NEWSLETTER December 1976


Every Tuesday (including Christmas and New Year) - Meeting at Great Southern Hotel. George St., opposite Rawson Place

Feb. 7 1977

- Next General Meeting at Environment Centre 2 at 5:30 (no meeting in January). We've been discussing - Sydney Airport expansion, Hunters Hill Ferry/taxi, expressways, bus design, NRMA, ESR, etc.

April 23 1977

- Cooks River Festival. Mackay Park, Marrickville. Local groups are planning activities for adults and children attention to the recreation value of the River. Contact David Boddam-Whetham at 27 33 85. Come along to the January planning meeting in Campsie (Canterbury Municipal Town Hall in Beamish St Campsie.).

May. 24, 25th 1977

- Australian Transport Research Forum, M Theme - "Getting the Best Use From Transport Infrastructure public transport, pedestrians, and energy. Details from P J Bannister, Secretary, Australian Transport Research Forum, c/ Ministry of Transport, 570 Bourke St., Melb..


State Ministers for Transport and Planning have refused deputations from our affiliate "Coalition Against Radial Expressways" (CARE) claiming they are aware of our policies. The press have released details of the Federal Government's consultants report which recommends cheaper less damaging alternatives to the DMR's Western and North-western expressways. (SMH 30/11 and 1/12/76).

However, even the consultant's work is questionable -

  1. Their work is based on Sydney Area Transportation Study population growth estimates which later reports have shown as high
  2. SATS was also prepared before the Arab oil price increases, the world energy crisis revelation and the Royal Commission on Petroleum, all of which predict much reduced growth rates in car usage.
  3. Even if their predictions of traffic increase had been accurate, building more roads is most certainly not the only answer. In fact, better roads encourage more car use. Traffic congestion would soon return to levels which motorists are prepared to tolerate.

    No expressway has yet been built which can handle peak loads efficiently.

    The broader answers to traffic growth are to be found in Town Planning - to reduce the need for travel.

  4. There is a fundamental weakness in the philosophy of expressways in that they are designed to move vehicles, not people. From the DMR's own data - a bus lane has 18 times the people capacity of a car lane
The Government has a responsibility to those people without cars (26% of Sydney's population) or limited access to cars (41% in 1971 Census) who, despite NRMA deceptions, are actually subsiding the motorist.

Bus Design

A Bureau of Transport Economics Survey conducted in Perth has found that people rate bus design features in the following order of priority:
Seat availability, travelling comfort, cleanliness, quiet and smooth ride, ease of entry/exit, lighting, pollution control, time reduction, fare reduction ... then, well down in rating, interior style colour scheme and exterior style.

It is clear that passengers rate comfort ahead of fare level in importance.

Where are we going

There is some cause for concern over the future of the SPTC. We have been active (if not always successful) in various projects, such as the publicity of our issue in the state election, a transport oriented research project for Sydney University students, and a subsidised taxi service to replace late night buses in Hunters Hill. We resolved at the Annual General Meeting on 1st November to give as much support as possible to members with practical ideas and practical projects, however small, for improvements to public transport. At the same time we want to remain an effective lobby in government on the broader issues of transport.

However, it seems that in terms of public appeal we have gone wrong. Although Sydney's biggest transport problems are in the western suburbs, our membership in that area is disappointing. Our coverage in recent months has been poor.

Possibly, since the state election, the public has thought that our battle was won. But the cause of public transport needs support now as much as ever before. The road lobby is as strong as ever: the NRMA has led the field with a recent traffic survey whose results were interpreted misleadingly to further the cause of inner expressway construction. It is these forces that pressed the state government to appoint a cabinet sub-committee to de the future of Sydney's radial expressway plans, in spite of a firm pre-election undertaking to scrap them.

The problems of our transport system, and public transport in particular, are obvious and undeniable. There is hope for the future, and there is a lot we can do - with public support. It is reasonable that many supporters cannot or do not want to be active or attend meetings. But if we have failed to please, we want our members to tell us why. Perhaps we have taken too hard a line, and appear to be "anti-road". Perhaps the newsletter should be of better quality. Perhaps we need to devise ways of more personal involvement in the public transport issue. Write, or ring any of the numbers below. With your help we will have an active and a profitable new year.

Results of Election at the Annual General Meeting, Mon 1st Nov, 1976.

Convenor Don Morison 95 5731
Secretary Geoff Dawson 44 1358
Treasurer Mike Conroy W 662 3354
Research Officer Bernie Willingale
Publicity Officer Sheila Swain
Commuter Council Rep Sheila Swain
Management Committee Kevin Eadie H 81 4268, W 290 4687
Alison White
Mike Bird
Brian Dunnett H 82 1705

Summer Time Fun - Take a Bus, Train or Ferry.

It's worth repeating the cheap and convenient fun trips you can make using public transport-
Awayday: For $4. (50c children) you can travel anywhere as far as a, Wyong, Lithgow and Moss Vale for the day.
Dayrover: For $2. (30c children) travel anywhere within the Sydney area for the day after 9 am.
Nurail> For $40. enjoy 14 days' unlimited travel by PTC services anywhere within NSW.
One-Day Excursions: To popular rural spots like sheep stations. Pick up leaflets on all these fun trips at your local railway station. Members of SPTC took the Moss Vale train last month to picnic at Kiama.

Kids Bus It To Beaches

If you live in an outer suburb have you thought of assisting kids to get to the beaches by public transport? Trips have been running from the Blacktown and North-west suburbs for the last two summers. Contact the Blacktown Youth Service through Blacktown Council or the Ryde Municipal Youth Club at 807 6605.

Aged and Handicapped People and Public Transport

SPTC will assist up to 14 Sydney Uni. Social Work students in surveying the transport needs of aged and handicapped people in the Ashfield Municipality starting in March 1977. It will involve discussions with hospitals, nursing homes, community centres and shopping centres. Ring Miss Bowen, Social Worker, at The Ella Community Centre, Haberfield at 798 5140 if you can assist.

Christmas Stockings

SPTC members are not likely to follow this advice in one toy advertisement: "Great ideas for filling up the Christmas stocking" features a machine gun, a rifle, a pistol, handcuffs, truncheon, sword and grenade." How about a bicycle tool kit or an excursion train ticket instead?

Games SPTC People Play - "Transit"

Players, aged 10 to adult, build a public transport system on their neighborhood board. The game, being put through a dry run by SPTC involves players building up bus, train, and ferry routes and rolling stock. The aim is to move the most people in your area most efficiently. Any ideas?

Cooks River County Road

It seems the proposed Cooks River County Road (also referred to as the Kyeemagh-Chullora Road) is to solve everyone's traffic problems if you follow recent comments in the Lakemba and Campsie News. Sir Eric Willis says it will relieve congestion in the St. George area, yet the Cooks River County Road does not go through St. George. Canterbury Council was quoted in the same paper as suggesting the County Road would relieve traffic noise outside Canterbury Hospital yet this hospital is over 1/2 mile from the County Road and on the radial Canterbury Road. Since the Cooks River County Road is on the top priority in the URTAC report, people concerned about public transport in the inner western or southwestern suburbs can contact the Cooks River Valley Association, Mrs. Geminis, Secretary at 553 800.

Who Uses Public Transport?

The Commonwealth Bureau of Roads - Report on Roads in Australia 1975:

"One out of four shoppers use public transport and nearly one out of five walk to the shops.
One out of three households didn't have a car available for during the weekday in 1974
Relative to the Consumers Price Index, public transport fares have risen 50% since 1960 while motoring costs declined by 25%."

Botany Bay Enquiry - more freeways?

Although the Botany Bay Port and Environment Enquiry did not recommend the total abandonment of the Port proposals, we were pleased to see that some notice was taken of submissions from action groups, including Save Public Transport.

We have managed to get hold of the summary of the Inquiry's conclusions, but we would need to see the body of the report to make any detailed comment.

The report stressed that there should be a major replanning of transport proposals for the development with a greater emphasis on rail transport. We told the enquiry that container traffic would be used as justification for the Cooks River Expressway. This would not solve traffic problems but would in fact exacerbate them by encouraging more industry to locate around Botany Bay. So we told the enquiry that if the container terminal did proceed, then the containers should be distributed by rail as far as possible.

Although the Inquiry accepted that containers should go by rail, they also said that the following major road proposals should be implemented:-

  1. A link from General Holmes Drive to Wentworth Avenue near Southern Cross Drive.
  2. Widening of General Holmes Drive.
  3. The Johnston's Creek Freeway (Mascot to Rozelle).
The same arguments that we put forward against the Cooks River Expressway apply to these proposals. (It is curious that the Inquiry did not refer to that Expressway, although the Maritime Services Board referred to it in their proposals.)

The enquiry rejected the Coal Loader on economic grounds, after we had submitted that coal trains would impose large costs on the public transport system by disrupting suburban passenger services.

The report also says that the advantages of the VLCC (supertanker) berth and oil storage did not outweigh environmental factors. However, the Inquiry suggested that the state government may have to have regard "to any national policy that may emerge following recommendations of the Royal Commission on Petroleum". In other words, although supertankers will not be beneficial to NSW, the Federal Govt. may force them on us.

One comment is rather frightening - "were the proposals to proceed .... equipment to handle a major oil spill of up to 200,000 tonnes should be developed".

We do not believe that supertankers can be justified in the national interest. Our resources policy should be for a shift away from oil based technology.

LAST REMINDER ABOUT MEMBERSHIP FEES If you don't renew your membership by Christmas we will have to cross you off our mailing list. If you've already paid, thank you and a Merry Xmas!