NSW BUDGET 09-10: Buses benefit from record transport spend

By: Graham Gardiner

The NSW Government has announced a record $7.1 billion transport budget for 2009-10, including almost $1 billion for bus services. NSW

The NSW Government has announced a record $7.1 billion transport budget for 2009-10, including almost $1 billion for bus services.

NSW Minister for Transport David Campbell says $966.2 million will be invested bus services, split between State Transit ($319.4 million) and private bus operators ($646.8 million).

Of the private operator budget, $323.3 million is being spent on rural and regional NSW, providing regular and school services, as well as travel concessions for pensioners and students.

A further $76.2 million will be used to purchase 156 replacement buses for private and public operators in Sydney; and $74.3 million will be spent on 170 buses as part of a $128.9 million program to purchase 300 buses to expand Sydney’s metropolitan and outer metropolitan fleet by the end of 2010.

Campbell adds $37.8 million is being spent on 50 ‘bendy’ buses as part of a $113.8 million program to purchase 150 such vehicles for State Transit by 2011; while $1.9 million has been allocated towards an ongoing program to install CCTV on board STA buses to improve passenger and driver safety.

"We are expanding Sydney’s bus fleet and providing high frequency ‘bendy’ buses on our major road corridors to provide faster, greener and more efficient public transport solutions," he says.

Campbell says the record $7.1 billion transport budget is designed to support jobs and deliver new, modern and comfortable transport services.

The figure is comprised of $4 billion for public transport services and $3.1 billion for rail infrastructure upgrades, new train carriages, new buses and a program of commuter car parks.

The NSW Government’s investment in transport infrastructure is up 68 percent on 2008-09, he adds.

"This transport budget puts the focus on increasing the capacity, comfort and reliability of rail and bus services, as well as delivering convenient commuter car parking facilities," Campbell says.

"The budget also reinforces our commitment to deliver Sydney’s future Metro network, with more than half a billion dollars set aside for pre-construction as the first step towards a metro rail network for Sydney.

"The Government is investing $248 million in new train carriages this year alone, and investing $207.5 million in new buses."

Campbell says the Government will also abolish the CountryLink booking fee for pensioners who use their free travel vouchers for regular fares (premium first-class tickets excluded).

"And the $1 holiday fare deal for children travelling with adults on CountryLink services has now been extended to a year-round offer, making travel in rural and regional NSW more affordable for families," he adds.

The budget also provides $4 million a year over the next two years to operate a commuter ferry service between Parramatta and the CBD. It will become an hourly service operating from 7am to 7pm weekdays and 8am to 6pm on weekends.

"There is a continued focus to make CityRail stations more accessible to people with mobility needs, with $30.1 million being spent across the network on the Easy Access Program in 2009-10," Campbell says.

"There is also heavy investment in transport infrastructure with money for the planning and construction of 28 separate commuter car parks across Sydney, the Central Coast, Illawarra and Blue Mountains.

"This budget will help us continue to deliver modern and efficient public transport services and infrastructure essential to boosting our economy and attracting new investment."

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