BusNSW asks motorcycle police for clemency

An initiative to tackle congestion in Sydney's CBD could be a 'double-edged sword' for coach operators, says BusNSW

BusNSW asks motorcycle police for clemency
Police asked for clemency regarding illegally parked coaches

By Sean Muir | August 8, 2012

An initiative to tackle congestion in Sydney’s CBD could stymie the road network’s most economical people-movers, says BusNSW Executive Director Darryl Mellish.

The initiative, announced this week by the New South Wales Government, will include a dedicated police motorcycle team to target congestion in Sydney.

As part of the initiative, the police will target illegal parking and the illegal use of bus and transit lanes.

But Mellish says the crackdown
could cause problems for bus and coach operators who are forced to illegally park in the city due to a lack of adequate infrastructure.

"Generally we think it is a good idea, but it is a bit of a double-edged sword for coach movement because there is a lack of space for coaches to pick up and drop off passengers, and for lay-over," Mellish says.

"Unfortunately a lot of coach drivers at the moment are forced to pick up or drop off in zones that are not very suitable for the purpose, or by double parking.

"I suppose we would be looking for the police to use proper discretion for coaches bringing people in and out of the city."

Mellish says enforcing bus-lane usage and parking is positive for the industry, but he says more needs to be done to address the actual causes of the congestion and not just the symptoms.

"It’s a good initiative, but policing parking and traffic movement in the CBD doesn’t address the issue that there needs to be better facilities for buses and coaches moving in and out, parking and laying-over," he says.

"The city wants people and the events want people but the infrastructure is not good for bus and coach movement."

Mellish says Sydney needs a coordinated policy to address the CBD congestion.

"There are lots of issues affecting bus and coach movement in and out of the CBD, and we have been trying to get an effective, coordinated policy and strategy, but it has been proving difficult because of the different jurisdictions involved," Mellish says.

"We haven’t seen a coordinated plan emerge. But it may come out of the government’s long-term transport plan, which is supposed to be released next month."

Premier Barry O’Farrell says the police motorcycle team will operate from the Transport Management Centre and will consist of 10 highway patrol officers.

"Motorists who engage in selfish behaviour are on notice – if you continue to break road rules and impact on the travel times of others there is good chance you will be booked," O’Farrell says.

Police Minister Michael Gallacher says the government will waste no time introducing the team after a recent trial achieved impressive results.

"We know high visibility policing works," Gallacher says.

"During the three week trial of two motorcycles in the CBD there was a 72 percent reduction in queuing through intersections, a 25 per cent drop in rear end crashes and a 16 percent drop in illegal turns.

"During the morning peak, travel times also improved by up to 12 percent for private vehicles travelling between the northern and southern ends of the city and up to 15 percent for those private vehicles travelling between the east and the west.

"In the initial stages, police will issue warnings and cautions for illegal activity, before they start infringing motorists and pedestrians. This will be for a period of 30 days."

The initiative was announced on Monday.

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