Blue Mountains Commuters and Transport Users Association

Submission to Christie Public Transport Inquiry

From Blue Mountains Integrated Transport Forum

Ref. Public Transport Inquiry March 10

Date 14th March 10

Mr Ron Christie A.M
Long-Term Public Transport Plan for Sydney
Independent Public Inquiry
GPO Box 248
Sydney NSW 2001

Dear Sir.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reply to the released document I have read the Report and I find it encapsulates many of the issues that confront us at present it covers many and varied issues that I personally believe will set us a task to implement for the benefit of the Sydney Public. It certainly is all embracing and I feel a base for the future

I am Chair of the Blue Mountains Integrated Transport Forum ( I am also Secretary of Blue Mountains Commuter & Transport Users The Forum operates under the auspice of the Blue Mountains City Council the membership consists of Council Planning Executive Staff Representatives from Community Transport,Western Area Health,Taxis, Community Representation, Local Bus company, City Rail Operations, RTA< Western Sydney Community Forum

Aim is to “Strive for the improvement in all forms of public transport for the Blue Mountains Community”

I was very pleased the Report included the following:
Integration means that publicly funded public transport services must work together in every possible way rather than competing or seeming to compete with each other.

The Forum has been operating for ten years; we felt it was advantageous to establish communication links between all forms of transport, issues that came to our attention were.

  • The members to gain support from Council, understanding how the Council operates and establish in the Management Plans and other Document recognition of the Forums Role in Transport Issues in the Mountains.
  • The recent Bus Review was recently completed with good results improved services, there as only one Bus Company after consolidation of three companies.
  • The Upgrading of Stations for Easy Access has been and still part of the action plan, from Rail to Low Floor Bus to Bus Stops for Easy Access is progressing As the Great western Highway widening progresses Bus stops and pedestrian access is a vital concern ( The Forum did establish the local roads were accessible for main bus routes) we are still addressing other bus routes.
  • The Forum was able to obtain the Pensioner Excursion Ticket after lobbying for extension to the Blue Mountains
  • The Forum saw the development of a Bike Plan for the Mountains
  • The Taxi service across the Mountains is segregated into specific are that does not allow the Companies to engage customers outside their areas unless a prior booking is made, fares both ways are charged if the taxi is hired to go in another area

The present issues we are addressing:

  • The finalisation of the integrated transport plan covering all modes of transport of the Mountains' services
  • Memorandum of understanding with adjacent LGA’s
  • Timetable adjustments to rail timetable
  • Future rolling stock replacement of V sets.
  • Rolling stock that cater for wheel chair, luggage, prams bicycles etc.
  • The Forum is deeply concerned with the lack of capacity of the Western Line especially between Strathfield – Redfern the only suggestion so far is the Parramatta-Westmead Metro The suggestion of the Redfern to Wynyard may have advantages but once again both are long term.
  • Supplementary services to Granville or Olympic Park Interregional Services with appropriate timetable adjustments would be advantageous
  • The Rolling stock Loading Gauge between Springwood - Katoomba or beyond is a factor for the type or trains to be used on this sector.

This is a brief overview of the Forum’s activities after viewing your report I may with your permission use the Report as a basis for our continuing work in the Blue Mountains I will now address other issues that the report has highlighted

Journey Times of Travel.

  • The times of travel have been extended by dwell times we find hard to accept.
  • The timing of services is the same in the peak hour and off peak hours.
  • The Forum & BMC&TUA  agrees the doors closing procedures do increase the time at stations the Guard should have hand held wireless phone as he / she has to walk across to the carriage P.A. to activate “ Doors Closing “ announcements
  • We cannot see any reduction of the principle of three minute head ways where the egress and ingress  of our trains are governed by the Sydney Culture of racing for the trains, slow to board and alight making sure the companions are still with each other My observation in Paris – London – Rome if you are not quick well you take the next service.

Freight Services. Across the Mountains Section 2.4

This is a contentious issue on the Mountains, the Community supports more freight on rail but concerns with interruption to passenger’s services has to be managed.

The Blue Mountains Community has not be en fully consulted with Transferring petroleum products from rail to road the long term costs of using trucks, accidents either truck only or truck and other vehicle types.

There should be a study to obtain the following “The origin and destination of all freight what infrastructure is available and what improvements rail should implement to capture more freight on rail”

The Forum / BMC&TUA support the completion of the Maldon – Dombarton Line

We suggest a Y Link should be built at Holsworthy to allow access for both Passenger and Freight to East Hills Line.

Both Way Signalling on the Mountains or more sidings to allow passing between passenger and freight services for efficient use of the infrastructure

We support the recommendations listed in the report on Freight

Multi Ticketing MyZone

We are still investigating this system and how it will effect the introduction of a Three Day Tourist Pass and $20.00 Day tickets are an improvement we will monitor the introduction of My Zone as not all the details are known at this time

Ferries  4.3.

Ferries have experienced poor leadership as demonstrated by the number of Reviews has demonstrated we agree the use of the Harbour and Parramatta River has not been fully explored

The BMC&TUA is a ware that not all wharves meet the Access and Disability Act the Wharves should be constructed to meet this requirement and the information should be similar to what is provided on railway stations.

I note Closure of the Information Centre at Circle Quay was a disappointment especially as the property was owned by RailCorp

The Ferry Corporation was not proactive and did not respond in a timely fashion when Watsons Bay became a popular destination.

We support the suggestion to providing a frequent service to Barangaroo from East Balmain

We note the ferry services that were used between Erskine Street and Darling Street Balmain (ref. Ferries of Sydney G Andrews)

Taxis 4.4.1

We appreciate the comments and recommendations especially the fare for 1.6 km is approx $9.00 of which approx $3.00 is for a an inquiry into the communication charges especially with the mobile phone usage etc We wait for the Taxi Inquiry. recommendations currently being heard at NSW Parliament

It costs me $37.00 dollars to go to Penrith from Glenbrook as the taxi is entering another Contract Area return fare must be paid.

The taxi industry has to enter a new era with strong determination to overcome the cultural restriction that have grown over the years The taxi could provide economical service in OFF Peak This is the challenge we have to address

As pointed out the use of taxis or minibuses in low population area is another challenge (This report does engender many ideas that are well worth investigating and we appreciate the approach taken)

Interchanges 4.5

The Forum is already has on its agenda Kiss and Ride, Park and Ride Commuter Car Parking developments pedestrian and bicycling. These are already considered in the Forum and the BMC&TUA in the quest to improve Public Transport.

5.1 Funding and Finance

What is an annoyance to us is the pressure on us to accept from CityRail the reduction of staff on stations, and the constant reference to the costs that occur to give service when we observe the following:

  • Cancelled projects by RailCorp Ticketing, Communication systems
  • Station Indicator models of different types withdrawn after a short term usage

In the Audit Office, we observe the employment of Contractors / Consultants. What is a concern is the reliance on these for

a. Work that could be carried out by Railcorp employees with appropriate Upgrading of their existing skills which should improve their management skills

b. We note in the Audit Office Report 2009 page 88 that only now RailCorp is improving the maintenance of the Rolling Stock  RailCorp we suggest should develop a Quality Assurance programme that is independently audited.

c. The BMC&TUA agrees the Customer will pay for improvements in service  if the service improves reliability and comfort etc

d.There should be more careful introduction of the PPP system to projects recent events in Road Projects are disturbing the Air Port Link has not been  a great success other PPP projects are not good reading

6.1 Principles in Successful transport management

My early submission to the Transport Inquiry was mainly on the delivered infrastructure, the process can be long and challenging What process do you use to bring to a conclusion a successful outcome that improves the services the Community has found wanting also what is the best way to obtain outcomes for the future the attached copy of the page from IPART Review of CityRail fares 2009-2012 illustrates the web of Authorities that have been introduced to provide the transport services to NSW.

The Suggested Structure for Transport for Sydney appears to be a worthwhile approach it would be of interest to test it against the present structure that applies to NSW.

The State Plan. Metropolitan Transport Plan page 30

I have not been able to correlate the differences between this plan and the State Plan but briefly it appears the present structure and instrumentalities will stay the same, accent on fast services from Springwood to Wynyard with a saving of 10 minutes from Penrith to the City raises the following questions

  • What type of carriages will be used ?
  • Will the present services from the Mountains be maintained with the present Intercity cars.
  • How many services will be provided?
  • Will a 24 hour seven day a week service be provided?
  • As the Capacity of the system is restricted between Strathfield – Redfern how will the extra services from Richmond and Springwood be accommodated?
  • As the trains are nominally to be 10 -12 cars what stations will be lengthen to accommodate the extra cars and what is the dwell time allowed for these type of trains?
  • The only time saving appears to be the transfer time saved at Central and Redfern to services to the City. Even this could be questioned if longer time is spent coming from a station that is lower than Town Hall  

State Plan Light Rail page 32

There is support for Light Rail as it is viable in the areas as indicated in the Public Transport Inquiry and State Plan, the present plan for the route to traverse Sussex St the climb from this street to George Street maybe a challenge to wheel chair and the elderly

It is noted suitable platforms to be provided allow access to the vehicles

The route to Dulwich Hill does service a wide community but would it be  more productive to service Canterbury Station and Hurlstone Park with Canterbury a terminus station

State Plan Better Bus Plans page 36

The Forum supports any proposals to improve the bus services that can be improved in a shorter period this must be in tandem with improved ticketing etc.

State Plan Sydney’s Iconic Ferries page 36

The replacement of ferries must be supported by a Managements structure that ensures reliability of service and improved customer service The Customer Charter must be audited by an Independent Authority.

The Ferry Corporation must be proactive in providing services provision of extra services when required.

The new Ferries must have outside accommodation and must be able to carry equivalent number of passengers on the popular ferry routes e.g Taronga Zoo.Watsons Bay Darling Harbour

State Plan Key Freight Projects page 41

Other aspects of the Plan appears to be a continuation of the Plan does not address the Western Rail Line and the movement of freight on this line which should be a factor in increasing 

With the pressure on the Western line increasing there has to be a Metro in the longer term to cater for the increase in population in Sydney Basin other projects are supported North West and South Wes t sectors have to be completed with a second crossing under the Harbour. 

State Plan Road Projects page 40

The Western Highway is mentioned as being enhanced the Highway is still being widened and it does need enhancement on the Lower Mountains as traffic changes have occurred since the earlier widening programmes

I thank you for this opportunity to make this submission the Public Transport Inquiry document it will require more understanding and development I have found it an all embracing document needs more time to address all the aspects in the document especially Management. Funding and other aspects that ensure delivering a better transport system

We support WESROC in their effort in improving the Public Transport System in the Western Area of Sydney

Yours faithfully
Paul Trevaskis