Blue Mountains Commuters and Transport Users Association

Submission to NSW State Plan

From Blue Mountains Commuter & Transport Users Assoc. Inc.

Date: 20th March 10

The Hon Christina Keneally M.P
NSW Labor Government

Thru The Hon.Phil Koperberg M.P.
Member for Blue Mountains

I wish on behalf of the Blue Mountains Commuter the Transport Users Association Inc to submit our response to the State Plan, the following questions and comments.

As the Plan is all-embracing, it is difficult to give an overall view without more careful study and the Structures of the Ferry Corporation, RailCorp, and State Transit appear to remain the same an explanation of the mechanisms to implement the Plan is required...

There is one anomaly I feel with the State Plan is there is no mention of Country Link services What is the Government’s Plan for the Public Transport in the NSW other than the Metropolitan Area?

The Plan envisages the introduction of Fast Services to the Sydney CBD from Springwood the Association members have raised the following questions.

  • Will the Intercity Services from Lithgow – Mt Victoria be maintained at the same frequency?
  • The present services have Dwell Times factored in the timetable at Emu Plains – Penrith and Blacktown will the same Dwell Times apply to the Fast Services to be introduced in 2013?
  • What type of carriages/trains will be used the present fleet has limited life and the number of cars available are insufficient to cater for increase in services?
  •  The Association is fully aware the Infrastructure between Strathfield – Redfern has reached capacity i.e the number of track paths is limited, will these fast services be introduced without sacrificing other services?
  • The Association submits that to cater for growth of the Western Area supplementary services to outer Regions have to be considered i.e Services from the West to Granville or Olympic Park
  • The Fast Services from Springwood to Wynyard’ what stations on the Mountains will these services stop at?
  • There is mention of 10-12 car services. The question is what stations will allow the use of these longer trains?
  • The question is Fast Services Peak Hour only or a 24-hour seven days a week service.
  • The saving of time has been questioned in the media We need more definitive information on the savings, there is time saved transferring at Central or Redfern to suburban services but will the time spent at Redfern Central and Town Hall due to dwell times that are required for 10-12 car trains?

State Plan Light Rail page 32

There is support for Light Rail as it is a viable for the area as indicated, as the members of the Association do use the rail-bus-ferry system in the Sydney Basin. The route appears to suit Sydney needs however, no doubt the planning of the route will ensure the extension of the system meets the Access and Disability act the route through Sussex Street has one disadvantage the climb fro Sussex to York may inhibit some.

The light rail to Canterbury could be considered as this area has the potential for growth.

Taxis 4.4.1

We acknowledge there is an Inquiry on Taxi Services however the Boundaries System that applies to taxis i.e Taxis within the specified boundaries are not allowed to pick up customers outside their Boundaries unless pre booked. This requirement therefore allow the taxis too charge the return fare from the set down point to base this doubling the fare i.e the fare from Glenbrook to Penrith in a taxi is $37.00 approx not $15.00 this policy restriction should be changed to further the use of taxis rather than car

Ferries 4.3

The BMC&TUA is aware that 50% of ferry wharves do not meet the Easy Access and Disability Act; given there is a proposal for new ferries an Easy Access Programme to reconfigure the wharves for Easy Access Federal Funding should be sourced on this

Issues as was done with the ferries that are being withdrawn.

The Association requests the reintroduction of the Information Office at Circular Quay it was not only assistance to the tourists but the NSW Community CityRail has an information booths at Central as well as State Transit has information booths Why not booths for ferry services ?

The new ferries must have outside accommodation that ensures a pleasant trip on our harbour and rivers as was the custom more many years.

The Ferry Corporation must be more proactive in providing services especially in holiday times on Routes to Watsons Bay, Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour or other routes as they arise.

Parramatta River should be used for more frequent services connecting with buses

Another issue: Why the Parramatta River cannot be dredged, it would be an advantage for Rivercats also the cleansing effect of the tides to refresh the river (Yes, we in the West use the Parramatta Services)

State Plan Key Freight Lines. page 41

The Association is supportive of more freight on rail we are mindful of the projected increase in truck traffic on the Great Western Highway with the inherent increase of accidents already we witness the increase of petrol tankers from the withdrawal of rail services Nowhere have we seen any costs both plus an minus on the changes from rail to road

The justification for this is not clearly understood however will still pursue the quest for more freight on rail and parallel with this we support the construction of the Maldon- Dumbarton Line as freight from the West especially coal will have an alternate route to the Illawarra Ports, also with the construction of Intermodal Interchange both in the West and Outer Suburban should see an increase of freight on rail (We hope)

State Plan Road Projects page 40

The Great Western Highway is mentioned as being enhanced the Widening Project has been a project that has taken many years to reach the Upper Mountains

The BMC&TUA formally requests the NSW Government to Review the Great Western Highway in the Lower Blue Mountains Area as significant traffic flows have occurred Access on and off the Highway is a major concern.

Multi Zone ticketing.

The Association is monitoring the introduction of the MyZone ticket; the BMC&TUA has the opinion the Ticket should have been trialled in an appropriate area already we are not sure of the operation in areas serviced by private buses where automatic cancelling machines on buses is not provided. In addition, there is no indication where the tickets are available.

The Staff Review by City Rail Operations on railway stations has reduced the hours of staff on Blue Mountains stations which results no assistance to the public at these times

Staffing On Stations on the Mountains

This issue is still an Association concern especially staff have been withdrawn open the weekends and during the day we are still pursuing this aspect as station staff are the frontline staff that do play a very important part of service especially when changes are taking place with the system timetables, ticketing, access to toilets, waiting rooms, information, train delays etc. 

The Existing Rail System – Structure- Upgrading

The Association experience with RailCorp over the years since the structure of RailCorp was changed in the 1990s has been the separation of the management of the infrastructure, rolling stock provision/ maintenance, station operations.power distribution etc we have witnessed failures that have occurred that should not have occurred

The ICAC enquires, Audit Office Reports; Withdrawal of carriages from lack of proper maintenance does indicate there are anomalies with this management structure

We do acknowledge there has been more reliability but wasn’t this a task that should be part of normal operations, other improvements with Station improvements lifts etc are acknowledged but considering the future we have some reservations

Upgrading System 

The experience of the Association members with the Upgrading Programme is many and varied. I raise the following questions.

What section of the Rail System has been renewed to the point that only normal maintenance is required this includes power distribution? Overhead, track infrastructure, signalling, communications. The renewal programme reduces the number of hours that are required for maintenance and thus reduce the time out of rail services.

What sections of the Rail Network require major infrastructure improvements and when will these improvements be completed?

Building new infrastructure tat connects with an infrastructure that requires upgrading does not seem to be good practice.

Lastly, I raise the issue of Community Transport (HACC)

The Association recognisers the splendid effort the Volunteers and staff provide the important service they provide to the Community The Association recognisers Community Transport as the fifth arm of transport adequate funding is required to support existing and future services that will be required by an ageing population.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the State Plan I feel as the Plan has raised many issues that need more thought and consultation I would like to make a further submission after our Association meetings in May after the introduction of the multi Ticketing

Yours faithfully
Paul Trevaskis Hon Sect CMILT