shelter and get the bus.

Now I have to walk up HILLS to get to the bus to Parramatta and I am not able to walk up the many hills to Langden Road to get the T60. to Castle Hill.

Now we have THREE bus shelters in Winston Hills where NO bus picks up from. Everyone has to stand in all kinds of weather at the new bus stops with no bus shelters .

I am 74 and I have lived here since 1970. I and many other elderly folk would appreciate your help in this matter .We feel locked in. They say we should try and live independently in our own homes . I might add that I got no reply to my submission to the bus survey.

The people in the retirement village at Constitution Hill are very well catered for. They have their own Hills Bus service which goes into their village all day and late at night S8 ( I think it is called) They also have access to the 606 and the Tway buses. However all the elderly cannot afford to live in this retirement village.

Please consider us here in Winston Hills . WE REALLY NEED YOUR HELP NOW.

Kind regards

Mrs W.

Please leave a comment for Mrs W here and we can pass it on to her.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Expansion of Concession Travel Ten tickets

"From Monday, 22 June 2009, any customer who is currently entitled to use a concession single ride ticket is permitted to use a concession TravelTen for use on Sydney Buses.

This includes:

• Pensioners holding a Pensioner Concession Card (NSW, Victoria and ACT only) or a Seniors Card (or Seniors Temporary Card) from any state of Australia
• Half Fare Entitlement Card – NSW
• Indentured Apprentice/Trainee NSW Transport Concession Card
• Jobseekers with NSW Half Fare Entitlement Card for Jobseekers
• War Widow/er Concession Card (TC1) from NSW or Victoria only
• Children 4-15 years (with proof of age card)
• Holders of CityRail Transport Foil or Image
• Tertiary Students NSW Transport Concession Card (Form 204) with CityRail Transport Foil or Image
• Senior Secondary Student NSW Transport Concession Card (Form 202) with CityRail Transport Foil or Image

For details of where you can purchase your ticket and more details visit"

Friday, June 19, 2009

NSW Opposition Supports Western Sydney Projects and Community Transport

In the Budget reply speech, the Leader of the Opposition announced that they would scrap the CBD Metro project and support the development of the North West and South West rail lines. While this is the position that the Opposition has held for a while, it is good to hear them standing behind this promise and supporting these projects for the people of Western Sydney. Hopefully these are not empty promises. They depend on what the current Government does with the Metro contracts before the next election. Scrapping the Metro releases a lot of capital to invest in other ways. Liberal Party discussion of the NW and SW Rail Links and the Metro; click here.

The other interesting thing mentioned by the Opposition Leader was the fact that they would double the budget in the Community Transport Program. This is something Community Transport providers have been asking for for a long time. Compared to the huge infrastructure spends being promised, it only requires an increase of $3.9m to double the size of this program and this will benefit many disadvantaged people all over NSW. $3.9m represents about 1/800th of the increased money committed to transport infrastructure projects in the budget or 1/1000th of the transport services budget; a very small amount in the context of the transport budget. See the Liberal Party commentary on Community Transport; click here.

It was interesting that the Government has, by creating the idea of the 'Transport Super Department', taken the Liberal Policy and taken it one step further by including Roads.

NSW Budget Has Huge Increase in Transport Infrastructure Spending

Click here to see the Budget described by the Minister.

The NSW budget brought into the parliament this week has a huge 68% increase in infrastructure spending on transport projects. It includes commitments for replacement and new buses for the STA and the private bus service operators including for Western Sydney; especially the North West. It also includes new train carriages and the maintainence facilities for them, some work on Glenfield Station as "Stage 1" of the South West Rail Link and the, previously announced, additional car parks; again largely in Western Sydney. While this spending has mostly been announced already it is still a huge spend on lots of important infrastructure which will improve transport outcomes for people in Western Sydney.

Unfortunately the CBD Metro is a huge part of the budget this year ($580m) and is projected for $4.9b over the next few years to build the project. As mentioned in previous blog entries, this isn't a great outcome for Western Sydney. The $91m study for the West Metro is also included and would be a good start to the Sydney Metro. This is part of the Stimulus Package money provided by the Commonwealth.

The other big ticket item, announced in the weeks before the budget, is the creation of the new transport 'Super Department" which will take in Roads, Trains, Buses, Taxis, Ferrys, Ticketing, Planning and Regulation. This plan has great potential to help create an integrated transport system by facilitating the creation of an integrated ticket and coordinated ticket pricing. It also has the potential to help create a better land-use planning and transport system which can aim to create more sustainable outcomes for the city and better liveability outcomes for the people. A lot depends however, on the implementation of this idea and the leadship provided.

The main disapointments was the lack of funding for the proposed light rail projects in the inner west, because, from a Western Sydney perspective, this has the potential to reduce the need for the CBD Metro and is something people in the city want. The other disappointment was the lack of support for Community Transport. We would like to see more money in the Community Transport Program which is designed to reduce transport disadvantage. This program has not increased for many years and needs to be doubled to help ameliorate the problems created by the Bus Network Review. We would also like to see more money in the Easy Access rail station upgrade program to double the number of stations made accessible each year. The current program upgrades five stations per year.

Monday, June 15, 2009

'Bus Driver Dumps Kids' Story

Here is the link to the Daily Telegraph story about the bus that left a group of school children at the shopping centre in Blacktown, instead of taking them home, because he was "running late". Daily Telegraph June 11th

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Parramatta Ferry

The NSW Government will deliver a ferry service for commuters between Parramatta and the CBD.

From the Minister's Press Release (click here for the full release):

An Expression of Interest process did not identify a proposal from the private sector to meet the Government and commuter’s needs, so the NSW Government has stepped in to deliver the service.

"This means people living and working in Parramatta will be able to catch a ferry directly to the city during peak hour," Mr Rees said.

"It will be an hourly service operating from 7am to 7pm weekdays and 8am to 6pm on weekends.

"The Ministry of Transport and Sydney Ferries are working closely together and I expect to see the new commuter ferry service between Parramatta and the CBD in operation for passengers by the end of the year."

Travel Pass For Western Sydney

For many years I have thought a Western Travelpass should be available for less than a Purple. At least covering Macarthur to Granville, Emu Plains, and Richmond by rail and a wide variety of connecting buses. Could be good for coming election.


Please leave a comment for Eric by clicking on the comment link below.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dear Western Sydney Public Transport Users,

I am conducting research as part of my requirements for my bachelor's degree, in cooperation between the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at the University of Sydney and Twente University (The Netherlands). The research focuses on policies intended to persuade car drivers to use public transport more frequently. The centrepiece of the research is a survey to investigate individuals' reactions to different policies.

A link to the survey is below -- I would appreciate it greatly if you would be willing to participate. The survey consists of 12 multiple choice questions and can be filled in within five minutes.

Please feel free to forward this information onto others who live and/or work in the Sydney area.

Click here to go to the survey

Thank you in advance,

Srdjan Timotijevic
Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies Intern
Twente University (The Netherlands)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Full Costing of Car Use - PTUA

The Public Transport Users Association in Melbourne has submitted research to the Commonwealth Tax Review which describes the full costs of car use in Australia and made suggestions about how car use should properly be taxed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Windsor Station Upgrade

MoT Director General goes to Westbus/Hillsbus Comfort Delgro

Whenever a senior bureaucrat leaves their Department to go to a business that they have been regulating it leaves you with the feeling "gee, that's a bit close". Many people have talked about a 'cooling-off period' but, for some reason it hasn't happened.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Publicising 131500 at Youth Week

Western Sydney Community Forum were at Youth Week festivals in Blacktown and Fairfield publicising the 131500 services available to people on the internet and their mobile phones. Most people don't realise you can get 'next bus' and 'next train' timetable services via web enabled mobile phones - go to or use the widget on the front page of

Glenfield Transport Interchange


Works on the Seddon Park commuter car park extension at Glenfield have started.

Key features of the Glenfield Transport Interchange include:
• Construction of a rail flyover, north of Glenfield Station
• A major upgrade to Glenfield Station including a new platform, new pedestrian footbridge and easy access lift facilities;
• An upgrade to the transport interchange in Railway Parade including bus facilities, kiss and ride facilities and improved access to the station, and;
• The provision of a new multi-storey commuter car park on Roy Watts Road, in addition to the commuter car park extension at Seddon Park.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

News About North West Bus Timetable Changes

The Minister sent out this media release on May 12:

"Hillsbus have also now established a dedicated phone line available for all local schools to deal with any questions from parents and students – (02) 9890 0021."

New Car Park and EFTPOS machines

The Minister announced a new car park for Penrith:

And new EFTPOS facilities for Mt Druitt, Blacktown, Penrith and Parramatta stations:

You can find other media releases from the Minister, the Ministry of Transport and Rail Corp via the links on the left-hand menu of this blog.

Public Transport in Penrith - Car Parks, Infrastructure and Staff Cuts

I have read with interest about the new car park at North Penrith.

Even though 1000 car spaces may assist people who drive cars, what about the people who have no access to a vehicle and have to rely on public transport?

We need to encourage a shift to public transport and reduce the reliance on the private cars.
In Penrith Council’s submission to Infastructure Australia, they indicated that there is a need to develop public transport facilities.

The lack of Federal funding secured in the national infrastructre program shows the people living in Penrith that investment in public transport systems in our area is not considered a high priority by the Federal Government.

Instead, the NSW Government is slashing jobs from our rail lines. We need to make more jobs in public transport, not cut them. Cutting staff numbers can create unsafe environments, increased graffiti and vandalism. The people who will feel the major impact of these cuts are the most vulnerable people in our community.

We need to work to improve access to transport for the most socially excluded and transport disadvantaged people in Penrith.

What we need is an independent voice who will advocate that it's not only about profitiblity.

We need to provide an independent voice for public transport users who will advocate for the interests of public transport users in Penrith.

Susan Day
South Penrith Residents Action Group
for Western Sydney public transport users - Penrith

To contact Susan send an email to and it will be passed it on.

Going Solar - Transport and Sustainability Newsletter

If you are interested in public transport and sustainability this is a terrific newsletter that you can subscribe to.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Western Sydney Left Standing In The Rain

Earlier this year Western Sydney Community Forum wrote to the Minister responsible for Infrastructure Austalia suggesting that bus stop infrastructure had potential as a "job ready" project which would also help achieve the social inclusion and sustainability objectives that the Government had described for itself.

Western Sydney Community Forum wrote:

"Bus stop infrastructure is very important to improve social inclusion,
reduce transport disadvantage and increase the take-up of public transport
in the general community. Increased use of public transport is an important
part of reducing road trauma and greenhouse gas emissions.

Local government struggles to meet the demands on their resources for bus infrastructure and are sometimes less than enthusiastic about meeting these responsibilities.

Given that the Federal Government is interested in start-ready infrastructure projects to assist with the slowing economy in 2009 and;

Given that the Federal Government has a renewed interest in the provision of public infrastructure to improve the productive capacity of the Australian economy and;

Given that the Federal Government has a stated interest in improving social inclusion in Australian society and;

Given that the Disability Discrimination Act (2002) is Commonwealth legislation;

WSCF recommends that the Commonwealth financially assists Local Government to invest in bus stop infrastructure, particularly in Western Sydney.

WSCF also supports the establishment of a Bus Stop Infrastructure Corporation responsible to ensure all bus stops have sufficient investment in them, are maintained properly and made accessible in a reasonable time."

The Minister responded with:

"I agree that bus stop infrastructure is an important community facility and an
integral part of the public transport infrastructure. However, provision of
public transport and facilities is a state government responsibility.

Although the Rudd Government is now allocating record funding to local government, it does not have a role in the day to day operations of local government or the priorities that local government give to the development of community infrastructure."

There about 10,000 bus stops in Western Sydney and, if you provided accessibility and shelter for half these stops (they don't all need it), at a cost of about $15,000 per stop, it would cost a total of $75m.