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
COVID-19 has thrown up a range of unique challenges for the transport industry. How do operators keep their passengers and operators safe whilst continuing to operate services? Transport for NSW and operators have been working closely with NSW Health to address the challenge of COVID-19 and support the containment efforts.
Across all modes, Transport for NSW has put in place strategies to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Transport for NSW and bus operators have taken steps to reduce driver passenger interactions on buses. This includes blocking off the front seats closest to the driver, closing Opal readers in front of the driver and banning people from standing in front of the wheelchair area. Operators that still accept cash payments have temporarily stopped them, if they also have Opal enabled.
These measures still do leave the driver at risk, however it does reduce the level driver-passenger interactions and therefore the overall level of risk. Due to poor design of Australian buses, we can’t move to block the front door and force passengers on via the rear door like in Europe, as this would fall foul of Australian Disability Accessibility requirements. Some operators in regional areas don’t have Opal, so they still have to handle cash.
COVID-19 hopefully will be the catalyst to make improvements to our bus services. All entrances to buses should be fully accessible and all buses in NSW should accept contactless payment, not just buses in Sydney. These are practises that have been standard in Europe for more than a decade.
On light rail operations, doors are now auto opening at all stops. This is instead of passengers having to push a button to open vehicle doors. This stops people unnecessarily touching various surfaces. Across all modes, there is also now additional cleaning. This means that vehicles, stations, stops and wharfs are being cleaned more often and more thoroughly.
COVID-19 has also had the effect of significantly reducing passenger numbers. Usually full buses and trains have been operating empty or with no passengers. Peak hour express services have been particularly effected with people working from home.
There is some suggestion that there may need to be a reduction in services. State Transit has begun reducing the number of services operated by articulated buses. A move to Saturday timetables during the week is also understood to be on the cards. It is simply unsustainable to continue to operate near empty buses for week or potential months.
Here in NSW, transport is largely funded by the state government. There isn’t a high level of reliance on fares to operate services. This is in contrast to places like Queensland or the United States, where transport is often funded at council or county level and are much more reliant on fare collection for continued operations. These areas will likely have a bigger impact on transport from COVID-19.
There is now some suggestion that long distance coach and train services should be suspended. This is because these services see passengers and drivers in enclosed spaces for longer periods of time. This puts these people at higher risk for contracting COVID-19. On the other hand, these services are often vital links for small regional communities. They would likely struggle if their lifelines were cut.
A reduction in aviation has also been seen across new as a result of COVID-19. Most international flights, including all Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin Australia international flights have now been suspended. Domestically, up to 60% of flights have also been suspended.
This has led to people stranded overseas, however once again it is regional communities in NSW that are most at risk. REX and QantasLink services to regional NSW are lifelines for many communities, providing freight and trade links. Both of these airlines are reducing flights due to COVID-19, impacting on these communities.
Pandemics like COVID-19 have a significant impact on all aspects of life. Transport, as a shared communityexperiencewherepeople are in close quarters is one area that is particularlyimpacted. Here at Transport NSW Blog, we intend to keep you up to date with the latest changes due to COVID-19. Stay safe everyone!
South-East Bus commuters got a first look at their bus network today, after confidential plans containing the proposal was leaked overnight. These changes are being introduced due to the opening of the CBD and South East Light Rail, in order to reduce service duplication between the tram and the bus network. The proposed changes will begin at some point after the L3 Kingsford Line of the light rail network opens later this month.
It is important to note that this confidential document is a draft document of the changes ONLY and is subject to change. Transport NSW Blog has confirmed the validity of the document with internal sources, which they say is mostly final, but do warn that some changes may occur. Transport NSW Blog has been made aware that an official announcement is to be expected later this week and it is believed that the leak was deliberate leak.
A full list of known changes is listed below;
319 – Maroubra Beach to Bondi Junction via Oberon Street, Randwick Junction and Charing Cross
375 – Coogee Beach to Railway Square via Randwick Junction, Moore Park and Taylor Square
390 – Coogee Beach to La Perouse via Randwick Junction, Kingsford and Maroubra Junction
398 – Clovelly Beach to La Perouse via Coogee Beach, Maroubra Junction and Matraville
348 – Wolli Creek to Bondi Junction changed to operate via High Street in both directions
370 – Coogee Beach to Leichhardt changed to operate via High Street in both directions
373 – Coogee Beach to Circular Quay becomes overnight only 373N Coogee Beach to Circular Quay via Taylor Square (11pm – 6am ONLY)
391 – La Perouse to Railway Square becomes La Perouse to Kingsford via Bunnerong Road
392 – Little Bay to Circular Quay becomes Little Bay to Redfern via Bunnerong Road, Kingsford and Green Square
394 – La Perouse to Circular Quay becomes overnight only 394N La Perouse to Circular Quay via Taylor Square (11pm – 6am ONLY)
400 – Bondi Junction to Sydney Airport changed to operate via High Street in both directions
All express routes will move to a four digit route number, but will be retained
X39 becomes 339X
X40 becomes 341X
X73 becomes 373X – potential for minor stopping pattern changes
X74 becomes 374X
X77 becomes 377X – potential for minor stopping pattern changes
X92 becomes 392X
X93 becomes 393X – potential for minor stopping pattern changes