Thursday, 20 February 2014

Dial M for Mindless obliteration

Technical Paper 1
Randwick and Coogee have the best public bus services in Sydney. People, including myself, had to make the effort to achieve this in the 1980s, and it is sad to see these services being utterly debased. Currently bus services in the Randwick retail centre that grew up along the nineteenth century tram routes in Belmore Road give direct access, without changing buses, to Bondi Junction, Sydney Airport, Rockdale (routes 400, 410); to Central Station and Railway Square (route 372); express to Bent Street in the CBD (route X73); all stops to Circular Quay via Oxford and Elizabeth Streets (routes 373, 377); to Central and then Circular Quay via Foveaux Street (route 376).

As well as these there is the M50 service direct to Drummoyne. Using the Oyster (aka Opal) Card one can switch destinations from a bus stop in Elizabeth Street, say south of Bathurst Street, to other Metrobus destinations - Chatswood via the freeway and Gore Hill via the Pacific Highway; and potentially other destinations. One can of course also switch to destinations further along Victoria Road.
M50 route
Public transport users in Randwick, and also in Coogee and northern Maroubra who may need to switch destinations in Belmore Road, can directly access every destination in the CBD and the major centres north of the Harbour. None of these services are anywhere near reaching capacity accept for the two services that pass through the mother of all "pinch points" in Elizabeth Street northbound.

The M50 and 372 services set down passengers at the entrance to the Devonshire Street entrance to the Central Station platforms and swift train services to Town Hall, Wynyard and Circular Quay Stations, and all the other stations in Rail network.

As can be seen in the diagram above from the Technical Papers in the EIS every one of the public transport services above, except for the express AM peak service to Bent Street, will be obliterated by a privately-operated tramway that only gives access to a trio of stops at Town Hall Station, Wynyard Station, a duo of stops at Circular Quay Station, and one other stop at China Town. The only buses passing though the Belmore Road retail strip will be buses that have been forcibly terminated at the triangular Highcross Park and forced to travel to Randwick Junction at the northern end of Belmore Road in order to physically turn round.
Mother of all right-hand turns
Go figure 8
The thing to note about the figures above of the Highcross Park interchange: only one of the rails will be in use in the morning and evening peaks, with the crossover occurring just before the Avoca Road intersection. But buses need to make return journeys at all times of the day! As we shall see, the number of buses in High Street will be horrendous at all times of the day.

Booz & Company assert disingenuously in the Technical Papers: "Metrobus routes M10 and M50 are not proposed to operate in the Eastern Suburbs as their function is largely undertaken by the CSELR." In fact, the raison d'etre for the Metrobus services was to provide extra services that did not send buses through the "pinch points" in Elizabeth and George Streets north of Market Street. A tram service that dumps passengers at Central Station and carries on empty to Circular Quay is the antithesis of these services.

TfNSW is obliterating the M50 service to Victoria Road, Drummoyne because it desperately needs the route for another purpose. Buses using this route along High Street, Anzac Parade, Cleveland Street and Chalmers Street will not continue along Elizabeth Street, they will be turned into Eddy Avenue and the newly created "pinch point" in Pitt Street. TfNSW will be terminating Parramatta Road bus services displaced from George Street at Coogee Beach rather than Phillip Street, Circular Quay. It is a binary choice: force displaced buses through the mother of all "pinch points" in Elizabeth Street northbound; or though the newly created congestion in Cleveland Street, Anzac Parade at the Carlton Street tram stop, and High Street.

Commuters in Coogee will also have a binary choice:

  1. Catch a bus that goes to Central Station and transfer to a train to Town Hall, Wynyard and Circular Quay.
  2. Transfer to a privately-operated cattle car that takes them to the same destinations plus one more, China Town. It is just a short walk from an Eddy Avenue bus stop to China Town!
Needless to say, TfNSW will be eliminating bus stops along High Street and other Randwick bus routes, making the stops 800 metres to 1 km apart, so the buses will be as inconvenient as the privately-operated trams. But bus stops can be easily restored by electing a state government and local councils that do not have an ideological imperative to force commuters from Public Transport onto privately-owned transport.

If this ridiculous project is approved the voters of Randwich an Coogee will have the job ahead of them, like the boy with the wheel barrow. Cleansing the Randwick stables will be a Herculean task but it has to be done.


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