13 rapid bus routes featuring high frequencies all day and with stops as far as 1km apart are to be created in coming years as part of a state government initiative to revamp Sydney’s bus network. These will be supplemented by an additional 20 suburban routes, with retain the traditional 400m stop spacing and often act as feeder services to heavy rail, light rail, or rapid bus routes. Altogether, 1.5m people will live within a 10 minute walk of a bus stop for one of these 33 routes, while 90% of Sydney’s population will remain within 400m of a bus stop.
Longer stop spacing will allow for faster journeys. For example, the duration of a trip from Ryde to the CBD would drop from 37 minutes to 25-30 minutes. But it would require some passengers to walk further to reach the nearest bus stop, sometimes 400m-600m further.
Frequencies would also be guaranteed between the hours of 6AM and 7PM, with 5-10 minute frequencies in the weekday peak and 10-15 minute frequencies in the weekday off-peak or weekends. Currently, only metrobuses offer this sort of frequency guarantee, and then only run at 20 minute frequencies in the evening and on weekends.
This would therefore represent a significant improvement to Sydney’s all day high frequency network, as measured by areas within 400m of a transport service every 15 minutes every day of the week. This network currently exists for parts of Inner Sydney, but is woefully inadequate for most of Western Sydney.
This all makes a rebranding of Sydney’s buses much more likely. Previously, buses were branded based on the operator. Currently all buses are being given the Transport for NSW sky blue bus colours, except for the red metrobuses and green shuttle buses. This new proposal would convert this into a different 3-tiered system, with rapid, suburban, and local buses.
Bus Rapid Transit is also put forward as a future possibility for 3 corridors: Parramatta Road, Victoria Road, and the Northern Beaches, while the report also suggests a possible extension of the currently under construction light rail line on Anzac Parade South of Kingsford as well as construction of the Western Sydney Light Rail Network proposed by the Parramatta City Council.