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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 tonyp » Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:18 pm

http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/stor ... ffle-plan/

Of course Tom Hunt's facts are already known, but that makes no difference to TfNSW whose normal modus operandi is to make a decision that they're determined to carry out anyway and then come up with whatever PR lies and distorted facts they can invent to justify it.

About the only section of the run that seriously duplicates normal routes is the couple of stops between the hospital and CBD. Premiers normal route buses only have one door and aren't designed for crowds, unless somebody knows of any new deliveries that TfNSW has organised before the end of January. It's all excuses and window-dressing for a decision that can't be justified.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby mandonov » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:16 pm

tonyp wrote:Newcastle could be another place where use of the PSL could be considered.

Parking has become a big issue recently in Newcastle. The open air carpark on the waterfront is going now because those lots are finally being built on. That, plus the closure of Hunter Street for light rail construction has put a real squeeze on parking which is what convinced them to create a park and ride at Broadmeadow.

I think it's telling that a lot of the transport initiatives from the last couple of months, such as the Broadmeadow Park and Ride and the University driverless shuttle, are spearheaded by council and Keolis. TfNSW must have been celebrating the opportunity to wash its hands of transport planning in Newcastle. It's probably a win-win too.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Swift » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:37 pm

mandonov wrote:It's probably a win-win too.

I take that to mean not having TNSW meddling will be a good thing. I can see that. NSW governments are useless.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby mandonov » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:45 pm

Swift wrote:I take that to mean not having TNSW meddling will be a good thing. I can see that. NSW governments are useless.

Yeah, but it's not so much that they meddled but that they did nothing with the bus network.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:45 pm

At about 1130 am today I passed a 55A with a desto display I haven't seen before but I guess is an indication of the state of the service - "bus full, set down only". It had standees but was not exactly packed. But it was a single-door substitute bus so I guess that's all the driver thought it could handle. Converting a 10 min headway into a 20 min for those left behind.

I've been on the two-door buses before where the standees have filled the low-floor to the second door but the high floor was empty and the bus has driven off leaving people behind. It must be becoming endemic for a special display to be created.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Swift » Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:40 pm

The discouragement has started in earnest. It's an agenda I tells yah!
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Swift » Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:43 pm

mandonov wrote:
Swift wrote:I take that to mean not having TNSW meddling will be a good thing. I can see that. NSW governments are useless.

Yeah, but it's not so much that they meddled but that they did nothing with the bus network.

Rephrase time:
I take that to mean no TNSW involvement will the THE good thing!!
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Fri Nov 24, 2017 6:15 pm

http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/stor ... r/?cs=6057

What a completely clueless comment from somebody who's supposed to be a state transport minister.

http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/stor ... y/?cs=6057

Hint: there is no survey or, if there is, the results are cooked up.

http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/stor ... e/?cs=6057

Liberals' own constituency attacks them.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby boronia » Fri Nov 24, 2017 6:38 pm

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

Postby burrumbus » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:13 pm


And if bus services ran on a commercial basis,that figure per pax head is right on the money.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby moa999 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:16 pm

And instead we will spend $2m in cab fares.
Quite a number of corporates with disparate offices have run shuttles previously.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby boronia » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:03 pm

Not sure where the respective offices are, but perhaps some corporate Opal cards would be sufficient?

How many trips could they get from their $16 daily cap if the cards were shared?
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Tonymercury » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:24 am

boronia wrote:Not sure where the respective offices are, but perhaps some corporate Opal cards would be sufficient?

How many trips could they get from their $16 daily cap if the cards were shared?


What, and travel with the Hoi-Polloi like the rest of us? They night be late for the first cuppa of the day?
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:58 am


Well it finally made its way into the Sydney press. This campaign is unprecedented for a bus operation, something you'd normally see only for a train or tram service.

So we now have a new solution for our transport problems. Too many people using buses between Broadway and Circular Quay? Encourage them to catch buses to Bondi Junction, Chatswood, Strathfield etc instead. I often wonder whether some of these remarks just fall accidentally from his mouth or some spin doctors from TfNSW seriously put them there, believing in them? Some research going on within Wollongong is showing the obvious - that there would be very little transfer to other routes within the 55's zone because they service completely different corridors and functions.

Even if they want to try this, the simple answer is to create an FTZ (Free transit zone) in the area defined by the Shuttle's perimeters - and also extend it down to Springhill Rd/Cringila on the east side of the railway to cover the area not served by the Shuttle. That would cover the whole of the functional inner city area. The FTZ is a common transport planning tool already applied, in Australia, in Perth, Melbourne and Newcastle.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:47 am

Courtesy of a contributor to SCF, here is a list of the Illawarra routes that combined have less patronage than the 55:

1 Wollongong to Austinmer
4 Wollongong to Bulli
701 Kiama to Minnamurra
702 Kiama to Seven Mile Beach
887 Wollongong to Campbelltown
59 Novotel North Beach to Illawarra Regional Airport
71 Shellharbour to Kiama
75 Shellharbour to Tullimbar and Calderwood
76-77 Shellharbour to Albion Park
34 Wollongong to Warrawong
65 North Wollongong to Port Kembla
31-33 Wollongong to Dapto and Horsley
32 Dapto to Brooks Reach
41 Dapto to University
43 Port Kembla to Dapto District
10 Wollongong to West Wollongong Loop
11 Wollongong to University
24 Wollongong to Figtree
39 Wollongong to Figtree
15 Helensburgh to Stanwell Tops
37 Wollongong Loop
57 Wollongong Loop
2 Wollongong to Stanwell Park
3-7 Wollongong Loop
6 Wollongong to Mount Pleasant Loop
7-8 Wollongong Loop
51-53 Shellharbour to Wollongong
52 Flinders to Shellharbour Junction Station
72 Shellharbour Loop
35 Wollongong to Unanderra
36 Wollongong to Kembla Heights


At least this episode is exposing some patronage figures to public view, something that is normally like extracting hens' teeth from TfNSW. So it seems that total bus patronage for the Illawarra is about 6.5 million ppa. Most of the services in the above list are travelling around carrying concession card-holders and fresh air, unsurprising in a typical Australian regional city where it is easy to drive and park a car.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby burrumbus » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:39 am

Thanks for that list Tony.
That is virtually the entire Wollongong route bus system.Presumably the patronage figure also includes school children using the route service,but not the dedicated school bus routes,that the 3 Wollongong route operators operate.Does your contributor have the exact figures ?? That would be most interesting.
As I've said previously the second busiest route behind the Gong Shuttle is Dion's route 1 which would probably carry well over a million a year.As you've said previously the UOW services would probably carry over a million a year.
I'd reckon considering the dedicated school routes,plus the UOW shuttles that the patronage would be in the 9-10 million area.But its very concentrated between the Gong Shuttle,the UOW shuttles,route 1 and the school services.
As you state the vast majority of the Wollongong route bus system carries very low numbers,mainly made up of concession card holders.You can see that by observing loadings at the main loading points at Crown Street mall,Figtree Shoppin Centre,Shellharbour Square and the Westfield near Port Kembla to see that large numbers of the route services,by Premier Illawarra carry fresh air.
I remember seeing an ad around 20 years ago advertising the John J.Hill business for sale .It stated a patronage of 6 million for a then 55 vehicle fleet.Ruttys patronage would have been similar.So route bus patronage patronage would appear to have halved over that period.The growth in the suburban malls around Wollongong would have definately contributed to that,plus the massive reduction in the industrial base would have contributed too.The CBD ,however in Wollongong is still quite busy,but the bus patronage on the old route services,excepting route 1 is very low now.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:07 pm

It's the entire Illawarra bus system, spilling over to Campbelltown and Kiama, Gerringong and Gerroa which are in Shoalhaven region. I presume the third operator you mention is Kiama Coaches which is not in the Opal network. The compiler of that route list is Broadgauge on this forum but I think he has done no more than list all the routes, probably from the operator websites. There would be no patronage figures easily available. I think your guesstimate breakdown of Illawarra patronage would be pretty accurate.

Of that total patronage, the Gong Shuttle's share was basically built up from zero which is an amazing achievement in an Australian regional city. Even what would be the second best transit growth achiever in a regional city, the Gold Coast Light Rail, took over a significant chunk of its patronage from the bus services it replaced and then added growth on top of that. The Gong Shuttle basically hasn't taken over any patronage from anybody except perhaps tiny fragments between the hospital and the CBD, south of Fairy Meadow and bits of 10 and 65.

The development of suburban shopping malls (indeed major complexes in the case of Shellharbour City) and the spread of car-based housing subdivisions far and wide to the south were a major contributor to collapsing what several decades ago was a major bus operation, close to equivalent to Newcastle. Contraction of industrial employment is epitomised by the steelworks now being down to one operating blast furnace, the decline costing some thousands of jobs over the years of decline. (This has also negatively impacted on Wollongong suburban rail services to Port Kembla.) The loss of a contract to build the NIF in Wollongong by Stadler was keenly felt and deeply resented.

In the midst of this, however, central Wollongong has reinvented itself as a city and the free shuttle underpins this as the only majorly-effective methodology that drags people out of their cars, a methodology also applied right across Australia. The small-mindedness of quibbling over a subsidy of less than $1 a person is ignorant and hypocritical. Users typically won't individually pay for that subsidy, that's the way these services work. So much of the functioning of central Wollongong is underpinned by this service and it's not something to play with on a political whim without major consequences. The other strange thing (in NSW) is that public transport patronage growth should be something to celebrate, not to kneecap if something becomes too successful. That's just morally corrupt.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Swift » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:11 pm

^ Subsidising the fresh air route buses around there is what should be cut, rather than a shuttle that accomplishes what it should do for the same cost.
Sounds like on demand buses would be a good idea around there.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby burrumbus » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:55 pm

The three operators are Premier Illawarra,Premier Charters Pty.Ltd. (purchaser of Greens business)and Dions.Busabout also operate in from Campbelltown on the 887.
The Kiama Coachlines route service is actually a rural and regional contract,so technically isn't part of the Wollongong system and doesn't appear on the list above.From observations the patronage on these 2 services is miniscule.Few adults,heaps of kids !!!
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby burrumbus » Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:27 pm

I would wholeheartedly agree with your summation of the Gong Shuttle's operation,Tony.To create a major patronised service from nothing in such a short time(in public transport terms)is amazing.I would reckon about 90% of that patronage has been created patronage ,drawing pax from out of their cars and to a lesser extent,walking.Well thought out routing and great frequency and bandwidth are responsible.None of the existing old routes can replace the patronage on the Gong Shuttle adequately.
I would agree with swift's comment.
The system there ,with the exception of route 1 and 2 needs to be replaced with a small network of frequent services(10-15 minute frequency) operating along the major arterial roads.One from Shellharbour Square each via the coast and through Albion Park and Dapto to the CBD.Another cross suburban from Warrawong to Dapto and Unanderra.The rest of the network can be converted ,with small buses,to more frequent feeders on the better patronised areas(15-30 minute frequency) and on demand services on the very low patronised services.You'd also by and large need to separate school traffic from the route service ,probably requiring a rebuild of the dedicated school service network.You could remove a reasonable number of buses off the system there,whilst improving utilisation and frequency for the remaining trunk routes and feeders.As well as pruning the cost of the system.Hopefully the frequency offered can rebuild the patronage
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby BroadGauge » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:30 pm

tonyp wrote:The compiler of that route list is Broadgauge on this forum but I think he has done no more than list all the routes, probably from the operator websites.

Indeed that is correct. Surprised that I haven't seen you posting over there lately but I'm glad that someone is reading my posts in that thread there, they only seem to be interesting in discussing the Princes Highway upgrades ;)

tonyp wrote:(This has also negatively impacted on Wollongong suburban rail services to Port Kembla.)

I wonder how much is spent on subsidising that poorly utilised rail service, as compared to the cost of running the Gong Shuttle? That branch sees a total of 570 passenger journeys per day (270 boardings and an equal number of alightings), meaning that if you put every single person who used the line over the course of a day into a single 4-car train, it would only be about 60% full! :twisted:

One interesting way to look at the economics of the Gong Shuttle would be the subsidy per passenger - you could work it out from some of the figures that have come out recently.

I suspect that despite being a free service, it would stack up extremely well compared to the regular route services. You might get 15 passengers on a Wollongong suburban route service that's 15km long, the same length as the shuttle route, and bring in $20 worth of fare revenue (mostly concessions) for the trip if you're lucky, compared to a trip on the Gong Shuttle that might carry 90 passengers over it's length.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Swift » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:45 pm

The usual refusal to take a whole of picture approach and look at the free bus in isolation instead and dwell on the fact other town centres are missing out. Oh boo hoo, bring them into line then, don't suddenly take away something proven to be beneficial that the government had been willing to support for several years for the sake of a sudden sense of "fairness". That is true small mindedness that gives away that there is a hidden agenda behind this.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:09 am

In a professionally-run, non-politicised state, Wollongong should be treated as a transport-planning textbook-in-progress for the difficult issue of reducing car-dependence in Australian regional cities, where the ease of driving and parking has preserved them as public transport deserts. This city is a perfect platform for trying the various ideas mentioned in posts above. The free downtown circulator service is a tool used around the world and has been picked up with great success in every state and territory in Australia where the economics of them have obviously been properly assessed to the extent that they all appear to have become politically bi-partisan and in for the long haul.

What we get in NSW instead is a knee-jerk political (and also bureaucratic it seems) reaction to the success of one of these services by focussing, not positively on the city-building and transport planning benefits of it, but on how much money they can get out of it. As Linto63 has said, they've probably worked out that they can actually make a profit from it and they can't see past that. This should concern everybody here, both across Sydney and the whole state, because public transport is seriously not going to get anywhere with these institutionalised attitudes.

I think one of the keys to on-demand services taking off as a serious option is that it has to be equipped with accessible vehicles, not high-floor oldies like the Coaster. It's the same sort of issue of providing appropriate enginering solutions as the need for fully low floor and adequate number and width of doors on larger public transport vehicles. They also need to adopt the common fare system.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby Glen » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:56 pm

tonyp wrote:I think one of the keys to on-demand services taking off as a serious option is that it has to be equipped with accessible vehicles, not high-floor oldies like the Coaster.

Do the On Demand trials use Coasters?
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Postby tonyp » Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:40 am

Glen wrote:Do the On Demand trials use Coasters?

I don't know what sort of vehicle is proposed for Wollongong. I'm just going by examples of vehicles being introduced for the Sydney services. I'm raising it more a as broad issue, that is, for a professional public transport service they should be using something more accessible than your typical club shuttle bus!
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