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                    [post_date] => 2017-11-08 11:27:20
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NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance, is a bit of a conference junky. His latest outing was at’s annual ‘Dreamforce’ conference in San Francisco, where he had some interesting things to say about the future of transport in his home state. “Government gets Ubered all the time,” he said in his presentation. “Uber operated in NSW for two years in breach of our passenger transport app, so we reformed the entire point-to point-transport market – hire cars, buses, taxis, community transport, ride sharing. “We have now laid a regulatory framework that will allow mobility-as-a-service into the future. Even the taxi industry is becoming innovative. By stripping out red tape, changing compliance, and using technology, we can make this change.” The Dreamforce conference is the annual event for customers and partners of, which has become the world’s largest cloud-based applications software company. The NSW Government is a major user. Mr Constance also spoke at the Salesforce World Tour event in Sydney in March. He said Transport for NSW is using the software to help revolutionise the transport system in NSW. “We’re only just getting started. The reality is that transport is a technology business. The introduction of the Opal travel card gave us all sorts of rich data. Many in the transport department didn’t even know what questions to ask when we started to get this done. “Customers want a number of things – they want a personalised service, they want on-demand services. They don’t want timetables.” He said he wants to make Transport for NSW the number one jurisdiction in the world for technology and transport. “With the advent of mobility-as-a-service and the advent of autonomous vehicles, we have to make sure we are well advanced “When we established our technology roadmap, we asked everybody in the department to contribute. It didn’t matter if it was a train guard, a bus driver, an executive within the agency. Everyone could input. To have cultural shift within the agency, everyone has got to shift with you. “One of our key challenges is that our industry is full of engineers, not futurists. We’ve got to try and push that. Autonomous vehicles are going to change everything. We won’t have driver’s licences, we won’t have accidents. We are going to see an enormous change, and we have to make sure government is not behind. “We’ve got a skills deficiency in transport, so we are relying on partnerships. It’s really important to engage with frontline staff on what technology can do for their lives.” [post_title] => ‘Government gets Ubered all the time’ [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => government-gets-ubered-time [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-10 03:55:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-09 16:55:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28194 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-06 10:12:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-05 23:12:55 [post_content] => Millions of dollars will be stripped from the operating budgets of NSW’s government-owned transport agencies, Fairfax Media is reporting. Quoting ‘a briefing note to staff obtained by Fairfax Media’ from Transport for NSW secretary Tim Reardon, the department’s deputy secretaries have been told that operating budgets for all the state’s transport divisions have been cut by 15 percent for this financial year. "Over the last six years in Transport for NSW we have made savings to meet our requirements, however our [operating expenditure] costs have increased," the note is quoted as saying. One result of this is an immediate freeze on hiring casual staff or creating any new permanent positions. Transport for NSW would seem to be a victim of its own success. Sydney Trains have reported a 15 percent increase in patronage over the last 12 months, leading to severe overcrowding on some lines. Buses and ferries also have more passengers. The state’s transport budget is under strain with the cost of Sydney’s new Metro line and upgrades to existing train and bus services. Predictably, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) is not happy. The union’s NSW Secretary, Alex Claassens, issued an immediate statement that said the cuts will result in a serious decline in services. “Revelations today that the NSW Government is stripping hundreds of millions from transport agencies prove the NSW Government has no interest at all in improving public transport in the state,” Claassens said. “This is just another example of Transport Minister, Andrew Constance’s complete incompetence. On top of all of the horrendous transport decisions he’s made lately, now he’s shown that he can’t manage his budget either. “The people of NSW deserve a world-class transport system. They’re not going to get it while this Minister is in charge. How the Minister thinks you can strip millions of dollars out of an operation and expect it to continue working as usual is beyond me.” There has been no official announcement of the cuts from the NSW Government. [post_title] => NSW transport 'hiring freeze' [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-transport-hiring-freeze [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-06 19:29:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-06 08:29:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26894 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-12 12:19:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-12 02:19:26 [post_content] =>   Trains in NSW will struggle to arrive on time and be blighted by overcrowding unless the capacity of the rail network is ‘increased significantly’ by 2019, says a report by the NSW Auditor-General. The audit of passenger rail services and rail punctuality in Sydney and regional areas, services overseen by Transport for NSW and contracted out to Sydney Trains and NSW Trains, found that the rail agencies were ‘well placed’ to manage the forecasted increase in passengers up to 2019 but would battle to stay on time beyond this date. But Auditor-General Margaret Crawford warned that this needed to be tackled. “Based on forecast patronage increases, the rail agencies will find it hard to maintain punctuality after 2019 unless the capacity of the network to carry trains and people is increased significantly,” Ms Crawford said. “If recent higher than forecast patronage growth continues, the network may struggle to maintain punctuality before 2019.” The NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan predicts there will be a 26 per cent increase in passengers between 2012 and 2031 and that passenger numbers may well overtake this figure. Forecasts have underestimated passenger numbers in the past, particularly in the morning peak. There has been an annual growth of 6.6 per cent since May 2014, twice as much as was predicted by the NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan. More passengers usually mean more delays as trains wait longer at stations for passengers to get on and off. Ms Crawford said Transport or NSW had been making progress but was not close to submitting a costed plan to the government to address these challenges. “If patronage continues to increase at a faster rate than forecast, particularly during the morning peak, the network will struggle to cope before 2019," she said. “There is a significant risk that investments will not be made soon enough to handle future patronage levels. Ideally planning and investment decisions should have been made already.” While the audit found that system-wide punctuality was good overall, it pinpointed poor punctuality in some areas of the network. Problem areas
  • Snarl ups around North Sydney affecting afternoon peak services out to Western Sydney and Hornsby via Strathfield
  • East Hills express trains in the afternoon peak performed ‘well below target’
  • Intercity trains were less punctual than suburban trains with declining punctuality between 2011 and 2014
But the Auditor-General was relatively sanguine about how these problems were being tackled, noting that Transport for NSW and Sydney Trains were ‘well advanced’ with strategies to address the North Sydney blockage with improved infrastructure, more staff training, new timetables  and fewer speed restrictions. Train timetable changes should correct the East Hills delays within three years, she said. Replacing old intercity trains and ensuring good staff training would ease intercity delays but MS Crawford said improvements to contracts would also help, given that Sydney Trains was responsible for train, track and signal maintenance and managing trains on the rail network. She said that Transport for NSW, Sydney Trains and NSW Trains were now working collaboratively to make improvements to the contracts. Recommendations
  • Transport for NSW should submit plans to address passenger growth over the next five to ten years to the government as soon as possible
  • Sydney Trains and Transport for NSW should: a) oversee and resource all plans to address passenger increases b) adjust strategies for any patronage growth above projections
  • Sydney Trains, NSW Trains and Transport for NSW should publish customer delay results by June 2018
  • Transport for NSW, Sydney Trains and NSW Trains should agree by December 2017: a) specific performance targets for intercity train, track and signal availability and reliability b) guidelines for train priorities during disruptions and indicators of control centre performance when implementing these guidelines
  • Sydney Trains, NSW Trains and Transport for NSW should by June 2018: a) improve the accuracy of measuring passenger numbers and develop a better understanding of growth trends b) address small errors in the adjustment factors used to determine a train’s punctuality c) improve their understanding of the factors impacting on intercity punctuality
  • Transport for NSW should, commencing June 2017, explore the potential to use behavioural insights to encourage more passengers to travel outside the height of the morning peak between 8 am and 9 am
Want the latest public sector news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up the Government News newsletter. [post_title] => NSW trains will struggle with delays and overcrowding by 2019, says audit   [post_excerpt] => Problem areas of network revealed. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26894 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-18 11:05:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-18 01:05:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24142 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-12-20 14:00:15 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-20 03:00:15 [post_content] => dd-buses-web_opt  

Double decker buses will soon become a common sight on Sydney’s streets once more after the New South Wales Government revealed it will commission a proper fleet of the high capacity vehicles to boost capacity on crowded runs as part of a $108 million service boost and refresh in the 2016-17 NSW Budget

Exact details on who will manufacture and how many of the new 80-seat beasts will be deployed are still to be finalised, but the firm commitment to reinstate double deckers into mainstream route service in Sydney cements major turnaround in public transport thinking 30-years after the last Leyland Atlantean made its from Wynyard to Avalon in May 1986.

While the Baird Government started trialling Bustech double deckers North-West T-Way at the end of August 2012, the pre-Budget essentially embeds the top deck vehicles as part of the city’s core fleet for the foreseeable future.

The announcement is also the second major public transport ‘back to the future’ flip for Transport for NSW after the commitment to reinstate light rail services (or heavy trams) in the city and eastern suburbs, with deployments in the West also highly likely to be commissioned.

Heavy crowding and more demand than capacity during peak-hour services for Sydney buses has been a serious and persistent problem for at least the last decade, as urban renewal and residential infill push more commuters onto the bus system. The biggest headaches for authorities and commuters alike include passengers who are closer to a bus route destination often missing out on scheduled morning trips because vehicles are filled to capacity well before they get near their terminus. Efforts to deploy more, larger single decker and articulated or ‘bendy’ busses have also created knock-on effects as busses get stuck long queues to unload passengers on approaches to the city and other major centres. A big benefit of double decker buses is that even though they carry 65 per cent more passengers than regular buses – 130 people when completely full on seated and standing capacity – they only occupy the space of a single bus making it easier to cram more services into smaller areas and tighter streets. leyland atlantean_optWith major residential developments now replacing industrial real estate on the city fringe, authorities are looking to boost both capacity and frequency. “Thousands of Sydneysiders rely on bus travel every day to get from A to B and we know demand for services is continually increasing, particularly in growth centres in the North West and South West, as well as in inner city areas like Green Square,” said NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance.

“Since coming to office, the NSW Government has delivered more than 15,800 extra weekly public transport services for customers and today’s announcement is further proof that we’re committed to putting on even more where and when they’re needed most.

“This is all about staying ahead of the curve to ensure customers have sufficient levels of service well into the future.”

sydney-bus-museum-vintage-bus-sydney-comedy-festiv1_optFor people that remember Sydney’s original double decker bus fleet, it’s actually more like replacing something many feel, like trams, should never have been taken away in the first place. Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian – who spearheaded many of the key public transit reforms when she held the Transport portfolio – said the upcoming NSW Budget would continue to fund more services and infrastructure. “These double decker buses have allowed us to deliver good customer outcomes and we are pleased to be rolling out more of them across Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said before cataloguing where new money was going to be spent. The Treasurer said that under the NSW Budget 2016-16 commitment, 12 new or extended routes will come online. They include a new cross suburban link between the Inner West and Lower North Shore, all night services seven days a week for Green Square and Zetland as well as Abbotsford, Five Dock and Rouse Hill on weekends. The addition of new all-night services has long been called for by groups representing essential services and the hospitality sector where the availability and cost of labour have been hit by the shortage of car spaces and a lack of alternative transport options. Fleet renewal and replacement is also a strong focus, with older non-air conditioned buses finally dropped from service in favour of climate controlled accessible (or ‘kneeling’) busses that allow wheelchair users to roll-on and roll-off regular services – an important addition given many older Sydney railway stations still don’t have lifts.   Specifics for the 2016/17 Growth Bus Services Program Western Sydney (including Hills District and South West) More than 1,350 new weekly trips, including 5 new or extended routes.
  • New route 605 (North Kellyville to Rouse Hill Town Centre)
  • Extended route 751 (Marsden Park to Blacktown via Colebee)
  • Extended route T72 (Blacktown to Rouse Hill Town Centre via Alex Avenue)
  • Extended route T74 (Blacktown to Riverstone via Hambledon Road)
  • Extended route 783 (Penrith to Jordan Springs)
Enhanced services:
  • 607X (Rouse Hill to City via M2)
  • 610X/M61 (Rouse Hill and Castle Hill to City M2)
  • 611 (Blacktown to Macquarie Park via M2)
  • 615X (North Kellyville to City via M2)
  • 619 (Rouse Hill to Macquarie Park via Kellyville and M2)
  • 620X-621 (Castle Hill and Cherrybrook to Macquarie Park and City via M2)
  • 700 (Blacktown to Parramatta via Prospect)
  • 740 (Plumpton to Macquarie Park via M2)
  • 841 (Narellan to Leppington)
  • T65 (Rouse Hill to Parramatta via Westmead)
  • T80 (Liverpool to Parramatta via Bonnyrigg)
Sydney Metropolitan More than 1,950 new weekly trips, including 2 new routes.
  • New route 530 (Burwood to Chatswood via Five Dock, Hunters Hill and Lane Cove)
  • New route 985 (Miranda to Cronulla via Woolooware Shores)
Enhanced services on the following routes:
  • Various Northern Beaches routes between Mona Vale and the City
  • 197 (Mona Vale to Macquarie Park via Terrey Hills)
  • 270-274 (Frenchs Forest District to City)
  • 343 (Kingsford to City)
  • 370 (Leichhardt to Coogee)
  • 433 (Balmain to Railway Square via Harold Park)
  • 477 (Miranda to Rockdale via Sans Souci)
  • 506 (Macquarie University and East Ryde to City via Hunters Hill)
  • 518 (Macquarie University to City via Ryde)
  • M20 (Zetland to Wynyard via Central Station)
  • M41 (Burwood to Macquarie Park via Ryde)
New all-night services on the following routes:
  • 301 (Zetland to City via Surry Hills) – seven days
  • 438 (Abbotsford to City via Five Dock and Leichhardt) – Friday and Saturday only
  • 607X (Rouse Hill to City via M2) – Friday and Saturday only
Lower Hunter – More than 170 new weekly trips, including 2 new or extended routes:
  • New route 178 (Anambah to Rutherford)
  • Extended routes 260 and 261 (Minmi and Fletcher to Jesmond and University)
Central Coast – 45 new weekly trips, including 1 extended route:
  • Extended route 40 (Gosford – Wyoming)
  • Enhanced services on routes 67 and 68 between Terrigal and Gosford
  • Enhanced services on route 33 between Gosford and Mangrove Mountain
Blue Mountains – More than 30 new weekly trips on route 686 between Katoomba, Echo Point and Scenic World Illawarra – More than 240 new weekly trips, including 2 new or extended routes:
  • New route 75 (Tullimbar to Stockland Shellharbour)
  • Extended route 32 (Dapto to Brooks Reach)
  • Enhanced services on route 1 between Austinmer and Wollongong
  • Enhanced services on routes 31-33 between Wollongong and Dapto District
  • Enhanced services on route 34 between Warrawong and Wollongong
[post_title] => Best of 2016: High & mighty: double decker buses return to mainstream Sydney route service [post_excerpt] => Back to the Future II [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => double-decker-buses-return-to-mainstream-sydney-route-service [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-20 15:26:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-20 04:26:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24427 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-07-18 17:19:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-18 07:19:11 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24435" align="alignnone" width="300"]iStock_000024856222_Small_opt Legalising Uber will cost $250mil.[/caption]   The Baird Government has officially opened the door to its ambitious $250 million compensation package for New South Wales taxi and hire car licence holders hit by the biggest regulatory shake-up of the sector in the state’s history, urging those affected to apply for “transitional assistance payments” of up to $20,000. The much anticipated compensation cash package comes as Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance presses on with reforms revealed in December last year that effectively legalised ride-sharing operations like Uber in the state at the stroke of a pen –but sent the value of taxi and hire car plates plummeting. Already feeling the heat from competition regulators, the taxi industry in NSW – like other states – had been fighting a rear guard action to maintain what had been a crumbing legal monopoly under siege from online ‘point-to-point’ network operators which use private cars and drivers. Although widely embraced by passengers, the new services created a significant problem for the government because they not only flew under the regulatory radar, but stripped away valuable revenue as well. “We’ve ushered in a new era for the transport economy under the new Point to Point Transport Act, providing taxi, hire car and rideshare customers with more choice and increased competition,” Mr Constance said. “In recognition that these reforms have liberated the point to point market, we’ve put in place one of the most generous industry adjustment packages in the world for taxi licence holders.” While the changes undoubtedly legitimised newer ‘booked services’ operators and drivers who had previously faced stiff fines and prosecution, they also put the onus for compliance back onto network operators and businesses rather than leaving it to individual drivers. At the time Mr Constance vowed the creation of a new, stand-alone, watchdog in the form of a specific Commissioner would be “the toughest regulator the NSW point to point transport industry has ever had.” The Transport Minister also found himself getting some free advice from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak at a press conference that Uber should not be allowed to become a monopoly. Powers provided to the new Commissioner include ability to hit companies that fail to meet safety requirements with big, court imposed fines that are based on an offending firm’s profitability rather than a traditional sliding scale that typically hit drivers rather than their employers. The get tough push also included criminal sanctions and jail sentences of up to two years “for nominated directors and managers found guilty of serious safety breaches” to discourage corners being cut. “For the first time the buck will stop with the company making profit from the services – not just the driver,” Mr Constance said in December last year. But before the regulatory stick is applied, the Baird government wants drivers and operators that have been financially hit by the legalisation of ride sharing to access relief funds. Mr Constance said the NSW Government would now “write to more than 4,000 eligible licence holders” to let them know how to apply for the money, and would process each application “as quickly as possible.” More specifically the $250 million relief package includes:
  • $98 million for payments of $20,000 per ordinary and transferrable licence, for up to two licences, for licences held before 1 July 2015;
  • $142 million for taxi licensees facing hardship as a result of the changes; and
  • Up to $10 million for a buy-back scheme for perpetual hire car licensees.
Mr Constance said affected licence holders would be able to access “dedicated Taxi and Hire Car Business Advisors” as well as or the NSW Taxi Council to get help filing applications for financial relief. Applications for the money close on 13th January 2017 and can be made at [post_title] => Uber and Out: Claims for Taxi reform compensation cash now open [post_excerpt] => Sharing (the pain) economy. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => uber-claims-taxi-reform-compensation-cash-now-open [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-19 10:04:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-19 00:04:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24213 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-06-21 19:27:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-21 09:27:35 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24214" align="alignnone" width="300"]KellyVille-Platform_With-Station-Attendants-(1)-Accordion-900px_opt $12bn au go go for Sydney Metro. Pic: Supplied.[/caption]   Accelerated transport infrastructure renewal and expansion has emerged as the major long-term thrust of the Baird Government’s New South Wales Budget 2016, with a $10.5 billion splash on public transport soaking up more than half of the $20.2 billion headline figure for overall recurrent and capital funding for transport infrastructure including roads. The record spend comes as state transport planners seize what infrastructure experts describe as a once in a lifetime opportunity to build-in forward capacity to cope with strong population growth in Sydney and the regions and move away from reactive projects previously centred around car-based commuters. The showpiece of the package is $2.7 billion for the new Sydney Metro rapid transit automated railway that will create a second major rail network linking Sydney’s North and West, and the city’s via the CBD, including a new underground crossing that traverses Sydney Harbour. The total projected cost for that project alone is $12 billion over the coming four years. “Underpinning our massive infrastructure investment are the funds to continue to grow services on existing public transport networks and ensure they are maintained to high standards,” said NSW transport Minister Andrew Constance. “The Budget includes $1.3 billion for Sydney Metro Northwest, which is set to open in the first half of 2019. Around $1.4 billion has been allocated for the second stage, Sydney Metro City & Southwest.” [quote]A further $1 billion has been earmarked for new suburban trains on the existing rail network, a renewal that’s over and above the $3.9 billion previously allocated to replace the current ageing fleet of electric intercity trains.[/quote] Exact numbers on how many new suburban trains will come, however the Budget Papers reveal the “procurement process” will start in 2016 with the new trains adding extra capacity to support rising numbers of commuters.   Light Rail expansion stays on track The resurgence of light rail in NSW has also continued to forge ahead, with $64 million “to continue planning and preparatory work for Parramatta Light Rail” and $142 million for Newcastle’s Light Rail, while the delivery of the Sydney CBD and South East Light Rail scored $71 billion. Business groups and property developers are especially keen on the Parramatta Light Rail because of the potential of the project to trigger urban renewal and redevelopment and create public transport corridors across the West rather than just to and from the city. One driver for the anticipated building boom – which is expected to amount to tens of thousands of dwellings – is a new special levy based on floor space ratios that will be applied to new builds to help fund the new light rail line.   Making a B-Line for Buses While there were no surprises on the bus funding front thanks to the pre-announcement of spending – particularly the reintroduction of double decker buses onto main route services – the creation of the ‘B-Line’ high frequency fast bus service to Sydney’s Northern Beaches has continued in earnest, attracting $210 million for “continued planning and infrastructure”. Intended to bolster bus frequency by an extra 480 servicers a week at a maximum interval of just 10 minutes, the new service will launch in 2017 and feature architecturally designed bus stops, dedicated commuter parking for bus travellers and real time information at stops. Also in the Budget mix is a further $108 million for 218 new busses “to replace older buses and expand private and public fleets across NSW.”   New Ferries Floated Having already privatised the operation of Sydney Ferries, funding has finally flowed for an inner harbour fleet renewal for Sydney’s most picturesque more of public transit that was once the target of criticism that it provided little more than a boutique service for Sydney’s richest residents – those living near or on the waterfront. [quote]The Budget has allocated $30 million for 6 new inner harbour ferries, a relative bargain considering recreational boats with a tenth of the passenger capacity can easily tip the $5 million mark. The first arrives at the end of 2016.[/quote] The Parramatta River also gets four new riverboats at a price tag of $8 million for those prepared to swap some extra time getting to work for water views and fresh air on their daily commute. The huge and controversial casino and office development of Barangaroo also get funding for its own wharf in the Budget, with $17 million allocated for the build but no mention of whether the facility is intended to act as a western CBD water transport hub for commuter coming from the North Shore or other stops to the Southwest.   Regulation Uber alles Letting ride share and point-to-point transport platforms like Uber legitimately enter the market in NSW hasn’t come cheap, even if commuters ultimately benefit. [quote]Having changed legislation to allow for the introduction and regulation of point-to-point competitors, including the creation of a new watchdog, the compensation bill for axing the taxi industry’s licensed monopoly has come in at $250 million.[/quote] The bail out and transition package comprises of $142 million over three years for taxi licensees “facing hardship as a result of industry changes”, $98 million for payments to taxi licence holders who purchased plates before July 2015 and “up to $10 million over three years for a buy-back scheme for perpetual hire car licence owners.” Assistance to vulnerable and disabled passengers who can’t catch public transport is also up there, with $16 million a year to help allocated to ensure “wheelchair accessible taxis continue to be available for those in the community who crucially rely on them.” Community transport and home and community care services for people unable drive or catch public transport score $84 million. [post_title] => NSW Budget 2016: Public transport upgrades the big ticket winner [post_excerpt] => Cash splash on new trains, buses and ferries. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => public-transport-upgrades-are-the-biggest-winners-in-nsw-budget-2016 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-23 23:06:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-23 13:06:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24005 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-05-30 16:10:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-30 06:10:49 [post_content] => car_road011   Transport for NSW is seeking partners to help lead the development of driverless vehicles and intelligent transport systems at the state’s new Smart Innovation Centre. NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the Western Sydney-based innovation incubator would be a development hub for emerging transport and road technology in the state. The centre will bring together industry, investors, researchers, government agencies, vehicle manufacturers, technology providers and data analysts to test and develop technology that will improve transport and safety, reduce congestion and drive investment in emerging knowledge industries. The Centre, which should be fully operational by mid-2017, will also be an incubator for commercial and academic partners wanting to maximise the potential for their technology innovations. Mr Constance said expressions of interest from industry, investors and academics were due by June 10. “This government is not prepared to sit around waiting for someone else to come up with the next big innovation around technologies for connected transport – we want to be a part of it,” Mr Constance said. “The Centre will also help us understand how we need to plan and build road and transport infrastructure to prepare for future technology. “ He said that partnerships with local and international experts would be a key part of the success of the Smart Innovation Centre. The Centre’s objectives include accelerating and expanding government transport technology research programs by collaborating with industry and universities. The idea is also to link up with current testing or research, including work around road and vehicle safety, congestion management technology, cooperative intelligent transport systems and better technology around bus priority. Testing and piloting connected and automated vehicles will be another key focus of the Centre’s work. Secretary of Transport for NSW, Tim Reardon said the Centre would play a key role in putting NSW at the forefront of applying emerging technologies to improve transport. “For more than 100 years a road has been a relatively simple piece of infrastructure and a car has been controlled by a driver,” Mr Reardon said. “Now we’re on the cusp of using our road infrastructure in a much smarter way. That offers some incredibly exciting opportunities for improving the efficiency, accessibility and safety of road travel. “Transport for NSW is determined not to get in the way of innovation – we want to support and contribute to the next big ideas. “That’s why we’re preparing now for the eventual arrival of automated vehicles and working with our federal and interstate counterparts to explore the legislative, regulatory and road design changes necessary to allow the introduction of these types of technologies in the future.” Transport for NSW is inviting expressions of interest from prospective partners in collaborative projects including:
  • Vehicle testing
  • Pilots and demonstrations, mostly in controlled environments such as hospital and business precincts for connected and automated vehicles and associated transport services and technologies.
  • Collaborative research projects which could cover data simulations or modelling of the outcomes of new transport technologies. These will assess the potential benefits and impacts prior to deployment and sponsorship to seed new commercial.
EOIs addressing credentials and proposed areas of involvement should be emailed to by the new deadline of Friday 10 June 2016. [post_title] => Smart Innovation Centre to make NSW transport tech hub [post_excerpt] => Driverless cars, intelligent transport systems. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => smart-innovation-centre-will-make-nsw-transport-technology-hub [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-31 11:03:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-31 01:03:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23967 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-05-25 14:39:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-25 04:39:29 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_23968" align="alignnone" width="287"]shrink dollar_opt Outsourcing needs a helping hand.[/caption]   Australian government agencies are facing a rapidly shrinking choice of domestic and international technology outsourcers after HP Enterprise Services announced a US$8.5 billion proposed merger with veteran player CSC, a deal that will see a new entity spun out separately from both companies. Revealed to Australian customers on Wednesday morning, the two fading giants have told customers and shareholders they expect the merger deal to be completed by March 2017 to create what is being sold as a “strategic combination of the two complementary businesses” that is anticipated to have annual revenues of US$26 billion. Under the proposed new structure both CSC and HP Enterprise Services will have equity “approximately 50 percent of shares” each, with CSC’s Mike Lawrie to become the chairman, president and chief executive of the new company, while HP Enterprise Services’ boss Meg Whitman will join the board. The deal is still subject to regulatory and shareholder approval. A major question that dozens of Australian customers are certain to be asking is what impact the transaction will have on healthcare software provider iSoft, which CSC acquired in an acrimonious on-market takeover for $460 million in 2011 that was doggedly fought by the then ASX-listed company’s head, Gary Cohen. iSoft’s customers in Australia include multiple large health services in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australian and Western Australia. Although the iSoft brand name is not specifically named in the announcement, Government News has been told by CSC that the health applications provider is definitely part of the merger and spin out as it has been fully integrated into CSC for more than four years. Also in the merger mix are government and corporate customers of former Australian IT services company UXC, which CSC acquired for $428 million in October 2015, will also be contemplating the news that their provider will undergo its second change of owner in just over 6 months. UXC’s stated public sector customer list includes the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the federal Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIIRSTE), Queensland Health, Transport for NSW, the Department of Defence and the Department of Human Services. The latest mega-transaction in what has become a challenged market for IT services comes as big players, including HP Enterprise Services and CSC, have been hit hard by successive waves of margin sapping technology consolidation, a trend that has included the rise of lower cost cloud computing and a proliferation of mobile devices that have decimated once dominant desktop and server markets. Formed following a the sale of Electronic Data Systems to Hewlett Packard in 2008 for US$13.9 billion, HP Enterprise Services never managed to regain the market share or customer footprint that was typified by big cluster or whole-of-government deals that often nudged the billion dollar mark and spanned periods as long as a decade. The extent of shrinkage and low margins in the outsourcing market was sharply underscored when Lockheed Martin departed the Australian public sector IT outsourcing market last year after initially making strong inroads at key customers including the Australian taxation Office. Meanwhile, Mr Lawrie and Ms Whitman (who was once CEO of eBay) are keenly selling the deal as a good thing for clients. “Our proposed merger with HPE Enterprise Services is a logical next step in CSC’s transformation,” Mr Lawrie said in the announcements.” “Clients are feeling the pressure to digitally transform their enterprises to meet new business demands and customer expectations. They need a partner with the innovation, scale, leadership and dependability to answer the challenge. “As a pure play, the combined company will be built to lead digital transformations using next-generation technology solutions from both companies,” Mr Lawrie continued before unbolting any connection to the former server monolith. “It will be able to operate independent of any single hardware provider, while partnering with the world’s leading technology providers, including HPE.” Meg Whitman was equally optimistic. “The ‘spin-merger’ of HPE Enterprise Services with CSC is the right next step for HPE and our customers,” Ms Whitman said. “As two companies with global scale, strong balance sheets and a focus on innovation, both HPE and the new company will be well positioned as leaders in their respective markets.” [post_title] => HP Enterprise Services + CSC ‘spin-merger’ sucks in iSoft and UXC [post_excerpt] => Incredible shrinking outsourcing market. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => csc_hp_merger [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-26 23:18:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-26 13:18:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23650 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-04-18 19:26:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-18 09:26:24 [post_content] => woz snip Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has very publicly put the boot into how online giant Uber treats it drivers, using a joint question and answer session with New South Wales Transport Minister Andrew Constance to warn of the danger of new transport oligopolies. “I do have concerns about Uber becoming a monopoly,” Wozniak said. “Uber will push their workforce down to the absolute lowest minimum wage that they can get away with. That’s how I think of Uber: not very nice thoughts.” The strong words came at the NSW Government organised Future Transport Summit where officials, planners, industry and the occasional technology demigod are trying to thrash out a rough vision of how the next 20 years of transit will look like – minus the jetpacks. Woz’s view is one senior Australian politicians and public servants are certain to be taking notice of as they try to manage the effects and consequences of the online juggernaut renowned for attacking regulators both in public and behind closed doors. So far Uber has enjoyed a spot of sunshine after the NSW government moved to provide it and similar services some regulatory legitimacy rather than having transport authorities chase down and fine its drivers -- but Uber’s honeymoon as a hip challenger brand could be as short lived as a wait for one of its cars. Mr Wozniak said that he “like a lot of people have some distrust of Uber and how their drivers don’t really realise necessarily at first that they aren’t really making much money.” “I want to use Lyft instead of Uber when I can now,” Wozniak said, conspicuously namedropping one of Uber’s emerging rivals. A big concern for regulators, governments and passenger like Woz is that as so-called sharing economy platforms rapidly scale-up to disintermediate existing players – like licensed taxi services or hotels in the case of Airbnb – the volume of market share they capture can stifle competition. “It is a danger when any group becomes a very powerful monopoly because they can take advantage and use it in bad ways,” Wozniak said. “I would rather there would be a lot of competitive forces, I’d like there to be about four or five choices anywhere you go.” Buckled-up beside Wozniak, NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance was up for some political ride sharing of his own and certainly wasn’t about to argue for less competition. “We want Lyft here, we want these other products here,” Constance said. “We want the taxi industry to become innovative and drive competition. The whole thinking around transport is going to change.” With speculation rampant about what Uber will morph into should driverless cars become a reality sooner rather than later, Constance was pinged with a logical question as to whether self-driving will actually ease or worsen congestion given a finite amount of road space. As the minister for trains, busses rather than roads (that’s Duncan Gay) the answer won’t be what car dealers want to hear. “This is why I’m building new train networks,” Constance quipped. “I want people in trains not in cars.” Wozniak also had some firm advice for governments and security agencies seeking a back door into encryption technologies that protect devices like the iPhone in the wake of the stoush between Apple and the FBI. “I agree with Apple’s side in the case in the US with the FBI. I’ve been a long-time supporter of civil liberties and civil rights,” Wozniak said. “In this case Apple actually said ‘look, you are a consumer, we make you a good product and we’re guaranteeing it’s so well protected even we cannot get at your data’… I’ve never really heard a company say that.” Wozniak said he believed Apple had been “truthful and honest” in its stand that the company itself could not access the data the FBI had wanted. “I admire that so much and then it’s so shocking that government comes in and says ‘no, we have to tell you [that] you cannot make your product secure’ when cybersecurity is so important to people,” Wozniak said. “Where we can get it [cybersecurity], let’s keep it.” “This case was just [a] flat footed attempt for the government to try and get in and make sure [that] ‘every iPhone ever we can get into’. I don’t believe that’s right … so I’m against it.” [post_title] => Steve Wozniak wants monopoly handbrake put on Uber [post_excerpt] => Give me a Lyft says NSW Transport Minister Constance. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => steve-wozniak-wants-monopoly-handbrake-put-on-uber [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-19 10:00:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-19 00:00:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23404 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-03-21 19:53:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-21 08:53:09 [post_content] => Sydney Light Rail Tram IMG_0490 Thousands of enterprising Sydney commuters chalking-up $2 million a year in ‘free’ Opal trip value on Transport for NSW’s equivalent to frequent flyer points are about to be derailed and un-rewarded, all thanks to changes to the popular smartcard ticket that hit Monday. After more than a year of successfully milking a free trips incentive to extract Opal network-wide travel for as little $18 a week, commuters participating in so-called ‘Opal-running’ have been warned a crackdown on the short-hop journeys they use to game the free travel reward will now force them to travel at least twice as much before they make their quota. The ‘Weekly Travel Reward’ had been intended to encourage commuters into using public transport more frequently, especially those travelling greater distances who might otherwise find driving cheaper than regularly using public transport. It gives Opal card commuters free travel after eight paid journeys, largely based on the assumption that commuters heading to and from work will space out their travel and pay for the vast majority of what they use. But the pursuit of the free transit prize among eager commuters on Mondays quickly escalated into something between a sport and a cult among inner city passengers, who have increasingly clocking-up extra journeys wherever possible to reach the free fare target, especially on the Light Rail within the CBD. If you travel at full peak fare from the outer suburbs, it makes a lot of financial sense to chalk-up lots of the cheapest short journeys first day of the week and then travel free.   'Cheating' still not illegal Although not illegal, NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has accused those milking the fare system of ripping off other commuters and the government by “running, cycling, driving or even roller-skating between train stations or light rail stops to tap on and off.” Put another way, the NSW government is primarily worried about the financial hit and wider inequity that Opal fare gamers are apparently creating, given it can’t actually prosecute anyone for jumping on a tram or train with a valid ticket. “It’s unfair that customers doing the right thing and paying to actually use transport are being cheated by people who are using their own or other people’s cards to artificially inflate their journeys. Some are even using the practice as a business model to earn money,” Mr Constance said. However the Labor Opposition’s Shadow Transport Minister, Jodi McKay isn’t impressed by the Opal crackdown and has accused the Baird Government of sending conflicting signals to commuters. Ms McKay said that in 2014, despite the government being alerted to the problem, then Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian had encouraged commuters to game the system. “They have known about this for a very long time and are only now doing something about it,” Ms McKay said. “It is a complete contradiction – one Transport Minister saying ‘hey beat the system’ and then the next one saying ‘no,  don’t … and we are going to make it harder.” Ms McKay also questioned why Mr Constance had asked for more time for the Government to respond to an Independent and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) analysis of public transport fares which she said could see some commuters slugged as much as $950 extra a year. “They know how unpopular this whole thing is, but have given no explanation for the delay,” Ms McKay said.   Rorting epicenter The epicenter of the present fare rorting problem appears to be in downtown Haymarket and Pyrmont where Light Rail stops are just a few hundred metres apart, making it easily time effective to clock-up Opal taps by walking between stops. Businesses with offices serviced by the Star City Casino stop include Google, Fairfax Media, Accenture and Channel 7. Transport sources have told Government News Transport for NSW could disable the Opal readers at light rail stops until just before a tram arrives, but this would then increase ‘dwell times’ and slow down the service, especially during peak times. Government News has also observed some passengers even opportunistically tapping-off on one reader and then tapping back on during the same journey in an effort to accrue journeys, although it’s unclear how effective this actually is. To back his case for the crackdown Mr Constance on Monday released statistics that showed a whopping 63,636 journeys on the light rail made between Star City Casino and Pyrmont Bay on Mondays compared to just 1469 journeys on Wednesday between 1st February and 6th March this year. Light rail fans aren’t the only fanatical group exploiting Opal’s incentives. Mr Constance’s statistics reveal trips between the Inner West heavy rail stops of Erskinville and Macdonaldtown chalked-up 6465 journeys on Mondays in the same period, an impressive piece of footwork considering the stations – which are only 470 metres apart – are on completely different rail lines.   Stops are Tops: Monday hotpsots for serial Opal abusers (Source: Transport for NSW)
Journey Mon Tues Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Pyrmont Bay to Star City stops & back (300m apart) 63,636 8,198 1,469 313 149 110 481
Paddy’s Market to Capital Square stops & back (280m apart) 30,285 9,408 2,434 647 238 193 714
Macdonaldtown to Erskineville stations & back (470m apart) 6,465 1,142 178 51 14 6 6
  Not-so-quick fix The NSW Government’s solution to opportunistic fare gaming, although cloaked in transport jargon, has been to dramatically increase the number of taps on-and-off needed to qualify a trip as a ‘journey’ within a given hour on any mode of transport. In a nutshell, this means that commuters who were chalking-up trips by tapping on-and-off three times in one hour will now have to do so seven times before their taps qualify to be counted towards the ‘Weekly Travel Reward’. However the deliberate limitations the solution revolves around are certain to propel debate about whether a much greater number of semi-regular commuters will soon suffer to dissuade a relatively small group of opportunists. A longstanding gripe about Opal’s fare structure is that fares are individually charged across each discrete mode of transport when a commuter combining different services to achieve a single journey. For example, a trip from the Leichhardt in the Inner West to Cremorne on the North Shore could involve Light Rail, Rail and a Ferry and also potentially Bus with a commuter being charged for each transport mode, rather than for a single journey. Many public transport advocates believe that authorities should charge commuters based on just the distance between two points of a journey to encourage commuters to more easily swap modes without being penalized. One potential benefit of that system is that transport authorities could use price signals to better balance passenger loads between modes with less utilized services discounted to take pressure off crowded ones. Another option is to use price signalling to smooth out peak demand, with commuters being offered either discounts or rewards for helping to take pressure off the system. [post_title] => Opal derails one-stop-shopping for weekly rewards [post_excerpt] => Weekly Travel Reward crackdown [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 23404 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-03-22 12:37:33 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-03-22 01:37:33 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22975 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-02-03 18:18:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-02-03 07:18:49 [post_content] => George_Street_congestion_during_evening_peak_hour_2013_opt Sydney CBD (Central Business District) is to get substantially expanded restricted speed zones for cars and other vehicles as the NSW Government imposes an enforceable 40km/h go-slow on drivers to curb pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The dialling-down of inner city speed limits to the same level of school zones comes as transport authorities and the City of Sydney prepare for even more pedestrian and bus congestion as the CBD’s central artery of George St is dug up for the new light rail. While many car drivers might joke they’d be happy just to make it to 40km/h in the inner city, the new restrictions do finally achieve a consistent single speed limit across the CBD, elimination the confusing mix of speeds that over time has ranged from 60km/h, 50km/h and 40/km/h. According to transport authorities the new expanded zone not only “incorporates and addresses” the big dig for the light rail but also “the new bus routes which has a lot of pedestrian traffic.” Minister for Roads, Duncan Gay, said the new limits will come into effect in April this year, stressing the reduction is needed to reduce pedestrian collisions. “In the past ten years we’ve sadly seen 12 tragic deaths and more than 1400 injuries within this new larger speed zoned area,” Mr Gay said. “For less than an extra minute of travel time for motorists, we’re doubling the chance of survival for pedestrians in Sydney CBD. This is why we’re installing sensible speed limits in an area where lots of pedestrians are out and about each day – to protect vulnerable road users and save lives.” CDD 40k snip_optDrivers time are however getting a bit of a grace period to “get used to the speed limit changes” with red-light speed cameras that fall within the new 40km/h area being put into “warning mode for lower-end speed offences for four weeks.” According to CBD Coordinator General Marg Prendergast, there’s nothing too special about the 40km/h zones that are now routine across the state. “There are more than 150 locations in NSW where 40km/h limits are in place in high pedestrian areas including North Sydney and Parramatta CBD as well as regional centres such as Tamworth and Albury – this is a common and effective measure for busy areas,” Ms Prendergast said. The boundaries for the new expanded 40km/h zone in the CBD will be:
  • North: by Alfred Street and the existing 40km/h in The Rocks area
  • East: by Macquarie Street, College Street (to Liverpool Street) and Elizabeth Street (to Eddy Avenue)
  • South: by Railway Square
  • West: by Quay Street, including the Paddy’s Market precinct.
[post_title] => Pedestrian collisions force Sydney CBD 40km/h go slow [post_excerpt] => Speed reductions expanded to reduce inner city roadkill. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => pedestrian-collisions-prompt-widened-sydney-cbd-40kmh-go-slow [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-03 18:18:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-03 07:18:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22404 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-12-09 21:52:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-09 10:52:09 [post_content] => Olympic Park view   The Baird government calls it ‘value capture’ – but is the price of a ticket to ride on the profits of surging values for land near new rail and tram lines in Sydney’s west simply just too high, even for developers? Peak development group Urban Taskforce on Thursday firmly put the New South Wales Government on notice that a proposed ‘Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC)’ of $200 per square metre for floorspace in new residential developments along the Parramatta light rail corridor is way too steep. The developer group, which represents apartment builders, estimates the new tax will force up a typical two bedroom unit price by $20,000 – just as prices are come off the boil and auction clearance rates are falling. Camelia view1 That’s hardly the kind of welcome NSW transport and planning authorities would have been hoping for after they finally unveiled the new 22km light rail corridor which will link Parramatta’s rapidly ascending CBD to the struggling precinct of Sydney Olympic Park and the badly underserviced hubs of Westmead Hospital and Western Sydney University, with the new run finally emerging at Strathfield. Rydalmere view The project has already taken far too long for some big blue chips that went West punting the promise of rejuvenation (and cheap rents for new builds). The Parramatta light rail's long awaited confirmation this week comes after more than a decade of pressure from the community and business groups, with the Commonwealth Bank recently revealing it will relocate several thousand jobs out of Sydney’s West –a commercial decision that says plenty about the challenges anchor tenants face in sterile precincts like Olympic Park. The Baird government has so far committed around $1 billion to the new light route, saying it will also convert Sydney’s last single track heavy rail branch line from Clyde the Carlingford to trams – almost certainly taking advantage of the skinnier tram cars to duplicating the track to boost service frequency to viable levels. Baird is also clearly hoping for some fresh money from Canberra now that renowned rail sceptic and former PM Tony Abbott has been replaced by public transport enthusiast Macolm Turnbull. . But to make the project a reality, the Baird government is banking on being able to exploit the windfall gain made by property owners and developers who will be allowed to throw up tens of thousands of new dwellings, mostly apartments, after adjoining land is either compulsorily acquired, rezoned or both. A billion dollars goes some of the way, but not as far as long suffering commuters out West want, especially when new freeway tolls hit for projects like WestConnex. Parramatta CBD view “The light rail corridor will activate a priority growth area and there is an opportunity for the government to share in the value uplift that will occur along the corridor,” the official announcement for the project says. “A Special Infrastructure Contribution will be implemented, with the levy expected to be set at around $200 per square metre of gross floor area of new residential developments subject to consultation.” But Urban Taskforce is actively talking down the price of the proposed levy, which in effect is a betterment tax, strongly arguing it will act to hike prices just as previously soaring values and auction clearance rates are coming off the boil. Urban Taskforce chief executive Chris Johnson told Government News that “the government needs to be aware it [the SIC] will increase the price of housing. It is going to be inflationary.” The lobby group is not against the concept of ‘value capture’ per se – after all developers can profit handsomely – but it is worried the floor space linked level could inhibit investment by medium sized players. “There seems to be a threshold reached in terms of [selling] prices [in Sydney]” Mr Johnson said. “The danger of adding a high contribution amount is that development may not be economically viable and so funds will not flow to the infrastructure. Further discussions with industry are needed to ensure that the SIC is workable.” There are also decidedly mixed views on how to best apply value capture within the urban planning community. Guy Perry, Executive Director of Asia Pacific at construction company AECOM, which is working with the NSW government, recently labelled some Asian examples of the value capture model “suburban cellulite” because high rise developments over rail stations there essentially funnelled shoppers into them. There’s also confusion about what ‘value capture’ actually is. The Baird government is facing escalating community hostility and demands to better explain what its wider plans for ‘value capture’ are, especially as its redevelopment juggernaut, Urban Growth, attempts to sell an agenda of urban densification and infill to communities deeply worried that established residential communities in older inner suburbs will be bulldozed to make way for big, fast profit, apartment blocks. While developers can negotiate directly with the government on price for land that is compulsorily acquired from existing owners – whom the government pays out – many sections of inner Sydney communities remain confused as to whether betterment taxes could or will apply to rezoning for areas where there is no additional transport infrastructure or renewal. Urban Growth hasn’t been doing itself many favours in terms of fostering trust or clarity. At a community meeting in November over proposed developments in Lewisham, in Sydney’s Inner West, government officials were left red faced after they put up diagrams showing potential new areas for additional green space that already had unit developments build on them. Angry residents in turn accused Urban Growth of relying on outdated Google Earth imagery to make their plans rather than assessing what was actually on the ground, an allegation that officials had clear difficulty refuting. Urban Growth has produced some other eye-opening visual curiosities when it comes to illustrating the new Parramatta light rail line. Silverwater One of Urban Growth's recent indicative illustrations (cue AC/DC's Jailbreak) has the tramline cutting through the middle of one of Australia’s most densely populated precincts, the Silverwater Correctional Complex. While that route is highly unlikely to eventuate, it would not be the first time the NSW Government had run a tramline into a working jail.  For many years there was a modified tram used to run prisoners between Darlinghurst Courthouse and Long Bay jail in La Perouse, the infamous ‘948’ car – from which notorious criminal escape artist Darcy Dugan managed to get out of – and is now an exhibit at the Sydney Tramway Museum. 948_exterior_Sydney_TM_19Jun2005 (Medium) That’s light rail value capture of a different kind. [post_title] => Sydney Light Rail: Is the Value Capture price far too high? [post_excerpt] => Developers reject new $20,000 per unit tax. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => sydney-light-rail-is-the-value-capture-price-far-too-high [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-12-10 21:19:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-12-10 10:19:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22258 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-11-24 11:30:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-24 00:30:28 [post_content] => OPal shot   Next time you tap onto a train bus or tram using an Opal, Myki or GoCard e-ticket ask yourself this question: why do even we need public transport tickets at all? That’s the kind of radical thinking that will soon be confronting transit authorities across Australia as global cities get much smarter about accelerating mass transit by following the global lead set by Transport for London. The British capital’s Oyster card might be the gold standard in global transport ticketing, but these days more and more savvy Londoners don’t even bother with it. Instead commuters just tap-and-go at the ticket gate with their everyday contactless payment cards – or better still a contactless enabled phone. ApplePay? That works too. It’s a big switch from proprietary plastic, one that global financial services players like MasterCard are betting will take root quickly as transport payments irrevocably move from cash and separate tickets to simple, straight through transactions. And the payments revolution is already hitting home, with Australians using everyday ‘tap-and-go’ payment cards to board trains and buses in London ranking second among non UK users between September 2014 and May 2015. Significantly, when it comes to avoiding buying an Oyster card in favour of plastic you already have in your wallet, foreign users make up 12 per cent of the tap volume – data TfL knows because they can tell the country where the cards are issued. It’s a trend not lost on Grant Johnston, MasterCard’s head of Commercial Payments in Australia. With around 70 per cent of transactions below $100 made on a MasterCard in Australia now tapped via contactless, it was simply a no brainer for Aussies in London to bypass Oyster top-up queues at stations. “At one stage in London when they were doing the tests a third of the users were Aussies. Because we had contactless [at home], we were used to it,” Johnston says. Craig Driver, MasterCard’s Global Head of Government Procurement, Transit and Receipts, say enabling visitors and tourists to cities to just hit the transit system without pre-purchasing a separate ticket is part of what defines a “smart city”. “Let’s say you are coming in from a non-English speaking country, there’s a sense of calm knowing that you can be able to [instantly] ride mass transportation,” Driver says. It’s also a world away from the usual scenario of entering a country, going to a kiosk, trying to calculate local currency costs and conversion – and then fretting that you’ve loaded on too much or too little onto a pre-paid ticket. “You’re not really sure ‘do I have enough?’”, Driver says, acknowledging that passengers often forfeit left-over funds on ticket, money that’s known as ‘breakage’. But that small windfall goes nowhere near the kind of extra spending and economic activity that visitors with instant access to mass transit can bring to a city. For starters tourists and visitors can travel further afield to destinations outside the CBD and off the tourist trail. “There’s a boon in that sense,” Driver says. “You are a smart city, you’re that much more attractive to visitors.” A big selling point of London’s system to local and visiting commuters is that they pay the same to use a contactless payment card as they would an Oyster card, so there’s no real cost difference. But just how close Australian cities arte to making the jump to ticketless transit is hard to tell, though Sydney would have to be the closest because its Opal card is largely built on Transport for London’s model. It’s also no-coincidence that what used to be CityRail, the State Transit Authority (buses) and Sydney’s ferry service have now all been brought under ‘Transport for NSW’. A major saving for government transit operators is that can heavily downsize on the cost associated with issuing and managing a card fleet that in effect distributes a defacto currency. While there’s still no official word on what stage Transport for NSW is at with going ticketless, there is a broader acknowledgement across the NSW government that it must innovate in terms of what works best for its customers rather than shielding legacy systems from change. At a global level, MasterCard’s transit payments gurus acknowledge there’s still some heavy lifting to be done in terms of retiring and replacing ticketing systems that are often several decades old. Driver says there are now trials in New York and that MasterCard is working with transit authorities in Chicago to put in so-called interoperable open-loop functionality. “You have legacy systems, so these contracts need to come up, you have to swap out all this technology,” Driver says. “The contactless element that MasterCard brings is the easy part – it’s the legacy systems that’s the problem in a lot of cities.” With a fresh Opal card system conversion bedded down in Sydney, it looks like the odds are shrinking that Sydney will again follow London’s lead on overhauling mass transit. [post_title] => Could Sydney lose its Opal Card? [post_excerpt] => Phones, payment cards could soon replace tickets. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => could-sydney-lose-its-opal-card [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-11-24 11:30:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-11-24 00:30:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22150 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-11-16 14:29:23 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-16 03:29:23 [post_content] => Sydney Metro Map   Sydney’s straining heavy rail transport network has been given a huge boost after New South Wales Premier Mike Baird confirmed the construction dates and locations for a new high frequency driverless subway system that will connect the North Shore with the city’s Southwest. The massive investment in construction, understood to be estimated to be more than $12 billion, will finally create a second rail crossing underneath Sydney Harbour to eliminate a historic choke point that has been created problems for authorities and delays for commuters for decades. According to maps released by Transport Minister Andrew Constance, new stations will be built at Crows Nest, Victoria Cross (in North Sydney), Barangaroo and underneath Pitt and Park streets in the CBD. The government says the first tunnel borers will be in the ground in 2018, with the centerpiece of the project being new twin tunnels “stretching the entire 15 kilometres from Chatswood to Sydenham.” But the big payoff for commuters is rapid transit style second rail network will now stretch from Sydney’s far North West fringe to potentially as far as Liverpool via the CBD and Central. Set to be completed by 2024, the new line is the second phase of the giant ‘Metro’ project and will link the North West rail link at Chatswood to Sydenham where the existing T3 Bankstown line will be converted and upgraded for the new trains to run through to Bankstown station itself and potentially out as far as Liverpool. Sydney Metro - Martin Place interchange The move to rope most of the T3 Bankstown line into the Metro project means that passengers using Marrickville, Dulwwich Hill, Hurlstone Park, Canterbury, Belmore, Lakemba, Wiley Park and Punchbowl will get access to the driverless high frequency services that come at short intervals of a few minutes rather than running to a timetable. “Sydney Metro will change Sydney forever – it will help boost capacity of our rail network by 100,000 people every hour, servicing our growing global city for generations to come,” Mr Baird said. Sydney Metro - Barangaroo - looking south The state government is betting heavily that the new single deck trains will boost network capacity because they can load and unload passengers several times faster than existing double decker trains that require a longer ‘dwell time’ at stations. Although Sydney’s double decker trains have a big passenger capacity, their efficiency at peak times between often relatively short stops can create serious crowding pressures at stations as commuters try to cram onto slower, lower frequency timetabled services. The T3 Bankstown line has long been regarded as one of the slower and under-patronised corridors in Sydney network, a situation the NSW government clearly wants to remedy by its conversion to Metro. Mr Baird is also actively selling the Metro project’s potential to relieve crowding and share the load with the crammed T1 Western line that links Campbelltown and Liverpool to the CBD and North Shore and beyond. According to Mr Constance, the government will lodge a State Significant Infrastructure Application later this week formally setting out the metro route, the first necessary step that allows the government to kick off the process of compulsory acquisition of land in and around the new stations and the rail line itself. Mr Constance said Transport for NSW had begun contacting affected property owners about Metro build, most of which will be commercial tenants in the CBD, North Sydney, Chatswood, Sydenham and Crows Nest. However there is still no clarity over one of the Metro’s most crucial stops between Central and Sydenham, with planners still yet to reveal whether the new line will get a station at the sprawling University of Sydney or at Waterloo – to service the massive Green Square urban infill redevelopment. Although Sydney Uni has been agitating strongly for better transport services including a Metro stop, a real concern is that the redevelopment of the city’s semi-industrial south could miss out on a mass transit connection, forcing commuters onto busses and into cars. Developers have to date been largely siding with the Waterloo option because they would have far more potential to get approvals for lucrative urban infill redevelopments in areas that are far less controversial than options in the inner west. Also in the Metro mix is the as yet unresolved issue of whether Sydney’s second airport being constructed at Badgery’s Creek will get a rail connection, infrastructure ousted former Prime Minister Tony Abbott had steadfastly refused to subsidise using federal money   despite the airport being a federal asset. Mr Baird’s office said the community would have the opportunity to give feedback on the Stage 2 Metro project as part of the environmental planning assessment process towards the middle of 2016. Industry will get a second briefing in December to take account of the big increase in scope, including the proposed delivery method. New Sydney Metro Stations at a glance: •    Crows Nest located on the western fringe of Crows Nest village with access to the station via the corner of Clarke Street and Hume Street, and the corner of Pacific Highway and Oxley Street; •    Victoria Cross located in the northern section of North Sydney’s CBD. Access to the station would be via the eastern side of Miller Street between Berry Street and Mount Street; •    Barangaroo station will combine Sydney’s world-class metro rail system with the city’s new global business hub. It will be located at Barangaroo Central; •    Martin Place will be integrated with the existing suburban station underground between Castlereagh and Elizabeth streets. It will include a world-class subterranean rail interchange which means customers won’t need to go to the surface to change trains; and •    Pitt Street metro station will be located below Pitt and Castlereagh streets and north of Park St, servicing the southern CBD and the George St and Pitt St retail precincts. •    An underground station at Central linking to existing intercity and suburban rail services. [post_title] => Rapid Metro build for Sydney’s second subway system [post_excerpt] => Massive new harbour crossing project starts 2018. 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NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance, is a bit of a conference junky. His latest outing was at’s annual ‘Dreamforce’ conference in San Francisco, where he had some interesting things to say about the future of transport in his home state. “Government gets Ubered all the time,” he said in his presentation. “Uber operated in NSW for two years in breach of our passenger transport app, so we reformed the entire point-to point-transport market – hire cars, buses, taxis, community transport, ride sharing. “We have now laid a regulatory framework that will allow mobility-as-a-service into the future. Even the taxi industry is becoming innovative. By stripping out red tape, changing compliance, and using technology, we can make this change.” The Dreamforce conference is the annual event for customers and partners of, which has become the world’s largest cloud-based applications software company. The NSW Government is a major user. Mr Constance also spoke at the Salesforce World Tour event in Sydney in March. He said Transport for NSW is using the software to help revolutionise the transport system in NSW. “We’re only just getting started. The reality is that transport is a technology business. The introduction of the Opal travel card gave us all sorts of rich data. Many in the transport department didn’t even know what questions to ask when we started to get this done. “Customers want a number of things – they want a personalised service, they want on-demand services. They don’t want timetables.” He said he wants to make Transport for NSW the number one jurisdiction in the world for technology and transport. “With the advent of mobility-as-a-service and the advent of autonomous vehicles, we have to make sure we are well advanced “When we established our technology roadmap, we asked everybody in the department to contribute. It didn’t matter if it was a train guard, a bus driver, an executive within the agency. Everyone could input. To have cultural shift within the agency, everyone has got to shift with you. “One of our key challenges is that our industry is full of engineers, not futurists. We’ve got to try and push that. Autonomous vehicles are going to change everything. We won’t have driver’s licences, we won’t have accidents. We are going to see an enormous change, and we have to make sure government is not behind. “We’ve got a skills deficiency in transport, so we are relying on partnerships. It’s really important to engage with frontline staff on what technology can do for their lives.” [post_title] => ‘Government gets Ubered all the time’ [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => government-gets-ubered-time [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-10 03:55:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-09 16:55:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 37 [max_num_pages] => 3 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => 1 [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 9c60bbd45c14f03119b09d2aa09368b9 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )



Person using the Uber app

‘Government gets Ubered all the time’

NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance, is a bit of a conference junky. His latest outing was at’s annual ‘Dreamforce’ conference in San Francisco, where he had some interesting things to say about the future of transport in his home state. “Government gets Ubered all the time,” he said in his presentation. […]

nsw train

NSW transport ‘hiring freeze’

Millions of dollars will be stripped from the operating budgets of NSW’s government-owned transport agencies, Fairfax Media is reporting. Quoting ‘a briefing note to staff obtained by Fairfax Media’ from Transport for NSW secretary Tim Reardon, the department’s deputy secretaries have been told that operating budgets for all the state’s transport divisions have been cut […]