The Problem With Sunday Timetables

Public Transport timetables on a Sunday are characterised by reduced levels of service compared to weekdays or in many cases no service at all. This means that Sunday timetables often don’t provide a useful service that meets customer expectations. These timetables meet neither of the frequency or coverage goals that often form the basis of network planning. In essence, Sunday timetables reduce mobility. This is of particular concern as those who lose mobility under Sunday timetables are typically those who can least afford it – those in disadvantaged areas far from the CBD and other services. This issue is more pronounced in areas only serviced by buses, as bus timetables are more likely to see reductions on Sundays than other modes.

This issue has been brought to the forefront in Sydney as a result of the short lived move to introduce Sunday timetables on a daily basis. This was done last minute due to a rapidly deteriorating COVID-19 outbreak and the associated restrictions. The intention of this move was to reduce mobility across Sydney, perhaps the most tacit admission from Transport for NSW that their Sunday timetables do indeed reduce mobility when compared to regular weekday service levels. These changes left some operators scrambling to fill gaps in their Sunday timetables, whilst people in other areas were left without service at all. Within a week Transport for NSW had backtracked and restored weekday timetables for some bus routes, with the majority of services returning to weekday timetables within two weeks.  

Services operate less frequently on Sundays compared to the rest of the week – Transport NSW Blog Collection
Continue reading “The Problem With Sunday Timetables”

Against the ‘Privatisation’ of Transport

Please support efforts to keep public transport in public hands. Sign the petition at https://ourtransport.org.au/take-action/

Public transport is a public service that needs to be run for the public good, not the private profit. The privatisation of public transport is an ideological obsession of the right, which consistently makes baseless claims in order to further this ideological agenda. Privatisation consistently fails to live up to the hype of its proponents and typically does not provide any benefits for the travelling public or the taxpayer. It is purported that the privatisation of services will deliver benefits such as a more reliable and innovative service delivery as well as better value for money for taxpayers. None of these things are true. Instead, a decrease in services, higher costs, and poorer outcomes for workers and commuters alike are the only things that are realistically achieved by the privatisation of public transport. 

This is currently a major issue in New South Wales. The New South Wales State Government has plans to privatise the state owned State Transit Authority, and contract out its services to private bus operators. This comes despite the fact that previous sales of State Transit operated services under the current government failing to deliver on their promises. Across bus and ferry services in Sydney and Newcastle, private operators replacing State Transit have not been able to provide a better service, and in many cases, have actually delivered worse outcomes than those achieved by State Transit.

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Privately run transport services are worse than government delivered ones – Transport NSW Blog Collection

Continue reading “Against the ‘Privatisation’ of Transport”

State Transit Places Electric Bus Order

State Transit has placed an order for 10 Custom Element electric buses for delivery between November 2021 and March 2022, the first electric buses ordered by State Transit. The vehicles will be based at State Transit’s Waverley depot as part of their Region 9 contract.

The Custom Element electric bus on trial with State Transit in March 2021 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

The order follows a successful trial of a Custom Element electric bus on routes out of Waverley Depot back in March. The bus trialled was the first electric bus to be built here in NSW, and this order will also be built in NSW at the Custom Denning factory in Western Sydney. Drivers involved in the trial gave the vehicle good reviews, noting a smooth ride quality and excellent braking.

Waverley depot has been chosen for the new electric buses due to the recent decommissioning of the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) compression station. This has allowed State Transit to repurpose the available CNG substation power for use as part of the required recharging infrastructure for the electric buses.

The Custom Element electric bus has a capacity of 80, with 43 seated. It is a fully low floor bus with 2 wheelchair accessible spaces. On a full charge, which takes up to 5 hours, the Custom Element can operate for up to 16 hours or around 400 kilometres in service. The batteries last for up to 1 million service kilometers.

More COVID Changes to Timetables in Sydney

Once again, there are changes to the timetables for public transport in Sydney. Bus services will move to a Saturday timetable with additional peak trips. This is in response to significant staff shortages caused by positive COVID-19 tests amongst a number of staff at depots across Sydney.

There are changes to timetables due to COVID-19 related staff shortages.

Changes by mode are listed below;

Buses

Services in Greater Sydney will operate to an amended Saturday timetable. There will be additional trips to ensure frequency is retained on high demand corridors and additional trips on weekday only routes that service key employment precincts. This includes a full weekday timetable for Route 309X from Railway Square to Port Botany.

Ferries

Services will operate hourly on all lines.

Light Rail

L1 Dulwich Hill Line services will operate to a normal weekday timetable. L2 Randwick Line services will operate to a Sunday timetable with additional services in the early morning and early afternoon. L3 Kingsford Line services will operate to a Sunday timetable.

Metro

Services will run every 10 minutes during peak periods and every 20 minutes at other times. 

Trains

Sydney Trains services will mostly operate to a weekend timetable. There will be additional services in the early morning and early afternoon to support construction and trade based essential workers as well as extra peak services to support social distancing.

NSW TrainLink Intercity services will mostly operate to a weekend timetable including the Hunter, Bathurst, Southern Highland lines.

NSW TrainLink regional services are operating on an ad-hoc basis, with most services being cancelled.

Transport for NSW is still urging all residents to stay home whilst the lockdown under COVID-19 Public Health Order continues.

Trips Cancelled as Due to COVID Related Staff Shortages

An employee who worked at Transit Systems Leichhardt Depot has reportedly tested positive to COVID-19. As a result, hundreds of services operated out of Leichhardt Depot have been cancelled today. This has affected dozens of routes across the Inner West and Inner City.

A Murray’s Coach operates a 438 between Martin Place and Leichhardt, replacing Transit Systems Leichhardt bus services – Transport NSW Blog Collection

The positive COVID-19 test of a staff member at Leichhardt Depot has forced over 200 staff to isolate for two weeks. This is having a significant impact on the ability for Leichhardt Depot to operate services.

Transport for NSW organised for coach companies to help provide a replacement to the cancelled services. Coaches operated on the following routes, with services approximately every 30 minutes;

  • 431 – Glebe to Central
  • 437 – Five Dock to Leichhardt
  • 438 – Abbotsford to Leichhardt and Leichhardt to Martin Place
  • 442 – Balmain to QVB
  • 470 – Lilyfield to Central

Despite the replacement coaches, many routes were left with no service at all. The cancellations affected routes 320, 389, 430, 431, 433, 437, 438N, 438X, 440, 441, 442, 445, 470, 502, 503, 504 and 504X.

Update 14/08/21 – Some drivers who were deemed ‘casual contacts’ have now been able to return to work upon receiving negative COVID-19 tests. A limited service on trunk corridors is operating. Alternative operators are still operating for some services on these routes in order to ensure a proper service frequency.

Routes operating include; 320, 389, 431, 437, 438X, 440, 442, 470 and 504

CDC Hillsbus were operating Transit Systems Route 389 due to COVID-19 related staff shortages at Leichhardt Depot – Transport NSW Blog

Update 16/08/21 – Services in Transit Systems Leichhardt operating area are operating to a Sunday timetable with some reduced frequencies as more drivers are able to return to work. This means that there is a basic level of services across all routes in the area from today. Alternative operators are still operating for some services on these routes in order to ensure a proper service frequency.

Update 18/08/21 – Services operated by State Transit Ryde and Waverley Depots are operating to a Saturday timetable with no school services due to COVID-19 related driver shortages. NSW TrainLink services are not running into Queensland, Victoria or South Australia and there are mass cancellations across the NSW TrainLink network.

Snowy Mountains Bus Trial

Transport for NSW and Cooma Coaches will operate a trial bus service on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between Friday August 6 2021 and Sunday 19 September. Services will operate between Jindabyne, Perisher Valley and Thredbo between 6am and 6:30pm.

A new bus service will link Jindabyne with Perisher and Thredbo – Transport NSW Blog Collection
Cooma Coaches will operate new trial services in the NSW snowfields – Transport NSW Blog Collection

The new service will help to alleviate issues with carpark overcrowding, and provide a safer way for visitors to enter the Kosciuszko National Park on weekends. The bus service will pick-up and drop-off at four locations in Jindabyne, so customers can leave their car parked at their accommodation and easily walk to one of the stops.

Skiers and boarders will be allowed to travel with their gear as well as a day pack. Other baggage is limited to off peak services and 20kg per person.

Key Facts about the trial include;

  • Bus service run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Peak morning services to Perisher and Thredbo run between 6am – 10am and off-peak services run between 10am – 5.30pm. Peak afternoon services from Perisher and Thredbo run between 2pm and 6:30pm and off peak services run between 8:30am and 2pm.
  • You can pre-book your seat online or turn up and go.
  • Services will cost $20 return or $10 one way
  • 12 buses will be operated by Cooma Coaches on the service
Map of new route in Jindabyne – Transport for NSW

Dynamic Weekday Timetables Introduced as COVID-19 Restrictions Relaxed

Transport for NSW has confirmed that public transport across the Greater Sydney area will mostly operate to a dynamic weekday timetable from Monday 2 August 2021. This is a significant increase to the Sunday timetables that have been in force since 19 July, and reflect the expected additional travel demand as some restrictions regarding Construction work are lifted from today.

Public Transport will run to ‘Dynamic Weekday Timetables’ from Monday 2 August 2021 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

These ‘dynamic’ timetables will not be regular weekday timetables. Instead, they will provide the general span of service that is usually seen on a weekday with changes to frequency based on the changed demand during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown in Greater Sydney. This will mean extra services in the early morning and early afternoon, with reduced levels of service at the height of peak, particularly on AM/PM City Express services.

Changes by mode are listed below;

Buses

Most services will operate to a weekday school holiday timetable. There will be reduced frequencies on AM/PM City Express services. Dedicated school services will operate where required.

Ferries

Services will operate hourly on all lines.

Light Rail

L1 Dulwich Hill Line services will operate to a normal weekday timetable. L2 Randwick Line services will operate to a Sunday timetable with additional services in the early morning and early afternoon. L3 Kingsford Line services will operate to a Sunday timetable.

Metro

Services will run every 10 minutes during peak periods and every 20 minutes at other times. 

Trains

Sydney Trains services will mostly operate to a weekday timetable. There will be reduced services in the AM and PM peak. Extra services will operate in the early morning.

NSW Trainlink Intercity services will mostly operate to a weekday timetable. There will be reduced services in the AM and PM peak.

NSW TrainLink Regional services operate to a weekday timetable for Regional, Hunter, Bathurst, Southern Highland lines. Services to Grafton have been cancelled.

Despite the increase in service, Transport for NSW is still urging all residents to stay home whilst the lockdown under COVID-19 Public Health Order continues.

Busways wins Region 7 Contract

Busways have announced that they have been successful in tendering for the Region 7 contract currently held by State Transit. This contract includes services across the North Shore and Northern Suburbs districts operated out of Ryde and Willoughby depots

Bus services in the North Shore and Northern Suburbs will be taken over by Busways from 9 January 2022 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

Busways will take over the Region 7 contract from 12:01am on 9 January 2022. The eight year contract includes 900 employees, 453 buses and two depots. This will see Busways more than double their Sydney operations, taking over the 67 routes and 204 school services in Region 7 which comprise 16.7 million service kilometers and 34 million passenger trips annually.

Busways Managing Director Byron Rowe highlighted the added efficiencies and technological advancements Busways would bring to the contract, including the introduction of electric buses. “By appointing Busways, the NSW government has backed an Australian-owned company to deliver world-class services for customers of the integrated transport network,” Mr Rowe said.

Commitments from Busways to improve the network in the Region 7 contract area include;

  • Thirty-five zero emissions buses (ZEBs).
  • Substantial depot capital works program to increase depot capacity and electrify the fleet
  • CCTV upgrades fleet-wide for improved safety and security
  • New 4G two-way radios fleet-wide for better service reliability and customer information
  • Cleaning and repair program to lift fleet presentation standards and passenger comfort
  • Solar powered smart technology at selected bus stops with real-time service information
  • Proactive and preventative maintenance regime backed by our ISO 55001 accredited Asset Management System

Services Cuts as COVID Lockdown Takes Hold

Transport for NSW has confirmed that services across the Greater Sydney area will be cut from Monday 19 July 2021, as restrictions under the COVID-19 Public Health Orders continue to be tightened. This means that all services will move to a permanent reduced Sunday timetable until further notice.

Services will be cut to Sunday timetables until further notice across Greater Sydney – Transport NSW Blog Collection

The move to reduced timetables will see a significant reduction in service across the entire network. Changes by travel mode include;

Buses

Services will operate to a Sunday or reduced timetable with additional services along some corridors. School services will still operate in some areas.

Sydney Metro

Services will run every 10 minutes during peak periods and every 20 minutes at other times. 

Sydney Trains

All lines will operate to a Sunday timetable. 

NSW TrainLink Intercity

BMT, CCN and SCL will operate to a Sunday timetable, HUN and SHL lines will operate as normal. 

Sydney Ferries

Services will operate hourly on all lines, except the Pyrmont line which will operate every 30 minutes.

Sydney Light Rail 

Services will run every 20 minutes 

This comes as COVID-19 restrictions continue to be tightened across Greater Sydney in response to the growing outbreak of the Delta strain in Sydney, with 1242 local cases since the start of the current cluster as of 18 July. Restrictions on movement are forcing work and study from home whilst many cannot leave their Local Government Areas except for essential work. Masks continue to be mandatory on public transport.

Transport for NSW COO Howard Collins urged commuters to stay home and not travel on public transport services across the coming weeks. Collins also noted that it is really important that we ensure the remaining services are only used by essential workers as per the current public health orders.

Update 22/07/21 – As a result of overcrowding concerns, additional services have been added to the network on top of the regular Sunday service levels. This includes extra bus services along key corridors and a doubling of peak Sydney Metro frequency from every 20 minutes to every 10 minutes.

Bus routes with extra services include;

  • B1 – Mona Vale to City Wynyard
  • 265 – Lane Cove to North Sydney
  • 309 – Banksmeadow to Railway Square
  • 309X – Port Botany to Railway Square
  • 324 – Watsons Bay to Edgecliff
  • 352 – Marrickville to Bondi Junction
  • 400 – Eastgardens to Randwick
  • 440 – Leichhardt to Railway Square
  • 600 – Pennant Hills to Parramatta
  • 607X – Bella Vista to City QVB
  • 610X – Castle Hill to City QVB
  • 611 – Blacktown to Macquarie Park
  • 664 – Parramatta to Norwest
  • 665 – Parramatta to Rouse Hill
  • 723 – Mt Druitt to Eastern Creek
  • 723 – Blacktown to Eastern Creek
  • 724 – Blacktown to Huntingwood
  • 779 – St Marys to Erskine Park

Update 25/07/21 – Based on updated advice from Transport for NSW there have been changes to bus services in some areas. Forest Coachlines, Transdev North Shore, and Busabout will all move to a weekday school holiday timetable with no school services from today. Punchbowl and Transdev South will move to a Saturday timetable with no school services from today. State Transit, Transit Systems, Hillsbus, Busways and Interline are all remaining on Sunday timetables including the previously reported supplementary services.

Update 31/07/21 – Move to ‘Dynamic Weekday Timetables,’ see here

Community Win – Balgowlah Bus Changes from 11 July 2021

Bus services in Balgowlah will be modified from Sunday 11 July 2021 in response to community feedback following a network review late last year. In particular, these changes have been designed to address significant community concern surrounding new route 172X.

Bus services in Balgowlah will be modified from 11 July 2021 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

Changes from 11 July 2021 in Balgowlah include;

  • Timetable adjustments for route 172X, predominantly during weekday peak periods, with a reduction in the number of services operating via the Urunga Street area
  • Reinstatement of peak hour route 168X between North Balgowlah, Seaforth and the City on weekdays
  • Reinstatement of peak hour route 171X between Balgowlah Shops, Balgowlah Heights and the City on weekdays
  • Timetable adjustments for route 162 between Seaforth and Manly, to support the reinstatement of route 171X, and to improve connections with ferry services at Manly during the afternoon peak period

There are a number of benefits that will be achieved from the introduction of these changes. Those living in Balgowlah Heights will regain direct peak services to the City on route 171X, those living in North Balgowlah will have a more direct service to the City on route 168X and there will be less services onroute 172X using the narrow Urunga Street during peak periods, addressing a key community concern. There will be the same number of buses between North Balgowlah, Seaforth and the City as now, as all removed on route 172X are being directly replaced by new 168X services.

These service changes are a big win for the Balgowlah community and come after a protracted community consultation period held in May 2021. This set of changes illustrate that community campaigns for service changes can be effective, and that Transport for NSW does actually listen to community consultation when it is conducted. The concern here is why there was not community consultation prior to the original set of changes, community consultation which might have addressed the problems identified before they ever occured.

Eastern Suburbs Bus Changes – Consultation Period Extended and What Needs to Be Fixed

In May 2021, the NSW State Government announced that the bus network in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs would be modified from later this year. You can find more details of those changes here. As part of this proposal, Transport for NSW has been conducting community consultation to gauge community sentiment towards these changes. The deadline to complete the community consultation survey has been extended to June 30. We urge you to review the proposed network and have your say before June 30. 

The NSW State Government announced that the bus network in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs would be modified from later this year – Transport NSW Blog Collection

Over 7000 responses have been made to the survey, which Transport for NSW will use to refine the proposed changes before they are implemented later this year. In particular, Transport for NSW has noted that access to St Vincent’s Hospital and Taylor Square from the Eastern Suburbs is a major concern that has been raised in feedback and that they are investigating solutions to improve access to the precinct. A spokesperson stated ““They have let us know off-peak services to Taylor Square are very important.” It was also noted that a large proportion of the feedback related to misunderstandings of the changes. For example, commuters concerned about the removal of popular cross regional routes 353 and 400, despite the fact they are being replaced by the very similar routes 350 and 390X respectively.

Transport NSW Blog believes that there are three main areas that need to be improved from the original plan before the changes are implemented later this year – access to Taylor Square, bus-light rail interchange at Randwick Junction and better delivery of information.

Improved access to Taylor Square should be a key priority when reviewing the proposed network. There need to be two ‘All Day Frequent Routes’ from the South East to Taylor Square and St Vincent’s Hospital, in addition to the ‘All Day Frequent Route’ 333 from Bondi. A frequent route along both the Maroubra/Kingsford corridor and the Coogee/Randwick corridor to Circular Quay via Taylor Square is the best solution that would help to improve access to this precinct. Redirecting Route 374 from Coogee to the City via Taylor Square and improving both Route 374 and Route 396 from Maroubra to the City via Taylor Square to ‘All Day Frequent Routes’ is the best option to ensure proper connectivity. Retaining Route 372 services along Cleveland Street would allow for Route 374 to be redirected via Taylor Square.

The interchange between buses and light rail services at Randwick needs to be improved to ensure the success of the proposed network. Currently, for those changing between buses and light rail travelling inbound, the bus stop is located some 300m away, which does not allow for easy transfers. There needs to be a new inbound stop implemented either on Avoca Street or Belmore Road at High Cross Park in order to ensure easy transfers between services at Randwick. In addition, the level of services between Coogee Beach and the light rail terminus in Randwick under the proposed network is significantly lower than the level of service today, which will further reduce the ease of transfer. Currently, there are 16 buses an hour off peak between Coogee and Randwick, which will be reduced to 8 under the proposed network. Ensuring frequent links to the light rail is important, and improvements such retaining Route 372 between Coogee and Railway Square via Randwick would be useful in achieving this aim.

There needs to be a better delivery of information in relation to the changes when the final network is implemented, to ensure that misinformation does not circulate and commuters in the Eastern Suburbs understand how to use the new bus network. The way that the information regarding the proposed changes has been circulated has allowed for a misinformation campaign and has meant that many people do not fully understand what changes are actually occurring. Using online mapping technology to compare the level of accessibility from any address within 30 minutes has been used overseas to much success, and information campaigns with proper printed booklets and a well set out website with all the information about the changes can help to ensure that people understand the new network.

This is the first set of major changes that Transport for NSW has actually engaged in meaningful community consultation, and it is hoped that the feedback received will actually lead to an improved version of the new network. Please complete the community consultation survey before June 30, and make sure you educate yourself on the full set of proposed changes here.