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
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
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.
The move to reduced timetables will see a significant reduction in service across the entire network. Changes by travel mode include;
Services will operate to a Sunday or reduced timetable with additional services along some corridors. School services will still operate in some areas.
Services will run every 10 minutes during peak periods and every 20 minutes at other times.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Transport for NSW has announced that Keolis Downer have been successful in tendering for the Region 8 contract, which includes bus services on the Lower North Shore and Northern Beaches operated out of Brookvale, Mona Vale and North Sydney depots.
Keolis Downer will take over the $900 million contract from 31 October 2021, delivering over 1.2 million services each year. A key point in the contract will see the introduction of 125 electric buses over the next eight years, as older Volvo B10BLE and Volvo B12BLE vehicles are retired from the fleet.
The contract will see new headway technology will be implemented on buses used for the B-Line in order to improve reliability of services. Also as part of the contract on demand services between Mona Vale and Palm Beach will become permanent.
All existing State Transit drivers and maintenance staff will be offered a two year job guarantee with Keolis Downer.
Transport for NSW has proposed a new bus network for the Eastern Suburbs. This new network has been designed to integrate with the CBD and South East Light Rail and provide more services across the Eastern Suburbs. Transport for NSW are currently seeking feedback on the proposed network, which you can provide at this link
Summary of Key Changes
Retained eight direct express services to/from the CBD in the AM and PM peaks, with increased frequencies
Nine new “All Day Frequent Network” routes, operating every 10 minutes or better 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week
New and improved East-West and North-South cross regional connections based on customer travel patterns
Better connections to key hubs Bondi Junction, UNSW, Newtown, the University of Sydney, Eastgardens, Green Square and Redfern.
Better integration with the new CBD and South East Light Rail
Reduction of duplicating bus services, including the removal of bus services to the CBD duplicating the Light Rail and to Bondi Junction duplicating the new All Day Frequent Routes
The “All Day Frequent Network” will operate every 10 minutes or better 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week. It is designed to provide high frequency connections along key corridors to major hubs. Routes include;
304 – Green Square to Circular Quay via Surry Hills
309 – Matraville to Redfern via Botany Road
333 – North Bondi to Circular Quay via Bondi Junction
343 – Kingsford to Circular Quay via Rosebery
350 – Bondi Junction to Sydney Airport via Eastgardens
370 – Coogee to University of Sydney via Green Square
379 – Bronte to North Bondi via Bondi Junction
390X – Bondi Junction to La Perouse via Maroubra Junction
After 22 years in service across Sydney, the final Mercedes Benz 0405NH Citaro will be retired by the end of this month. 300 of the type were built specially for Sydney and operated out of Leichhardt, Port Botany, Ryde and Waverley depots.
There will be changes to bus services across Western Sydney from 18 April 2021. This will include over 2000 extra services a week across both route and school services to help support new developments and provide better connections across the network.
Key Changes include
New routes 740, 748 and 824
Routes 810 and 811 converted to 810X and 811X full time
Initially entering service in July 1986, the Chopper sets have now been retired from service with Sydney Trains. The final passenger trip for the C sets was on 26 February 2021, with a final farewell tour on 6 March 2021
Initially entering service as an extension of the contract for suburban K set cars, the C sets were the first train in the NSW fleet to be operated by “Chopper control”. This new technology was designed to improve passenger comfort and safety through stepless control of acceleration, improved traction reliability and redesigned regenerative brakes. At the time, the NSW railways were still ordering trains with outdated Camshaft technology, which was being discontinued by rail manufacturers.
The C sets were the forerunners to the all new Tangara design that was specifically built to take advantage of this new Chopper technology. The the order was further designed to provide a chance for railway engineers to familiarise themselves with the new technology ahead of the larger Tangara order.
The final revenue service operated by a C set terminated at Liverpool at 9:25pm on Friday 26 February 2021. They will be replaced by new Waratah Series 2 trains.
See below for some photos from the C set farewell tour;
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.