The State Government continues to make decisions on transport matters that favour the use of motor vehicles over public transport. … Most major cities around the world have recognised that high quality and efficient public transport – not road infrastructure – is the key to solving their transport needs.
The NSW Government recently announced its decision to privatise the bus services in Glebe and Forest Lodge. The Government is proposing to engage a private operator for Region 6, one of the four Sydney metropolitan bus regions currently operated by the State Transit Authority. Over 200 bus routes in the Inner West and South West of Sydney will be affected, including the routes 431, 433 and 470 that serve Glebe and Forest Lodge. It is not clear whether the 370 bus route will also be affected. It seems likely that the other bus regions now operated by the STA will also be privatised.
Bus Services in Glebe and Forest Lodge to be Privatised
The Greens held a public meeting last week at the Leichhardt Town Hall attended by several hundred people who protested against this decision. The concern is that privatising bus routes will mean a decline in services with the prospect that the some of the off peak times in the schedules and possibly the services themselves will be dropped where they are considered not to be profitable for the operator to run. Given the many people in Glebe and Forest Lodge who are dependent on buses to get to where they want to go, and who often travel outside peak hours, this is of real concern. The State Government has not indicated that it will require the operator to maintain the frequency of the current services.
Further because profitability will be the driving factor for private operators, pressure will be exerted on bus fares. IPART recently made recommendations to the State Government on the level of public transport fares that should apply for the next three years, with modest increases proposed to the daily cap for seniors. Significant increases in bus fares and the complete removal of the seniors cap after 2019 could now be in the offing.
Public Transport Coming Second
The State Government continues to make decisions on transport matters that favour the use of motor vehicles over public transport. The deeply flawed WestConnex project is a prime example. This hugely expensive motorway project will not solve the city’s major transport problems but will encourage commuters to use their motor cars. Similarly if bus services decline under the privatisation model, commuters will go back to their motor cars. Unlike Sydney, most major cities around the world have recognised that high quality and efficient public transport, not road infrastructure, is the key to solving their transport needs.
Editor’s note: Here are some options for further action: