Thursday, November 24, 2011

Great Blacktown City Council Transport Forum And In Mount Druitt - History!

Mount Druitt made history today when the Blacktown City Council Transport Forum was held for the first time in Mount Druitt in the  new 'Hub' of Mount Druitt. The facilities are a great asset to provide modern building with exemplary amenities that places a new identity in Mount Druitt, that community members can associate with and use.
This was meeting number 37, held in the community Rooms 3 and 4. Admitting both Debbie and myself missed the presentation on Richmond Line Duplication and Mount Druitt Car park update and caught up on the North West Rail Link project team. The basic overall outcome For Mount Druitt from this discussion was that the Western and Richmond Line would have less congestion. So I asked the question of  does that mean that both those lines will have increased services. The  response received was it will leasve more vacant seats for other commuter to sit on - as commuters will catch the train services on the North West Link. In other words, 'No', diplomatically.  I understand it provide more of an affect to to the residents of north of Blacktown LGA, Here is the  link to the video on the North West Link;
I also asked, if they had any community involvement with the WSPTU and they came up to afterwards to get more information as they were talking about community consultation and their eyes rolled. - so to say!       
Then came one of my interesting subjects in public transport. A topic that inspired me to be where I am today, unbeknown to me. A topic that not every community member would know about That is, " Bus Reviews". Edward Osiowy, Senior Service Planner for Network Development & Services Improvement, Transport For New South Wales, provided a details summary of the 'Bus Review':\ Reviewing bus services is based on a lot of  factors ranging for  population trends, land use and transport plans, travel needs - journey to work surveys and data, existing customer and patronage records, feedback from community and transport action groups,, 131500, letter to the Department and MP's based on service planning guidelines and available resources. 
It is a difficult task to  meed travel needs in one area  because of a high need and demand and then to reduce other services , so that the books are balanced. That is taking from one and giving to another! Generally, Transport NSW Bus Reviews will meet  the requirement of 90% community members given easy access of 400 meters to the nearest bus stop. Bus providing more services to centres & connections to other transport and multiple destinations,leaving the level of service in line with demand.  Although reviews are used in growth areas.
Although current bus services in Mount Druitt had  increased and well maintained bus patronage with the Busways 750,754 (Mount Druitt to Blacktown) and 758 (Mount Druitt to |St. Marys via Shalvey).  As Mount Druitt area falls within Bus Region 1, the Increase in Patronage 6.5 percent increase was within Bus Region 1 (within the last year),

It was also noted that in relation to Blacktown Bus shuttle - all Bus Shuttle are up for their yearly review in March 2012. Rudi Svarc - Blacktown City Council Transport & Projects Officer has advised the Forum that Blacktown has made a recommendation to the NSW For Transport for a Free Bus Shuttle in Mount Druitt, which it has approved and was waiting for a response and that the Blacktown Free Bus shuttle was recording good patronage.
I asked whether why services are reduced when doing bus reviews when population growth is increasing. Point was taken and aslo about why don't Bus Reviews consult with transport action groups? He  advised he would meet with me later and did so. 
Rudi then commented  on the bus stops we have in Blacktown LGA that within the next year BCC will be making 300 bus stop compliant to DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) which will then reach the Blacktown City Council requirement  to reach the goal of 55% of bus stop being DDA compliant Good news for the community just over 1 bus stop in 2 will be eventually compliant.
I asked of current bus shelters being looked at for maintenance and removal of graffiti. Mr. Svarc advised that this is reviewed by Council annually. Also I asked why doesn't the Blacktown City Council place bus stop number on all bus stops as per 131500. making it easier for the commuter to report issues or use it as a guide on timetables, being aware it is on some bus stop already. Mr. Svarc also advised Council will look into this hopefully he will report back to the next Blacktown Transport Forum.

Dimitri Hondros former City Rail Western Line Manager, has advised that Windsor train station upgrade, commented on the Quakers Hill trains station: how there some issues in the beginning of upgrade, but eventually everything went smoothly, better than expected. He then mentioned of  Electronic Indicators coming in on the Western Line except Toongabbie Station ( not equipped to handle yey until it gets an upgrade). As the current Western Line Manager was  not present - Dwayne Purcill - he was sure what was happening with Doonside and Rooty inclusive of Mount Druitt. I ask Dimitri of the  announcement waking residents on the Mount Druitt South - he advised they get complaints if announcements are made and also if they are not made - in some train stations that have housing they start their announcements at 7.30am to allow residence more sleep.

Blacktown Train Station has had  heavy presence of transit officer reducing fare invasion crimes and riding of this anti social behaviours, this has  a positive affect on the commuters who also feel safer while these officers are around. There were issues raised of bicycle racks locked up - that was open to discussion.

Stephen Briant, Senior Transport Officer for Blacktown City Council explained about the recent cycle forum that 30 participants turn up to  work on a new Bike Network, looking to spend $160,000  on the Nurragingy Reserve Bike plan connecting to the Lethbridge Bike Plan. Rudi Svarc advised we have 110km of bike paths around the Blacktown Local Government Area
Then Stephen Butt Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the NSW Taxi Council, provided an outline on what has happen in the last year , discussions with  Blacktown Police regarding violent attacks on taxi drivers, scoping reviews in all areas, involved in Transport Crime Working Group,  has  assisted NSW For Transport in the development  of guidelines for Taxi rank: specification for lighting and seating, involved in the Blacktown Transport Group. Before the Bus Shuttle news/lobbying he has been applying for a  Maxi Taxi shuttle as well. Around Sydney 494 extra taxi by  the end of December 2011 recruitment of Taxi Drivers 300 applicants for  both owner driver and driver in August 2011, complaint on drivers file permanent Prepay Fares being trailed in Central Coast as from 28th November 2011 There has been a 36% success rate of prosecution of fare evaders across New South Wales.
The taxi rank on North Parade, Mt Druitt.Picture: DAVID MARSHALL

Then came my speech as a Representative from a local Transport Action Group -

Good Morning Mr. Mayor and Blacktown City Council Transport Forum Members.  Rudi and Stephen thank you for inviting our group to the Blacktown City Council Transport Forum to improve public transport for the future.
Last Forum I introduced our group as Save our Bus  Services, Mount Druitt & surrounding suburbs and since then we have expanded to cover all forms of public transport in Mount Druitt are now called, ‘Mount Druitt Commuters Improvement Group’

We establishes a new website, new logo from our sub-committee, organised a transport forurm for the State seats of Londonderry and  mount Druitt  with a community turn out of approximately 50 residents with 3 candidates, which was quoted by one of our members as, ‘It was well run even though we were inexperienced, in organising this’.

We are still lobbying for the complete return of Busways 755 to Blacktown via Plumpton, Busways 762 and instead of the shopper hopper 764 – utilise the Busways 755 from Mount Druitt left to Luxford and turn right into Gasmatta Crescent right through the end and left onto Luxford Road – and remove the Westbus 764 – the way it was done before no safety hazards for 40 years.

We are lobbying for NSW Government to provide enhanced  safety measures to be used to protect the commuter  during all times as well as transport officers – bring back the conductor is what a few members are saying for a start. We do not condone the anti-social behaviour that is used against commuters and drivers and seek youth workers assistant the youth on the streets to behave and have respect to the elders.

Blake has spent a week work experience in the Westbus Planning Departmnent (thank you Westbus for taking him on),he has mapped out region master plan one on our bog as well as light rail around Sydney and the  proposed Mount Druitt Free Bus shuttle around the hub of Mount Druitt.

We are seeking advice from the forum for bus shelters that have been taken down and not replaced – the demolition rate is quicker than the building rate and last letter from Council last year advised of a few amount of bus shelters. We now seek commitment. We are seeking real facts and figures on what  percentage of bus stops around Local Government Areas have shelters and that we require a commitment from Blacktown City Council to implement Bus stop Numbers on all Bus stops as per 131500 locating your bus stops as well as committing to making all bus stop accessible, to all commuters. We are also seeking BCC’s guideline for Bus shelter infrastructure as well.
We commence a “Happy Bus Drivers Scheme’, have reach record of 24,000 on our local blog, we have recently invited Richard Amery y for 2 meetings – his electoral office says he is too busy. We have had our first visitor Michael Creed (electoral Officer) for Bart Bassett, taking on our real issues. We would like to see the upgrade of Mount Druitt station especially with electronic signage – we are behind the times. Announcements can wake up community members of the South side of Mount Druitt. Yet, without going into too many details – we as a group will have further success for the community.

We have been nominated for the Zest Awards 2012 as a new group and also myself as a community leader as well as we have nominated our two local journalists for the for Inspired and Supportive Journalism.

So now I take time to thank you all for listening and supporting our group to cater for improvement public transport for the future. We appreciate the opportunity! Special thanks to Stephen Briant who has taken the imitative to invite our group representatives and organise the BCC Transport Forms to provide feedbacks for an improved public transport for our growing population in Blacktown LGA. We ask all stake holders to  keep up to date with our blog and also withe the WSPTU one as well – to your self up to date!

Pauline Garmonsway advised of  the proposed Westbus 759 route will inconvenience commuters living around Palmyra Road, where it is serviced by a Westbus 764 shopper hopper service. Issues raised about Westbus representatives not advising the community of possible changes to their bus service. It was then discussed changes that is due to population growth. I replied to the Forum advising there is a population growth around Willmot in Ropes Crossing thus services should not be deleted because of this .When I mentioned of the population growth - I could see that the two Westbus representing were laughing, at what I stated - I don't understand how population growth  to increase or retain transport can make stake-holders laugh.

End of forum.

My comments interesting how Blacktown City Council is taking up our Free Bus shuttle around the Hub of Mount Druitt - Council had it first Blacktown City Council transport in Mount Druitt and  this  provides a great understanding how after a while Local Councils can work with you - without all councillors working with you.

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