Your Railways: Our Future
Victor P Taffa
According to the NSW Audit Office there are a number of Transport Agencies that now come under the umbrella of Transport NSW and the NSW Minister for Transport.
As all New South Wales voters have seen since 1995 is a complete lack of direction and delivery on the construction of new Railway Lines. In fact this problem goes back many decades while the Labor Party has been in Office for most of this time.
Transport Services Overview
Transport New South Wales (TNSW), a budget sector agency, and the following Government entities provide, facilitate and regulate the State’s transport services:
- Chief Investigator of the Office of Transport Safety Investigations (OTSI)
- Independent Transport Safety Regulator (ITSR)
- Public Transport Ticketing Corporation (PTTC)
- Rail Corporation New South Wales (RailCorp)(a)
- State Transit Authority (State Transit)(b)
- Sydney Ferries
- Sydney Metro (SM)
- Rail Infrastructure Corporation (RIC)(c)
- Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation (TIDC)(d)
- Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA)
(a) RailCorp includes CityRail and CountryLink.
(b) State Transit includes Sydney Buses, Western Sydney Buses, and Newcastle Buses and Ferries.
(c) Now known as the Country Rail Infrastructure Authority (CRIA)
(d) Now known as the Transport Construction Authority (TCA)
The Transport Administration Amendment Act 2010 commenced on 1 July 2010 and established a new framework for the administration and governance of the delivery of transport services and infrastructure by public transport agencies.
TNSW is the lead transport agency with primary responsibility for transport policy, planning and coordination functions as well as oversight of infrastructure delivery and asset management. The streamlined transport structure is designed to deliver integrated transport planning and service delivery, and consolidation of similar functions to reduce costs and provide additional funds for front line staff and services.
The change to the legislation gives TNSW, through the direction of the Director General, responsibility for a limited range of functions as outlined above. For the year end 30 June 2011, TNSW will control most public transport agencies for consolidation purposes.
RIC and TIDC became statutory authorities on 1 July 2010 under the Transport Administration Amendment Act 2010. Both agencies were previously not for profit State owned corporations.
The audits of the above entities’ financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2010 resulted in unqualified Independent Auditor’s Reports.
Cost Recovery from Users
The transport services sector incorporates rail, bus and ferry services. As well as providing direct benefits to users, these services generate substantial indirect benefits to the wider community (including reduced: road congestion; traffic accidents; and greenhouse gas emissions). These external benefits are funded by taxpayers through government subsidies.
- None of the listed Transport Agencies have seen any new Railway Lines built and most announced by the NSW Government are listed for 2024 or beyond.
- No amount of structural reform of a bureaucracy can get away from the fact that there is a distinct lack of political will to build any new Railway Lines. If there was such willpower the time lines for new Railway Lines would be within a 4 year time frame.
- Since January 2001 Editor Victor P Taffa has supported a Railway Construction Act and an Integrated Ticketing System. These Plans were placed on www.isput.com.au in February 2009 and The Detailed Overview Report outlines these Plans in full.
Railway Construction Act
Minister for Railways
With a comprehensive Rail expansion programme over the next 30 years, there will be a need to have a Minister for Railways at the Cabinet Table as well as a Minister for Transport.
The Minister would have a single Department which would incorporate the Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation.
Currently the Transport Minister is responsible for Trains, Buses, Ferries, Hire cars and Taxis. This Ministerial workload is enormous and there would be great advantages on many fronts to split the Railways from the Transport Portfolio.
Current legislative requirements place too many hurdles in the way for new railway lines to be built and so the NSW Parliament in order to construct new railway lines would need to enact new legislation. During the construction phase of the existing rail network, no doubt there was special legislation in place as well as a Department of Railways and a Minister for Railways. While the reintroduction of a Minister and Railways Department may not be necessary, there is a need to enact special legislation to enable the smooth construction of railway lines.
During the Olympic Games, special legislation was enacted for the sole purposes of the Olympic Games and so too new legislation should be enacted for the construction of new railway lines.
Timetabling and Ticketing:
New rail lines with ‘Y’ and ‘Diamond’ links and rail grade separations are built into the current network so that services can operate more frequently than at present. The abolition of printed timetables will make for a more effective and highly patronised rail network and thus provide for new and innovative services that are currently on offer.
The travelling public should be able to go to their railway station and to catch a train without having to wait an inordinately long period of time for it to arrive. In Switzerland there is a saying that ‘people set their time by the time that trains arrive.’
If trains operated on the principle that there is no printed timetable and that a train will arrive with a great deal of frequency then this idea will sink into the mind of the public’s consciousness that a train will arrive quickly and frequently and within a short timeframe people will use the railways in greater numbers and this will in turn increase the need to build new railway lines.
Timetabling schedules without a printed version will be as follows:
• Sydney Metropolitan Lines:
• 5 minutes in Peak Hour, 15 minutes in Off-Peak & Weekends.
• Newcastle & Hunter Lines:
• 15 minutes in Peak Hour, 15 minutes in Off-Peak & Weekends.
• Illawarra Lines:
• 15 minutes in Peak Hour, 15 minutes in Off-Peak & Weekends.
• Country Lines:
• 30 minutes on every line.
• All lines will have express, intermediate and all station services operating.
Electronic Ticketing & Internet Sales:
Immediate introduction of an electronic ticketing system for all modes of transport, public and private.
Enable commuters to purchase rail, bus and ferry tickets on the internet. Tickets could still be sold through the usual outlets.
The New South Wales Minister for Transport would work in close consultation with the New South Wales Minister for Railways for the enactment of the following pieces of legislation.
Some of the following pieces of legislation that would be required are as follows:
1) Railway Construction Act
2) Railway (Land Development) Provision Act
3) Transport Timetable Co-ordination Act
4) Transport Zonal Ticketing Co-ordination Act
5) Transport Zonal (Ticketing) Dissolution Act
6) Transport Zonal Multi Use (Ticketing) Act
7) Transport Zonal (Operations) Dissolution Act
1) The Railway Construction Act would allow for the construction of above/below ground railway lines wherever the need arose. There would be no requirement to obtain the permission of a local government council and the Department of Urban Affairs and planning. The Railway Construction Act would not however operate once a railway line had been constructed and the type of development that would occur along the route of a new railway line would be governed by existing procedures. The Railway Construction Act would not avoid the need to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement into the construction of a new railway line. The new act would require the Department of Railways to engage in the same EIS process that currently exists. Once the new railway was constructed, the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning would resume its function in determining the style of development that was to occur along the new rail corridor.
- The Railway Construction Act would give legislative certainty and Authority to the various Transport Agencies that currently have to fight through a brick wall of opposition to actually construct a Railway Line within a 4 year period.
2) The Railway (Land Development) Provision Act would encourage the construction of a new railway line in an area where large tracts of land were being subdivided into new suburbs. At present new suburbs are being established without the provision of a railway line. At the time of subdivision, the developer would pay a levy on the value of land at that time in the form of railway bonds. Of course the value of land once a railway line is built increases, so the levy would be easily absorbed into the cost of development. Payment in the form of railway bonds gives the developer an opportunity to recover the original levy paid and gain positive recognition for contributing towards the construction of the new railway line.
Had the same constraints that apply today to the construction of new railway lines applied when the present rail network was being built, then Sydney would never have got a rail or tram network built.
3) The Transport Timetable Co-ordination Act would ensure trains, trams, buses and ferries met each other at scheduled interchanges and thus encouraged the use of public transport. Sydney had a tramway network second to none and there was a requirement that the tram had to wait for the train to arrive before departing.
4) The Transport Zonal Ticketing Co-ordination Act would ensure train, tram, bus and ferry fare structures were co-ordinated in size and mode across Metropolitan Sydney thus encouraging the use of public transport and reducing Peak Hour traffic congestion. Similar coordination of ticketing zones would be implemented for regional and rural New South Wales.
5) The Transport Zonal (Ticketing) Dissolution Act will dissolve all existing ticketing Zones for both private and public train, bus, coach and ferry services across New South Wales. Currently there is a myriad of zones that are confusing for all concerned to manage and discourage the use of public transport. This Act will allow for a modern system of pricing to be introduced that would be reflective of the needs of the travelling public in the twenty first century.
6) The Transport Zonal Multi Use (Ticketing) Act will enable new ticketing zones to be introduced that are responsive to the demands of a modern society in the twenty first century. Current ticketing zones do not cater for the use of different modes of transport by passengers and tourists. All transport operators would see an increase in revenue from fares collected because new ticketing zones would be multi Zonal and thus encourage the use of different modes of transport by passengers.
7) The Transport Zonal (Operations) Dissolution Act would allow for new bus feeder services to be introduced as new Railway lines are constructed. The current Zonal Operations have been in place since the 1930s and this situation arose because Private Bus companies fought for patronage against the Trams. Bus and Tram conductors existed in those days and were at the front line of the patronage battles. On-board conductors are no longer employed. In the 1930s, car ownership was not universal. Also the population of Sydney was very different to that of today.
- Melbourne has had a Metcard Ticketing System that incorporates Rail, Tram and Bus Trips on the one ticket and with only 2 Ticketing Zones.
- Melbourne is now moving to a Myki Ticketing System that allows a passenger to place credit on the Myki Ticket.
- The NSW Government introduced Myzone Ticketing in April 2010 however this System is not a completely Multi-Modal Ticketing System.
- The Myzone System continues to entrench a fractured ticketing System that discourages new patronage despite the reduction in the numbers of Zones.
- The NSW Audit Office has produced statistics illustrating a decline in patronage in the use of Trains and Buses and the complete failure to introduce a Multi-Modal Ticketing System is to blame.