Bus industry ignored in Keneally - Moore plan

BusNSW has called for more debate on this week’s Sydney transformation plan which pitches light rail as the centrepiece

Bus industry ignored in Keneally - Moore plan
Bus industry ignored in Keneally – Moore plan

By David Goeldner | September 14, 2010

The supporting arrangements to deliver Sydney’s CBD transformation plan, which centres on a light rail system, fewer cars, more bicycles and better bus flow has gone ahead without bus industry consultation.

BusNSW Executive Director Darryl Mellish says the memorandum of understanding’s 16 items for delivery over the next five years makes no mention of private bus and coach operators.

Sydney Mayor Clover Moore – often criticised for being too heavily in favour of cycling – signed yesterday’s Memorandum with NSW Premier Kristine Keneally, with a corridor for light rail as the Sydney CBD’s centrepiece.

The MoU says the proposed light rail "will have consequences for traffic flows, bus services, parking, cycling and pedestrian links connected to the corridor."

Mellish says BusNSW was not opposed to the memorandum’s focus on a light rail solution for inner-Sydney congestion.

But he argues the long narrow Sydney CBD strip with many cross sections may be difficult for an effective light rail operation.

"Better bus priority and spaces for buses to layover and turnaround may give better transport outcomes when integrated into the network," he says.

The memorandum also calls for a speed reduction to 40km throughout the city centre, which Mellish says should be part of a wider debate so the ‘total picture’ is understood.

"We have not been consulted on how the MoU affects private bus and coach operators," he says.

"We have a number of questions relating to tourist coaches as well as regular passenger services."

Down the list of action items on the ‘Transforming Sydney’ MoU, Transport NSW will act as the lead agency to improve bus and traffic flows during peak times at key locations.

The action plan identifies these locations as Circular Quay, Hyde Park and Central Station.

But the MoU also says that before any improvements to flow can be made a City Centre Access Plan must be developed, some time in 2011 and put together by NSW Transport and the Sydney Council.

Mellish adds that more consultation is needed on how to bring the supporting arrangements together.

"This does require hard decisions based on extensive public debate," he says.

"There is definitely a congestion problem in the Sydney CBD and buses are queuing to drop off passengers coming in over the harbour bridge."

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