More bus for NSW budget

More than $16 billion is being invested into NSW’s transport network but industry wants more for bus

The bus industry is calling for more investment in bus as the New South Wales Government 2015-16 Budget has been announced.

BusNSW welcomes the budget announcements with record spending on transport and infrastructure projects, but executive director Darryl Mellish says more investment can be made into bus services.

Key bus programs in the $16.5 billion investment include $73 million to plan and continue building infrastructure to support bus priority on key corridors including $42 million for Northern Beaches Bus Rapid Transit, $1 billion for metropolitan and outer metropolitan bus services and $404 million for rural and regional bus services.

Key initiatives for ticketing, concessions and community transport include $521 million for concession schemes for pensioners, students, people with disability and others using public transport and $99 million to continue implementing the Opal card integrated electronic ticketing system.

Mellish says the expansion of transport services is dominated by rail and light rail projects with no new additional growth buses beyond the existing levels.

"BusNSW considers that there should be 100 more growth buses per year added to the current 100 per year allocations to increase frequency and coverage in areas of greatest need," he says.

"These would be in addition to the normal bus replacement program."

Apart from the allocation for the Northern Beaches Bus Rapid Transit project there is an absence of new bus priority projects and interchange upgrades, according to Mellish.

"The expansion of transport information services on bus timetables in country towns is also a welcome initiative.

"BusNSW is seeking further information on budget statements indicating ‘consolidating planning for roads, rail, buses, light rail, ferries, taxis and waterways’ particularly in the lead up to the next round of Rural and Regional Contracts," he says.

"It is also not clear if the transport cluster will be subject to efficiency savings (1.5 per cent) and how this may affect Transport for NSW and Roads and Maritime Services staff working on bus contracts and accreditation.

"BusNSW considers there should be industry liaison officers appointed to ensure coordination between the sections of the transport cluster, and this should be funded from any efficiency savings."

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance says the 2015-16 Budget reinforces the NSW Government’s ongoing commitment to unclog crippling congestion.

 "Hundreds of buses will be removed from the crowded CBD every day following the completion of Light Rail and more than $120 million is allocated to keep progressing this vital work," he says.
"Travel reliability and passenger experience is also at the forefront of the budget with $92 million allocated for new and replacement buses and $12 million for brand new ferries for Sydney Harbour." 

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Duncan Gay says this budget is another critical step towards delivering a world class transport network for NSW. 

"Whether it’s large scale public transport upgrades, removing gridlock from the existing network or building new roads – we are delivering, in all areas of the state," he says. 

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