In Transport

When What Is Called Progress Is Going Backwards

Victor P Taffa

The days of Tramway and Bus Conductors have long gone in Sydney and Newcastle and when they were done away with the move was sold to the public as ‘Progress.’

Tram and Bus Conductors cried out ‘Fez Plez’ in packed Trams and Buses and they knew every regular passenger personally.

‘Progress’ also was the catch cry for the abandonment of Trams in favour of Double Deck Buses that could not go underneath Railway overpasses and had to be re-routed as a result.


Tramway and Bus Conductors were the Human link between the Passenger and Driver as people were not allowed to speak to Drivers while Trams or Buses were in motion between Stops.

Now with Roads and Streets clogged of traffic congestion primarily because Railway Expansion has been opposed over many decades the NSW Labor Government has now implemented Pre-Pay Bus Operation.

The 7.00 am-7.00 pm Sydney CBD Monday-Friday period is when Pre-Pay operates. Tickets are sold in nearby outlets in a questionable deal struck by the NSW Government that is not value for money for taxpayers.

Now the Pre-Pay system has spread beyond the Sydney CBD.

The same NSW Labor Government promised a T-Card for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and still Sydney does not have an automated ticketing system.

As an infrequent user of Buses I have found purchasing a ticket almost impossible and very inconvenient. Pre-Pay purchase of tickets again is another impersonal way in which our society has degenerated into the ‘me only’ society.

Having been a Sydney Taxi Driver Editor Victor P Taffa made a conscious effort when driving through the Sydney CBD to highlight to passengers unfamiliar to Sydney about aspects and upcoming events in Sydney.

Some passengers wanted a quiet journey while others wanted me to do the talking. This was one of the joys of driving a Taxi-Cab. Another joy of driving a Taxi-Cab was regularly driving across one of the world’s greatest bridges called the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

While reintroducing Bus Conductors is unlikely to occur a modern version of the Bus Conductor could and should be initially tested and rolled out in the Sydney CBD by a new NSW Government.

The State Transit Authority operates Public Buses and has the majority of services in the Sydney Metropolitan Area.


Sydney CBD Street Ticket Sellers/Tourist Guides

Street Ticket Sellers that also double as Tourist Guides can be an asset for Sydney. These ticket sellers would have a specially designed uniform that ensured that visitors and infrequent Bus Passengers could purchase a ticket easily and conveniently. Different standout uniforms also indicate that Street Ticket Sellers are employed to do more than simply sell a ticket. By doubling as Tourist Guides the Ticket Sellers will be well placed to highlight tourist aspects of Sydney and Major upcoming events.

The cost of implementing Street Ticket Sellers represents value for money over the inconvenient and almost impossible means of purchasing a Bus Ticket.

The other matter that a new NSW Government must address is Railway Trackwork that could and should be done every Night of the year and NOT on weekends.

Tourists and residents who go out and about on the weekends to Major events or Sporting fixtures are being inconvenienced by the NSW Labor Government in undertaking Trackwork on weekends. The only winners are the Private Bus Operators who run the Rail Bus Services and win lucrative Government Deals.

When the City-Surf, Sydney Marathon, Football Finals and other Big Event Calendar Fixtures occur on weekends Trains should operate and Trackwork undertaken at Night.

During the days of Tramway service in Sydney when Sporting events occurred additional services were put on to cope with demand.

At Randwick Racecourse the large 6 Platform Tramway Siding moved 90,000 people in 90 Minutes after the last race and services operated on different Streets to normal operation.

Similarly at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) when Members of the Royal Family came to the SCG additional Tramway services were put on at the large Tramway Siding at the SCG.

Even the construction of additional tracks on the Western Line between Olympic Park Railway Loop Line and Strathfield and the reimplementation of a Double Track Junction with the Northern Line is not even on the radar of the NSW Labor Government.

When the Sydney Swans met Carlton at ANZ Stadium in the Finals a Newcastle 6 Car Set arrived at Strathfield Station after the match. As the 6 Car Set Double Deck Train departed Platform 3 the entire Train was jam packed with people standing in both of the Double Decks  and in the Entry Vestibule areas of the Carriages. The whole train looked dangerously overloaded.

When large Sporting Fixtures occur Trains should be Full Length 8 Car Sets. Had the Double Track Junction between Homebush and North Strathfield not been taken away then Newcastle trains could depart for Newcastle from Olympic Park Loop.

Some people have argued that all Trains terminate at Strathfield and have Buses continue into Sydney. As with the Plan to cutback Rail Services to Wickham or Broadmeadow this is a most ridiculous ill conceived Backward Plan.

Many People argue against Rail Expansion and Improvement. As with Trams OUR Railways successfully move more people in times of greatest need with minimum of Fuss and Maximum movement.

Railways are OUR best assets for the movement of large numbers of people.

Elizabeth Street Sydney CBD Bus Stop Signage

Elizabeth Street Sydney CBD Bus Stop Signage


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