Three of the Mount Druitt Commuters Improvement Group were held up by a freight train derailment at Clyde - due to time factor and lengthy delays - they returned home.
Guests included: Corrine Mulley, Chair in Public Transport, showing us that free bus shuttles are not 'free' that it is funded from NSW Governments paid by everyone of us that pays Government Services Tax (GST). It was suggested that by providing free bus shuttle services to the community that it takes away other bus services that would be better utilized to improve bus infrastructure.
We had David Borger, former Western Sydney Minister and former mayor of Parramatta discussing the successful Parramatta bus shuttles He explained how it was funded through local business and also setting up parking meters and car parks within Parramatta City, to place limits on parking where some drivers were using parking all day - now allowing to park for smaller periods of time for vehicles and paying for the parking.
Yet on the flip side of the coin, commuters need to be rewarded by having an essential free bus services that take commuters to destinations to meet their daily needs. Social capital should not override economic costs.
Every form of transport is always cost-factored and that is where the elimination process starts from decision makers - some people lose out.
The positives that come out of a free bus sis to the community are the following:
- Better links for all community members
- loading time is reduced
- viable for economic land use
- Make it easier for unemployed to go to job interviews
- better access for the elderly better to local places of importance
- Community pride
- If supported by businesses the benefits would be reaping the benefits by providing better access to local shops
- Property markets see a free bus shuttle service as a positive
- making the area more attractive to invest
One thing that came out of this discussion is that the free bus shuttles have not been advertised properly. That is, not every commuter is aware of the bus shuttles, around their area.
There was introduction of the Sydney Alliance and where WSPTU fits in with Alliance - introduction by Amy Williams and Sue Day
Later in the afternoon we had Stuart Palmer from Legion Cabs Public transport sharing, flexible transport: how it works and kind of tariffs available around $60 per hour - maxi-abs can take up to 11 commuters or two wheelchairs. Although this topic was a bit hard to sell to an audience that normally catches bus, trains and sometimes taxis. It appeared a lot of symposium participants were worried about current services received by telephone operators for booked taxis.
Yet it turned out to be an eye opener for some who may not have heard of this type of public transport.
Now the next time we meet will be 13th September for the WSPTU Steering Committee Elections.