MEDIA RELEASE / NEWSLETTER / December 1978 / ISSN 0155-8234


1. Members Of the Management Committee during 1978 were:
Convener:John Hoyle
Secretary:Andrew Phelan
Treasurer:Geoff Dawson
Members:Kevin Eadie, Don Morison, NS, Michael Conroy.

2. Convener's Report:

"Because of the changes that often take place in the political arena as far as public transport is concerned it is difficult to predict the areas in which Action for Public Transport will be involved during the forthcoming year. However, one thing is certain: the needs of the public transport consumer, often overlooked by governments and public transport operators; will provide the guiding principle behind APT's activities.

"Particular areas in which APT will be involved during 1979 include the following:

  1. better information services for public transport consumers, including the long-running campaign to have a Sydney Area, all-mode public transport map produced;
  2. the serious, and deteriorating, country rail passenger rolling stock situation;
  3. improvement to Sydney's new buses, including better ventilation for these vehicles;
  4. more extensive use of transit lanes and other public transport priority measures;
  5. new means of providing low cost off-peak public transport services such as subsidised taxis, community buses etc.; and
  6. the completion of all or part of the Sandy Hollow to Maryvale railway.

"Naturally, the degree of involvement which APT achieves in these and other areas will depend entirely on the availability of resources such as finance and manpower. Like most voluntary organisations only a very small proportion of APT's members is actively involved in the various projects undertaken by the group. Given this situation, combined with a generally adverse attitude to public transport development in some sections of the media and of politics, it is remarkable that APT has been able to stimulate interest and rational debate on public transport issues. In looking to the future it is well to remember that many of public transport's opponents, such as the 'road lobby', are motivated by money; APT's motivation comes from a genuine concern for an important aspect of the community's daily life."

3. Activities 1978:

Pursuant to a resolution carried at the 1977 AGM the name of this organisation changed from Save Public Transport to Action for Public Transport during 1978.

The following are activities pursued by APT during 1978:

  1. publication of a bi-monthly newsletter;
  2. preparation of a Sydney private bus route map, now "lost" in the NSW transport bureaucracy;
  3. production of media releases on various specific themes;
  4. presentation of submissions to various official committees of inquiry;
  5. participation in the Earlwood by-election and the State election (see report October Newsletter);
  6. attendance at and contribution to various conferences/seminars on transport;
  7. attendance at various community festivals; and
  8. preparation of an anti-freeway leaflet.

4. Activities Present and Future:

  1. APT is currently preparing a major submission to the National Transport Policy Committee of the Federal ALP - the ALP intends to release a comprehensive national transport policy in mid-1979;
  2. the Secretary is at present reviewing the publication "Urban Renewal" for the Federal Department of Environment, Housing and Community Development;
  3. member Stephen Bathgate has prepared a submission to the State Inquiry into Road Transport Industry and will appear before that inquiry during 1979; and
  4. APT is attempting to get the State Government to honour its election promise to order new country passenger rolling stock.

5. Finances:

APT's financial year ended on 1st October, 1978. During the preceding year:

  1. income (mainly membership) totalled $557.72;
  2. expenditure totalled $516.33 - main items were postage ($196.00) and printing ($122.00) costs;
  3. bank balance at 1st October, 1978 was $648.20.

6. In Appreciation:

Thanks to all those un-named members who contributed during 1978; also to those members and staff of the APULE who made publication of APT's Newsletter possible.


In the October Newsletter we expressed concern at the Government failure to let contracts for the construction of new country passenger carriages and railcars, tenders for which closed up to a year ago. APT has now discovered that these important orders have been deferred indefinitely because, in the words of the Minister for Transport, Mr Peter Cox, "there are simply insufficient funds available at this stage to permit immediate implementation of all the capital works projects which the Government would like to undertaken."

We make the following comments:

  1. Prior to the recent election Mr Wran reaffirmed his Government's "five-year/$1 billion modernisation plan"; he asserted that it was ahead of schedule and likely to be completed by the end of 1981. The abovementioned rolling stock form part of this program, yet are unlikely to enter service in any significant numbers before 1982 at the earliest.
  2. Country passenger services have continued to deteriorate to the extent that once prestige trains, although well patronised, are decidedly shabby, uncomfortable and unreliable. The midday Newcastle "Flyer" on Saturday, 9th December was a rail historian's delight, although the passengers who expected an air conditioned train may have experienced different emotions. Similarly, important "expresses" to Canberra and the so-called growth centre of Bathurst/Orange often lose their air conditioning and buffet facilities without notice to intending passengers. The night trains to most country centres (the Mail Trains) defy description eg. the Western Mail of Tuesday, 12th December, carried nearly 400 passengers in carriages the most modern of which was 45 years old!
  3. Following the fare reduction of 1976, country passenger patronage has continued to rise. New passengers are being introduced to public transport with high expectations fuelled by PTC advertising. (Given the obvious deteriorating situation, this advertising would doubtless attract the ire of the Trade Practices Commission were the PTC an ordinary corporation!). The Government should be concerned to enhance, or at least maintain, the image of public transport by providing modern carriages.
  4. The deferment of the abovementioned orders has still to be announced publicly. APT obtained its information from a letter written from the Minister to a prominent union official who shared APT's concern at the Government's inaction'. The silence of the Government over this issue is disturbing.
We wish you a merry Christmas !


"OIL & AUSTRALIA'S FUTURE- The economic, social, & political aspects"-Inst. of Political Science Summer School- Canberra, 27-29 Jan.79. Further info. from AIPS, 181 Clarence St., Phone 29 7340.