A SLEW OF PINK-FACED Sydney buses may not be enough to keep commuters happy once the Epping to Chatswood Sydney Metro rail line upgrade starts from 30 September, according to local companies and political dignitaries.
Last weekend, NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance MP announced for seven months from September 30 that trains on the line between the two major Sydney stations would stop for major works to be completed, as part of the Sydney Metro system upgrade.
To accommodate the estimated 20,000 commuters who travel by train each way, each day, the NSW Government has set up Station Link – a new 120-strong, high-frequency ‘pink’-faced bus fleet that is said to deliver in excess of 1000 services per weekday, including peak-time services at least every six minutes. That is said to equate to more than 110 services per hour during the busiest times.
The Sydney Metro Northwest is due to open in the first half of 2019.
The new Station Link service will run on a turn-up-and-go basis ensuring frequent and reliable transport options between Epping and Chatswood stations, the Government states.
A dedicated Station Link service will run direct to Macquarie University campus from Epping Station during semesters, on top of the many other services that will stop at Macquarie University Station, it’s claimed.
The Epping to Chatswood upgrades include major work, testing of new signalling and communications systems, and electrical, fire and life safety systems. The existing tracks and overhead wiring will remain and will be used by the new metro system, which uses the same standard gauge railway as the rest of Sydney’s train network.
Yet not everyone is too sure it will go to plan – including Ryde Mayor Jerome Laxale. As reported by www.abc.net.au, Laxale says he was concerned that promised road upgrades to help handle the buses would not be delivered in time.
He said the closure was timed around the election, not the people’s needs.
“The timing of this shutdown can only be put down to trying to get it re-opened before election day,” he said.
“They value ribbon-cutting over the convenience of thousands of employees and thousands of residents here in the City of Ryde.”
According to the site, Laxale said it will be a “very testing and chaotic seven months” as the Government had not delivered on all promises from April 2017, which included a bus lane along Herring Road, and an intersection upgrade (turning a roundabout into traffic lights) to help buses get through Macquarie Park.
“I find it extraordinary that the road upgrades promised won’t be delivered in time,” he said.
“The entire $60 million package, the majority of them will be delivered after the rail line reopens.
“I’ve had no valid explanation as to why they have been delayed… They’ve had seven years to upgrade these roads.”
Mayor Laxale said the roads were a “complete gridlock” now, and that he hated to imagine what 1000 extra bus services would do.
“Not only that, but there will be thousands of more cars now… People will not have faith in the bus network as the bus lanes haven’t been delivered,” he said.
Countering this, it’s reported that Transport for NSW Coordinator General Marg Prendergast said stage one of the ‘bus priority infrastructure program’ would be finished in time.
This is said to include about 580 metres of new bus lanes, bus priority at intersections, adjustments to lanes, medians, traffic islands, traffic lights, footpaths, drainage, utilities and road pavements. A southbound bus lane on Herring Road is part of this stage.
However stage two will not take place until the first half of 2019 when the Sydney Metro opens, and that part of the project includes the northbound bus lane on Herring Road.
As reported, the delay is due to the fact that investigations revealed the need for “significant and complex utility relocation” to create the additional lane, Ms Prendergast said. In addition, a roundabout at Ivanhoe Place will no longer be converted to traffic lights as planned, due to resident concerns.
Yep, It’s Going To Be A Busfest!
With the Macquarie Business Park area host to a range of major companies’ headquarters or large outlets, such as Sony, Optus, Microsoft, Du Pont, Honeywell and Datacom, buses will be key for employees to accommodate the changes to rail network.
Optus itself is said to be operating 160 buses to transport its staff to and from work – and with a workforce of around 6500, there’s no room for messing around.
It’s reported the telecommunications giant will run the express busses between Wynyard station, Epping station and Macquarie Park.
What is Station Link?
Station Link is a $49 million investment in more than 120 new, fully accessible, air-conditioned buses providing thousands of extra services from 30 September, 2018, between Epping and Chatswood for around seven months.
Station Link bus services will be available on the trip planner at transportnsw.info, and on real-time apps.
Who Will Be Operating the Bus Services?
According to the five-page Frequently Asked Questions Station Link PDF, buried on page 2, it states, “A joint venture between Transdev NSW and Hillsbus will operate the Epping to Chatswood bus services.”
For more information on these new services, visit www.mysydney.nsw.gov.au/StationLink
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