Monday, September 30, 2013

Region 1 Commuters - Don't Be Confused With The Changes In the Area This Month!

There is two things happening this months that Region 1 Commuters need to know about:

The first item is Busways is replacing there buses in the entire  Sydney Bus Region 1 replacing Westbus and Happy Valley services, no direct affect to commuters -  like a change of CEO in a company, this will happen on 6th October 2013.

The second item is  new train, bus and ferry time tables will commence as from 20th October 2013.

Click Here for Further Details On The Sydney Trains New Time Tables, that are online.

Busways  have launched the  viewing of the train timetables  ( in black & white) :  Click here for details

Click Here for  Sydney Bus Regions details

Are Sydney Trains "Quite Carriages" - Quite Carriages?

Shhhhh, we're trialling quiet carriagestoday, I have finally experienced travelling on a 'Quiet Carriage' on Sydney Trains  and I found it reasonably quiet. 

I was travelling from Parramatta to Mount Druitt as I actually didn't know that I was on a 'quiet carriage' until the announcement was made on Parramatta train station,  before leaving the train station. As part of the announcement indicated that refraining from using loud music,using of mobile phones and loud conversations. Funny enough, I noticed people using mobile phones (texting) and one gentleman spoke loudly on a mobile that rang and another had a mobile ringing. In the background I could here a young baby crying.

So this was my experience of using 'Quiet Carriages' on Sydney Trains, what is your experience? Let us know!

Click Here for further details

Designated Bicycle Carriages For Bicylces on Sydney Trains

Fata from Rooty Hill has long trips to work every day, but in doing so keeps fit as well.

 He travels by Sydney Trains to Lidcombe and the cycles from Lidcombe to Chullora to work and return - which takes him about 20 minutes. He would like to see improvements on Sydney Train services going home finds there are issues to placing a pushbike on on overcrowded trains and carriages. A suggest ion to have designated  carriages committed to cyclists (usually the last carriage - this is used for) as what happens in New Zealand).

This will make Fata and other bicycle commuters easier to travel on Sydney Trains and not provide discomfort to other commuters.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Slashing Fares from NSW Government - Penrith Commuter!

A new Australian, 'Lucky' from Penrith travels to work to and from Toongabbie during the  working week with Sydney Trains.

His issue is pricing as he claims to work hard and meet expenses, he was wondering if the NSW Government could slash the train fares in half from $10.00 per day to $5.00 per day. He then says that more people  would  be able to afford  to commute and use  more of Sydney Trains that will reduce Western Sydney/Sydney traffic congestion.

The other economical factor is people like himself could saving more funds or have  more funds to  enjoy more lifestyle outings.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Simply Increase Sydney Train Services And Waiting Times Reduce - Better Life!

When I meet new commuters on the train/bus I don't know their name, suburb where they live or if they hate or like public transport. Yet, unknown to them here comes an ugly looking old man, working his way to break the ice as to reaching the people's mind and  know what is it that they want to see improved in any aspects of public transport.

So here was  well spoken and educated Vivian from Mount Druitt, who loves to do one thing on trains. That is, she loves reading thick novels  by relaxing on Sydney Trains Trips as this is the only time she has to  read them.  Vivian confirmed she isn't a fast reader - to me she reads with quite ease.

So Vivian uses Sydney Trains from Mount Druitt to Central or Town Hall pending how she feels (maybe to read an extra page or two) and then sometime tales the Light Rail to Pyrmont  for Work.

Her issue that she  would like to see improved is improving frequency of train services  in the Peak time from 15 minutes to 10 minutes, because if she or any commuter misses a train there is a 15 minute wait, which can be a long time, when we are all trying to balance our lives and spend more time at home to enjoy life.

Simply, she suggests that put on more trains on the Western Line to increase of services times, reducing waiting times on Sydney Trains and this would make not only her life easy also any other commuters living in the Greater Western Sydney.

What do you think is this what you feel? Let's here from you!

Sweeping Idea From Wilmott Commuter!

I always say it is so pleasing to meet different people from within Mount Druitt, being of any nationality, creed, background, age, looks and personality. People that are true believers in what I am doing and what they would like to have improved with public transport.

Andy from Wilmott  said  trains are more dirty in the morning then afternoon. The suggestion would be for  when Sydney Trains  terminate services more people should be employed, to make it better for everybody to end up and have a clean and tidy train. This is so we all don't sit on the rubbish.

What do you think, could this be done? Let us know of your feedback!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bus Stop Watch Is Requried - Bus Stop Signs - Removed From Ground

You can see here in this  bus stop that  some people like to do anti-social behaviors that really  provide  negative feelings towards the people that do that. Would these people do the same if they owned the bus stop - most probably not, we assume!

Yet a few days later, the bus top has been placed back into the soil loosely but still needs to be secured to the ground. Do you get these type of problems in your bus stop. Maybe we need a 'Bus Stop Watch'! Community awareness program to prevent these type of anti-social events  to happen!

What do you think? Should there be a program that once these petty criminals, this type of thing they are quickly introduced to this proposal?  Would they learn?

Let us know what you feel - all comments welcome!

Time Tables New Idea - Check This Out!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Public Transport Future FIRST Document For Blacktown City Council!

As reported in the previous blog, Blacktown City Council is  historically going to produce a plan for the future of public transport,  which they  are asking for community feed back. 

The community feedback is important as if there little or none - then Council may proceed with progress without knowing what the community needs. The initial planning has been going for almost a year and now it  is our to provide  feedback and  suggestions for improvements as part of the plan. 

The Blacktown City Council 'Draft Integrated Transport Management Plan' was launched yesterday and is a vital part of planning to ensure we cover  the future population growth that is expected to be around  500,000 in 2036. Also, it will need to look as to how  people can be moved from using private cars to public transport in getting to places.

Please share this information with your community and  community organisations so that everyone is encouraged to ' Have a Local Say!'

Here are summaries of the Blacktown City Council 'Draft Integrated transport Management Plan Summary':

Blacktown City Council Public Transport Forum Meeting Number 38 - 20/9/2013 NEWS!`

This was the third  Blacktown City Council Transport Forum, I was invited too.

Yesterday, we had representatives from  North West Rail as an overview from Transport  for NSW - the report indicated that 8 new railway stations 4,000 car spaces 15 km's of Twin Tunneling, 4 km's of elevated viaduct. The Track will be from Epping to Cudgegong Road.

Thee train will be a single deck services operating every 5 minutes ( 12 train services). Run on Headway time tables and  strain station will have platform screen doors for the safety of commuters and the trains will be known as rapid transport trains (driverless).

This is the first section of the North West Rail Link to be completed by 2019, to provide rail for the future and to meet population growth - to meet public transport needs, improved infrastructure. If the design o is right then then there is better reliability and commuting.

Extension of the North West Rail Link will go from Cudgegong Road train station , joining Schofields train station, Marsden Park and join into Mount Druitt train station.  Mount Druitt was picked up the the Minister of Transport one of the major train stations in Western Sydney.

4 boring tools will be 140 metres long and have the weight of 600 Holden cars. Cudgegong Road Train Station will  holding in  their yards up to 76 sets of trains and provide future maintenance for these train carriages.

I raised the question of Double Decker train carriages to carry more commuters, I was told that it was decision by the NSW Government to use these carriages for the rapid trans trains - Bart Basset  (NSW Member for Londonderry) discussed the relevance of  the NSW Government maintaining single service carriages to provide a more rapid trans as opposed to Double-Decker carriages which would at more time to the service and also confirmed this what the Minister of  Transport Gladys Berejiklian, wanted for Sydney Trains new service.

In  Stage One of  the North West Link there is $1.3 Billion on tunneling spent between Epping & Bella Vista, elevated viaduct in the tender process currently and the final part is the fit out of all new  train stations.

John Holland Theiss have won the tendering process for the tunneling and completed  70% of tunneling projects around Australia, totaling 1,200 km's  of tunnels.

The North West Rail Link  has been on the agenda for years as this  corridor has been preserved for the same time for the connection of the North West Rail Link.

The representative from NSW for Transport and North West Rail Link said, 'This is finally a project that is going ahead and we have't had one for a long time.'

Then another representative from Transport for NSW Edward Osiary,  provide a very good in depth discuss ion of local buses and the new time tables. He  advised his position with NSW for Transport was planning Bus and Ferry in Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle - within the 0- 5 years of planning.

On a high positive note, he stated that if there is an increase of public transport mobility and patronage then  more finances can be found to improve public transport services and infrastructure for buses in Blacktown LGA.

Bus Region 1, looks at increased demands,  results from Blacktown City Council and NSW Government  survey, commuter travelling and patronage, feedback from 131500, letters from Member of Parliament, feedback from bus companies, NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan 2012 and any other available resources. 

The good news is there is only one bus service having reduced bus service  and  no removal of any services as there hasn't been much of an increase in patronage since last reviewed. With the new time tables Blacktown LGA coming up there will be increased services  in new areas like The Ponds, Eastern Creek and the T74 service to Balcktown.

The only services being decreased is the 721 not as frequently used as expected.

The bus service being introduced in the new time table are as follows:

752 Blacktown to Rouse Hill
T72 Blacktown to Quakers Hill
723 Extended service from Blacktown to Mount Druitt
726 Extended service from Blacktown to Bungarribee (Bunya    
800 Blacktown to Fairfield

In 2014  increase/new bus services
611 Blacktown to Macquarie Park
748 New service  from Blacktown to Colebee - limited services at
T70 Extra services from Blacktown to Castle Hill
825 New services from Prairiewood to St Marys via Eastern Creek
T65, 607X & 602 T-way services covering  the  new Erskine Park 
        Road- catering  for industrial areas.

Questions were raised of  bring back services taken away from important community areas and loss of vital service by Angela Plows - President Mount Druitt Commuters Improvement Group.

Then came the removal of the Blacktown  Free shuttle Bus removal - Edward claimed 9 free shuttle bus services were removed in sydney and that was based on an economical decision by the NSW Government. He claimed Blacktown Free Shuttle Bus  wasn't the worst shuttle bus with patronage and wasn't the  best from the ones removed.

Question raised was what was the criteria/kpi to keep the service - there was a direct response from Edward( he wasn't sure). Yet I explained what roughly was figure  that was obtain 1 or less commuter per kilometer.

Questioned was raised by a lady  from the audience  in relation to promotion of  public transport to the community what  is taking place? 

I also advised that by lack of  NSW Governments promotion of the service current and past governments that is what made the service been  removed . Edward agreed there could have been better promotion of this - yet this is dependent on available for  advertising on public transport!

I  later asked if  we get patronage figure on Sydney Trains train stations - why can't the public get the figures on bus patronage? I advised it is public transport and should be public knowledge.

He indicated it may be an issue as this may not be accessible pending the bus contracts - if it can be released.

Then  Nirab gave his discussion on Bike Plan you can obtain this on the Blacktown website -  23 bike plan route - 3% of the population either walk or use bikes.

Click here for BCC Bike Plan

Then there was a report from Abdun Noor which was  launching the  Blacktown City Council' Draft Integrated Transport Management Plan. This is a first in Blacktown Council's history as advised by Acting Manager for City Assets, Rudi Svarc. There been mention in many documents of transport but none ever produced before and as he told me personally this is something that is important to a growing city.

It is a plan and vision for the year 2036, A  plan that is to accommodate for the potential population increase of under 200,000 by the year 2036 and a sustaining living conditions. A plan to move people from using private cars to having efficient and reliable transport, better roads and that people have the connections need from their  local communities. What is important is  there is feedback from the community required by 23/10/13. This is a change to have your say, if you live in Blacktown. It talks about the 4 major shopping centres within the LGA Blacktown, Seven Hills, Rooty Hill and Mount Druitt and how and what infrastructure is required for the future  of public transport.

It does also look at the extension of the North West Rail link to reach Mount Druitt as mentioned before.

I suggest that all people living in Mount Druitt and Blacktown LGA,  submit your proposal for  you public transport and how you would like it to be by 2036. This is you chance to have your say?

You can go to the Blacktown City Council website and download the document .  Written submission from the community can be forwarded to  The General Manager, Blacktown City Council, PO Box 63, Blacktown  NSW 2148 or e-mailed to

Steve O'Grady from Busways commended Council for making bus stops more accessible compliant to DDA and has been tell other Western Sydney Council to follow Blacktown City Council and  advised they  have won  contracts from Westbus and Hawkesbury Valley Busabout for  NSW Bus Region 1 area covers Warragamba,  Richmond and Blacktown  from 26th October will be operating in all areas of region 1.

I present a report  on behalf of our group, Mount Druitt Commuters Improvement Group Inc. that reflected the positive decisions made by NSW Government for public transport improvements with the  2nd stage of the North West Link being extended to Mount Druitt electronic indicators at Mount Druitt - except not enough indicators on the platforms of mount Druitt.

I also provided a brief history of how the group started and why we are still trying to get essential bus services back in the area as well as  seeking improved bus  stops and infrastructure.

 Also commended Blacktown City Council for the Draft Integrated Management Plan and advised we will be provide feedback to council by 23/10/2013.

Improvements we seek are improvements in bus services as previously indicated, Larger Non-smoking signs at Mount Druitt Interchange and the policing of and also Mount Druitt Interchange  extended to cover the heavy traffic that is  in the interchange with buses and also a proposed free shuttle bus for Mount Druitt - yet we believe Council is looking into it.

Highly thanked Council for leading the way for accessible buses making them compliant to DDA, leading the way. and for inviting us to the forum that council held today.

People sometimes say that these forums are a waist of time, I totally disagree as they are part of a community and stake holders consultation looking to  provide future better  and improved public transport services and infrastructure.  People  can be heard - ans stake holders can listen! We have  to remember  that Public  Transport is made by the Government and used by the commuter!

As Blacktown City Council's motto is the 'City of Excellence' this was an excellent  Forum the  Blacktown City Council has organised.

If you want to see how the previous Blacktown City Transport Forum was read here: 
Click here for Previous Blacktown City Council Public Transport Forum

Friday, September 20, 2013

Hail & Ride! Here Is The Council Proposal To Assist Mount Druitt Commuters With Having A Mini Bus!

Both Blacktown City Councillors and also Blacktown City Council Officers are really passionate about assisting commuters of Mount Druitt, in obtaining a Shuttle bus going around the hub of Mount Druitt and maybe provided to the commuters of Blacktown as well, later on.

A lot of people think Council Officers do nothing and have a great job that provides lots of wages. I totally would defend Council Officers that I know as they have to plan for the future  of Blacktown's population as well as deal with decisions that currently affect our local government areas, to improve roads and transport with the area. Blacktown is in the forefront of improvement to public transport bus stops  by making these bus stops compliant to Disability Discrimination Act and ensuring  NSW for Transport as well as Local bus operators that cut services are well supported to be cut.

Blacktown City Council's research and report on the proposed 'Hail and Ride' is as below and the report that has been made to Council. Although, it proposes to match the route we  have proposed, it is heading in the right direction. If it is not accessible maybe Taxis (Accessible Taxis) could  take commuters that need access - something that I believe  a representative from the NSW Taxi Council agrees on!

You can click here on this link for the BCC Proposal for a Mini Bus

    Or you can read bellow and read the business paper that was presented to Council on 18th September 2013:
    City Assets

    Minute Number: Council Meeting Date: 18/09/2013

    Council meeting date: 18/09/2013 
    Report Number: CA330061

    Director City Assets Author: Toufaili RManager: Svarc R

    ITEM: <#> CA1028
    CA330061 - Free Minibus Shuttle Service in Mount Druitt
    FILE NUMBER: 38-17-1/19

      Hide details for REPORT ITEM:
  1. At its Ordinary Meeting on 26 June 2013 Council resolved that a report be prepared on the feasibility of a bus shuttle service for Mount Druitt CBD.
  2. This report details the costs associated with operating a shuttle bus based on Fairfield Council's model.
  3. There is one attachment to this report:
      Attachment 1 - Fairfield City Connect Community Bus Brochure

  1. At its Ordinary Meeting held on 26 June 2013 Council gave consideration to a matter raised in Business Arising concerning the feasibility of providing a bus shuttle service at Mount Druitt CBD.“Councillor Donaldson requested a report on the feasibility of running a mini-bus as a free shuttle bus in a loop around Mount Druitt. Could we actively seek advice from Fairfield Council about their free Community-Connect bus, how much it costs etc to run and could those writing the report approach the Mount Druitt Commuter Improvement Group about the route that they had designed in consultation with the local community."Council has received a number of previous enquires from the Mount Druitt Community Group Save Our Bus Service (S.O.B.S) for a free shuttle bus service from the Mount Druitt Railway Station to the Mount Druitt hospital via Shopsmart shopping centre. Council also resolved that representations be made for a shuttle service for Mount Druitt following the introduction of the Blacktown CBD bus shuttle service trial. Accordingly a number of representations were made to Transport for NSW (TfNSW) on behalf of S.O.B.S. and Council, however this service was not supported based on the investigation undertaken by TfNSW due to low patronage levels forecast by local bus operators.

    It should be noted that the State Government has recently cancelled the free shuttle bus service that had been operating in Blacktown CBD. The service ceased operation on 15 August 2013.
  2. The proposed Mt Druitt shuttle bus route preferred by S.O.B.S. was also the same route identified by Council Officers and forwarded to TfNSW for consideration. The route is shown as Attachment 1 to this report and involves the following:
    • North Parade between Railway Station and Sherbrooke Street
    • Sherbrooke Street between North parade and Railway Terrace
    • Railway Terrace between Sherbrooke Street and Luxford Road
    • Luxford Road between Railway Terrace and Mount Street
    • Mount Street between Luxford Road and North Parade

    This route would service the Mt Druitt Railway Station, TAFE, Chifley College, Loyola College, Rooty Hill RSL, Mount Druitt Hospital, Mount Druitt business and retail areas.

    Research indicates when planning for a new bus route, the following issues should be considered:
    • Consider steepness of dish crossing (bus scrapes)
    • Turning manoeuvres and turning restrictions
    • Consider not providing long loops in a one direction
    • Allow for a 20km/h for peak and 25 Km/h non-peak for average running times to determine timetables and bus hours
    • Do not operate during school hours
    • Approval for routes will need to be sought from Transport for NSW (TfNSW), and generally should not operate within an approved bus route.

    There are existing bus services along North Parade and near the Mount Druitt Hospital, however there are no bus services that provides a loop to service the Shopsmart shopping centre and nearby community services hub in Mt Druitt. However, recent advice from Transport for NSW confirmed that approval of this proposed shuttle bus service may be granted subject to consultation with the local bus operators.
3. Advice from Fairfield Council

    Fairfield City Council has been operating its Community Connect free bus shuttle since July 2012. In order to understand the operation of this service and the cost impacts enquiries were made with the Fairfield City Council. The following information was provided:
    • Fairfield City Council operates one Park and Ride commuter express service and four Hail and Ride community Coaster type bus services. (timetable attached)
    • Fairfield’s bus shuttle service does not accommodate people with a physical disability as it would require substantial changes to the mini buses it uses. In its officer's opinion, the changes would reduce the capacity of the mini bus.
    • The Coaster type bus costs approximately $70/bus/hour to operate (TfNSW advice). Buses operating within Fairfield Councils LGA for all routes currently cost approximately $350,000 per annum in operational costs including driver’s wages and depreciation based on a 6 year depreciation period.
    • Fairfield City Council confirmed that patronage levels on some services are better than others, however was not prepared to divulge the actual patronage figures.
Based on the operating costs supplied by Fairfield City Council the following capital costs and annual operating costs are estimated for providing a free shuttle bus service for Mount Druitt.

    25 seater bus
    $150,000 each
    Wrapping (painting) of the bus
    $10,000 each bus
    Timetables (design, print, and alignment with new train timetables
    Hail and Ride signposting depending on spacing
    From $30,000
    Bus surveillance
    Special bus step for elderly
    $5,000 - $10,000
    Annual Running Costs
    Total cost for one bus servicing a loop around Mount Druitt
    N.B. Other factors may need to be included such as rostering a driver and insurance cover.

4. Fairfield City Council's free shuttle bus service is based on a Hail and Ride service only whereby no official bus stops are provided. This is largely based on the requirement of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) which requires a new bus stop have a slab, tactile indicators, bus stop sign, bin, and access path to the bus stop. The above requirement could cost $6,500 without a shelter and $16,500 with a shelter at each location and does not including access paths.

5. However, considering the Mount Druitt proposed free shuttle bus route is within an existing bus route, existing bus stops may be utilised subject to the approval of Transport for NSW. Should this approval not be granted, a Hail and Ride service would be an alternative.

6. Further enquiries were made to Parramatta City Council which identified that the previously council funded free shuttle bus service is now funded by Transport for NSW.

7. There are currently four Council owned community buses that are available for the general public in the Blacktown LGA subject to booking and availability. However all buses are generally fully booked by various community groups and should one of these buses be utilised for the proposed free shuttle service, the availability of the buses for community groups would be reduced.

8. There is currently no funding identified for capital and operational costs associated with setting up and running of the free bus shuttle proposal.

9. Whilst a free shuttle service would be a desirable asset for access to and around the Mount Druitt area, the cost of introducing and operating the service is high and there are presently privatebus services available for these connections. In view of the advice received from TfNSW concerning patronage levels and the high cost involved it would be difficult to justify the introduction of this service. However should Council wish to proceed with the shuttle bus service it is recommended that it be undertaken on a trial basis in the first instance to gauge the patronage levels utilising one of the Council owned community buses.

10. In this regard, the estimated running cost of one bus travelling within the above proposed route for a 6 month trial period between 9.30am and 2.30pm Monday to Friday (5 hours/day for 5 days a week) at $70/h is $42,000.

    1. That the above information be noted
    2. Due to the high costs associated with establishing the free bus shuttle service Council continue to make representations to State Government to provide free shuttle services for Mount Druitt and Blacktown.

At Least 'Announcements On Delayed Trains!' - Plumpton Commuter

Sometimes, when there is train delays on the Western Line, there is usually little or no announcements from the guard and commuters. There should be automatic announcements that is provide on the train ( or even from the guard) that provide details of what is causing the train delay, how long do they propose the delay will be at the most, what contingency plans are in place to transport commuters if commuters have to leave the train.

This is so that relevant details can be provide to families and/or friend waiting for the commuter to arrive at their  train station destination?

What do you think?

Save Our Bus Services

Read our story on how we made it our priority to ensure bus services are re-instated from services taken away in 2009.