Monday, June 24, 2024

NSW bus industry taskforce white paper hits the road

The NSW Government’s Bus Industry Taskforce released its Directions for On-Street Transit White Paper at the Western Sydney Bus Symposium today.

The white paper outlines the key challenges and identifies a way forward in delivering a more equitable provision of bus services for passengers in Western Sydney and across NSW.

The NSW Government met with industry, unions, and other key stakeholders to discuss the steps that need to be taken to improve reliability and frequency of bus services and discuss planning for new on-road infrastructure, such as bus stops and bus lanes.

“More than 138 million trips are taken on our bus and on-street transit network each year, we can’t grow our communities properly if our bus network isn’t meeting demand,” said NSW Transport Minister, Jo Haylen.

“The Bus Industry Taskforce has already announced measures to improve bus service delivery and this white paper highlights five key moves that will be considered for the successful future of our bus fleet.

“We need to look at best practices from all around the world. If other cities like Manhattan and Amsterdam can do it, so can Sydney.”

The white paper identifies five key moves to transform bus services across the state:

  1. Evolve services and infrastructure over time: Focusing on providing essential public transport services and infrastructure ahead of growing population demand in a staged approach. Providing clearer customer information and more seamless interchanging opportunities. Developing innovative solutions for first and last mile journeys.
  2. Grow network demand and capacity: Providing priority access for on-street transit when planning for population growth. Align fleet type with demand and needs of the community. Invest in technology to uplift customer experience and operations planning.
  3. Deliver new permanent high-quality routes: Develop a priority list for 39 rapid bus routes that balance population growth support and developing new connections in Greater Sydney.
  4. Grow the city along permanent high-quality routes: Identify on-street transit support for medium-density housing areas. Investment in upgrades to bus stop accessibility. Plan for and deliver public transport capable streets.
  5. Create enabling funding and partnerships: Implement strategies to support private operator performance. Improve coordination of asset management, including depots and layovers.

The key challenges the paper aims to address includes increasing public transport access across all growing cities, improving passenger information, better reliability and priority of bus services, and tackling congestion to free up public transport movement on roads.

This new vision for transforming how we plan and develop cities across Greater Sydney, Lower Hunter and Greater Newcastle, Central Coast and Illawarra-Shoalhaven, will feed into the Bus Industry Taskforce’s interim report, to be delivered to government by 31 October.

Attendees at today’s Bus Symposium had the opportunity to have their say on the White Paper which Transport for NSW will use to create a formal policy position to be presented to government.

“Everyone is a possible bus passenger, and I am committed to working with industry and experts to make sure on-street transit is front and centre when we talk about city planning,” said Minister Haylen.

“The only way we can continue to grow our cities is by supporting that growth with accessible and reliable public transport options. I thank those that came out today to provide their insights and expertise as we plan for a more connected state.”

Consultation on the white paper will take place until 25 November 2023 and the Bus Industry Taskforce will be engaging with a range of stakeholders including bus operators, councils, planners and the public.

Read the On-Street Transit White Paper at the Have Your Say website.

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