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

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

Post by boronia »

I wonder what "conservation" they will start?

Maybe some funding for the Mercury to employ a proof reader?
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Post by tonyp »

boronia wrote:I wonder what "conservation" they will start?

Maybe some funding for the Mercury to employ a proof reader?
The Merc now has competition from News Corp's Illawarra Star, they'll have to lift their game!
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Post by tonyp »

Nothing that's really news, just stuff we already know, with the benefit of some exact patronage figures for all Wollongong buses (I've inserted annual figures):
https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/sto ... yFiC-P0BAI
The Gong Shuttle appears to be far and away the most popular bus route in the Illawarra, according to government figures.
Each month the average number of passengers on the free green bus is more than half that of all the other buses in the Illawarra combined.
According to Transport for NSW Opal card data, from September last year through to April, Premier Illawarra buses carried a monthly average of 346,000 passengers [4.1 million p.a.].
The monthly average for Dion's buses over the same period was 60,750 [729,000 p.a.].
In response to a question on notice from Keira MP Ryan Park, Roads and Transport Minister Andrew Constance called the shuttle "a popular service" and said it alone averaged 254,000 passengers a month [3.05 million p.a.].
As the Gong Shuttle does not require passengers to tap on and off, its passenger numbers are not included in Transport for NSW's Opal card data.
This means the Gong Shuttle monthly averages are equivalent to 62 per cent of those for all the other major bus routes in the entire Illawarra.
It's a statistic that confirms the popularity of the Gong Shuttle service and how much a part of the city it's become.
It also carries a strong indication of just how many cars are not travelling around the Wollongong CBD and surrounds because people can use the Gong Shuttle to get around.
The government had planned to introduce a fare on the Gong Shuttle in 2018, citing the need to get people off it and onto other routes to balance out the load across multiple buses.
The University of Wollongong and Wollongong City Council both saw the benefit of the shuttle and agreed to chip in $350,000 a year each for three years.
Initially the amount was viewed by government as insufficient but a rejigging of the service's timetable allowed it to run with the offered funding.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said council would look to open negotiations on the Gong Shuttle deal well before it expires in 2021 to avoid another last-minute resolution.
A Transport for NSW spokesman said negotiations on any new arrangement would not start until early next year.
"As per the agreement, Transport for NSW will meet with Wollongong City Council and the University of Wollongong to discuss the current service arrangements for the Gong Shuttle and its ongoing funding around March next year," the Transport for NSW spokesman said.
The spokesman would not comment on whether Transport for NSW intended to reintroduce the option of fares on the shuttle in any negotiations.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Post by tonyp »

More hare-brained stuff from the halls of local government, ignoring some little gradient issues:
Illawarra Mercury, OCTOBER 21 2019 - 1:00AM
Councillor's push to link Wollongong's beach and CBD with light rail system

Kate McIlwainKate McIlwain
Latest News
Setting an example: Councillor John Dorahy says Wollongong's CBD and suburbs could benefit from light rail, like in Newcastle as pictured, or trackless trams. Picture: Marina Neil

A light rail system could run through Wollongong's main street in the coming years, connecting the beach to the CBD, if one city councillor gets his way.

Liberal councillor John Dorahy will next week ask his colleagues to support an investigation of introducing a light rail network across the Wollongong LGA, starting with a track up Crown Street from Marine Drive to the hospital.

It could also link the new communities in growing suburbs, like Yallah and West Dapto, and stretch as far south as Shellharbour to help the large commuter population there to connect to Wollongong.

"It would improve the commuter passage to and from the city, and then it would be a health and environment factor," he said. "Our city needs to become more sustainable, and there is a push towards cutting our carbon emissions, and this would be a way for us to do that."

He said it would also help to improve parking in the CBD, and boost foot traffic to struggling retailers in the mall.

Cr Dorahy will also ask for an investigation into the emerging technology of "trackless trams": electric train-like vehicles which run on streets like buses but along designated tracks to stations, like trams.

"This could help to avoid much of the disruption from construction, and the high costs of light rail," Cr Dorahy said.

According to sustainability expert Peter Newman, light rail has cost $120 million per kilometre in Sydney and more than $80 million per kilometre in Newcastle and Canberra.

In contrast, a trackless tram costs around $6-$8 million per kilometre and can be installed "over a weekend", Professor Newman says.

Next week, Cr Dorahy will ask councillors to vote in favour of an investigation into the potential costs and benefits of light rail, as well as a plan to drum up support from state and federal politicians, business leaders and other stakeholders.

Residents would be surveyed on their views about light rail and a draft plan showing the rail line, costs and a timeline would be developed. If supported, councillors would receive a briefing on the project by mid-next year, Cr Dorahy said.

Asked if he expected to receive support, Cr Dorahy said there would likely be some hesitancy, given the costs, but believed the plan could be a "game changer".

"We cannot continue to go down the pathway of 'she'll be right mate' attitude that will eventuate in a dilemma of traffic congestion requiring a review," he said.

"Get ahead of the curve is my mantra here. Other forward thinking Cities are doing it, why shouldn't the 'City of Innovation, Wollongong' do it?"
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Post by gld59 »

tonyp wrote:
In contrast, a trackless tram costs around $6-$8 million per kilometre and can be installed "over a weekend", Professor Newman says.
On a road currently used for motor vehicle traffic, perhaps. A bit more than a weekend in a pedestrian mall with as much stuff down the middle as Crown St.

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

Post by Merc1107 »

"Professor Newman Strikes Again" should be the name of that article... Is he just a die-hard proponent of this idea or is there something more going on behind the scenes?
tonyp wrote:
... which run on streets like buses but along designated tracks to stations, like trams.
Don't buses follow a fixed "line" or "track" or "route" to a station, too? :mrgreen:

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

Post by Swift »

Merc1107 wrote:
tonyp wrote:... which run on streets like buses but along designated tracks to stations, like trams.
Don't buses follow a fixed "line" or "track" or "route" to a station, too? :mrgreen:
They also pull in and out of other lanes which the trackless trams wouldn't do, making them predictable and less disruptive than buses.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Post by Cazza »

^... Which means that buses are more manoeuvrable and can easily avoid disruptions and traffic congestion. How is that a bad thing? Have fun trying to get a tram moving into the left lane to avoid just two cars turning right here (and potentially have to wait another whole phase of traffic lights): https://www.google.com.au/maps/@-37.853 ... 312!8i6656

Changing lanes is a legal, safe and extremely basic road manoeuvre. So I'm really not sure what your point is here...
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Post by tonyp »

You wouldn't design a tramway nowadays in which vehicles can get on the lines to turn right. Designs typically ensure that trams are not impeded by general traffic.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Post by Merc1107 »

So what's the story with these Trackless trams; are they even possible in tram-like capacity here in Australia with our axle-loading regulations, and is the cost difference claimed really so great? Furthermore what happens in future as need for capacity increases - could it be a temporary stop-gap solution in lieu of commencing construction of a light rail or are buses able to perform the same or similar role in the interim?

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

Post by Swift »

Tracks offer a smooth steady predictable ride unmatched by rubber on asphalt or cement, not to mention the sense of permanent commitment to a service to the public psyche.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Post by tonyp »

Merc1107 wrote:So what's the story with these Trackless trams; are they even possible in tram-like capacity here in Australia with our axle-loading regulations, and is the cost difference claimed really so great? Furthermore what happens in future as need for capacity increases - could it be a temporary stop-gap solution in lieu of commencing construction of a light rail or are buses able to perform the same or similar role in the interim?
A "trackless tram" is a bus with the inherent capacity ceilings of a bus up to 25 metres. I think the main issue with this Chinese bus is that double-articulated buses won't be allowed on Australian roads because of axle load.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Post by rogf24 »

The rules can change, they change all the time.

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

Post by tonyp »

rogf24 wrote:The rules can change, they change all the time.
They don't seem to have broken through them in Brisbane, which is all going to be on private ROW, including depot access, because of this. What the regulators would be concerned about is that if an exception is made for buses, the trucking industry will be all over them like flies wanting the same.

The Mercedes Benz Capacity is an interesting case of dealing with axle load in Europe (where admittedly the regs are different). It carries 190 pax, the same capacity as a double artic over there. By comparison, the double artics proposed for Brisbane are specified at only 150 pax. (Of course single artics in Australia are only permitted much less pax than in Europe, however they only have three axles). This MB is in Prague with a typical Czech five-door specification:

Image

I suspect though that, even if it complied on axle load here, it would run foul of length regulations.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Post by Mr OC Benz »

tonyp wrote:
rogf24 wrote:The rules can change, they change all the time.
By comparison, the double artics proposed for Brisbane are specified at only 150 pax.
I believe Council are proposing a 150 pax capacity for regular services with the ability to carry 180 pax during event mode operations, so it will be very similar to European specification. There are some cities which set conservative capacity limits on their buses though, such as the new bi-artics for Nantes with a 150 pax capacity.

Anyway, Brisbane is fortunate enough to have exclusive ROW to not worry about these issues but if there’s a political will to implement something that wouldn’t quite fit current regulations, they will find a way to make it work like they usually do, especially if something like a “trackless tram” is perceived to be worth jumping hurdles to deliver more compelling benefits than the alternatives.

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

Post by tonyp »

Mr OC Benz wrote:
Anyway, Brisbane is fortunate enough to have exclusive ROW to not worry about these issues but if there’s a political will to implement something that wouldn’t quite fit current regulations, they will find a way to make it work like they usually do, especially if something like a “trackless tram” is perceived to be worth jumping hurdles to deliver more compelling benefits than the alternatives.
It will depend on how much they want to deal with the road damage - or alternatively pay much more for stronger infrastructure. Any sort of guided bus follows the same track and eventually destroys the surface on which it runs, by rutting it, over and above the damage normally caused at bus stops by braking and accelerating. An increased axle load is only going to worsen this.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

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tonyp wrote:
Merc1107 wrote:So what's the story with these Trackless trams; are they even possible in tram-like capacity here in Australia with our axle-loading regulations, and is the cost difference claimed really so great? Furthermore what happens in future as need for capacity increases - could it be a temporary stop-gap solution in lieu of commencing construction of a light rail or are buses able to perform the same or similar role in the interim?
A "trackless tram" is a bus with the inherent capacity ceilings of a bus up to 25 metres. I think the main issue with this Chinese bus is that double-articulated buses won't be allowed on Australian roads because of axle load.
I don't have details, but from looking at pictures of these buses, there is nothing to suggest that their AXLE loads would be any more than a conventional single bus. The main issue for use on roads is the LENGTH.

I am intrigued how they set up steering for bi-directional use.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Post by neilrex »

where in Wollongong do you think there is an actual demand for these monstrosities ? 100 people who all want to go to the same place at the same time ?

when your route is running every five minutes with regular buses and can't keep up with the demand, then i'd consider it.

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

Post by tonyp »

neilrex wrote:where in Wollongong do you think there is an actual demand for these monstrosities ? 100 people who all want to go to the same place at the same time ?

when your route is running every five minutes with regular buses and can't keep up with the demand, then i'd consider it.
Councillor Dorahy thinks they're needed between the waterfront and the hospital. It's a ridiculous proposition of course.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Post by CityRail »

neilrex wrote:where in Wollongong do you think there is an actual demand for these monstrosities ? 100 people who all want to go to the same place at the same time ?

when your route is running every five minutes with regular buses and can't keep up with the demand, then i'd consider it.
Yes. From Porter Street North Wollongong to Northfields Avenue Gwynneville.

Every hour there are 200 people needing to go between these 2 places.

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

Post by tonyp »

CityRail wrote:
Yes. From Porter Street North Wollongong to Northfields Avenue Gwynneville.

Every hour there are 200 people needing to go between these 2 places.
That's a distance of about 1.5 km for those who don't know Wollongong. And the demand seems to be adequately handled by the Gong Shuttle and the university buses (Dions coontract) between them, though all-door loading and fully low floor would certainly improve the productivity of the buses and make the operations more efficient.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

Post by tonyp »

The light rail motion was voted down in Wollongong Council last night. So that's that blip out of the way. Maybe council can now consider boosting its funding for the 55A/C to improve the service.
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Re: Wollongong Rt. 55 Commenced Service & Split into 55A/C

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