Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport has been given the go ahead for a 2026 opening alongside the airport after the Federal Government committed $1.75 billion alongside an initial $3.5 billion in State funding for the new line. The jointly funded project will cost $11 billion and will connect the new Western Sydney Airport to the existing rail network at St Marys.
The line will consist of six stations. A station at St Marys will allow for seamless connections to the Sydney Trains network. Stations at Orchard Hills and Luddenhma will allow for new town centres and urban development. Stations at the new International Business Park and Aerotropolis will service the new major commercial centres in the region, whilst a station will also be located at the airport itself.
The line will now enter the detailed planning stage, ahead of construction beginning in 2021. The line is expected to open alongside the airport in 2026.
The NSW Government has confirmed that they will be adding extra bus services along key corridors from this week. These extra services will allow for better physical distancing on public transport, and ensure that limits of 12 people per bus are more easily maintained.
An extra 110 trips each week will be added to key corridors on the regular bus network during peak periods. This is in addition to regular shuttle buses between new overflow car parking at Moore Park and Central. These services will all be operated by State Transit.
Extra services will run on the following routes
1 – Moore Park to Central EXPRESS
B1 – Mona Vale to City Wynyard via Dee Why
202 – Northbridge to City Gresham Street via North Sydney
246 – Balmoral Heights to City Wynyard via Spit Junction
247 – Taronga Zoo to City Wynyard via Spit Junction
285 – Lane Cove West to City Wynyard via Freeway
309 – Banksmeadow to Railway Square via Green Square
309X – Banksmeadow to Railway Square EXPRESS
324 – Watsons Bay to City Walsh Bay via Edgecliff
372 – Coogee to Railway Square via Randwick
At this stage no extra services will be operated by private operators. Bus NSW director Matt Threlkeld suggested that private buses “could be deployed to increase service levels in Greater Sydney during peak periods if issues relating to fare collection, destination signage, real time apps and accessibility can be overcome.”
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.
From Sunday 17 May 2020, Transport for NSW has implemented new measures in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in light of the increased freedoms as restrictions on movement are eased. This include new restrictions on capacity in order to ensure physical distancing.
A timeline for the privatisation of State Transit, the state government owned bus operator, has today been revealed. The first tenders will go out next month and the process is expected to be complete by April 2022.
Each region will be tendered separately, with Region 8 (Lower North Shore and Northern Beaches) being the first put out to tender next month. This will be followed by Region 7 (North West and Upper North Shore) and then Region 9 (Eastern Suburbs and Inner City).
The indicative timeline for the tender and privatisation is as follows;
Request for Tender
Region 8 (North)
(Brookvale, North Sydney and Mona Vale depots)
Region 7 (West)
(Ryde and Willoughby depots)
Region 9 (East)
(Port Botany, Randwick and Waverley depots)
The new operators will begin services in Region 8 by 1 October 2021, Region 7 by 1 December 2021 and Region 9 by 1 April 2022.
The decision to tender all three regions separately, instead of at the same time, came after market sounding determined that privatising all regions at once was far too ambitious. Further, with the impact of COVID-19, potential operators wanted more time to consider their bids in order to be in the most competitive position. With Region 8 attracting the most interest from potential operators, it was decided that it would be the first to be privatised.
At this stage, there is no firm sign of which operators will be tendering or control of these regions. Despite this, it can be reasonably assumed that all major players would be interested in these lucrative contracts. Potential tenders include Busways, Comfort Del Gro Corporation (as CDC), Deutsche Bahn (as Arriva), Kinetic, Keolis Downer, Sea Link Travel Group (as Transit Systems) and Transdev.
It had previously been announced in October 2019 that the government had intended to tender out all regions other than Region 6 in 2020 for new contracts taking over on July 1 2021. This included all the State Transit regions. As the State Transit tenders have been spilt, it will likely also mean changes to the tender process for other regions as well.
Scroll to the end of the article to see a list of Northern Beaches routes renumbered from May 3 2020.
There will be a number of upcoming changes to the numbers of some bus routes across Sydney. Focusing in on routes with non-standard route numbers (any route without a regular 3-digit route number), all routes will be renumbered into a regular system. All routes will either have a three digit number (e.g. 000, 374, 999), a three digit number followed by ‘X’ to denote an express or limited stops version of a route (e.g. 000X, 374X, 999X) or a three digit number followed by ‘N’ to denote an overnight route (e.g. 000N, 374N, 999N).
A large majority of routes already have a regular route number, so these changes will be mainly focused at ‘express’, ‘limited stops’, ‘metrobus’ or ‘T-Way’ route services. Of course, some of these routes have already received this change. All CDC Hillbus express services have been numbered with a ‘X’ suffix at the end of years, and recently STA introduced this on their Botany Road corridor. Some overnight services on flagship corridors, such as STA’s 333 and 400, have had services between midnight and 5am renumbered 333N and 400N for over a year. The changes now are to ensure that this is uniformly applied across the network.
Transport NSW Blog supports these changes to the network. We believe that it is important to retain a uniform numbering system for all bus routes across Sydney and NSW, and that integrating all routes across Sydney more uniformly into the current system is a big win. Despite this, we want to ensure that these changes are indeed applied across the whole network. Too often we see half hearted changes that get applied to half the network but then never get fully rolled out. All routes need to comply with the new system fully, and realistically all non-compliant routes should move across at the same time in order to avoid any drawn out period of noncompliant routes.
STA Region 8, covering the Lower North Shore and Northern Beaches area will be making these changes across all of its express and limited stops routes from Sunday 3 May 2020. It is understood that STA Region 9, covering the Eastern Suburbs and Inner City as well as TSA Region 6, covering the Inner West and Inner South will change over to the new system when the long awaited changes to the South East bus network due to the opening of the light rail occur. It is anyones guess as to when that and the other regions renumbering will occur, however it is expected to be completed later this year across STA and TSA.
LIST OF NORTH SHORE AND NORTHERN BEACHES ROUTE NUMBER CHANGES
Route E50 renumbered to 150X
Route E54 renumbered to 154X
Route E60 renumbered to 160X
Route E65 renumbered to 165X
Route E66 renumbered to 166X
Route E68 renumbered to 168X
Route E69 renumbered to 169X
Route E70 renumbered to 170X
Route E71 renumbered to 171X
Route E75 renumbered to 175X
Route E76 renumbered to 176X
Route E77 renumbered to 177X
Route E78 renumbered to 178X
Route E79 renumbered to 179X
Route E80 renumbered to 180X
Route E83 renumbered to 183X
Route E85 renumbered to 185X
Route E88 renumbered to 188X
Route E89 renumbered to 189X
Route L90 renumbered to 190X
No routes or timetables will be changing on 3 May 2020, only the route numbers that buses show on the destination board and in timetable apps.
Thanks to Leon Sharpe for providing images of buses displaying new route numbers for use in the article.
With COVID-19, travel has come to a grinding halt. Australians are not permitted to travel overseas from Australia and there have been significant limits placed on domestic travel as well. As a result, most of the regular passenger flights that fly into Sydney have been cancelled.
Whilst some cancelled flights may not matter to those of us at home, for Australians stuck overseas, it has become a nightmare to get home. There are now just 10 commercial international flights that are still flying into Sydney. Most of these flights operate on a less than daily basis, but they generally operate at least twice a week.
Qatar Airways is maintaining their daily QR908/909 service from their Doha hub. Passengers from nearly 70 destinations can still connect at Doha onto QR908 to Sydney, although you can’t leave the terminal due to a ban on foreign arrivals. This is the best option for passengers throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa due to the ease of connections and availability of flights with Qatar.
Malaysia Airlines is operating a twice weekly MH122/123 service from their Kuala Lumpur hub. You can still transit via KL, however Malaysia Airlines has cancelled most of their flights and as such limited options are available. You can connect to KLM flights to Amsterdam at KL on a combined Malaysia Airlines-KLM ticket.
Singapore Airlines is operating at least twice weekly on their SQ211/232 service from their Singapore hub. Australians cannot transit in Singapore as all transit passengers have been banned from Singapore. These flights are only for Australians returning home from Singapore or Singaporeans returning to Singapore.
Garuda Indonesia is operating a once weekly GA712/713 service from their Jakata Hub. Australians cannot transit in Indonesia as all transit passengers have been banned from Indonesia. These flights are only for Australians returning home from Indonesia or Indonesians returning to Indonesia.
Cathay Pacific is maintaining a trice weekly CX100/101 service from their Hong Kong hub. Australians cannot transit in Hong Kong as all transit passengers have been banned from Hong Kong. These flights are only for Australians returning home from Hong Kong or Hong Kongers returning to Hong Kong.
China Airlines is maintaining a twice weekly CI51/52 service from their Taipei hub. Australians cannot transit in Taipei as all transit passengers have been banned from Taipei. These flights are only for Australians returning home from Taipei or Taiwanese returning to Taipei.
All Nippon Airways is continuing to operate three to four times weekly on its NH879/880 service from their Tokyo Haneda hub. Passengers can still transit via Tokyo Haneda, however ANA has significantly reduced their network. Options exist for connections from the US and Europe.
United Airlines is still operating their daily UA863/870 service from their San Francisco hub. You can still connect from domestic US flights onto the service to Sydney, with United offering transit from all major American cities. Passengers can transit from overseas where that country has not been restricted from transit by US officials.
LATAM is maintaining its four times weekly LA800/801 service from their Santiago hub via Auckland. Australians can still connect from throughout South America onto LATAM flights in Santiago. LATAM has special dispensation to allow for passengers to transit through New Zealand on this flight, as otherwise New Zealand have banned transit passengers.
Air New Zealand is still operating their three times weekly NZ103/104 service from their Auckland hub. Australians cannot transit in New Zealand as all transit passengers have been banned from New Zealand. These flights are only for Australians returning home from New Zealand or New Zealanders returning to New Zealand.
Australians can obviously return home easily by commercial means if they happen to be in one of the 10 destinations with service to Sydney. For those who aren’t in one of these 10 cities, Qatar Airways via Doha, ANA via Tokyo Haneda, United via San Francisco and LATAM via Santiago are the best options. This is because they are the only four places where you can still connect onto a flight to Sydney as a transit passenger.
The L3 Kingsford Branch of the CBD and South East Light Rail opened on Friday 3 April at 5am. Check out our favourite photos from the day.
Transport NSW Blog would like to note that these photos were taken on an essential journey that would have occurred regardless of the opening of the light rail. Correct social distancing procedures were followed at all times.
Finally, despite delay after delay, the L3 Kingsford Line is slated to open tomorrow Friday 3 April 2020. This comes after the government failed to meet its most recent opening target or “March 2020”. The first service is expected to be at 10am.
The line, as part of the CBD and South East Light Rail project, will operate between Circular Quay and Juniors Kingsford. It shares the same corridor through the CBD to Moore Park as the L2 Randwick line, before branching off and operating through Kensington and Kingsford in the median of Anzac Parade.
The line has been greatly delayed. The line was originally supposed to be finished in early 2018 for a mid-late 2018 opening. Due to construction delays and a legal battle between construction company Acciona and the government, this was revised to “some time in 2019”. Upon the start of testing in August 2019, it was revealed that the opening of the Kingsford branch had been further pushed back to March 2020. This was to allow for more time for testing and landscaping works. After missing the March 2020 date due to travel slowdowns imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, a soft opening will instead take place on 3 April 2020.
The opening will be a ‘soft opening’. This means no press release or promotion of the new services in order to try and reduce the patronage on the line, which must open for contractual reasons. This ‘soft opening’ is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in which people are being encouraged to stay at home and not travel unnecessarily.
Busabout Wagga will operate more than 240 extra bus services in Wagga Wagga from Monday 30 March 2020 in the biggest ever increase to public transport for the major regional centre. This will include new evening services as late as 9pm for most routes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, Sunday service for the first time between 9am and 5pm as well as more route options and more frequent services.
This increase is part of the NSW Government Regional Growth Program, which is funding increases to bus services in 16 major centres across Regional NSW. Tweed was the first to receive the increase in December 2019, and is now followed by Wagga Wagga.
CHANGES TO BUSABOUT WAGGA SERVICES
Charles Sturt University via Kooringal, Central Wagga and Estella
64 extra weekly services
Increased services to operate every hour between Lake Albert and CSU
Straightened route now extends to CSU and Estella
New Thursday, Friday and Saturday services run until 9pm
New Sunday services run from 8am to 6.30pm
Route no longer runs via Tatton, TAFE, Railway Street or Red Hill Road between Tamar Drive and Plumpton Road. New Route 969 and improvements to other services provide connections to these areas.
Central Wagga to Bourkelands via Mount Austin and Lloyd
41 extra weekly services
Adjusted route extends to Lloyd
Northbound services into the CBD run via Best Street, connecting at Wagga Courthouse with buses to CSU
Thursday, Friday and Saturday services now run until 8.30pm
New Sunday services run from 9am to 4.30pm
Route no longer runs to Springvale Drive
Central Wagga to Glenfield via Ashmont and Turvey Park (counter-clockwise loop)
37 extra weekly services
Combined routes 962 and 963 provide services every 30 minutes between Southcity Shopping Centre and the CBD
Northbound services into the CBD run via Docker Street and Gurwood Street, connecting at Wagga Courthouse with buses to CSU
Thursday, Friday and Saturday services now run until 9pm
New Sunday services run from 8am to 5.30pm
Central Wagga to Glenfield via Ashmont and Turvey Park (clockwise loop)
47 extra weekly services
Together, routes 962 and 963 provide services every 30 minutes between South City Shopping Centre and the CBD
Northbound services into the CBD run via Docker Street and Gurwood Street, connecting at Wagga Courthouse with buses to CSU
Thursday, Friday and Saturday services now until 8.30pm
New Sunday services run from 9am to 4.30pm
Adjusted Route 966 replaces Route 964 with buses every two hours, seven days a week, for Estella Rise and areas previously services by Route 964
Forest Hills to Wagga via East Wagga
35 extra weekly services
New earlier services into the CBD on weekday mornings
Thursday, Friday and Saturday services now until 8pm
New Sunday services run from 9am to 4pm
Central Wagga to Estella Rise via North Wagga and Estella
21 extra weekly services
Thursday, Friday and Saturday services now until 9pm
New Sunday services run from 8am to 5pm
Adjusted Route 966 replaces routes 964 and 968, with buses every two hours, seven days a week, for Estella Rise and areas previously services by Route 964
Adjusted Routes 960 and 966 replaces Route 967
Adjusted Routes 960 and 966 replaces Route 968
Tatton to Wagga via Mount Austin and Turvey Park (Riverina TAFE)
140 new direct weekly services between Tatton and the CBD
Services stop at TAFE and the Botanic Gardens
New Route 969 connects at Lakeside Drive interchange with Route 960 for services to CSU via Kooringal
Thursday, Friday and Saturday services run until 8pm
Sunday services run from 8am to 5.30pm
Morning and afternoon school buses are the only services on this route that run directly between Tatton and Kooringal Mall, and via Railway Street in town
On Demand Bomen service (Route 970)
Suburbs across Wagga to Bomen Business Park
(New trial service)
New public transport service to and from Bomen Business Park
Runs on weekday mornings and afternoons
Offers fixed-schedule services and bookable on-demand options
Pick-up and drop-off locations in suburbs across Wagga