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Sydney airport traffic chaos

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Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby Roderick Smith » Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:28 am

Roderick.

August 16, 2017 Sydney Airport’s traffic hell is man-made incompetence we’re all paying for.
30/09/16 Sydney Airport Traffic Congestion on Friday morning from 7 am on the corner of Qantas drive and O'Riordan street Mascot. Adam Yip/ The Daily Telegraph
TRAFFIC gridlock around Sydney airport is a joke.
How many missed flights, how many billions of dollars in lost productivity, how much psychological stress, has this man-made incompetence caused?
Between 6.30am and 9am, seven days a week, traffic gridlock is adding 40 minutes to every airport trip. Hong Kong, Heathrow and New York’s JFK are dreams by comparison.
One veteran limo driver says he used to be able to manage three airport trips in a morning. Now he only has time for one.
A police car is now permanently stationed at the Marsh Street exit from the M5, where traffic is backed back up into the tunnel for several kilometres at peak times. Motorcycle cops are stationed at nearby intersections. They’re not there to help ease congestion, but to slap fines on drivers desperate not to miss their planes plane.
Don’t listen to the airport’s slick traffic managers try to tell you the reason you’re stuck in traffic for an extra 40 minutes is the temporary pain of infrastructure construction that will make future commutes a breeze. This gridlock predates those roadworks and will outlast them.
Don’t believe airport spin artists when they try to blame increased aircraft movements — the numbers don’t explain the exponential growth in airport traffic jams.
Any professional driver will tell you the truth. Sydney Airport is regularly branded the most gridlocked airport in the world because of greedy corporate managers who have fleeced us blind since the Howard government’s botched privatisation of 2002.
Last year, Sydney Airport made $100 million profit on car parking fees, a staggering 73 cents of profit on every dollar of revenue.
People unload luggage on the ramp to Sydney International Airport due to traffic jams getting to the terminal door. (Pic: News Corp)
Macquarie Bank bought the 99-year lease on the airport in 2002, reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in fees and dividends before they offloaded the monopoly to shareholders in late 2013, having bled it dry.
The multistorey carpark at the international terminal they built in 2012, just turbocharged traffic gridlock, along with a Rydges hotel. More passengers now drive themselves and park because it’s convenient. Yet fees are so exorbitant, at $18.50 for 30 minutes, that people picking up passengers circle the terminal multiple times to avoid paying.
Control freakery by airport management has only added to congestion, with short term fixes that infuriate drivers.
In an attempt to speed up drop offs, for instance, the airport has removed signs designating where each airline counter is located in the terminal. But all that does is create confusion, with no one knowing where to stop and drivers overshooting the terminal and having to loop back around.
Then there are the traffic cones the airport has laid down the middle of the approach road to the international terminal to stop vehicles crossing lanes in any kind of organic, efficient way. Instead, one side is now designated for traffic coming from suburbs in the north and east, with the other side for traffic from the south and west.
This forces one lane to drop off at one end of the terminal and the other to drop off at the far end, whether you like it or not. Blocking the kerb every 20 metres is some hapless traffic controller in a fluorescent orange vest whose role is to frantically move drivers on and make it as difficult as possible to disgorge passengers. It’s a zoo.
Sydney's ongoing traffic congestion getting to the airport doesn’t look to be getting any better. (Pic: News Corp)
One limousine driver describes the orange controllers as a “traffic hazard... You’re trying to get to the space behind them, and they don’t want you to stop. They want you to go to the other end of the terminal and circle the terminal again”.
Congestion is at least doubled by drivers forced to loop the terminal.
When gridlock gets too bad at the international terminal, the airport initiates a special overflow lane, so that if you are driving from the south or west you will be diverted downstairs to drop off your passengers outside the arrival hall where they face a 15-minute trek with luggage to the check-in counter. Good luck if they’re disabled. Most people head to the car park instead. Kaching.
The airport also has instituted express pickup points where you can wait 10 minutes for free. This is where Uber drivers hang out. Every 10 minutes, to avoid paying the toll, they loop the terminal. In peak times, an estimated 80-100 Uber drivers are circling the airport waiting for a pickup, adding to congestion.
It is utter madness. One solution would be to offer free parking a short distance away and free shuttle buses to the terminals.
Rod Sims, chairman of the ACCC, has been complaining for years about the airport’s monopoly.
“They’ve got market power and there’s not much we can do about it,” he said when he released his latest report in March.
The fact is that Sydney Airport does not care about the pain it inflicts on travellers because it knows they have no choice.
www.heraldsun.com.au/rendezview/sydney- ... c4d2ea2214 31 comments.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby gld59 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:59 pm

Removing the airline signs is one of the most sensible things that could ever have been done there, for two reasons. 1. When the signs were there, everybody leaving on a particular flight wanted to stop within about 10m of the sign. 2. The last third of the terminal kerbspace is now dedicated for bus setdown.

The traffic congestion is made much worse by the tiny site, with tiny lengths of road having to cope with weaving movements. They appear to be trying to reduce the weaving at International by building new ramps - it'll be interesting to see how well it works. Domestic has the same problem, but while the new one-way road system there has improved entry, it's actually worse on exit than it used to be.

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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby Swift » Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:05 pm

Another thing that a private company has no business running without competition to act as a surrogate regulator. This is Howard's legacy. Hope you're proud honest John.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby tonyp » Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:59 pm

I came very close to a flight deadline last time when the Carbridge bus was stuck in the queue in Ross Smith Ave because the lights at Reginald Ansett Dr give very little green light. There's a bus lane and light priority for the bus but cars just block everything off and nothing moves. Even the airline staff and crews complain about it. I imagine the lights are set by RMS who just want to clear traffic out of Mascot and couldn't care what happens in the airport.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby lunchbox » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:19 pm

Well, RMS is building new roadworks, but at what cost, and won't the new roads just fill with traffic again?
One cost you may not have noticed is the destruction of the unique horse underpass under the Botany rail line opposite Wentworth Avenue. It was built to enable horses to ply between their stables and Ascot Racecourse. It's now just a plie of bricks.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby boronia » Wed Aug 16, 2017 9:02 pm

It is at the stage now where it might be more cost/time effective to use trains to get to the airport on time.

From the east at least, catch the 400/418 to Mascot station, then take advantage of the reduced gate fees.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby Stu » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:09 pm

The widening of Marsh St is almost complete. The section near the South-Western end of the bridge over Cooks River still has a little bit of work going on. The speed reduction on the M5 heading West where the entry ramp from Marsh St also produces congestion. The entry lane becomes congested to the point of stand still and then the two right turn M5 entry lanes on Marsh St come to a stand still and hank up into the Westbound lanes of Marsh St.

There is one element in people's control although is rarely exercised, that is - patience. Some cars will turn right into the beginning of the M5 entry ramp hoping that the traffic will move, it doesn't and therefore cars begin to block Marsh St, sometimes all 3 x lanes heading East on Marsh St can be blocked.

During the busy periods at Sydney Airport, especially near Christmas, the traffic queue on the Marsh St exit ramp (facing East) can extend back as far as the beginning of the M5 Esat tunnel.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby Swift » Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:15 pm

^ Great to hear they have remedied the situation since I was last driving taxis in 2014.
I used to avoid the airport in a Friday afternoon for fear of getting a fare out west and wasting my shift sitting in a car park and being taken away from the action around the city of a Friday. For some reason, Friday afternoons from the airport had more fares wanting to go via the M5 than other days, when it is at it's worst.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby gld59 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:54 pm

Stu wrote:During the busy periods at Sydney Airport, especially near Christmas, the traffic queue on the Marsh St exit ramp (facing East) can extend back as far as the beginning of the M5 Esat tunnel.

All approaches! Last year I went to International on the morning of Christmas Eve. Got off the 400 in Wickham St and walked, because it had taken 5 to 10 minutes to get the 100m or so to that stop from the Princes Hwy. I got to the terminal at the same time as the bus before the one I'd been on. :o If I wasn't reasonably fit & able-bodied I would have missed my connection, probably by half an hour or more. (Probably explains why that service was almost empty.)

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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby Swift » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:08 am

Forget reinstating the toll for the hapless M4 users, reinstate the original proposal to toll the M5 east.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby simonl » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:23 pm

It doesn't make any sense that only transit users need to fully fund their infrastructure. The $13 station access fee is a disgrace while it is free to drive to the airport.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby Swift » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:33 pm

Roads were laid to the Airport before the advent of the PPP. What a world class design it yielded. Much better than if it had been funded by public works.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby simonl » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:36 pm

^ That is no excuse. The M5 East was built later, FFS.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby Swift » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:54 pm

It doesn't go into the airport and services different areas to the failure link.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby boronia » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:48 pm

Swift wrote:Forget reinstating the toll for the hapless M4 users, reinstate the original proposal to toll the M5 east.

I can recall when the M5E was first announced, it was always intended to be fully funded by the government with no toll.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby Richard290 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:18 pm

boronia wrote:It is at the stage now where it might be more cost/time effective to use trains to get to the airport on time.

From the east at least, catch the 400/418 to Mascot station, then take advantage of the reduced gate fees.

Or you could beat the Airport station access fee and catch a 400 from either Burwood or Bondi Junction. It serves both international and domestic terminals.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby boronia » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:46 pm

Richard290 wrote:
boronia wrote:It is at the stage now where it might be more cost/time effective to use trains to get to the airport on time.

From the east at least, catch the 400/418 to Mascot station, then take advantage of the reduced gate fees.

Or you could beat the Airport station access fee and catch a 400 from either Burwood or Bondi Junction. It serves both international and domestic terminals.

I know that, but read my post again. The 400 could be affected by all the traffic problems mentioned. If you are time critical, you may not want to get caught up in such delays, hence the suggestion to use the train for the last leg, even if you have to pay extra. The gate fee from Mascot to the Airport is reduced for some reason. The same distance from Wolli Creek does not get this reduction.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby Swift » Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:55 am

^nice trick to know. I suspect this is for the benefit of airline and airport employees to exploit.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby boronia » Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:56 am

Regular airport users also benefit from the gate fee cap.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby moa999 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:21 am

Swift wrote:^nice trick to know. I suspect this is for the benefit of airline and airport employees to exploit.
It's as a result of Mascot and Green Square being privately owned, unlike Wolli Creek.

There is also a gate fee on these two stations which was initially charged to the customers and the government now subsidises (arguably from the airport fee)
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby boronia » Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:27 am

The article in the OP was written by Miranda Devine, who often has a problems with distinguishing reality from her own personal agendas.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby tonyp » Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:49 am

boronia wrote:The article in the OP was written by Miranda Devine, who often has a problems with distinguishing reality from her own personal agendas.

I have that problem with money. :roll:
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby Liamena » Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:41 pm

So I usually catch the train from home to Mascot ( or Banksia ), and then change to the 400 bus to the airport. Which is the opposite of what you are doing.

They dropped the gate fee at Mascot about six years ago.

Are you saying that if you catch the train from Mascot to the Airport, then the gate fee at the airport stations is lower ? They have been quiet about that.

So, if you caught the train from somewhere to Mascot, left the station, and then re-entered the station and caught the following train to the airport, would you save the airport gate fee by doing that ?
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby Swift » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:03 pm

Probably, unless they track your Opal card and require a minimum time frame before you can benefit from the discounted gate fee.
You will lose up to 15 minutes of time though.
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Re: Sydney airport traffic chaos

Postby boronia » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:29 pm

Liamena wrote:So I usually catch the train from home to Mascot ( or Banksia ), and then change to the 400 bus to the airport. Which is the opposite of what you are doing.

They dropped the gate fee at Mascot about six years ago.

Are you saying that if you catch the train from Mascot to the Airport, then the gate fee at the airport stations is lower ? They have been quiet about that.

So, if you caught the train from somewhere to Mascot, left the station, and then re-entered the station and caught the following train to the airport, would you save the airport gate fee by doing that ?

The Opal fare from Mascot to/from the Airport is $9.06 peak. From Green Square $11.66, from Wolli Creek $17.26.

If you left the station, you would have to wait 1 hr for the transfer to expire. You could do it with a second Opal card though. I.m not sure how it would work with a bus-train transfer in the same journey.

This would really only work if you were catching the 400 from the eastern end though, but would be OK for other bus connections.
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