This week in transport (13 July 2014)

Posted: July 13, 2014 in Transport
Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday: Guardian services to be axed

Guardian services on Sydney Trains, with their guaranteed Transit Officers onboard select late night trains, are to be abolished. The government will replace them with roving police from the Police Transport Command. The Shadow Transport Minister Penny Sharpe has criticised the decision, arguing that police are under resourced to protect rail customers. According to Ms Sharpe “the Police are supposed to have 481 officers – they currently only have 401 and around 40 of those are seconded from other areas”.

Thursday: NRMA argues against bus lanes for Parramatta Road

Motoring lobby NRMA has warned against removing traffic lanes from Parramatta Road once the WestConnex freeway is opened, arguing that surface road space may be required should the M4 East tunnels be blocked in order to prevent congestion. Current plans for WestConnex involve removing traffic lanes on Parramatta Road and converting them to bus lanes or bike/pedestrian paths.

Artists impression of Parramatta Road at Five Dock after WestConnex is completed. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

Artists impression of Parramatta Road at Five Dock after WestConnex is completed. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

Sunday: Opal readers installed at light rail stop

Opal readers have been spotted on the previously installed mounts at Central Station. This suggests that Opal will soon be rolled out to light rail, quite possible well ahead of the current “early 2015” timetable. It also suggests that Opal readers will be off vehicle rather than on vehicle, as is the case with ferries and trains.

  1. Ray says:

    There was a letter to the editor in the SMH the following day from the NRMA clarifying its position. It said that its intended policy was misconstrued and that it did not object to permanent bus lanes being implemented on Parramatta Rd after the construction of WestConnex (what a terrible name) so long as arrangements could be made for general traffic to have access to them in the event of a major incident in the tunnel.

  2. moonetau says:

    OT but anyone else watching the Jan Gehl doco on ABC1 now?
    Wonder if the WestConnex and INSW people are?
    “People want a different lifestyle”

  3. Dudley Horscroft says:

    If there is a major incident in the tunnel, it would be better to turn back all cars and put the drivers and passengers (if any) on the trains. In any case, the bus lanes on Parramatta Road should be converted into segregated median tram lanes. This will give much greater capacity and provide faster jurneys for the overwhelming majority of passengers using Parramatta Road.

  4. QPP says:

    WestConnex loses half its point if Parramatta Rd stays as it is

  5. Dullsteamer says:

    On the Illawarra, suburban guardian services haven’t run since the timetable revision of October 2013. The new police Transport Command is a bit of a joke as far as I’m concerned. You occasionally see them filtering trains at Wolli Creek or Sydenham, but otherwise they’re invisible on a Friday or Saturday night. The transits weren’t perfect, but in my experience you had a far greater chance of getting their assistance when you needed it than you do with the cops.

  6. Alex says:

    Sorry – that last post should have been “The NRMA themselves actually proposed tram lanes on Parramatta Road a couple of years ago…”!

  7. Ray says:

    @DH – I don’t think transferring drivers and passengers onto trains in the event of an incident in the tunnel is at all practicable. In fact it would be logistically impossible. I do agree though that a segregated median for light rail would be preferable to permanent bus lanes. Bus lanes could be an interim measure until the light rail infrastructure is completed. Under no circumstances should the Parramatta Rd corridor be narrowed as has also been suggested.

  8. MrV says:

    Better off with the police on trains. The problem with those transit officers was that basically there didn’t appear to be alot of respect for them. They also seemed to travel and assemble in large groups in places which didn’t look to need patrolling. And you still needed the police in any case.

    We see the same effect with the ticket inspectors now. You see 10 of them, and maybe 2 look occupied at the task at hand. They would be better off with less uniformed staff and more undercover staff because lets face it you see people all the time spot the inspectors and then make their way to another platform to alight elsewhere. You would be better off having no-one at the barrier, but use CCTV to identify barrier jumpers then ping them at station entrances when they think they are safe.

  9. Dudley Horscroft says:

    Ray says: July 14, 2014 at 8:08 PM
    You are probably right that turning back the cars and transferring drivers/passengers to rail would be impractical. However, what is the other option? If nothing else is programmed, I foresee a massive traffic jam as there will be not only the traffic that used to use Parramatta Road, but also the additional traffic generated by WestConnex and the better (hopefully) traffic conditions of Parramatta Road. Either drivers will spend hours trying to get through Parramatta Road or if CBD bound they will be directed elsewhere, and Parramatta Road will only be available for traffic stopping short of the CBD. Perhaps someone should look at Plan B?

    Re the bus lanes, they are already in existence along Parramatta Road from Norton Street inwards – the most likely outer terminal of the tramway – I have not checked with Google Maps further out. So in the peak hour, peak direction, non-bus traffic is restricted to two of the three lanes (the third is already choked with buses, anyway). Outside the peaks, and in the non-peak direction, the third lane is closed due to parked cars. With light rail operating in a segregated median, there would still be two through traffic lanes in the peak. Outside the peaks, with parked cars being able to occupy the kerbside lane, there should still be sufficient road space for all non-peak traffic.

  10. JC says:

    There is also social justice issue here. The drivers in the tunnel know (and take the risk) that one of their colleagues is likely to do something stupid and cause a delay – but it is muggins on the bus that doesn’t get home because their busway has been given over to the drivers…

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