BRT marginalised in NSW transport plan


The NSW Draft Transport Master Plan has attracted industry critism for devaluing the importance of a Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT)

BRT marginalised in NSW transport plan
BRT marginalised in NSW transport plan
By Sean Muir |
September 6, 2012

Fears are growing that the NSW bus industry’s needs will be marginalised if the state’s Draft Transport Master Plan is not amended.

The plan, released on Tuesday, shows a 20-year vision for the state’s public transport, roads and freight network.

Void of commitment to definite timelines
and funding, the plan has already
attracted heavy critism from the logistics industry and now also the NSW bus industry.

Chief among the NSW bus association's concerns is a perceived priority downgrade of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which BusNSW Executive Director Darryl Mellish says deserves more status.

"Bus Rapid Transit, which ticks all the boxes on time and cost imperatives, is part of the plan but doesn’t seem to the centre piece it should be when you look at cost and time pressures," Mellish says.

"BRT in the plan is in the 10 -20 year horizon, which is the main criticism from the industry."

Also vexing, Mellish says, is that discussion on the management and operation of State Transit Authority (STA) services seems to be conspicuously absent from the plan.

"Although the report mentions efficient public sector operating models I have not found in my reading so far what is intended for the management and operation of the STA’s services," Mellish says.

"Given the resources allocated to tendering private operators for minimal savings it is odd that the report does not outline plans for the STAs, where major savings could be achieved."

Mellish says the plan’s references to another review of bus networks in Sydney and what it means for the contract and funding models is also interesting, given the current environment of tendering 8 of the 25 metro and outer metro region.

"This will place a lot of responsibility and performance expectations on Transport for NSW who have struggled with contract and industry partnerships under the old models," Mellish says.

On a more positive note, Mellish says the plan acknowledges the need for better planning and resources for interchanges.

"For many years interchanges have not been well planned and driver welfare and bus layover facilities are inadequate," Mellish says.

He says the park and ride initiatives in the plan need to be coordinated with feeder bus services, with a door-to-door approach to trip planning and service provision.

Mellish
says comments about bus priority, improved ticketing; passenger information and pinch point management are also good news for passengers.

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