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