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Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Swift » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:02 pm

By allowing enough time to park for classes, they are encouraged to jump in the car instead of using the massive amount of PT options that serve Macquarie Uni.
Seen how clogged Herring Rd is with bus services, while many students simply choose to drive anyway?
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:24 pm

Having now timed a number of dwells under different loads of passenger turnover on the Perth CATs, I spent a bit of time measuring dwells today on the Gong Shuttle. For average turnovers of a half dozen to a couple of dozen people, they're typically anything from 5 to 15 seconds longer than a two-door loading CAT under the same conditions (e.g. 15 seconds for Perth vs 25 seconds for Wollongong). If it's a big load of 30 or more people boarding, the difference becomes yawning, up to a minute or more. Multiply this by the number of stops ...

Single file through the front door is definitely no way to board a bus. They rarely even zipper through the front door, that's better through the centre door - except that in NSW they can't board that way.

Since my last visit, TfNSW has stripped all the timetables off the 55's stops. At one of the Corrimal St stops the entire sign has gone! Am I paranoid or is this the world's most negative transit agency incrementally trying to make the service as unattractive as possible? On the bright side, all two-door buses today, about half in the Shuttle wrap, the rest blue.

As I got off my last 55 ride in Corrimal St, a Premier Bustech on a regular route service pulled in behind at the stop and remained stopped with only the centre door open for a long time with no apparent activity going on. Wondering what was going on, I walked back the way we came and as I came abreast of the centre door I saw the reason. An archetypal li'l ol' lady was trying to leave the bus. With both hands tightly gripping the handrail, she was gingerly descending the door steps of the infamous wheeled abomination sideways at the rate of about 1 km/century while the driver waited patently. I guess enough has been said about Bustech and their version of "accessibility" or, more to the point, TfNSW's cluelessness in this regard. A real-life example is worth a thousand words.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:10 am

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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Linto63 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:37 pm

tonyp wrote:TfNSW has stripped all the timetables off the 55's stops. At one of the Corrimal St stops the entire sign has gone! Am I paranoid or is this the world's most negative transit agency incrementally trying to make the service as unattractive as possible?
Was in the Gong today and with a bit of time to kill decided to catch the 55 mid-afternoon from the cbd to Wollongong station the long way, i.e. anti-clockwise so only about 1km short of a full circuit. Without counting about 50 passengers passed through the doors over the journey. No sign of a man with a stopwatch timing dwell times, so no Tonyp on board. :shock:

Didn't appear to have been any wholesale stripping of free bus signage. Some had the green attachment at the top missing, but I would say only 1/4 and not sequentially. With some signs at an angle, may have been the handywork of some feral natives rather than a concentrated debranding. Not sure if there were previously timetables, but nearly every stop had a green sticker listing the hours of operation and frequencies with a full size map behind the perspex. No notices on or off the bus about the impending changes, but 7 weeks out probably a bit early.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:53 am

^^
I was there on Friday and around the CBD area which is the best area to observe crowds apart from the university. Your circuit over what is normally the quieter segment of the route was on a Saturday when the working week-day P+R at North Wollongong-Fairy Meadow would have been pretty empty, plus with the university year finished, no traffic between the Innovation Campus and the main campus. I can't imagine many bus runs would pick up 50 people in that operating context on a Saturday.

I know that the timetables have been deliberately (and professionally, not just vandalism) stripped off the CBD stops since I was there a couple of weeks ago because I referred to them on the earlier visit. They're necessary because the buses can often run out of schedule due to poor crowd-handling and TfNSW will not allow the UOW bus app to access their data. TfNSW dismissed my suggestion that they install Perth CAT-style countdown timers (I note that they're also being installed in Adelaide CBD).

If anybody here is taking a tour on the Shuttle, I strongly recommend for those so inclined that they visit the Wollongong Botanical Gardens which are opposite the university bus station. They're quite beautiful and have an interesting division into sub-gardens, each planted exlusively with flora from different regions of the world. The gardens are one of the reasons for the shuttle's route, pitched towards the tourist/recreational market.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Linto63 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:10 am

tonyp wrote:They're necessary because the buses can often run out of schedule due to poor crowd-handling.
If the timetable is not being adhered to, then pretty pointless in displaying. Better to just have the indicative frequencies as is the case.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:54 am

Linto63 wrote:If the timetable is not being adhered to, then pretty pointless in displaying. Better to just have the indicative frequencies as is the case.

Of course, but not pointless for me as an observer of performance - they enable me to see if the buses are running out of schedule! :wink: :lol:

One assumes of course that that is exactly why TfNSW would remove them. They could save face, however, if they install countdown timers and/or include the service in an app. If people knew when a bus was coming, it wouldn't worry them if there was a timetable or not.

It was originally PI who advised me (before they were gagged) of the timekeeping problem and recommended that, if I found I was waiting too long for a bus, to gallop across the road to the opposite stop and catch the first one in the other direction - on the basis that, even if it was a longer way around, I might get to my destination sooner! I don't blame them for any of this; this is the heavy hand of the world's most incompetent transit agency at work.

Edit: Here's another method from an operation that also has trouble with timekeeping - as can be seen from the position of the buses!

BlueEmuTrackera.jpg
BlueEmuTrackera.jpg (111.13 KiB) Viewed 1882 times


Unfortunately I don't think a display like this would last long in public streets! The UOW app looks a bit like this, except it's on your phone screen. How frustrating that they can't get the GPS data off TfNSW. They do have the timetable though.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:20 am

http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/stor ... es/?cs=300

Wollongong City Council to help cover costs to keep Gong Shuttle fare-free

Kate McIlwainKate McIlwain

At their final meeting for the year, most councillors voted to free up an annual amount of $350,000 for the next three years to fund the state government service, as long as the bus route remains free during that time.

During a politically heated debate, a successful motion to do this from Labor councillor David Brown trumped a similar push from Liberal Cameron Walters.

Kicking off the debate, Cr Walters said it was time for the city to come together to save the service and urged the government to reveal official costings.

“This has always been about maintaining the shuttle as a free service,” he said, noting it had been left up to the city to “sort out this mess”.

In the successful motion, Cr Brown said the council had a gun at it’s head to provide the funding but appealed to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, as he would rather the state government continue to fund the full cost.

“Premier, be Santa Claus and fund the Gong Shuttle as a free service,” he said.

“The metaphor is wrong of course - we were enjoying the bus until some Grinch in the transport bureaucracy took it away - we don't want a new present, we want our existing service to stay for evermore.”

Calling the government’s withdrawal of funds from the bus “bloody-handed cost-shifting” he said the council needed to step in as the service was too important to lose.

The move follows an announcement from the University of Wollongong last week, which will contribute $350,000 per year for three years from July 1.

If the figures quoted by Illawarra Parliamentary Secretary Gareth Ward – who stated the shuttle’s total cost was about $3 million a year – are correct, these funds together will be just about enough to keep the bus fare-free.

Mr Ward has repeatedly stated that the government will continue to fund 75 per cent of the service even after the introduction of fares.

However, detailed costing are yet to be provided, and Transport for NSW has not made clear it will accept the money and keep the service free. Unfortunately, the Mercury’s efforts to have this confirmed have so far been rebuffed.

It is also unclear what will happen between January 29 – when the government has said it will start charging fares – and July 2018, when the UOW/council finding will (if accepted) kick in.

Instead of an answer to these questions last week, Transport for NSW sent one line of a statement is has issued numerous times.

“Introducing a standard Opal fare is considered the fairest way of reducing congestion on the Wollongong Shuttle and helping to spread the load across the network.”

During the council’s debate, a number of councillors objected to the idea that local government should step in to pay for a NSW Government service.

Independent Greens councillor Mithra Cox was one those to speak against the funding, however she voted for the final motion.

"We should not be funding this, it is financially irresponsible and politically stupid and handing a gift to Gareth Ward," Ms Cox said, while attempting to point out that Cr Walters works in the office of Mr Ward.

"We have caved so quickly.

"Gareth Ward must be thinking you beauty, that was really easy. This is a dangerous slippery slope of local government funding things that are a state government responsibility."

Agreeing with this sentiment, but also voting to support the council funding – which will total just over $1 million in three years – Tania Brown said the council should match the university's funding, but "maintain the rage" to get the decision overturned.

"We all agree none of us wanted to be in this position," she said.

"This is cost shifting. But that said, the Gong Shuttle is too valuable to our community to lose."

Cr Leigh Colacino successfully suggested that the council write to Ms Berejiklian and Transport Minister Andrew Constance to plead for a stay of execution, asking that the government keep the service free for a further three months.

Independent councillor Dom Figliomeni was the sole councillor to vote against the motion, sticking to his guns that it was not a local government responsibility.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Glen » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:31 am

I haven't followed this whole discussion (sorry) and I recognise the huge success that this route is, but I wonder where do we draw the line between 'free' buses and normal fares-based route services?

Certainly a number of major cities have free services within their CBD (Perth CAT, Adelaide, Melbourne trams) but Route 55 could be construed as more like a suburban service.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:42 am

Glen wrote:I haven't followed this whole discussion (sorry) and I recognise the huge success that this route is, but I wonder where do we draw the line between 'free' buses and normal fares-based route services?

Certainly a number of major cities have free services within their CBD (Perth CAT, Adelaide, Melbourne trams) but Route 55 could be construed as more like a suburban service.

Have you looked at the reach of the Perth CATs/FTZ and the Adelaide tram (free section), indeed the Melbourne FTZ too)?

The very reason for the 55's route is that the activities that are more geographically concentrated in other cities are a bit more spread out in Wollongong and need to be drawn together: the waterfront, the hospital, Innovation campus, P+R, university, botanical gardens. It serves the same functions as in other cities, but its spread is a little wider for the historical reason that these various acticities weren't originally developed close together in a more concentrated location.

The other very important reason that is overlooked in comparing it with similar services in capital cities is that it's a regional city that's easy to drive and park in and if you start charging for it, everybody will dive back into their cars and the buses will be nice and empty like most other Wollongong buses.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Liamena » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:25 pm

Swift wrote:By allowing enough time to park for classes, they are encouraged to jump in the car instead of using the massive amount of PT options that serve Macquarie Uni.
Seen how clogged Herring Rd is with bus services, while many students simply choose to drive anyway?


Public transport to Macquarie exists, but for many people, particularly evening students, it would be ridiculously slow.

I was an evening student there, once. In uncongested traffic conditions after 9 PM, it would have been a 15 minute drive home, or about 1 1/2 hours including 20 minute walk by PT. No thanks.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Liamena » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:36 pm

tonyp wrote:
The very reason for the 55's route is that the activities that are more geographically concentrated in other cities are a bit more spread out in Wollongong and need to be drawn together: the waterfront, the hospital, Innovation campus, P+R, university, botanical gardens. It serves the same functions as in other cities, but its spread is a little wider for the historical reason that these various activities weren't originally developed close together in a more concentrated location.


Factually, that seems like nonsense. What cities are you thinking of ?

I've recently walked from North Wollongong down to the little boat harbour and back up to Wollongong station, and IT IS NOT VERY FAR.

And then I consider Newcastle, and Canberra, and Geelong, and Parramatta, and the Gold Coast, and Brisbane, and Albury, and some cities in China with less than a million people, and Sydney, and Melbourne, and consider the distance between the main commercial area, the hospital, the university, and the beach or lake or best park, and guess what, there is nothing special about Wollongong.

I even looked up a map of Krakow, and the hospital and university were no closer together than Wollongong's are.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:44 pm

Glad to hear you're so fit and active and have no trouble with hills in heat, humidity or rain, with shopping, wheelchair or infant in tow. Good on you!

One of the issues that had been frequently raised by the public in relation to this controversy is the climb to Wollongong hospital which was thoughtfully located on top of a high hill a century ago!
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:56 pm

tonyp wrote:http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5112873/council-votes-to-maintain-the-rage-but-chip-in-350000-for-bus-fares/?cs=300

Wollongong City Council to help cover costs to keep Gong Shuttle fare-free

Kate McIlwainKate McIlwain

At their final meeting for the year, most councillors voted to free up an annual amount of $350,000 for the next three years to fund the state government service, as long as the bus route remains free during that time.

During a politically heated debate, a successful motion to do this from Labor councillor David Brown trumped a similar push from Liberal Cameron Walters.

Kicking off the debate, Cr Walters said it was time for the city to come together to save the service and urged the government to reveal official costings.

“This has always been about maintaining the shuttle as a free service,” he said, noting it had been left up to the city to “sort out this mess”.

In the successful motion, Cr Brown said the council had a gun at it’s head to provide the funding but appealed to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, as he would rather the state government continue to fund the full cost.

“Premier, be Santa Claus and fund the Gong Shuttle as a free service,” he said.

“The metaphor is wrong of course - we were enjoying the bus until some Grinch in the transport bureaucracy took it away - we don't want a new present, we want our existing service to stay for evermore.”

Calling the government’s withdrawal of funds from the bus “bloody-handed cost-shifting” he said the council needed to step in as the service was too important to lose.

The move follows an announcement from the University of Wollongong last week, which will contribute $350,000 per year for three years from July 1.

If the figures quoted by Illawarra Parliamentary Secretary Gareth Ward – who stated the shuttle’s total cost was about $3 million a year – are correct, these funds together will be just about enough to keep the bus fare-free.

Mr Ward has repeatedly stated that the government will continue to fund 75 per cent of the service even after the introduction of fares.

However, detailed costing are yet to be provided, and Transport for NSW has not made clear it will accept the money and keep the service free. Unfortunately, the Mercury’s efforts to have this confirmed have so far been rebuffed.

It is also unclear what will happen between January 29 – when the government has said it will start charging fares – and July 2018, when the UOW/council finding will (if accepted) kick in.

Instead of an answer to these questions last week, Transport for NSW sent one line of a statement is has issued numerous times.

“Introducing a standard Opal fare is considered the fairest way of reducing congestion on the Wollongong Shuttle and helping to spread the load across the network.”

During the council’s debate, a number of councillors objected to the idea that local government should step in to pay for a NSW Government service.

Independent Greens councillor Mithra Cox was one those to speak against the funding, however she voted for the final motion.

"We should not be funding this, it is financially irresponsible and politically stupid and handing a gift to Gareth Ward," Ms Cox said, while attempting to point out that Cr Walters works in the office of Mr Ward.

"We have caved so quickly.

"Gareth Ward must be thinking you beauty, that was really easy. This is a dangerous slippery slope of local government funding things that are a state government responsibility."

Agreeing with this sentiment, but also voting to support the council funding – which will total just over $1 million in three years – Tania Brown said the council should match the university's funding, but "maintain the rage" to get the decision overturned.

"We all agree none of us wanted to be in this position," she said.

"This is cost shifting. But that said, the Gong Shuttle is too valuable to our community to lose."

Cr Leigh Colacino successfully suggested that the council write to Ms Berejiklian and Transport Minister Andrew Constance to plead for a stay of execution, asking that the government keep the service free for a further three months.

Independent councillor Dom Figliomeni was the sole councillor to vote against the motion, sticking to his guns that it was not a local government responsibility.


Well let’s see what happens
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Glen » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:20 pm

tonyp wrote:The other very important reason that is overlooked in comparing it with similar services in capital cities is that it's a regional city that's easy to drive and park in and if you start charging for it, everybody will dive back into their cars and the buses will be nice and empty like most other Wollongong buses.

I don't know that they all necessarily would actually.

I wonder how much of its attraction is a well designed route and high frequency?

There is also the argument of parity.

Should UoW students benefit from a state subsidised free bus whilst Macquarie University students living in Blacktown jam on board full 611's and pay for the privelege?
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:31 pm

[BREAKING] - Gladys Berebackflippian just changed her mind - shuttle staying FREE until June 30

http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/stor ... -30/?cs=12
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:24 pm

Jurassic_Joke wrote:[BREAKING] - Gladys Berebackflippian just changed her mind - shuttle staying FREE until June 30

http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/stor ... -30/?cs=12

Ya beat me to it by 33 minutes! I get the impression Constance is still against it but he hates all public transport so that's not surprising. I think the government was taken aback by the strength and universality of the opposition to their decision. I don't think they were expecting anything remotely like that. I reckon it must be the most intensely-fought campaign for a bus service ever in Australia. A real coming-of-age for buses. Never again can it be argued that people automatically always prefer a tram or train service over a bus.

Glen, university students only account for 20% of the patronage. I think the UOW contribution goes much of the way towards covering that. Unlike Macquarie University, the objective for UOW is that 100% of the university population is to access the university by public transport. That is another fantastic achievement in a national context.

I've spent at least a couple of decades reading about transport initiatives around the world that are praised for what they've achieved. I reckon this is the first I've seen where the response to the success has not been to praise it but to cut it down. It exemplifies the negativity of NSW transport policy and is an indication that TfNSW can't cope with success and its associated demands on capacity. In the end this reactive attitude will drag NSW down economically, ensuring that Victoria will romp into the lead.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Swift » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:27 am

Liamena wrote:
Swift wrote:By allowing enough time to park for classes, they are encouraged to jump in the car instead of using the massive amount of PT options that serve Macquarie Uni.
Seen how clogged Herring Rd is with bus services, while many students simply choose to drive anyway?


Public transport to Macquarie exists, but for many people, particularly evening students, it would be ridiculously slow.

I was an evening student there, once. In uncongested traffic conditions after 9 PM, it would have been a 15 minute drive home, or about 1 1/2 hours including 20 minute walk by PT. No thanks.

Like most parts of Sydney, intensive, frequent day time services, such as at MU, dwindle to nothing of an evening and therefore so do alternatives to taking the car.
I am willing to put down $50 that a great bulk of those cars I saw parked during the day, when Macquarie University/ Centre are teeming with multitudes of bus services as well as the train, were students who drive as a lifestyle choice, rather than there being a major time advantage or no alternatives to taking their car.

Tonyp, good news regardless of being tentative for now.
Call me simple, but how does a government feel pressure from an area that are known always vote for the opposition anyway? What's the deterrence?
There was no backflip for the unwelcome B -line extension to Newport. Was it that they were not practised enough at being strident protesters or that they know that it's such a blue ribbon area that nothing short of opening a nuclear testing ground, would get them to even consider voting greens/labor?
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Liamena » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:56 am

tonyp wrote:Glad to hear you're so fit and active and have no trouble with hills in heat, humidity or rain, with shopping, wheelchair or infant in tow. Good on you!

One of the issues that had been frequently raised by the public in relation to this controversy is the climb to Wollongong hospital which was thoughtfully located on top of a high hill a century ago!


There is nothing stopping people from catching buses.

There is also nothing stopping people from PAYING to use buses, like they do everywhere else. The case for a completely free bus is pretty weak. $2.15 is pretty cheap, particularly when you compare to minimum fare in Melbourne, or minimum train fare in Sydney.

I don't know what proportion of users of that bus would also be catching trains. Given the layout of the entire wollongong metro area, between Thirroul and Kiama, there is pretty good train coverage compared to most cities of comparable size. Or even larger cities. The proportion of residents of greater Wollongong who reside within 2 km of a train station would be higher than it is in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane or Sydney. I can think of a few neighbourhoods in Wollongong more than 2 km from a station, but not many of them.

Having a free bus might have been a worthwhile incentive when trains and buses were charged separately. With the recently introduced transfer discount, that justification largely disappears.

Anyway, regardless of the merits of the debates about continuing or changing this service, your specific claims earlier about Wollongong being somehow "special" due to the distance between it's key activity centres, is still just nonsense.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:41 am

Liamena wrote:
There is also nothing stopping people from PAYING to use buses, like they do everywhere else. The case for a completely free bus is pretty weak. $2.15 is pretty cheap, particularly when you compare to minimum fare in Melbourne,


The minimum - and maximum - tram fare in the equivalent (central city and Docklands) area of Melbourne is ZERO - zilch. Everywhere else? It's also zero dollars in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane .... need I go on?

Liamena wrote:Having a free bus might have been a worthwhile incentive when trains and buses were charged separately. With the recently introduced transfer discount, that justification largely disappears.


Considering that these fare-free central area circulator services are running, as a result of considered planning and bipartisan politcal decisions, in every Australian state and territory as well as in many cities overseas, what I have trouble getting my mind around is the ingrained attitudes against providing similar services in NSW, even apparently among some public transport "enthusiasts". For this particular type of service, it has been universally established and accepted that being fare-free is what is necessary to get people out of cars in congested central areas of cities and to then yield a range of economic benefits that outweigh the costs.

The mindset in NSW (starting with TfNSW and extending beyond) is that there is evidently no vision extending beyond the micro issue of the costs of providing the transit, to the macro issue of the wider urban and economic benefits. The question is, not whether there should be fare-free services or not, but how the funding arrangements are made.

Liamena wrote:I don't know what proportion of users of that bus would also be catching trains. Given the layout of the entire wollongong metro area, between Thirroul and Kiama, there is pretty good train coverage compared to most cities of comparable size. Or even larger cities. The proportion of residents of greater Wollongong who reside within 2 km of a train station would be higher than it is in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane or Sydney. I can think of a few neighbourhoods in Wollongong more than 2 km from a station, but not many of them.

Yes, Wollongong, with its largely linear shape (except around Lake Illawarra), is in theory extremely train-friendly. However, most people don't use them, except for commuting to and from Sydney - and even there the numbers are suppressed by the slowness and lack of capacity of the service. The vast majority of people drive, both internally and intercity. The main patronage for internal (suburban) rail travel in Wollongong has traditionally been to Port Kembla, but with the industrial decline there, this has greatly diminshed. In terms of other internal travel, the buses offer a more convenient service that feeds directly through the key centres and corridors (Dions services to the northern suburbs being the strongest example).

Wollongong is the city that defies the transport textbooks that claim that rail/tram are the public transit foundations of city-building. Some academic needs to get hold of Wollongong and weave it into the transport/urban planning lexicon. The 55 has wrought the miracle that is generally claimed to be only caused by trams elsewhere (e.g. Gold Coast). Urban activity centres and new development in Wollongong have not been drawn over to the railway line, they've stuck to the bus corridors while the rail languishes in back streets of low-density housing.

The rail only makes any potentially meaningful contribution to urban activity centres in their own right (that is, without being wholly dependent on supplementary P+R or bus services) at Thirroul, Wollongong, Unanderra, Dapto and Kiama. Even at those stations, there is substantial assistance from P+R and buses. Generally, the south coast rail has been a failure, even though many features of it should naturally result in success. It will need Perth-style speed and frequency to kick-start it.

Liamena wrote:Anyway, regardless of the merits of the debates about continuing or changing this service, your specific claims earlier about Wollongong being somehow "special" due to the distance between it's key activity centres, is still just nonsense.

The activity centres are mostly isolated from each other, without the continuity between them that characterises many other free transit areas. Yes, it is a smaller area in outside distances than the zones in Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide, but it has the hills, indirect routes and exposure to weather that make it a less-than-optimal walking environment.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby burrumbus » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:52 am

Very nicely put Tony.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:20 pm

tonyp wrote:
Jurassic_Joke wrote:[BREAKING] - Gladys Berebackflippian just changed her mind - shuttle staying FREE until June 30

http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/stor ... -30/?cs=12

Ya beat me to it by 33 minutes! I get the impression Constance is still against it but he hates all public transport so that's not surprising. I think the government was taken aback by the strength and universality of the opposition to their decision. I don't think they were expecting anything remotely like that. I reckon it must be the most intensely-fought campaign for a bus service ever in Australia. A real coming-of-age for buses. Never again can it be argued that people automatically always prefer a tram or train service over a bus.

Glen, university students only account for 20% of the patronage. I think the UOW contribution goes much of the way towards covering that. Unlike Macquarie University, the objective for UOW is that 100% of the university population is to access the university by public transport. That is another fantastic achievement in a national context.

I've spent at least a couple of decades reading about transport initiatives around the world that are praised for what they've achieved. I reckon this is the first I've seen where the response to the success has not been to praise it but to cut it down. It exemplifies the negativity of NSW transport policy and is an indication that TfNSW can't cope with success and its associated demands on capacity. In the end this reactive attitude will drag NSW down economically, ensuring that Victoria will romp into the lead.


No problem Tony, when she backflips again in 5 months time, or after March 2019 if she wins, ill give you the honour of posting here :)

I believe she backflipped because she felt the pressure becoming high, including with that Mercury article calling her out and as premier, she's directly in the spotlight to take some of the abuse. Had she still been treasurer, she'd be hiding deep in the shadows safe because "thats not my problem or responsibility anymore", exactly as she did when Opal 8-then-free was scrapped. Coward.

We know Andrew constance is a die hard right wing Tory and im sure he did advocate to scrap the free shuttle, the same way he probably went out of the way to have a say in the 555 getting the chop, and something tells me its not the end of the issue for him.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:58 pm

You don't get much more dyed in the wool conservative than Richard Court and Jeff Kennett and they both introduced similar fare-free city circulator services in Perth and Melbourne respectively. That's doubtless because downtown business is very supportive of these services and the business lobby no doubt played a key role behind the scenes in the Wollongong episode. Also, a Liberal member of Wollongong Council works in Gareth Ward's office and Ryan Park is an old friend of Gareth, so I've no doubt Gareth has been feeling the white heat. I'd say he's waited till Constance was asleep and nipped in to see Gladys!

Constance is doubtless a devil, but underlying it all is TfNSW which is one of those visionless entities that sees the price of everything and the value of nothing - as well as doubtless being panic-stricken at 55's rising patronage. Council and UOW are in for a nice surprise when growing patronage leads to higher operating costs and a dollar rise in their 25% share!

This episode should also turn the eyes of those involved with public transport to the Parking Space Levy in Sydney which raises more than $100 million p.a. for rather vaguely-defined public transport improvements. This fund no doubt fully-funded the 555 in Sydney and still funds the Parramatta Shuttle. If their intention is to ultimately end all fare-free services, then where is the money to be spent? So far on a ragbag of different things, some of them not even in the levied areas, such as the IWLR extension and the Liverpool end of the transitway.

If I was a parking-space property owner, I'd be pretty put off that it was not spent in my area to bring more people to my business by public transport. In Perth and Melbourne, their PSLs yield patronage dividends in the taxed areas. In Sydney they mostly don't. I think it could have been a funding option for Wollongong, but when you have a government you can't trust to spend the money as it should be spent, it's too much of a risk to consider. Another little demonstration of our shonky public transport administration.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby rogf24 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:54 pm

I don't think it will happen but I'm really hoping that CSELR will be free between Central and Circular Quay, the Parramatta Light Rail free west of Camellia and Newcastle Light Rail free for the entire initial length. In the latter 2 cases, I would scrap the free buses.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:30 am

rogf24 wrote:I don't think it will happen but I'm really hoping that CSELR will be free between Central and Circular Quay, the Parramatta Light Rail free west of Camellia and Newcastle Light Rail free for the entire initial length. In the latter 2 cases, I would scrap the free buses.


Mate, they'd never do that. The Pedestrian Mall of George Street is literally the icing on top of Gladys' cake here, as we've recently seen how its been painted out for Christmas and its nice - they'd never make that bit free, they'll make you pay to ride there!

Also consider the Port Botany buses that start/end at Circular Quay and cross the city via Elizabeth St - would be enough of an incentive to encourage people to walk a bit further take a free tram and ditch those paid buses, which would lead to TfNSW getting upset and announce the tram would no longer be free because "too many people are using it in lieu of other services", just as they did with the Gong Shuttle
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