NEWSLETTER Sept-Oct 1976


Mon 4th October (public holiday):

Monthly meeting at the NSW Environment Centre, 263B Broadway, at 5.30pm. Rolluprolluprollup.

And Remember - our Annual General Meeting on Mon 1st November. Membership renewals are due by then.

Every Tuesday:

Informal discussions at the Great Southern Hotel lounge, 723 George St, opposite Rawson Place, 5.30pm.

Sat Sun and Mon 2nd 3rd and 4th October:

Model Railway Exhibition at the lower Sydney Town Hall. (open to 7pm)

Sat and Sun 9th and 10th October:

A Festival!! at Racecourse Place, Eastlakes, to promote the preservation of the site as open space. The S.P.T.C. will be handing out literature, and we hope to put on some street theatre. All invited.

Freeways fight for Life:

As we approach the second anniversary of the Battle for Fig St (the turning point in the campaign against inner urban radial freeways), a final showdown seems imminent. At the meeting advertised in our last newsletter a Coalition Against Radial Expressways (C.A.R.E.) was formed, involving the Save Public Transport Committee and residents from most of the immediately threatened suburbs. It was resolved to seek meetings with the Transport Minister, Mr Cox, and the Minister for Planning and Environment, Mr Landa. Meanwhile Mr Cox has said that the Freeways are under consideration by a cabinet subcommittee.

While a great deal of fuss was made about "invasion of privacy" in the recent DMR survey (since cancelled), the persistent lobbying for freeways by the DMR has not been sufficiently drawn to public attention. The NRMA, too, has produced another pro-freeway editorial in the latest Open Road. On the other hand, the National Trust has released a policy statement on urban freeways which concludes, in part, "Since the Trust feels that Freeways, together with their concomitant parking demands, threaten much of value, then transport systems which avoid or minimize their use should be emphasised."

We are confident that Mr Cox will honour his pre-election promise not to proceed with four specific freeways. The sway of public opinion may well lead to the abandonment of the other proposed urban freeways.


Commuter Council and Public Participation:

We are still waiting for Minister Cox to announce the formation of the Commuter Council. Meanwhile the PTC administration continues, in its bureaucratic way, to neglect the problems of the travelling public. "Marketing" is a very "in" word at Transport House, but there is little evidence that management knows its meaning. In a recent circular to employees Chief Commissioner Reiher requests staff to "accept the principle of serving the customer." Employees' ideas are sought (for rewards of up to $100) for use in what are called "Marketing Campaigns".

Clearly the Commission has no idea of what Marketing is; and is merely using that word instead of "advertising." The only way to get employees to think of the customer is to give them continuous motivation - not the chance of a once only payment of $100. There should be less emphasis on the attitudes of "shop window" employees - station staff and bus crews. The real problem lies at middle management level, where years of tradition dictate decision making in a way that no written appeal can ever influence. Decisions are based on precedent ("How did we do it last time? If it was approved then there should be no trouble now."), professional rivalry between branches ("What do they know about our requirements - we want it done this way."), and fear of punishment if mistakes are made or admitted.

Employees want promotion, higher wages, and/or job satisfaction. Without these the Commission's promise of $100 rewards is a waste of time and money. NB: The current PTC press advertisements for four Civil Engineers make no reference to applicants' attitude to serving the public.

The Cycling Scene:

A House of Representatives Standing Committee on Road Safety has been appointed to enquire into "Safety aspects of motor cycles and bicycles in Australia." We will be making a submission, so give us your opinions as soon as possible. Make your own submission too, to - the Clerk of the Committee, Standing Committee on Road Safety, House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T., 2600.


Bus priority in Perth:

The Perth Metropolitan Transport Trust will set up another six priority bus lanes in 1976-1977. The Trust's Chairman, Mr G.A. Shea, said that this move would be made because the priority bus lane in Adelaide Terrace had been so successful. He added that the MTT was considering more new services such as dial-a-bus, signal priorities and special traffic privileges. Signal priorities to give buses a quicker passage through traffic lights could be in general use soon.

Public Transport Map in Adelaide:

Just released, it has a similar format to the Melbourne map. It shows private bus routes, and gives frequency information, details of the transfer ticket system, and location of Transport Museums.

Fares in Canberra:

As part of an overall investigation into fare systems and collection methods, the Dept of the Capital Territory has equipped two M.A.N. buses with fare boxes, believed to be the only such operation in Australia. (ELECTRIC TRACTION, August "76)

Railway Advertising in Melbourne:

Advertising on railway overbridges and hoardings is gradually being eliminated around Melbourne because the V.R. believes that it is unsightly in the light of present community and advertising standards. This move has been taken despite the loss of revenue that will ensue.

Lane Cove Plaza:

More than a year after the event, the Equity Court has ruled that Lane Cove Council did not have the power to close a road in order to turn it into a pedestrian mall. The court action was brought by a small number of shopkeepers who claimed that their trade had been adversely affected by the closure. However, many of the shopkeepers in the mall area are strongly in favour of the plaza, as was shown at a recent public meeting. The Council is appealing against the court ruling, and meanwhile the order to reopen the road has been suspended for thirty days.

New Carriages for Brisbane:

Queensland Railways has called tenders for 39 electric passenger carriages. Main features include air-conditioning, woollen fabric seats, tinted windows, a public address system, and radio communication between the driver and a central control. They follow the basic design requirements of the Australian Urban Passenger Train developed by the Commonwealth Government over the past two years.

- and Sydney:

The NSW Government has ordered 100 more double decker carriages for Sydney's suburban railways. We assume that they will be built to existing specifications. Even without the luxuries proposed for Brisbane, a few minor comforts in our new rolling stock would no doubt be appreciated by the public - such as softer seats, more than token armrests, adequate ventilation in the summer heat and rubberised hand holds (instead of bare metal) in the winter cold. In view of the continuing program of carriage construction it is our job, before it is too late, to persuade the PTC that in carriage design passenger comfort is just as important as cheapness, convenience and conformity.

Smoking in Public Vehicles:

Sydney has the distinction of being the last Australian Capital to allow smoking on public transport vehicles. Members are urged to express themselves in the current government survey on this subject. The December '75 meeting of the S.P.T.C. resolved unanimously that smoking should be banned on urban public transport vehicles. The ban would improve cleanliness and public health. The National Health and Medical Research Council has stated that "side stream" smoke is 2 to 5 times more poisonous than "main stream" smoke.


Members are reminded that membership fees are due by Mon 1st November, the date of our Annual General Meeting. Members who joined after the 1st August, 1976, need not renew until October "77. The new rates (which were listed incorrectly in the August newsletter) are:-

Ordinary members:.........................................................$5
Students, pensioners and unemployed:...........................$2
Organisations - with 1 to 50 members:...........................$5
- with 51 to 300 members:......................$10
- with 301 to 1000 members:..................$15
- with over 1000 members:.....................$20

Bring your money with you on the 1st November, or better still, post it off immediately. And remember, the figures above are minimums - if you can spare more, don't be shy. Only financial members can vote at S.P.T.C. meetings.

Sandy Hollow - Maryvale Railway:

Minister Cox has replied to our proposals, saying that unless there is a significant increase in coal traffic from Ulan, construction of the railway would be difficult to justify on economic grounds.