MEDIA RELEASE - NEWSLETTER
1999 No. 2 - July 1999 - ISSN 0155-8234
Peter H. Edwards describes feelings engendered by dread of
"entertainment" in trains - see article below.
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
Is summoned up a loud intruder's shout,
And raucous music to our ears is brought,
We ask for condemnation on the lout
Who sells the private precincts of our mind
As space for touts, compulsorily acquired.
Our right to golden silence we now find
Contemptuously ignored by those who, mired
In cheapjack commerce, count us all as sales,
Or tip their trashy muzak in our ears
Under the false impression, which prevails,
That otherwise we might be bored to tears.
Not so. And let us warn the minister
We find his scheme both vile and sinister.
An APT member just back from Melbourne reports that fare evasion on
the trams is now rampant.
He was told by a local that he hasn't cancelled his ten-ride ticket
for weeks, even though he travels into the CBD by tram every weekday.
He also saw housewives trying to sweet-talk their
way through the wide gate at Melbourne Central station.
A local identity, known as Super Conductor, will be a candidate in the
forthcoming Victoria election.
He will campaign on a platform that includes bringing
back tram conductors.
PARRAMATTA - CHATSWOOD RAILWAY
Announcements of new public transport routes sometimes attract
less-than-credible opposition from Not In My BackYard ("NIMBY") groups.
Memorable examples include opposition in Balmoral to a proposed
new ferry service from Circular Quay, perhaps because it might
have brought ordinary people into their harbourside suburb.
Again, when a railway from Chatswood to Warringah was mooted,
residents of Roseville Chase objected to a railway bridge across
The railway would have been parallel to a very noisy road bridge and would
have reduced pressure for a new road bridge elsewhere.
In the present case, residents around the West Lindfield campus of
the University of Technology mounted a campaign against the
Parramatta-Chatswood railway based on exaggerating its impact on
nearby Lane Cove National Park.
The residents sought support from the broad Green movement.
However, APT have reminded several green organisations
that the railway will remove much traffic from main roads
and hence its benefits exceed its costs.
In a letter to commuters on 23 March (before the election) the Minister
for Transport said "A basic tenet of the Carr Government has been that ticket
prices only increase broadly in line with the Consumer Price Index".
Bus operator State Transit is hailing the success of recent
police blitzes on the illegal use by some motorists of Sydney's Victoria Road
"T3" Transit Lane.
Police issued fines totalling more than $8000 in one operation on 21 May.
Enforcement has been erratic for years, due to
a claimed lack of police resources and the absence of
suitable lay-by areas to stop and interrogate offending motorists.
The recent police campaigns have been attributed to pressure from
the bus drivers' union, which had to arrange for the temporary
relocation of a bus stop to provide a lay-by.
APT find it extraordinary that
traffic managers can pride themselves on achieving once a
month what should have happened every day for the last
In London, cameras have been used for bus-lane enforcement
since 1997, and won the prestigious Bus Industry Award in
11 SEPTEMBER LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS
Remember to ask your candidates about their understanding
of and support for your local public transport services.
We acknowledge the commendable record on transport matters
of Sydney City Councillor Julie Walton, who is not standing
Ms Walton is also a board member of the State Transit Authority.
NEW TRAIN MOCK-UP
CityRail placed a full-sized mock-up of its new "Millenium" train on
public display during July.
A market research firm sought
passenger comparisons with CityRail's existing
rollingstock, surely an unproductive exercise, since one
would expect any new train to compare favourably with
existing designs when even the newest of them is now more
than twelve years old.
(A Tangara train mock-up was exhibited in 1986).
If Sydney wants to be considered a world class city
then its public transport must also compare with that in
other "world" cities.
Some Asian or European city unveils
a new train design about every other month.
The new train has reversible seating, better stairways, and
internal destination/next-stop displays.
Curiously, the tops of the seat cushions again are flat, the very
shortcoming of the Tangara which Cityrail sought to defend in 1989,
claiming the seats were designed by an ergonomist.
Ultimately, of course, CityRail bowed to consumer pressure
and modified nearly all the transverse seats in the entire Tangara fleet.
There is no storage space for bicycles, despite it having been
government policy since 1995.
CROSS-CITY TUNNEL - TRUST US, WE'RE ARCHITECTS
City Council is promoting a road tunnel under William, Park
and Druitt Streets, half as long again as the Roads &
Traffic Authority's November 1998 plan for a similar project.
The RTA's proposal is itself a re-hash of a 1989 Kumagai design.
A Council brochure issued in April 1999 extols the virtues
of its proposal, as compared with the RTA's.
Architect Greg Crone, a member of Council's study team,
addressing a public meeting at the Customs House on 3 July,
proudly declared that he was passionate about the project,
and described, in glowing terms and impressive before-and-after pictures,
how it would make a "boulevarde" of William Street, and create
"sidewalk cafes", and a "Darling Harbour lifestyle".
Apparently the tunnel will somehow enable the dismantling of
the Darling Harbour overhead expressway ramps.
He also confessed a particular dislike of the queues of buses in
George Street and the huge amount of kerbspace taken up by bus stops.
He said the tunnel would enable many of those bus stops to be
The tunnel would magically create a park opposite the Town Hall,
and provide a new bus-rail interchange there, (underground
and out of sight) providing relief for the heavily congested
Town Hall Railway Station.
Mr. Crone did not say whether the tunnel would, by its very
existence, generate more traffic on the east-west route
through the city, or where any resultant congestion might
then manifest itself.
He did not predict whether the tunnel might encourage motorists
to make more journeys or whether those journeys might be longer
than they are now,
nor exactly how the Expressway flyovers would disappear.
He did not elaborate on what effect the placing of buses
underground and out of sight might have on the
attractiveness of bus services or passenger amenity.
He did not explain how the new underground interchange would
relieve pedestrian congestion on the platforms
of the station, and he did not explain why this project was more
deserving than any other of $400 million expenditure, which
could grow markedly.
On the subject of "induced" traffic, the council brochure
claims that "a substantial portion of the extra cost (above
that of the RTA plan) can be derived from extra toll
revenue from additional patronage".
It does not recognise such additional traffic as being in
any way a problem elsewhere on the roads system.
City Council is an elected government, not a roadbuilding authority.
Why isn't it giving more balanced information?
NEW TICKET MACHINES
Commuter groups have been invited to comment on the design of new
touch-screen ticket vending machines for Sydney's Airport
Railway, due to open in early 2000.
Not everyone in the community is computer-literate.
The wide range of computer literacy skills, and the huge
amount of information to be displayed on the screen (e.g. the names of
CityRail's 306 stations) present problems.
A "Windows" based screen layout would be easy for some
patrons, perhaps even a majority, but might generate long
queues when presented to a less computer-literate purchaser.
To be cost-effective, the machines must process
purchasers as quickly as possible.
CityRail is considering multilingual capabilities for the machines at the
Contrary to what is happening in Victoria, the NSW Minister
for Transport has confirmed his Government's commitment to
retaining the existing government-owned rail, bus and ferry
services in public ownership.
CITY COUNCIL CHANGES PARKING TO HELP P. T.
Sydney City Council has amended its planning policy in an
attempt to constrain the recent rapid growth in the
provision of long-stay commuter car parking in the central
business district and to stimulate public transport usage.
The controversial Amendment No. 9 was supported by the
government-owned transit operators, the Environment
Protection Authority, and the Roads & Traffic Authority.
APT and the Bicycle Federation also supported the amendment.
No other consumer or environmental group responded to APT's call for support.
The amendment was strongly opposed by the
city's commercial car-park operators and property owners.
Sydney University's transport guru, Professor David
Hensher, described Council's approach as piecemeal, and
lacking support from scientific evidence and argument.
DESIGN IMPROVEMENTS ON NEW FERRIES
Sydney Ferries has given us verbal assurance that our
suggested design improvements (February newsletter) will be
incorporated in its new 300-seat "Supercat" ferries.
There has been passionate support for our condemnation of so called
on-board entertainment on long-distance buses and trains in Australia.
Our concern was aired in the travel
section of the Sydney Morning Herald of 5 June.
The banal videos and radio programmes long favoured by the bus industry
are now creeping into the lower priced sections of long-distance trains.
As one respondent noted, the bus industry judges that the majority of its
customers are "box-heads", and it caters to them.
This does not entitle the industry to
force its customers to consume video and audio material, when many of them
clearly do not want it.
This is especially true where particular operators enjoy a monopoly on a
given route and the traveller simply has no choice of service provider.
The long-term solution seems to lie in the provision of headsets for individual
audio reception, as used on airlines and on Queensland's new Tilt Train.
The bus industry claims it gets few complaints, which proves nothing, but its
real reason for not equipping buses with headsets is probably the cost, and
the effect it would have on bottom-of-the-market fares.
The state government claims to be working on a plan to extend the present $1
seniors' concession fare beyond the State Transit/CityRail inner suburban
operational boundaries to the western suburbs, which are served by privately
The extension of State Transit bus services into the western
suburbs would go partway to achieving that goal.
The private operators have been operating through
State Transit's territory to the City for years now.
What is it that prevents the Minister from getting the long-promised route
510 bus to penetrate "private" territory, from Ryde into Parramatta?
SECOND CITY FERRY TERMINAL
The development of a second city ferry terminal at the foot of King Street
has been approved, but is unlikely to be operational before the Olympics.
The first priority is to have a new charter vessel facility
operational by July 2000.
APT are pressing for improved signage and ticket
purchasing facilities at the existing Darling Harbour ferry wharf, adjacent
to the new development.
Sydney's suburban Ashfield Council was faced with an angry
overflow public gallery at its 18 May meeting.
The seventy-odd crowd objected to a proposed diversion of the number 472 bus
down THEIR street, which would enable it to better serve a retirement home.
To escape the heat, Council took the time- honoured course of
delegating the matter to a new committee.
APT have objected to a planned refurbishment of the
recently-sold Transport House, above Sydney's Wynyard Station, which
would prohibit public use of the York Street colonnade,
depriving pedestrians of weather protection which they currently enjoy.
We have also requested improved access to York Lane, which distributes train
commuters to the north and western sectors of the CBD.
City Council is about to re-exhibit amended plans.
NEW STANDARDS FOR REAL-TIME PASSENGER INFO
Standards Australia has entered Stage Two of its Real Time
Passenger Information Project, which it is co-sponsoring
with the international public transport operators' association, UITP.
The project will develop policies, guidelines and technical standards for the
provision of real-time service information to passengers.
It will aim to ensure that the real-time information systems in use
or being developed by the various public transport providers can be
integrated to provide easy access to such information for consumers.
The project findings will be used to develop Australian
Standards for passenger information.
BUS SHELTERS UPDATE
The debacle over Sydney's new architect-designed but
non-functional bus shelters continues.
Last summer, the glass roofs transmitted so much heat, waiting passengers
sought relief by crowding outside the shelters, in the
narrow shadows cast by the shelters' steel frames.
The shelters in Elizabeth Street and elsewhere have a wall of advertising
on the bus-approach side, so the internal seats are unusable.
City Council's response to complaints is that the shelters were designed
by architect Professor Philip Cox, so they must be all right.
Professor Cox's minders have not allowed us to talk to him and City Council
has not yet replied to our correspondence of 23 March and 4 June.
As a direct result of Council's shelters-for-advertising contract, the
majority of the city's bus stops have now been without
timetable information for more than six months.
The new $12 million Railway Square bus station has been
universally acclaimed by architects and politicians, who
probably don't use it, and widely condemned by the people who do.
There is inadequate protection from sun, wind or rain, confusing signage,
insufficient seating, inferior surface-water drainage, no bubblers,
no toilets, and no information at the information kiosk.
At one point, rainwater discharges from the roof directly onto a seat.
At others, it courses across the paving because there are insufficient
Despite the high expenditure, the operational problems arising out of the
large number of outbound buses on a variety of routes serving a single stop,
have not been resolved.
There is now less kerbspace available for buses
than there was previously, the internal bus lane having been removed.
APT has requested that the shortcomings be immediately addressed.
Again, our letters have gone unanswered, but the Government Architect, Chris
Johnson, has invited users to make suggestions as to how the building could
be made waterproof.
His phone number is 9372-8411.
APT intend offering a solution, conditional upon our receiving half of the
architect's fee, which would have been in the region of $1 million.
The building was recently nominated for the Sulman Awards for architecture.
The $22 million Circular Quay ferry wharf upgrade is being
carried out by the same managers.
The new temporary bus/rail interchange at Bondi Junction, handling
2500 buses a day, has shortcomings similar to those at Railway Square.
The weather protection is inadequate and pedestrian congestion persists.
APT are seeking formal user representation in the
design of the permanent interchange which is being
incorporated in the Meriton residential towers now under construction.
The question is: if $12 million of government money gave us the
white elephant at Railway Square, what hope is there for a
user-friendly solution at Bondi when it is being built at
lowest cost by a land developer?
With some irony, the Legislative Assembly's Public Works
Committee is preparing a report to Parliament on the
acquisition and maintenance of infrastructure, with a focus
on project management and technical services.
Submissions close 20 August.
NEW NSW ENVIRONMENT ACT
The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 took
effect from 1 July.
It consolidates the former clean air and water and noise control statutes.
Information is available from 131555 or
P. T. GETS A MENTION IN HERALD EDITORIAL
On both the day before the recent NSW election,
and immediately after it (26 and 29 March)
developing Sydney's public transport system was mentioned
at about 6th in lists of issues in the Herald.
A $60m freight line between Hexham and Fassifern has been proposed.
Freight trains could bypass residential areas, permitting 24-hour operation.
Such a project would increase Newcastle's status as a port, because
all other ports between Melbourne and Newcastle suffer from delays and curfews.
- Newcastle Herald, 31 May
APT think this will improve passenger and freight
efficiency, in time, emissions and energy.
A bouquet to Kinko's copy service in the former Broadway post office site
just past Railway Square.
Their extended hours shopfront, with its bright coloured
lights, re-humanises an area which has been run-down
since the banks and post office moved away.
And it illuminates a bus stop.
Rockdale Council has engaged a transport planner/strategist
to enable the council to take a stronger role on behalf of local residents.
Why not ask your council to do the same?
In the last twelve months, three important reports on rail have
The Neville report "Tracking Australia" was discussed in our October newsletter.
Next, the Productivity Commission's draft report was released in March.
Although the latter recognised that rail reform
will also need road reform, it was not too concerned about track quality
and did not make a recommendation of what would be an appropriate level of
Commonwealth funding of track.
However, the Smorgon Committee whose report "Revitalising Rail -
the private sector solution" was released on 31 May also listed the lack
of an integrated national transport strategy and "...Substandard national
track" as major barriers to improved rail performance.
It also recommended that the current allocation of $250 million
be increased to $720 million.
Even so, the Smorgon report conceded that such an investment is unlikely
to bring the national track up to a standard that would meet what
Australia's Transport Ministers agreed to at their 1997 "Rail Summit".
This would include the average speed goal for intermodal interstate
trains of 80 km/h, which was shown at the International Rail Track Conference
held in Melbourne in May 1999 to require at least some curve easing and
re-alignment in both NSW and the Adelaide Hills.
The Productivity Commission's final report is due in August 1998.
Will it be "fair dinkum" and support the Smorgon Committee recommendation
for more funding, or will it obfuscate the issue?
In the meantime, the Australian Rail Track Corporation is doing the best job
that it can within its fiscal and other constraints.
ARE THEY SERIOUS ABOUT GREENHOUSE?
Part of the Democrat amendments to the Goods and Services Tax
calls for action to reduce the likely boost to greenhouse emissions
caused by adjustments to diesel excise.
Accordingly, the Australian Greenhouse Office has been running
public consultation forums to collect ideas about alternative fuels.
At the Sydney session, APT pointed out that reducing
fuel use was missing from the agenda.
Federal attention should be drawn to wasteful
policies such as excessive road-building in Sydney.
SAVING THE NSW LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
Readers will be aware that the Carr government intends alterations to the State
constitution that will reduce the power of cross-bencher MLCs to influence
Some cross-bench MLCs have been interested in alternatives to the motor car.
APT hope this interest will continue;
we are not in favour of emasculating the Council
FOR YOUR DIARY
course for green campaigners - 3 evenings in Aug-Sep.
Enquiries: Env. Defend. Off. (Debbie) 9262-6989
- toward a charter of pedestrians' rights. 23-24 Sept.
- Ped. Council. Enquiries: Ian Napier 9956-7515.
- conference for the Australian rail industry.
3rd-5th November, Darling Harbour. Secretariat: 9241-1478.
FOR YOUR LIBRARY
- Earthwatch debate broadcast on 2RN at 7:30am on 26th June and 3rd July.
Features Hensher, Newman, Mees et al.
Environmental Criteria for Road Traffic Noise
- new booklet prepared by the NSW Environment Protection Authority.
How any control is to be implemented is not clear.
City on the Move
- discussion paper prepared by the City of Sydney.
Contains numerous suggestions, many quite innovative and
Copies available from Council, Town Hall.
Sustainability and Cities
- Overcoming Automobile Dependence.
Book by Newman and Kenworthy
yet again emphasising the importance of public transport systems which
provide trips at speeds comparable to cars.
FOR YOUR WEB BROWSER
APT web site is currently at
containing policies, newsletter archive, links, campaign stuff etc.
gets you State Treasury Budget Estimates, from where you can select
"Minister for Roads" to see in either PDF or Word format just what your
government is spending on transport this year.
Mobility for the 21st Century
Dr. Colin Campbell's speech to the U. K. House of Commons
explaining oil depletion, complete with slides:
Car-Free Housing in European Cities:
An easy way to reach all web sites of Sydney transport operators
is to go to