Every Tuesday Informal pub meeting Great Southern Hotel (Bistro Lounge), George St City (opposite Rawson Pl), 5.30 to 7pm approx. Drop in.

Sat 15th April 11am.

Cooks River Festival, Steel Park, Illawarra Rd Marrickville. Canoe event, bike rally, bus trips to points of interest, river cleanup, dancing and stalls. APT will be there!

24th-26th May

Australian Transport Research Forum in Perth. Emphasis on transport users views. Write to us for details.

3rd-4th June

Queens Birthday weekend (note date amended from last newsletter). For those interested in modern railway developments a tour of the Mackay Goonyella railway (Q1d). Bookings forms available from APT in April or from ARHS bookshop, 27 Belmore St Surry Hills.

14 May

RALLY FOR BOTANY BAY-Walkathon, bike ride, energy fair, picnic. Marchers (sponsored) will start from Dolls Point, Banksmeadow Park, & Tasker Park, and cyclists from Belmore Pk., Central, at 10 am, converging on Cook Pk., Brighton-le-Sands. Enq. Don Morison, 95 5731, or FOE, 235 8037.


.....Monthly meetings at Environment Centre cancelled.


Four speakers from various disciplines were invited to deliver papers to the abovenamed seminar held on the 14th February last. Mr Terry Young, a Director of ESSO Australia, reviewed Australia's reserves in all sources of energy and discussed the magnitude of what he saw as the oil problem. He forecast that by 1990 Australia would be only 20% self-sufficient in petroleum. At such time the yearly import bill for this commodity would be $A 8 billion at present day values.

Mr Young proposed four ways to meet the problem:

  1. substitution;
  2. coal liquefaction;
  3. discovery of more oil; and
  4. conservation.
of these he saw only conservation as offering more than a nominal amount of time and indeed going any way toward solving the problem.

At present the Transport Sector consumes 55% of Australia's oil from all sources. Of this total the private motor car consumes half. Mr. Young added that car users tended to be rather insensitive to fuel costs and that there were only two ways to effectively reduce the influence of the car on the energy picture:

  1. increase the initial car price; and ultimately
  2. regulate its use.
Professor C. Watson-Munro, Chairman of the Sydney University Energy Research Centre, explored the alternatives to oil as fuel for transport and noted the huge capital costs involved in the production of liquid fuel from coal and plants. He commented that there would be a much lower cost involved in the electrification of Australia's main railway lines.

Mr. Stephen Peterson, an economist with the Urban Transport Study Group, saw three possible responses to the energy crisis:

  1. in the long term, a redistribution of land use in the Sydney region to make more efficient use of transport;
  2. substitution for oil; and
  3. the greater use of public transport between major urban nodes.
The final speaker was Ms Susan Young, Director of MSJ Keys Young Planners Pty Limited, who highlighted the problems that an oil shortage will cause in Sydney's suburban sprawl environment where most conventional forms of public transport are energy inefficient. She predicted that the oil shortage would not produce a movement to public transport but a reduction in total transport journeys particularly on the urban periphery.

Private Motor Vehicle Costs.

Figures released recently by the N.R.M.A. concerning the cost of motoring enable interesting comparisons to be made with the cost of public transport in New South Wales. The N.R.M.A. figures, based on an average vehicle use of 16,000 Km a year, indicate that a Holden Kingswood 330 Auto., for example, would cost $6,500 to purchase and $2,700 to run over 12 months.

The N.R.M.A. calculated that a Toyota Corolla L Manual would cost 17.02 cents per kilometre, a Ford Cortina Manual 19.41, a Holden Kingswood Auto 22.7, and a Ford Fairlane 302 Auto 34.24.The public transport user's rail journey from Sydney to Strathfield costs 2.9 cents per kilometre, Canberra and Newcastle cost 2.1 cents per kilometre and Brisbane 2.5 cents per kilometre (figures are for economy travel.) Rising energy costs will undoubtedly tip the price scale even further in favour of public transport in the future.

Rail Enquiry Service Hangups.

Following complaints by rail customers Action for Public Transport requested an investigation into the efficiency of the P.T.C. Rail Division's enquiry phone number, 20942. Preliminary reports from the P.T.C. indicate that about 17% of callers hang up because of excessive waiting time in the telephone queueing system. The P.T.C.'s Customer Service Bureau is investigating the operations of this enquiry service-APT awaits the results with interest. It is difficult to imagine some of the P.T.C.'s competitors such as T.A.A. and Ansett having an enquiry service with such a high "drop out" rate. Public Transport customers in Sydney are confronted with three different telephone numbers (one each for trains, buses and ferries) for P.T.C. services and no overall phone enquiry service for private buses. In Melbourne, which is so often accused of being behind Sydney, one phone number, covers information on all public transport services in that city.

Sandy Hollow to Maryvale - Again.

During April 1976 an APT (then Save Public Transport) media release outlined the current situation regarding the uncompleted Sandy Hollow - Maryvale railway. Recently White Industries, a coal mining company at Ulan, on the unfinished line, have proposed to finance completion of part of the link to facilitate coal exports through Newcastle. APT has contacted White Industries with a view to monitor developments concerning this proposal. It is understood that White Industries are currently discussing the proposal with the N.S.W. Government.

New PTC Buses:

Further to our criticism of the P.T.C.'s Mercedes bus body design, the P.T.C. has advised that luggage space will be improved on the 550 vehicles recently ordered. Ventilation will be completely new ... possibly based on latest European (VOV) designs.

P. T. C. Annual Report.

The recently released 1976/77 P.T.C. Annual Report contains some encouraging news-rail, bus and ferry journeys all showed the first increase for many years. This can be largely attributed to the 20% fare reduction. It is well to remember however that Bureau of Transport Economics surveys (in Brisbane and Perth) have shown that the quality of the product and not price will, in the long term, determine public transport usage. APT hopes that the increased expenditure on public transport will soon bring long term, positive results as far as patronage is concerned. In this context APT welcomes the order for 25 airconditioned diesel railcars for country services. An interesting feature of these cars will be the provision for future operation at speeds of up to 145 Km/Hr.

No Iron Horse to Warwick Farm Racecourse.

In what might be regarded as a typical example of the low regard public transport patrons are held in this country the Australian Jockey Club has closed its one kilometre railway serving the Warwick Farm racecourse. Race trains from Sydney can no longer conveniently run direct to the racecourse; instead patrons must detrain at Warwick Farm station and travel by bus or walk to race meetings. APT wonders whether the racecourse car park will now be enlarged.


A number of Action for Public Transport members expended some energy in manning the APT stand at the Balmain Energy Fair held on March 11 and 12. Organised by a residents group known as the Punch Park People, the fair displayed various alternative means of providing energy for our society. APT was there to get across the message that improved utilisation of a more efficient public transport system can result in considerable energy savings when compared to the energy inefficient private motor vehicle. A number of new members and excellent sales of "Getting on the Right Track" also resulted from our display stand. APT thanks those members who assisted with the stand and the Public Transport Commission for providing display material.


This plaza, formed by the closure of half the Corso to traffic, has had a six month trial period and a public meeting was held on the 6th March to discuss its future. Manly Council appears to have made every effort to get maximum public participation in the decision whether to retain the plaza or not. Although there was a strong faction at the meeting which opposed the plaza, most speakers favoured its retention, as did most residents and shopkeepers in surveys which the Council conducted. It looks as if the plaza will be retained.


The New South Wales government is proposing to go ahead with the construction of this freeway, after or depending on an environmental impact study. Traffic on this freeway will heavily pollute the mist that forms in the Cooks River Valley. This freeway will serve and be served by General Holmes Drive, whose capacity is limited by the airport runway underpass, so one wonders how well the traffic can flow when six lanes going north-east converge into three lanes. The freeway also serves areas already served by a freight railway, which is to be upgraded to a capacity to handle all freight to or from Botany Bay Port. The freeway will destroy a good deal of parkland and cause the usual noise and community disruption associated with freeways, as well as destroying 450 homes. It would appear that it would be better to upgrade public transport in the area and carry Botany Bay Port freight by rail rather than build this freeway. A successful rail shuttle service already operates to convey container traffic from Balmain container terminal to Chullora.

If you agree that this road should not be built please write to the Minister for Transport and Highways and inform him of your views. The Cooks River Festival on the 15th April, 11 a.m. at Steel Park, Marrickville, is intended to promote appreciation of the Cooks River Valley environment which this freeway, if built, will damage.


We note with approval that the P.T.C. is calling tenders for new station buildings at Normanhurst, Cheltenham, Thornleigh, Wollstonecraft and Meadowbank. Tenders have also been called for bus shelters at Burwood, Strathfield, Auburn and Blacktown. However, some councils are already squealing "lack of funds" for these basic human comforts.

The chamber of Automotive Industries advises that the Sydney Motor Show (August 18 - 26) is "solely for the purpose of selling more motor vehicles" (including buses of course): We are doing something about that!

The Major Airport Needs of Sydney (MANS) Study has advised that our suggested high speed rail alternative" has been explored at length in previous transport investigations ........ and found to be uneconomic ........ because the terrain for the rail route out of Sydney in any direction is too restrictive." Our negotiations are continuing.

The Australian Consumers Association ("Choice" magazine) has declined our suggestion that they conduct a public transport survey. A.C.A. states that they are unable to implement such a survey because of lack of resources.

A subtle change in direction? An engineer from the Queensland Main Roads Department, addressing a meeting in Sydney, has advocated "low speed" freeways, citing examples from Japan where freeways have a lower speed environment which includes narrower traffic lanes and a much better safety record.


The chief of the New South Wales Energy Authority, Mr John Dembecki has more specifically defined the energy crisis as a "shortage of liquid fuels for transport". He favours a "basket" of measures including:-

  1. greater use of electricity (especially magneto hydro dynamic _MHD_ generation which will lift overall efficiency of generation from 40-50% to 55-65%) This includes extraction and pollution control.
  2. small scale coal to oil conversion plants in the short term.
Mr Dembecki said the present 1% of energy for transport which is supplied by electricity is unlikely to increase without deliberate manipulation by the government.

Meanwhile the Federal Government's National Energy Advisory Committee whose task is to promote fuel conservation, has as its new chairman, Greg Lynch, formerly a director of Esso Australia. New members of NEAC include R. Austen, chairman and managing director of coal miners, Austen and Butta, and H. Hume, general manager of the North Shore Gas Company. Which comes first - increased sales or reduced consumption?

New Time Tables;

The PTC is about to introduce a new suburban train time-table. APT is pleased to hear that, this time, private bus operators have been given due notice, to enable them to re-schedule their feeder services. The Country Rail time-table has been revised & re-printed (Feb. 78) & is available at 20 cents.


Newcastle is likely to be the first city in NSW to get a planned network of cycling facilities. Councils involved in the long running Iron Cove cycleway project have abandoned the idea----no money. Burwood Council has rejected our recommendations on its bikes-on-footpaths problem and intends to pursue its course of treating the symptom rather than the cause. It will prosecute errant cyclists. Most of them will probably be children.


Transport Minister Peter Cox has advised that existing signals can be adjusted to favour traffic flows having the highest number of passengers per vehicle, rather than simply the highest number of vehicles, as at present. The Traffic Authority believes this to be more cost-effective than "bus controlled" signals.


have won a battle against cars for the rights to the streets surrounding Bankstown Station. A similar victory is soon to be declared in Mount St. at North Sydney. Viva Mankind!