RTA's axing welcomed

When NSW Parliament sits in August, legislation will be read to create the new super ministry – Transport for NSW – and the RTA will be scrapped

RTA's axing welcomed
RTA’s axing welcomed

By David Goeldner | July 18, 2011

The impending demise of the Roads and Traffic Authority has been welcomed by the bus industry’s peak association in New South Wales, BusNSW.

The association’s Executive Director Darryl Mellish says despite the RTA trying in recent times to be more receptive to public transport and the public’s interests, years of apparent lack of accountability still prevailed in its actions.

Among the first items of business when NSW parliament sits on August 2 will be introducing legislation which abolishes the RTA and creates Transport for NSW.

The RTA and three other agencies will be abolished as part of the restructure of transport in NSW.

NSW Maritime, the Transport Construction Authority and the Country Rail Infrastructure Authority will also cease to exist and their functions will be absorbed by the new integrated transport authority, Transport for NSW.

A new body to be called NSW Roads and Maritime Services would build and maintain roads, conduct driving tests, issue licences and registrations, and oversee harbours and waterways.

Transport for NSW will be responsible for the co-ordinated delivery of transport services across all modes, and a renewed focus on the customer.

It will see policy and planning experts from all transport agencies working together in the one location, eliminating duplication and ensuring they no longer work in silos.

Mellish says BusNSW welcomes the announcement of the reorganisation of transport departments.

"The concept of better coordination and integration is good news for passengers and the bus industry," he says.

"This is as long as the culture and actions reflect the stated intentions."

Mellish says it is yet to be seen how the reorganisation will affect bus services.

"Decisions are still outstanding on the allocation of additional growth buses, renegotiating new contracts, streamlining fares and improved bus priority," he says.

Mellish says that as some of the government restructure is now clearer, BusNSW looks forward to seeing progress on its action plan which includes a new approach to procuring bus services in greater Sydney.

"Confusion about livery, marketing and branding of public transport needs to be cleared up quickly," he says.

Transport for NSW will have six divisions requiring the appointment of deputy directors-general for each division.

The divisions are Customer Experience, Planning and Programs, Transport Services, Transport Projects, Freight and Regional Development, and Policy and Regulation.

Mellish says the pending appointment of the six deputies will be critical to clearing up the outstanding matters related to bus branding and procurement.

He also called on Transport for NSW to consult and build partnerships with service providers.

"A master servant approach does not give best value for money and a partnership approach requires trust and focus on outcomes with proper performance assessment and incentives," Mellish says.

Although the structure of the new ‘super’ department has been announced, Mellish says it’s still unclear how the recently created Infrastructure NSW will interact with Transport for NSW.

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