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”

Photos – Farewell to Waverley Gas Buses

Waverley depot has a history of over 20 years of operation of buses powered by compressed natural gas, with Scania L113CRB Orana Mercedes Benz 0405NH Citaro and Mercedes Benz OC500LE CB60 EvoII models all operating from the depot. At its peak, over 100 gas buses operated from the depot

However, due to the aging nature of many gas buses necessitating their replacement and also a desire to introduce electric buses at Waverley Depot, the gas powered fleet at Waverley have been decommissioned from service.

On February 27 2021, a tour was held to farewell the gas bus fleet at Waverley Depot, after their final day in service earlier that week. Here are some photos from the day.

Gas Scania 3509 and Merc Citaro 1329seen at La Perouse – Transport NSW Blog Collection
Gas Scania 3509 leads Merc Citaro 1329 up the hill from Malabar Beach – Transport NSW Blog Collection
Gas Scania 3509 sits at Malabar Beach – Transport NSW Blog Collection
The Merc Citaro graveyard at Port Botany depot, with rows of withdrawn Citaros awaiting their turn to be scrapped – Transport NSW Blog Collection
Merc Citaro 1321 at Clovelly Beach – Transport NSW Blog
Merc Citaros 1321 and 1348 turn around at Clovelly – Transport NSW Blog Collection
Merc Citaro 1348 seen at Bondi Beach – Transport NSW Blog Collection
Merc Citaros 1321 and 1348 seen at Bondi Beach – Transport NSW Blog Collection

Bus Service Changes from 24 January 2021

There will be changes to the bus network and timetables across Sydney from 24 January 2021, with changes to timetables and services in the Eastern Suburbs, North Shore, Northern Suburbs and the Shire. This will include over 700 additional bus services, two new routes as part of the all day “frequent” network and other changes to the bus network to support easier interchange and reduce duplication.

There will be changes to the bus network and timetables across Sydney from 24 January 2021 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

The new additions to the frequent network of routes operating every 10 minutes across the day, seven days a week are;

  • Route 120 – Chatswood to City QVB via North Willoughby and Willoughby Road
  • Route 500X – West Ryde to City Hyde Park via Top Ryde and Victoria Road

Other changes to the local bus network have been designed to support the new frequent network, improve connections and reduce service duplication. A list of all the changes to the network are provided below

BUS SERVICE CHANGES FROM 24 JANUARY 2021
Route 115
Chatswood to City
(New Route)
This is a new route that will replace route 343 between Chatswood and the city. Early morning and late night services will operate between Chatswood and North Sydney only.
Route 120 Chatswood to City QVB
(New Route)
This is a new frequent route that will operate between Chatswood and the QVB in the city. The new route replaces routes 272 (North Willoughby to City Wynyard) and 340 (Bondi Junction to Chatswood via City).
Route 200 
Artarmon to Bondi Junction
This route will be changed to operate between Artarmon (Campbell Street) and Bondi Junction only. There will be no change to current service frequency or hours of operation.
Route 272 
North Willoughby to City Wynyard
(Withdrawn Route)
This route will be withdrawn and replaced by the new frequent route 120 (Chatswood to City QVB).
Route 333 
North Bondi to City Circular Quay via Bondi Junction
Minor timetable changes to meet demand and improve reliability, maintaining the current frequencies of every 6 minutes or better during the day, and every 10 minutes or better during the early morning and evening, 7 days a week. Route 333 will now operate 24 hours, replacing overnight 333N services. Additional stops will be introduced along Oxford St to support improved customer access.
Route 333N
North Bondi to City Circular Quay via Bondi Junction
(Withdrawn Route)
This route will be withdrawn and existing early morning and late night services will operate as route 333.
Route 340
 Bondi Junction to Chatswood via City
(Withdrawn Route)
This route will be withdrawn and replaced by the new frequent route 120 (Chatswood to City QVB). Customers using route 340 between Bondi Junction and the City can use alternative services such as routes 333 and 440.
Route 343
 Kingsford to Chatswood via City
(Withdrawn Route)
This route will change to operate between City and Kingsford only. Services between Chatswood, North Sydney and the city will be replaced by the new route 115 (Chatswood to City via North Sydney). Route 343 will continue to operate between Kingsford and the City, with no changes to service frequency or hours of operation.
Route 500X 
West Ryde to City Hyde Park 
(New Route)
This is a new frequent route that will operate between West Ryde and Hyde Park in the city. The new route replaces routes:M52 (Parramatta to City Circular Quay)515 (currently Eastwood to City)*518 (currently Macquarie University to City)**520 (Parramatta to City Circular Quay)X15 (City Town Hall to Eastwood)X18 (City Town Hall to Denistone)* Route 515 will change to operate between Eastwood and Ryde shops** Route 518 will change to operate between Macquarie University and Meadowbank
Route 500N Parramatta to City Hyde Park
(New Route)
This is a new route that will replace the overnight services on route 520 (Parramatta to City Circular Quay). The 500N will operate between around 12am to 5am, seven days a week.
Route 501 Parramatta to Central Pitt StThis route will change to operate to Parramatta (currently runs to West Ryde) and will replace route M52 services between Parramatta and West Ryde.  Services will operate every 10 minutes or better during weekday peak hours, every 15 minutes during off peak times and Saturdays, and every 20 minutes on Sundays.  Early morning and late-night services will operate at least every 30 minutes.
Route 506 Macquarie University to City Domain via East RydeAdditional afternoon peak services on weekdays will be added to this route, to replace existing route X06 services (City Domain to East Ryde).
Route 507 Meadowbank Station to GladesvilleThis route will change to operate between Meadowbank Station and Gladesville only.During weekday morning and afternoon peak hours, services will be extended to and from the city.  Service frequency will be increased seven days a week (operating every 10 mins during weekday peak hours and 30 mins off peak), and later evening services will operate across the week.The new route 517 (Macquarie Centre to Ryde shops) will replace existing 507 trips between Macquarie University and Top Ryde.
Route 513 Carlingford to West RydeThis route will change to operate between Carlingford and West Ryde only. Route 518 will now provide full time connections to F3 ferries at Meadowbank Wharf.
Route 515 
Eastwood to Ryde shops
This route will change to operate between Eastwood and Ryde shops. Service frequency will increase across the week (operating every 15-20 mins during weekday peak hours, 30 mins on weekends) and later evening services will operate across the week. Services between Top Ryde and the city will be provided by the new frequent route 500X (West Ryde to City Hyde Park).
Route 517 
Macquarie Centre to Ryde shops
This is a new route that will replace route 507 between Macquarie University and Top Ryde. The 517 will operate seven days a week.
Route 518 
Macquarie University to Meadowbank
This route will change to operate between Macquarie University and Meadowbank Wharf via Top Ryde.
Route 520 
Parramatta to City Circular Quay
(Withdrawn Route)
This route will be withdrawn. Overnight and early morning services will be replaced by new route 500N (Parramatta to the City).
Route 525 
Parramatta to Strathfield
This route will change to operate between Parramatta and Strathfield only. Earlier and later services will operate throughout the week.
Route 549
 Parramatta to Epping via North Rocks
Additional morning peak services will be added to this route to provide additional travel options for customers.
Route M52 
Parramatta to City Circular Quay
(Withdrawn Route)
This route will be withdrawn and replaced by the new frequent route 500X between West Ryde and Hyde Park, and by route 501 between Parramatta and Pitt Street at Central Station. 
Route X06 
City Domain to East Ryde
(Withdrawn Route)
This route will be withdrawn and replaced by additional services on route 506.
Route X15
 City Town Hall to Eastwood
(Withdrawn Route)
This route will be withdrawn and replaced by the new frequent route 500X (between the City and Ryde) and route 515 (between Ryde and Eastwood).
Route X18 
City Town Hall to Denistone East
(Withdrawn Route)
This route will be withdrawn and replaced by the new frequent route 500X between the City and Ryde and route 518 between Macquarie University to Meadowbank (currently Macquarie University to City).
Route 977 
Miranda to Lilli Pilli (Loop Service)
There will be additional services. Services will operate around every 15 minutes during weekday peak hours and 30 minutes during off peak times and on Saturdays. Sunday services will operate every 60 minutes.Later evening services will operate seven days. There will be more than 115 additional weekly services
Route 987 
Cronulla to Kurnell (Loop Service)
There will be additional services. Services will operate around every 30 minutes during weekday peak hours and 60 minutes during off peak times and on weekends.Later evening services will operate seven days.There will be around 70 additional weekly services
Routes 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 258, 259, 458, 505, 521, 523, 524, 533, 536, 538, 540, 541, 543, 544, 545, 546, 549, 550, 551, 552, 553Minor timetable changes to meet demand and improve reliability

Farewell UNSW Express Routes

Today, Monday December 21 2020, was the final day of operation for the UNSW express buses which have spent decades shuttling students from Central Station to UNSW and return. The final trip was a Route 898 service from UNSW High Street to Central, departing at 6:59pm and arriving into Central at 7:16pm to end an era.

The final UNSW express service was a Route 898 service operated by 4997 from UNSW High Street to Central, departing at 6:59pm – Transport NSW Blog Collection

UNSW express bus services began as early as March 1962, with express short workings of Route 393 and 395 operating between UNSW and Central. From March 2 1964, these services were designated as their own seperate routes, gaining the route numbers 693 and 695. By 1967, the routes had been reorganised so that Route 691 serviced the High Street side of UNSW and Route 695 serviced the Anzac Parade side of UNSW, before being renumbered as the 891 and 895 at some point in the 1990s.

Over the years, a number of different other route variants also serviced UNSW. Route 690 (later 890) operated from Circular Quay to UNSW Anzac Parade via Taylor Square all stops, whilst Route 694 (later 894) operated express from UNSW Anzac Parade to Circular Quay in the PM Peak. Route 659 operated limited stops between UNSW and Bondi Junction, whilst Route 892 operated limited stops between UNSW High Street and Circular Quay.

As a result of construction for the CBD and South East Light Rail project, from 25 October 2015, the UNSW routes were reorganised. AM Peak trips from Central to UNSW High Street retained their 891 route number. PM Peak trips were consolidated to only operate from High Street on Route 893 (lower campus) and Route 898 (upper campus). This was the final set up that operated until the last day of service.

It was the light rail that ultimately became the demise for UNSW express buses. From Tuesday 22 December 2020, UNSW students and staff will have to catch the light rail from Central to UNSW, with stops provided on both High Street (on the L2 Randwick Line) and ANZAC Parade (on the L3 Kingsford Line).

2318 rests in Randwick after an 891 service from Central to UNSW – Transport NSW Blog Collection
3708 operates an 893 service from UNSW to Central along Anzac Parade – Transport NSW Blog Collection
3754 departs UNSW on a 898 service to Central – Transport NSW Blog Collection

Northern Beaches and Lower North Shore Service Changes from December 2020

There will be major changes to the bus network across the Northern Beaches and Lower North Shore from December 2020. This includes over 2000 new weekly service, the introduction of a new all day “frequent” network and other changes to the local bus network. 

A new frequent network and changes to local services will be implemented across the Northern Beaches and Lower North Shore from December 2020 – Transport NSW Blog Collection.

The new frequent network of routes operating every 10 minutes across the day, seven days a week are:

  • Route B1 – Mona Vale to City via Dee Why and Spit Junction
  • Route 100 – Mosman to City via Spit Junction and Military Road
  • Route 144 – Manly to Chatswood via Spit Junction and St Leonards
  • Route 160X – Dee Why to Chatswood via Beacon Hill and Frenchs Forest 
  • Route 199 – Palm Beach to Manly via Mona Vale and Dee Why

Route B1 will now operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week, with a service every 30 minutes seven days a week between Mona Vale and the CBD via Dee Why between midnight and 4am. New overnight services from Manly to Avalon via Mona Vale and North Sydney via Spit Junction will also be introduced. 

Other changes to the local bus network have been designed to support the new frequent network, improve connections and reduce service duplication, particularly from Warringah Mall towards Manly and the City. A list of all changes are listed below.

Continue reading “Northern Beaches and Lower North Shore Service Changes from December 2020”

Changes to Transport Services from 25 October

There will be changes to transport services across NSW from 25 October, with additional bus services as well as changes to ferry and train timetables. 

There will be changes to transport services from October 25 2020 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

There are numerous changes that will be introduced from October 25 2020

  • Transit Systems Inner West Bus Changes
  • Additional Bus Services for Coffs Harbour and Lismore
  • Other Bus Changes (Hillsbus, Punchbowl and Premier Illawarra)
  • Minor Train Timetable Adjustments 
  • Ferry Service Pattern Changes

Continue reading “Changes to Transport Services from 25 October”

Service Changes from 25 October 2020

There will be changes to services across the Inner West and Eastern Suburbs of Sydney from 25 October 2020. An outline of changes and a full list are provided below.

There will be changes to services across the Inner West and Eastern Suburbs of Sydney from 25 October 2020 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

These service changes include;

  • Over 1000 additional services, including more services during peak, on weekends and late at night
  • New all day limited express routes 438X and 461X along Parramatta Road
  • Changes to routes in the Concord, Five Dock, Leichhardt and Rodd Point  areas
  • Discontinuation of routes M10 and M50, replaced with Light Rail

Continue reading “Service Changes from 25 October 2020”

Service Changes from 23 August 2020

There will be changes to services across Sydney and the Hunter from 23 August 2020. An outline of changes and a full list are provided below.

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There will be changes to services across Sydney and the Hunter from 23 August 2020 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

These services changes include;

  • Over 1,300 additional weekly services across Sydney and the Hunter
  • New Nightride routes N31 and N92 to service North-Western and South-Western growth areas
  • Route adjustments related to the completion of the CBD and South East Light Rail
  • Route adjustments across Western Sydney to better reflect travel patterns

Continue reading “Service Changes from 23 August 2020”

Face Masks on Public Transport?

Recently, the NSW Government has grappled with the question of whether or not to make face masks or coverings compulsory on public transport. At this stage they have made the decision not to require masks or coverings, just to strongly recommend it. Despite this, there are loud calls to make them mandatory in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on public transport.

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Should face masks be compulsory on Public Transport? – Shuttershock

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Signage on the exterior and interior of the bus now encourages wearing a face mask – Transport NSW Blog Collection

Transport for NSW has implemented a large suite of measures in an attempt to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading on public transport. (You can read about those here and here.) Despite implementing these measures, one measure that has been commonly enforced both overseas and in other Australian state is the mandatory wearing of face mask on all services. Initially medical advice did not suggest that wearing face masks was an effect measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but we now know that wearing a face mask significantly reduces the chance of COVID-19 transmission. In May, former Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said wearing masks on public transport “is not an unreasonable thing to do”. Despite this we have continually seen advice from Transport for NSW that suggested masks were unnecessary.

The evidence is now clear in saying that by wearing a face mask, we can reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. NSW Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have both updated their advice and now recommend healthy people wear a mask in public where there is widespread transmission and/or in places where physical distancing is difficult. This includes on public transport.

Based on this updated advice, Transport for NSW now states that  “Face masks are strongly recommended on public transport” based on the updated advice from NSW Health. They have rolled out a new advertising campaign with a focus on wearing a face mask on public transport, with posters and signage appearing at stations, wharves and on buses this week.

What is notable about this new advice is the key emphasis across all messaging is that this is a ‘recommendation’ rather than a requirement. Anecdotal evidence suggests that less than a third of all passengers on services are wearing a mask, with many passengers also failing to adhere to social distancing requirements. In addition, many customer facing staff are also not wearing masks, despite Transport ‘supposedly’ providing staff with sufficient face masks to wear during their shifts. This makes a mockery of the new recommendations and demonstrates the lack of commitments to mask wearing at Transport for NSW.

It is clear that by not mandating face masks on public transport, the risk of COVID-19 transmission on Transport for NSW services is elevated. Only time will tell if the current stance is the correct one. What do you think? Should face masks be mandatory on public transport?

Transport NSW Blog endorses the use of face masks on public transport based on the prevailing medical advice from NSW Health and the WHO. We would like to advise that this article is not a substitute for medical advice and the author of this article has no medical training. 

Farewell Qantas 747

Yesterday, Wednesday 22 July 2020, the final Qantas 747 departed Australia for the last time. After 49 years, there are no more 747s in the Qantas fleet.

The last Qantas 747 taking off from Sydney Airport for the final time – 22/07/20 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

VH-OEJ, a 747-400ER, was wheels up from Sydney “Kingsford Smith” Airport at 3:28pm before completing a low level flyover of many Sydney landmarks. The flyover took the plane back over the airport, over Bondi Beach, out to Sydney Olympic Park before the plane dipped its wings to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House over Sydney Harbour. After its flyover of Sydney, the plane headed south to say farewell to the first 747-400, VH-OJA at HARS in Wollongong before heading out over the Pacific. Not done yet, the pilots left behind a Kangaroo in the sky as a fitting final farewell for Australia’s last 747.

The final 747 traced a Kangaroo in the sky off the East Coast before it headed over the Pacific – Transport NSW Blog Collection via FlightRadar24

Qantas took delivery of its first Boeing 747 in August 1971, with the first passenger flight on 17 September 1971 from Sydney to Singapore. In nearly 49 years of service with Qantas, the 747 fleet has flown over 3.6 billion kilometres, the equivalent of 4,700 return trips to the moon or 90,000 times around the world.

Qantas operated 65 747 aircraft over the years, including the 747-100, 747-200, 747-SP, 747-300, 747-400 and the 747-400ER. Each model had specific capabilities the allowed for longer operations carrying more passengers. In 1979, Qantas became the first airline to operate an all 747 fleet (in an era when Qantas was an all international airline).

The 747-400 was perhaps the most revolutionary 747 for Qantas. The first 747-400 delivery flight broke world records when it flew a world first non-stop commercial flight from London to Sydney in 20 hours and nine minutes. The 747-400 allowed for direct flights from Australia to the US and for one stop trips to Europe.

More recently, the 747 has operated on routes where the flagship A380 is too big but where smaller planes don’t have the range to operate. These included flights to Johannesburg, Santiago, Tokyo and Vancouver. The final regularly scheduled 747 passenger flight was operated by VH-OEE, as QF28 from Santiago to Sydney, touching down on 29 March 2020.

VH-OEE arriving from Santiago as QF28 on the final scheduled Qantas 747 arrival – 29/03/20 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

Throughout July, Qantas operated a series of farewell flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra using VH-OEJ. Whilst this wasn’t the big farewell that Qantas has originally planned for later this year, it was only fitting to send off the queen like a queen. The final passenger flight operated as QF747 on 17 July 2020 as a roundtrip from Canberra. The final flight in Qantas colours occurred nearly a week later on 22 July 2020, when OEJ departed from Sydney to Mojave via Los Angeles. Some additional pictures from her departure from Sydney are below.

Electric Bus Trial Comes to State Transit

State Transit has been trialling an electric bus over the past two weeks, in order to determine the suitability of electric buses to the State Transit operation. Transport NSW Blog was lucky enough to spend an evening with the bus as it travelled throughout Sydney’s eastern suburbs. It is understood that the trial is in preparation for an order of electric buses to be made by State Transit.

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The vehicle, a Yutong ZK6131HGE was based out of Waverley Depot for the duration of the trial. It has a range of approximately 300km on each charge, and operates on a fully electric 324kWh motor. The bus was charged using a 150KW DC charger, capable of a 2.5h quick charge. The bus is wheelchair accessible, air-conditioned and has space for two wheelchairs.

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The bus mostly duplicated timetabled services, travelling just ahead of the actual service in order to collect a higher number of passengers. Two drivers from Waverley were specially picked to operate the bus over the trial periods and the drivers were at liberty to determine which trips the bus operated. This has seen the bus operate on a variety of routes regularly operated by Waverley and other Eastern Region depots. This saw the bus operate on route 309, 333, 340, 343, 357, 377, 379, 394, 396, 400 amongst others.

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Despite being based at Waverley, the vehicle had to travel out to STA AMD at Leichhardt each evening to be charged. This is because Waverley depot does not currently have the ability to charge electric buses. If a full order of electric buses is made, Waverley depot will have its gas fuelling facilities converted to electric charging stations to facilitate the fleet.

Transport NSW Blog was highly impressed by the vehicle during the in service trips we joined the vehicle for. The power that the bus produced was impressive for an electric bus. It was quick off the mark and felt powerful. Travelling up Barker Street, Kingsford, on the 400, the bus was able to maintain 40km/h the entire way up the hill. It was very quiet, with only some small sounds made by the motor audible at the very rear of the bus. Suspension was sufficient, dampening all but the worst bumps in the road. Overall, it was impressive for an electric bus.

All photos Transport NSW Blog Collection