NEWSLETTER November 1976

What's on

Wed 27th October:

A seminar on "The need for Rationalised Transport Services", using the Botany Bay port, as a model. 7pm in the PTC auditorium, 11 York St. Admission free - for reservations ring Major Gower on 310455 during business hours.

Mon 1st November:

Our second Annual General Meeting, at the NSW Environment Centre, 263B Broadway, at 5.30pm. Election of Convenor, Secretary, Treasurer and four other members of the Management Committee. We have a numbers of nominations - others will be taken from the floor.

Every Tuesday:

Pub meeting - rear of lounge - Great Southern Hotel - George St opposite Rawson Place.

The next fortnight:

"Smoking on buses" survey - see below.

Thurs 4th November:

Last evening opening of the Botany Bay Inquiry display at the Waratah Centre, 1205 Botany Rd Mascot, 5.30pm - 8.00pm.

Sun 14th November:

SPTC excursion: a round trip via Kiama and Moss Vale - one of the most beautiful trips in the state. Leave Central 9.20am return 9.45pm. We will have about three hours in Kiama to eat and look around, so bring a picnic lunch. Those who want to get back earlier can return direct from Kiama (rather than travelling via Moss Vale) and arrive at about 6pm. Buy an Awayaday ticket for $4 and meet at 9.00am in front of the country indicators at Central. A good time will be had by all.

Sat/Sun 20/21 November:

"Poverty in Australia." Conference put on by the W.E.A. Ring 262781 for details.

Freeways Fight Fiercer:

We have been told that no arrest was made nor charges laid after the illegal demolition of some houses in Fig St, Ultimo, on the path of the North Western Freeway. Action by Government has been promised but on Sat 23/10, we once again received reports of trucks and bulldozers working on the site. The Minister for Transport, Mr Cox, promised before the election that the North Western Freeway would end at Harris St - Fig St is beyond here.

Meanwhile Mr Cox has refused, for the time being, to meet a deputation from the Coalition Against Radial Expressways, suggesting that it could take place when he considers the time appropriate. If the Government expects to win people back to public transport, it must give public transport priority in capital works; urban expressways should be dropped and capital funds available for transport directed to projects such as the E.S.R.

Social Work Placements:

We are having difficulty finding a suitable transport research project for Social Work students at Sydney University. Anyone with any concrete suggestions please contact Don Morison on 955731.

Nosmo King Reports:

A survey on smoking in government buses is now underway. We ask those who are canvassed in the survey to remember that both smokers and nonsmokers are subject to side stream smoke in a confined space such as a bus or a rail carriage, Dr Cotter Harvey, a past president of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, has told us that this "passive smoking" is especially dangerous to people suffering from heart or respiratory complaints, and he considers the division between smoking and nonsmoking on single deck buses inadequate. Our view is that smoking is best confined to "consenting adults in private", and not allowed on public transport vehicles.

Public Transport Funds:

Minister Cox has announced a big increase in State Government expenditure on public transport - up $50m to $152m this year. The Federal Government appears to be cashing in on the resurgence of interest in public transport in NSW. The photographs in Treasury's current loan fund raising advertisements give considerable prominence to public transport.


The Victorian Education Department produces game kits on subjects like development and Natural Resources, but they mostly reinforce existing practices. How about a new game to express ideas about public transport?

It would be for adults and children, encouraging creativity on ways to improve the public transport system. If we are clever enough we could market it and encourage the Education Dept to use it. Any ideas?

Roads Lobby Rears its Head:

The recent NRMA survey on why city workers choose to drive to work in their own cars is an example of supposedly unbiassed statistics solicited to prove a particular point of view, namely that people much prefer cars to public transport.

The questionnaire asked about place of work, days of travel, numbers of passengers, time of arrival and departure, distance of journeys and possible reasons why one uses a car to travel to work in the city. The survey assumed that people will only act in a selfish and mercenary way. Motorists may possibly not be aware of the detrimental social and environmental effects of their journeys.

The survey found that a large percentage of workers driving into the city used a company car or one subsidised by a company, and that a majority of drivers were making local or cross regional trips. The latest Open Road editorial concluded that more funds should be allocated to provide better roads - "Freeways will still be needed." This shows a short sighted approach to a complex situation. It assumes that the status quo will continue. It does not explore alternatives such as highly improved public transport or much greater encouragement of car pools.

The Press:

The SMH editorial on Public Transport of 23/10 was a mixed blessing. It approved of the State Government's new emphasis on public transport, but expressed "some lingering doubts", saying, "It is yet to be shown that newer, faster, cleaner trains and buses will attract back sufficient custom to justify their purchase." Certainly new vehicles alone are not enough: good management, staff morale and honest public relations are also necessary. But new vehicles are the first priority; scepticism will not help. The claim "At the heart of the Commission's cost problems is its high, dependence on labour", and the suggestion of "terminating poorly patronised services" show the naive reliance on the status quo that is the root of unimaginative transport planning. After all, labour intensive operation and poor patronage are the result of the antediluvian nature of the present system: they should not stifle potential improvements. However, the mention of "introduction of disincentives to private travel" struck a better note.

The Canberra Times of 6/10 was more sure of itself. The editorial on a proposed major road work in Canberra said: "... the project is incompatible with the universally accepted principle that public transport must come to replace the private car as much as possible as a means of moving people in large cities. The reasons are simple: the economic use of dwindling and ever costlier resources, including land for roads and parking space; the reduction of pollution and of the toll of the road; and the obligation in social justice to cease treating the private motorist as a privileged, citizen at the expense of the young, the old, the handicapped, and the less affluent who rely entirely on public transport."


Please renew at the A.G.M. or immediately by mail to; S.P.T.C. P.O. Box K606. Haymarket..2000. Don't expect a reminder- we are much more interested in promoting public transport than in office work. Try signing up a few new members while you're at it. Forms at left.


Usage of public transport in Sydney has nearly halved in 20 years. In 1957, there were an average of 307 trips made per person per year; last year the figure was 168. Yet few would say that we have a better transport system now than then.


More people should know of the PTC's excursion ticket arrangements.
AWAYADAY For $4 (50c children) you can travel anywhere as far as Kiama, Wyong, Lithgow and Moss Vale for the day.
DAYROVER For $2 (30c children) travel anywhere within the Sydney metropolitan area for the day after 9 a.m.
NURAIL: For $40, 14 days' unlimited travel by PTC services anywhere within NSW.


A talk-back radio programme on public transport was conducted by Ian Parry-Okeden on 2UE on 18th October. Many callers spoke of renewed interest in public transport. We are sending him an appreciative letter.