DISCUSSION: Is the NSW Government too 'Sydney-Centric' with public transport?

 
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
We have all heard the expression 'Sydney-Centric' before;

I've talked about it before but I have been suprised about the existing problems that people manage to defend,
so, in the interest in starting a discussion since the forum has been pretty dry lately, I was wondering if anyone agreed that the NSW government is far too 'Sydney-Centric' with public transport.

Anyone who has ever seen my posts would know I agree that the NSW Government is far too 'Sydney-Centric' and here are some examples of the issues which result of this:

  • High Cost of Living: live in expensive Sydney housing and take public transport, or live in cheap non-Sydney housing and own 4 cars; end result is the same, a high cost of living.
  • High Unemployment outside of Sydney and no small business growth: small businesses can't afford the rent in the big shopping centres so the rely on foot traffic, and without public transport, there is very little foot traffic, meaning few small businesses, and fewer jobs overall.
  • Discimination in employment: in areas with usable public transport, many employers are reluctant to hire applicants without cars, but the only way to get a car without a job is to come form a rich family.


Most people would say just upgrade the intercity links to give more people access to the Sydney labour market, but all this does is put more pressure on an expensive and overcrowded Sydney (people are already almost falling off the platforms at Town Hall), and our other cities become vast fields of unemployment, and having to commute 3 hours one way for work can't be good for quality of life.
And realistically, besides the Newcastle light rail, can someone name ONE piece of local public transport infrastructure constructed outside of Sydney in the 21st century.

So I was wondering:

  • Who agrees that the NSW government is far too Sydney-Centric with public transport?
  • What can be done?
  • What should not be done?

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  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The govt is building PT in Sydney to deal with the crowding in Sydney, as you said they are almost falling off the platforms at Town Hall, so building a LR project in Newcastle or Wollongong won't solve this. Remember +35,000 people a day or peak (cannot remember) use Town Hall.

The LR project in Newcastle should never have been built, the HR should have been left in place, so if common sense had taken place, no money would have been spent. However you forgot about the O/H extension to Kiama in 2001.

There is no point building infrastructure in places it won't be used.

What should be done is the Interurban corridors need to be further improved to reduce travel time, namely
- Mt Colah to Gosford
- Waterfall to Wollongong (and remove the bends Sutherland to Hurtsville and double track the whole way)
- Macurthur to Moss Vale
- Blue Mountains is more difficult, but needs to be reviewed

Capacity constraints in suburbia for these services also need to be removed.

Overall there should be a target of saving 30min minimum return a day from Gosford, Wollongong, Moss Vale and Mt Vic and enable to double the current number of services on all corridors.
  Travelling Hooker Locomotive Fireman

Location: Follows the weather up and down the coast
Sure, public transport is concentrated on Sydney - that’s where the bulk of the population live and they pay a premium for having better access to things like transport, school, shops, hospitals, airports etc than in the regions.

That, said there is decent public transport in the larger regional cities like Newcastle, Wollongong, and the Central Coast.

If someone lives in say, Wagga, and is unhappy that there isn’t a 389 style bus swinging by their corner every 10 minutes, or a train pulling in every 5 or so minutes, pony up the extra $$$ and move somewhere that does.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

There is no point building infrastructure in places it won't be used.
RTT_Rules

If you build infrastructure in a marginal electorate, or a non marginal electorate that results in a particular lobby group making generous donations to your re-election fund, there is most definitely a point.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Sure, public transport is concentrated on Sydney - that’s where the bulk of the population live and they pay a premium for having better access to things like transport, school, shops, hospitals, airports etc than in the regions.

That, said there is decent public transport in the larger regional cities like Newcastle, Wollongong, and the Central Coast.

If someone lives in say, Wagga, and is unhappy that there isn’t a 389 style bus swinging by their corner every 10 minutes, or a train pulling in every 5 or so minutes, pony up the extra $$$ and move somewhere that does.
Travelling Hooker
Tend to agree

I grew up on he Central Coast and later commuted to Sydney, not sure where and how you would start with building rail based infrastructure. The area is now very decentralised complicated by an expansive water way that is costly to build bridges across and hilly terrain almost everywhere  else, Gosford is the hub in namesake only.  

What they locals would want is better local roads and a faster train to Sydney and lessor degree Newcastle.
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
They want everyone top live in condensed high rise apartments and travel to their city office jobs in tunnels.
  ANR Assistant Commissioner

Course they are. There is overwhelming evidence that they do not have a clue.

Solution? Move the state capital to Dubbo,  Bourke, Wilcannia or Menindee.

This capital city myopia is not limited to NSW. Ask Queenslanders, Westralians, and South Australians what they think. Ask residents in Broken Hill.

Vic is probably the only state that has done something good for regional areas but that initiative started a long time ago. Granted, the geographical size is smaller than most states.

The only piece in NSW, is Sydney and everyone is building on top of each other. Property prices are unnecessarily exorbitant, do not match the stagnant wages and artificial job creation from construction projects that would never have happened if it wasn't for the overpopulation. Ponzi scheme?

The funds should have been spent in regional areas and that would have taken the pressure off Sydney instead of add to it.

This is not only Gladys's fault but a few governments that have come before it. She has had to pick up some of the pieces of this broken dream.

Don't believe me? The exodus from Sydney in all directions during this long weekend is like nothing I have ever seen before. People are sick to death of the overpopulation and overcrowding that they wish they were somewhere else. It is a joke. How about some decent roads north south and west to help people leave...
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
Okay let's clear some things up....

If someone lives in say, Wagga, and is unhappy that there isn’t a 389 style bus swinging by their corner every 10 minutes, or a train pulling in every 5 or so minutes, pony up the extra $$$ and move somewhere that does.
Travelling Hooker
Solution? Move the state capital to Dubbo, Bourke, Wilcannia or Menindee.

This capital city myopia is not limited to NSW. Ask Queenslanders, Westralians, and South Australians what they think. Ask residents in Broken Hill.
ANR
I'm not talking about small places like Bourke, Wilcania, Menindee, Dubbo and Wagga. I'm talking about CITIES that are not Sydney,
take Newcastle for example, how can that place have high rise buildings, an international airport (seasonally), a large stadium, international retailers, a (planned) cruise ship terminal, large educational facilities, and a 400K population? yet they struggle with jobs and public transport, they can't even put stations on the existing line next to local destinations.
Wollongong is a similar situation, international retailers, a stadium, large educational facilities, and a 200K population but minimal public transport.

Had these cities been in another country, they would have a usable public transport network.

The govt is building PT in Sydney to deal with the crowding in Sydney, as you said they are almost falling off the platforms at Town Hall, so building a LR project in Newcastle or Wollongong won't solve this. Remember +35,000 people a day or peak (cannot remember) use Town Hall.

The LR project in Newcastle should never have been built, the HR should have been left in place, so if common sense had taken place, no money would have been spent. However you forgot about the O/H extension to Kiama in 2001.

There is no point building infrastructure in places it won't be used.
RTT_Rules
Sure, public transport is concentrated on Sydney - that’s where the bulk of the population live and they pay a premium for having better access to things like transport, school, shops, hospitals, airports etc than in the regions.
Travelling Hooker

I'm not saying to not build the infrastructure in Sydney, every piece of infrastructure in Sydney is 100% is needed, but that is no reason to completely ignore local transport and jobs for other cities.

What building a LR project in Newcastle or Wollongong would do is lower the cost of living, a family could live in cheaper Newcastle housing and not need to own 4 cars since public transport would be an option, and it would enable small business growth to help with unemployment issues.
No one wants to raise wages or increase the Newstart Allowance, so how about lowering the cost of living and creating jobs and making it easier for people to get them (that least past leaves the scope of this forum).

Historically, infrastructure has existed in Newcastle and has been used, but the popularity of the motor car killed it off, so there is every chance it could be used again if it was built, but this time, by people seeking a lower cost of living by not needing to own 4 motor cars per family. Also, despite it's complete uselessness, even the current Newcastle Light Rail (which I agree should have never been built with HR left in place) gets used, I guess frequent accessible service attracts passengers, and hourly scenic route (bus) services which bypass local destinations (trains) push away passengers, and that's the current level of service.

The government already spends money running the obligatory scenic route buses and all-stop trains that bypass local destinations, these services are only patronised by pensioners, the unemployed, and students, so why not spend (an admittedly much larger sum) more money on services that people can actually use and solve problems why they are at it.

That, said there is decent public transport in the larger regional cities like Newcastle, Wollongong, and the Central Coast.
Travelling Hooker

No there isn't. Newcastle has terrible public transport, buses run hourly and take the scenic route, and any local destination alongside the existing rail lines has no station, and local stations only get served hourly and once every 2 hours on weekends. The services are so bad that most employers won't even hire people who don't have a car (and since the only way to get a job without a car is to come from a rich family, you can see the social issues that come from that).
Things are better in Wollongong but connection times are an issue and services are still hourly. Can't speak much about the central coast.

...they pay a premium for having better access to things like transport.....is unhappy that there isn’t a 389 style bus swinging by their corner every 10 minutes, or a train pulling in every 5 or so minutes, pony up the extra $$$ and move somewhere that does.
Travelling Hooker
So basically, the only people who should have access to public transport are those who can afford to own 4 cars and drive everywhere?

What should be done is the Interurban corridors need to be further improved to reduce travel time, namely
- Mt Colah to Gosford
- Waterfall to Wollongong (and remove the bends Sutherland to Hurtsville and double track the whole way)
- Macurthur to Moss Vale
- Blue Mountains is more difficult, but needs to be reviewed

Capacity constraints in suburbia for these services also need to be removed.

Overall there should be a target of saving 30min minimum return a day from Gosford, Wollongong, Moss Vale and Mt Vic and enable to double the current number of services on all corridors.
RTT_Rules
Great, but that's putting more pressure on Sydney, while leaving our other cities as vast fields of unemployment.
(I'm not saying don't upgrade the interurban lines, but it should not be done at the expense of local jobs and local transport)
  ANR Assistant Commissioner

I thought about advocating for Wagga as an alternate state capital, but would favour even smaller towns as i suggested because the state pollies need to understand and be humbled at what they have done to people of the land. They need to shower and bathe in the Darling River water at Menindee and Wilcannia.... every day, and understand the cruel hand they have dealt people in the area with the deliberate draining of the lake system.

Like Brisvegas that is so detached from FNQ, Sydney is detached from the rest of NSW. Maybe the states should be broken up into smaller blocks along district lines? Maybe capital cities should be city states?There has been much said about overpopulation but this is a problem for the cities only.

This solution can only be something that governments can provide -e.g. Albury Wodonga. Provide services, provide jobs, and people will opt out of their dread of overinflated million dollar mortgages.and look at an alternative lifestyle.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Okay let's clear some things up....

If someone lives in say, Wagga, and is unhappy that there isn’t a 389 style bus swinging by their corner every 10 minutes, or a train pulling in every 5 or so minutes, pony up the extra $$$ and move somewhere that does.
Solution? Move the state capital to Dubbo, Bourke, Wilcannia or Menindee.

This capital city myopia is not limited to NSW. Ask Queenslanders, Westralians, and South Australians what they think. Ask residents in Broken Hill.
I'm not talking about small places like Bourke, Wilcania, Menindee, Dubbo and Wagga. I'm talking about CITIES that are not Sydney,
take Newcastle for example, how can that place have high rise buildings, an international airport (seasonally), a large stadium, international retailers, a (planned) cruise ship terminal, large educational facilities, and a 400K population? yet they struggle with jobs and public transport, they can't even put stations on the existing line next to local destinations.
Wollongong is a similar situation, international retailers, a stadium, large educational facilities, and a 200K population but minimal public transport.

Had these cities been in another country, they would have a usable public transport network.

The govt is building PT in Sydney to deal with the crowding in Sydney, as you said they are almost falling off the platforms at Town Hall, so building a LR project in Newcastle or Wollongong won't solve this. Remember +35,000 people a day or peak (cannot remember) use Town Hall.

The LR project in Newcastle should never have been built, the HR should have been left in place, so if common sense had taken place, no money would have been spent. However you forgot about the O/H extension to Kiama in 2001.

There is no point building infrastructure in places it won't be used.
Sure, public transport is concentrated on Sydney - that’s where the bulk of the population live and they pay a premium for having better access to things like transport, school, shops, hospitals, airports etc than in the regions.

I'm not saying to not build the infrastructure in Sydney, every piece of infrastructure in Sydney is 100% is needed, but that is no reason to completely ignore local transport and jobs for other cities.

What building a LR project in Newcastle or Wollongong would do is lower the cost of living, a family could live in cheaper Newcastle housing and not need to own 4 cars since public transport would be an option, and it would enable small business growth to help with unemployment issues.
No one wants to raise wages or increase the Newstart Allowance, so how about lowering the cost of living and creating jobs and making it easier for people to get them (that least past leaves the scope of this forum).

Historically, infrastructure has existed in Newcastle and has been used, but the popularity of the motor car killed it off, so there is every chance it could be used again if it was built, but this time, by people seeking a lower cost of living by not needing to own 4 motor cars per family. Also, despite it's complete uselessness, even the current Newcastle Light Rail (which I agree should have never been built with HR left in place) gets used, I guess frequent accessible service attracts passengers, and hourly scenic route (bus) services which bypass local destinations (trains) push away passengers, and that's the current level of service.

The government already spends money running the obligatory scenic route buses and all-stop trains that bypass local destinations, these services are only patronised by pensioners, the unemployed, and students, so why not spend (an admittedly much larger sum) more money on services that people can actually use and solve problems why they are at it.

That, said there is decent public transport in the larger regional cities like Newcastle, Wollongong, and the Central Coast.

No there isn't. Newcastle has terrible public transport, buses run hourly and take the scenic route, and any local destination alongside the existing rail lines has no station, and local stations only get served hourly and once every 2 hours on weekends. The services are so bad that most employers won't even hire people who don't have a car (and since the only way to get a job without a car is to come from a rich family, you can see the social issues that come from that).
Things are better in Wollongong but connection times are an issue and services are still hourly. Can't speak much about the central coast.

...they pay a premium for having better access to things like transport.....is unhappy that there isn’t a 389 style bus swinging by their corner every 10 minutes, or a train pulling in every 5 or so minutes, pony up the extra $$$ and move somewhere that does.
So basically, the only people who should have access to public transport are those who can afford to own 4 cars and drive everywhere?

What should be done is the Interurban corridors need to be further improved to reduce travel time, namely
- Mt Colah to Gosford
- Waterfall to Wollongong (and remove the bends Sutherland to Hurtsville and double track the whole way)
- Macurthur to Moss Vale
- Blue Mountains is more difficult, but needs to be reviewed

Capacity constraints in suburbia for these services also need to be removed.

Overall there should be a target of saving 30min minimum return a day from Gosford, Wollongong, Moss Vale and Mt Vic and enable to double the current number of services on all corridors.
Great, but that's putting more pressure on Sydney, while leaving our other cities as vast fields of unemployment.
(I'm not saying don't upgrade the interurban lines, but it should not be done at the expense of local jobs and local transport)
Ethan1395
You mentioned if these other cities were anywhere else they'd have better PT.

- Hobart is around 200-250k, has no rail and I would say basic bus transport
- Christchurch has nearly 400,000, has no rail and again similar standard PT
- Cairns, Townsville are similar.

If we are taking EU type cities of this population size, yes they likely have tram of sorts or a suburban type train using long haul lines, which the Capital city of Estonia, Tallinn (pop 450,000) has. Note, they nearly lost their tram network and cutting back its trolley bus network.

The problem with Newcastle and Wollongong is that they fringe cities, ie close enough to Sydney not to have many CBD type services and industries so their city cores are small for their size. Also Newcastle is not unlike a number of major regional centres, like Rockhampton and Gladstone in that the tradition city centre is poorly located and hence urban natural selection has taken over and many services and hops relocated away, thus making frequent reliable PT even harder to provide.

Launceston, 150k, the city council has fought for years to constrain commercial and retail development away from the city centre to ensure a very city centric type city, which due to Terrain and the River is laid out in a mostly north south direction, has a reasonable bus service when I lived there in the early 90's. The buses basically followed the old tram lines to a T.

PT is available in most of the regional cities of Australia, however it will depend where you live on how good it is as they follow often very basic routes. I lived in Gladstone 12 years, never used the bus. Timetable was horrific.

The employment is in the cities, standard world wide phenomenon. Want a job, move. Want to sit at home and watch TV, then continue to live in an area offering limited opportunities. its why so many people from Tasmania graduate university (where I went) and the day after their last exam, hop on the boat or plane, likewise south island of NZ and other regional areas of Oz. Often with skills and experience relocation back to your favored rural area maybe an option. However if you do that and you have kids, think what they will need to do.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I thought about advocating for Wagga as an alternate state capital, but would favour even smaller towns as i suggested because the state pollies need to understand and be humbled at what they have done to people of the land. They need to shower and bathe in the Darling River water at Menindee and Wilcannia.... every day, and understand the cruel hand they have dealt people in the area with the deliberate draining of the lake system.

Like Brisvegas that is so detached from FNQ, Sydney is detached from the rest of NSW. Maybe the states should be broken up into smaller blocks along district lines? Maybe capital cities should be city states?There has been much said about overpopulation but this is a problem for the cities only.

This solution can only be something that governments can provide -e.g. Albury Wodonga. Provide services, provide jobs, and people will opt out of their dread of overinflated million dollar mortgages.and look at an alternative lifestyle.
ANR
Have you ever thought that making these towns easily accessible to sydney might make these towns more attractive to developers who will then want to put up high rise apartments in Wagga Wagga, Junee etc and still leaving people with $1 million mortgages.

What has the Victorian regional rail system actually achieved? Has it actually created jobs in these towns or has it just allowed people to move in to these areas while still allowing a daily commute in to Melbourne. What has it done to housing prices in these areas?

Also how in the heck can you compare what is happening in victoria to what is the case in NSW. NSW is significantly larger and the distances are also significantly larger.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I thought about advocating for Wagga as an alternate state capital, but would favour even smaller towns as i suggested because the state pollies need to understand and be humbled at what they have done to people of the land. They need to shower and bathe in the Darling River water at Menindee and Wilcannia.... every day, and understand the cruel hand they have dealt people in the area with the deliberate draining of the lake system.

Like Brisvegas that is so detached from FNQ, Sydney is detached from the rest of NSW. Maybe the states should be broken up into smaller blocks along district lines? Maybe capital cities should be city states?There has been much said about overpopulation but this is a problem for the cities only.

This solution can only be something that governments can provide -e.g. Albury Wodonga. Provide services, provide jobs, and people will opt out of their dread of overinflated million dollar mortgages.and look at an alternative lifestyle.
ANR
Do we need to decentralise Australia, yes. Is it easier said than done, very much yes!

With big industry folding and the "service economy" growing, unfortunately much of this is now very focused in larger cities for obvious reasons.

Do they know whats happening to the rivers? Yes. Is it an easy fix? No and doing so will most likely further reduce the job opportunities in western NSW. Also remember growing the inland cities of Wagga, Dubbo etc, means more water taken away from the Darling and Murry systems.

Breaking up the states just means more bureaucrats and more poor performing state economies for the others to subsidise. Think Sth Australia, Tas and NT.  During the capital cities into city states and you'll end up with Singapore style economies where a small geographic location is booming but across the bridge and its another world. At least as part of the state of NSW, money exits Sydney into Western NSW, make it its own state and this won't happen.

Yes, govts should send govt departments bush, but these towns need more reason to exist and grow other than a govt department office which ultimately overtime will contract in size anyway.

The million dollar mortgages seem to be a plague of many rural areas as well and I don't know how local people afford this, unless you are referring to places like Hillston.
  Brianr Assistant Commissioner

Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
"You mentioned if these other cities were anywhere else they'd have better PT.

- Hobart is around 200-250k, has no rail and I would say basic bus transport
- Christchurch has nearly 400,000, has no rail and again similar standard PT
- Cairns, Townsville are similar."I am not that familiar with Christchurch but a brief look shows 15 minutes bus service on  at least 6 to 8 route crisscrossing the city throughout the day, 10 minute in peak hour.
Down here in Dunedin (130,000) we have 12 or so main routes, most with 30 minute service throughout the day and 2 with a 15 minute service, reduce to hourly and half hourly on weekends and evenings (no peak increase). Since moving here from Sydney (actually Blue Mountains), I have been impressed with the pubic transport although I would like some trains reinstated but realise that is pie in the sky dreaming. It seems better than what I know of regional towns in Australia.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
"You mentioned if these other cities were anywhere else they'd have better PT.

- Hobart is around 200-250k, has no rail and I would say basic bus transport
- Christchurch has nearly 400,000, has no rail and again similar standard PT
- Cairns, Townsville are similar."I am not that familiar with Christchurch but a brief look shows 15 minutes bus service on  at least 6 to 8 route crisscrossing the city throughout the day, 10 minute in peak hour.
Down here in Dunedin (130,000) we have 12 or so main routes, most with 30 minute service throughout the day and 2 with a 15 minute service, reduce to hourly and half hourly on weekends and evenings (no peak increase). Since moving here from Sydney (actually Blue Mountains), I have been impressed with the pubic transport although I would like some trains reinstated but realise that is pie in the sky dreaming. It seems better than what I know of regional towns in Australia.
Brianr
I was a bit rough on Hobart before, its actually pretty good as are even parts of Burnie and Launceston mostly because I think they have maintained a city centric layout, not unlike Dunedin, mostly in part due to the geographic location as well as city planning. ie, you don't have suburban shopping centres wiping out the city shopping and services.

Dunedin is geographically is a SW to NE city with the city centre centralised in the city sprawl, +130k people so it should be about to have a half decent bus service over much of the city and suburban sprawl.

The cities that struggle that I know well is places like Rockhampton and Gladstone, where the suburbia is sprawled out in a way that is time consuming for buses to service as the main roads are off to the side or away from the houses, there is no real "central" part of the city as what you would call the traditional city centres is off to side or indeed at the end. Gladstone's main railway station is not even anywhere near its main street. Rockhampton's railway station is on the southern edge of the down and a part of town that many in Rocky wouldn't dream of walking in.

Yes, agree it would be nice to see a rural train from Invercargil to Christchurch rise again.
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
Let's compare the approximate population of all the cities and towns being mentioned here:
-Tallinn (EU): 434K
-Canberra: 410K
-Christchurch (NZ): 381K
-Newcastle: 335K
-Wollongong: 280K
-Hobart: 206K
-Townsville: 178K
-Cairns: 150K
-Dunedin (NZ): 130K
-Launceston: 106K
-Rockhampton: 81K
-Wagga Wagga: 64K
-Gladstone: 33K
-Dubbo: 38K
-Bourke: 1.8K
-Menindee: 0.9K
-Wilcania: 0.5K

Looking at these populations, it's easy to see that it's unfair to bring up small regional towns like Bourke, Menindee, and Wilcania when talking about sprawling cities like Wollongong and Newcastle, the populations are completley different and the former are regional rural towns and the latter are sprawling cities - despite the fact that the NSW government treats all of them by completely refusing to build a single pace of local (unrelated to Sydney) public transport infrastructure apart from the waste of money Newcastle toy tram which replaced a much more efficient heavy rail line.

Taking a look at the facilities and features of Newcastle for example, it's clear to see it is a city with the following:
-335K metropolitan population with several outlying areas such as Maitland, Morisset, Nelson Bay, and Cessnock which could within commuter catchment if employment was available.
-International (currently only one seasonal destination) airport served by Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A320 aircraft
-Large university campus with 37,181 students
-Large TAFE campus with several smaller campuses
-Large multi-purpose sports stadium with 23,000 seats
-Three large shopping centres, two with multiple international retailers, and several smaller shopping centres
-current host city for V8 supercars
-(planned cruise ship terminal)
The only city features that Newcastle really doesn't have is:
-usable public transport
-employment

Taking a look at features of Newcastle, it's easy to see that Dubbo, Bourke, Menindee, and Wilcania have NONE of them, so bringing them up when talking about is ignorant, the issue in question here is that places like Newcastle and Wollongong are cities, but the government refuses to treat them as such and refuses to build infrastructure, and the result is an expensive cost of living wherever you go, housing is expensive in Sydney where public transport is readily available, and housing is cheap in Newcastle but the average family of 4 will end up needing to own 4 cars with 4 lots of insurance and registration.

The problem with Newcastle and Wollongong is that they fringe cities, ie close enough to Sydney not to have many CBD type services and industries so their city cores are small for their size. Also Newcastle is not unlike a number of major regional centres, like Rockhampton and Gladstone in that the tradition city centre is poorly located and hence urban natural selection has taken over and many services and hops relocated away, thus making frequent reliable PT even harder to provide.
RTT_Rules
Yes I will agree this is a problem. Although I would say that Wollongong has a decent CBD being centrally located containing retail, healthcare, education, and sporting, well served by Wollongong and North Wollongong railway stations and the free Gong shuttle bus running on a half decent frequency (but unfortunately local suburban services run on a poor hourly frequency) - compare that to Newcastle where retail, healthcare, education, and sporting are all located in different suburbs, and if a local destination (such as a shopping centre of TAFE) is near the railway line, there is no station serving said location (which is Newcastle's biggest public transport offence in my opinion).

With that being said, it might make things a little more difficult to provide but not impossible (even in Sydney, not everyone goes to the CBD and that's why the T5 Cumberland Line exists), in Newcastle, start by building stations next to the local destinations that trains currently bypass and run a local service to Fassifern (or a rebuilt Toronto line) every 15 minutes and go from there - but the government is not prepared to pay for any of the infrastructure.

PT is available in most of the regional cities of Australia, however it will depend where you live on how good it is as they follow often very basic routes. I lived in Gladstone 12 years, never used the bus. Timetable was horrific.
RTT_Rules
I guess it depends on how you define 'available', hourly scenic route buses that only run one direction after the sun goes down and local trains (which only run every 2 hours on weekends) that literally bypass local destinations doesn't count as 'available', and the proof is in the fact that only pensioners, students, and unemployed use there services and employers don't like to hire people who don't have cars and use the services.

The employment is in the cities, standard world wide phenomenon. Want a job, move. Want to sit at home and watch TV, then continue to live in an area offering limited opportunities. its why so many people from Tasmania graduate university (where I went) and the day after their last exam, hop on the boat or plane, likewise south island of NZ and other regional areas of Oz. Often with skills and experience relocation back to your favored rural area maybe an option. However if you do that and you have kids, think what they will need to do.
RTT_Rules
Yes, but places like Newcastle and Wollongong ARE CITIES, it's just the unfortunate fact that the government treats them like rural areas. I'm sure many people would love to move to Sydney where opportunity is, but they just can't afford to do so.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I grew up just south of Newcastle and in the 80's there wasn't alot of hope for the future after the steel mill closed which still had not been announced at that point but it age was being noted.

You say not everyone goes to the CBD, yep and in Sydney most of these people drive. The Y-link took over 1m people in the catchment and growth of Parramatta as a hub to make it more than a peak hour service. Newcastle is no Parramatta. The problem in places like Newcastle the work force locations are less-centralised thus making PT more difficult.

As you say, employment in these areas is an issue. Fixed centralised employment is what drives PT, not couch sitters, tradies etc.

Maitland, Morisset, and Cessnock all have railways with frequent trains, but if there are no centralised jobs then who will use.

The railway to Toronto will never be rebuilt. The same type of service in Sydney does not exist and the closest, the Carlingford line is going to be converted to LR. In Brisbane, the equivalent is the Doomben line and this is also struggling and previously been closed.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I'm not buying this anymore. Absolutely services can be improved in newcastle and wollongong. Are they inadequate to the point that you are complaining about. Absolutely not. For proof browse to the anytrip website and focus in on either of those cities and check out how many services are running. What other state runs a rail service out of it's second city to it's suburban areas. There is a ferry service from Stockton to Newcastle for goodness sake.

Sure the toy tram is a novelty at the moment but it can expand in the future. You can pretty much forget about re opening the old lines like belmont since most of them are now bike paths. The government is buying new trains for these areas including trains for non sydney centric services to maitland and singleton. An expansion of bus services is something that could be pushed but outside of the main lines you aren't going to get rail services back.
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
I grew up just south of Newcastle and in the 80's there wasn't alot of hope for the future after the steel mill closed which still had not been announced at that point but it age was being noted.

You say not everyone goes to the CBD, yep and in Sydney most of these people drive. The Y-link took over 1m people in the catchment and growth of Parramatta as a hub to make it more than a peak hour service. Newcastle is no Parramatta. The problem in places like Newcastle the work force locations are less-centralised thus making PT more difficult.

As you say, employment in these areas is an issue. Fixed centralised employment is what drives PT, not couch sitters, tradies etc.

Maitland, Morisset, and Cessnock all have railways with frequent trains, but if there are no centralised jobs then who will use.

The railway to Toronto will never be rebuilt. The same type of service in Sydney does not exist and the closest, the Carlingford line is going to be converted to LR. In Brisbane, the equivalent is the Doomben line and this is also struggling and previously been closed.
RTT_Rules
No Newcastle is not Parramatta, but neither would you run double deck trains for suburban services anywhere in Newcastle, you would use 2-3 carriage cost effective EMU's.

I less centralized employment is a huge issue for Newcastle (not for Wollongong though, would be easier to improve services there) but just by upgrading the existing railway line with more stations and accessible stations between Newcastle Interchange and Fassifern and increasing services frequencies on the services that the government already runs (and will never stop due to obligations, unless the Hexham freight bypass sees the existing line become another cycleway), you could have a suburban line serving;
-the few CBD workers
-workers in Hamilton and Broameadow
-stadium traffic
-retail workers in Kotara + shoppers
-weekend visitors to Blackbutt Reserve
-residents of Garden Suburb and Cardiff Heights
-retail workers and residents of Cardiff
-retail workers in Glendale + shoppers
-workers on Cardiff industrial area and EDI
-retail workers of the large Bunnings and IKEA/Costco (if built)
-residents of new housing development near Cockle Creek
-residents of new housing development near Booragul

and that's just with the existing line, I'm not really talking about rebuilding old lines, I just mentioned Toronto since Fassifern is a kind of isolated places to terminate trains. Realistically there is little chance of rebuild, as for Carlingford, being converted to light rail is actually a good thing, since it will still be a rail services but with a higher frequency.
And remember, local services (well all-stop Sydney services, formally local services by 2 carriage K-Sets) already run out of obligation and manage to only be patronized by pensioners, students, and employed, so why not upgrade the service to something that can actually be used since there is no erasing it, even if the government wants to.

I'm not buying this anymore. Absolutely services can be improved in newcastle and wollongong. Are they inadequate to the point that you are complaining about. Absolutely not. For proof browse to the anytrip website and focus in on either of those cities and check out how many services are running. What other state runs a rail service out of it's second city to it's suburban areas. There is a ferry service from Stockton to Newcastle for goodness sake.

Sure the toy tram is a novelty at the moment but it can expand in the future. You can pretty much forget about re opening the old lines like belmont since most of them are now bike paths. The government is buying new trains for these areas including trains for non sydney centric services to maitland and singleton. An expansion of bus services is something that could be pushed but outside of the main lines you aren't going to get rail services back.
simstrain
Sure you can look at anytrip and say that there are plenty of services and say it's adequate, but you can look at the McDonald's menu and see several salads, does that make that adequate?
The proof is in the patronage, public transport in Newcastle is only really patronized by pensioners, students, and unemployed, and I've heard this from a bus driver, and employers in the area don't want to hire people to use public transport due to inadequate and unreliable services.
The proof is in the quality of services as well, take the local services in Newcastle for example, if there is a local destination along the line, it literally won't have a station, and if there is one, a large multi-lane roundabout or lack of pedestrian crossing will ensure that no one is using it.

If the light rail can be expanded in future to multiple suburbs including those once served by rail, and the services are cheaper and faster than driving (to attract passengers), then that's great and will be proof that the government is not too 'Sydney-centric', an expanded ferry service would be good too, might as well take advantage of Lake Macqaurie.
As for buses, upgrades are necessary since not everywhere can be served by rail or ferry, but they should not be fully relied on to provide public transport since they are not attractive to passengers, since buses run on low frequencies, rarely early morning or late night (and if they do, only one direction), reduced services on weekends (compared to most trains services), slower than driving, and the fares can be more expensive than petrol - these issues would need to be overcome for buses to be an attractive mode of public transport.

Realistically, I know that there is little chance of the old lines being rebuilt (even if it's my public transport dream), the government woulnd't want to pay for it, and there would be local opposition from those who are content in their cars and would miss their cycleways.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
I'm not buying this anymore. Absolutely services can be improved in newcastle and wollongong. Are they inadequate to the point that you are complaining about. Absolutely not. For proof browse to the anytrip website and focus in on either of those cities and check out how many services are running. What other state runs a rail service out of it's second city to it's suburban areas. There is a ferry service from Stockton to Newcastle for goodness sake.
simstrain

What other state has a regional city the same size as Newcastle Question


http://www.population.net.au/newcastle-population/

Only Geelong comes to mind and that's around 200,000 people less than Newcastle.

http://www.population.net.au/geelong-population/

Also Canberra comes to mind but it was built too late to benefit from a fixed rail suburban rail system.

http://www.population.net.au/canberra-population/



Mike
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I'm not buying this anymore. Absolutely services can be improved in newcastle and wollongong. Are they inadequate to the point that you are complaining about. Absolutely not. For proof browse to the anytrip website and focus in on either of those cities and check out how many services are running. What other state runs a rail service out of it's second city to it's suburban areas. There is a ferry service from Stockton to Newcastle for goodness sake.

What other state has a regional city the same size as Newcastle Question


http://www.population.net.au/newcastle-population/

Only Geelong comes to mind and that's around 200,000 people less than Newcastle.

http://www.population.net.au/geelong-population/

Also Canberra comes to mind but it was built too late to benefit from a fixed rail suburban rail system.

http://www.population.net.au/canberra-population/



Mike
The Vinelander
Geelong is like Newcastle and Wollongong though, its too close to Melbourne to justify most of its own services and decent  CBD/hub an hence just an Melbourne suburban outpost, so the PT will be aimed at getting people from Greater Geelong to Melbourne, not to the Geelong CBD.

Canberra's layout design doesn't support heavy rail as a PT option, even if it existed before hand.
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
I'm not buying this anymore. Absolutely services can be improved in newcastle and wollongong. Are they inadequate to the point that you are complaining about. Absolutely not. For proof browse to the anytrip website and focus in on either of those cities and check out how many services are running. What other state runs a rail service out of it's second city to it's suburban areas. There is a ferry service from Stockton to Newcastle for goodness sake.

What other state has a regional city the same size as Newcastle Question


http://www.population.net.au/newcastle-population/

Only Geelong comes to mind and that's around 200,000 people less than Newcastle.

http://www.population.net.au/geelong-population/

Also Canberra comes to mind but it was built too late to benefit from a fixed rail suburban rail system.

http://www.population.net.au/canberra-population/



Mike
The Vinelander
Thanks for the figures.

Also, what other city once had the infrastructure and removed almost all of it, what other city has local destinations next to the remaining lines (with local services running out of obligation) with NO stations?

Geelong is like Newcastle and Wollongong though, its too close to Melbourne to justify most of its own services and decent CBD/hub an hence just an Melbourne suburban outpost, so the PT will be aimed at getting people from Greater Geelong to Melbourne, not to the Geelong CBD.
RTT_Rules
Wollongong might be close enough to Sydney to make commuting reasonable (with that being said, Wollongong has a perfect layout for public transport) but Newcastle is simply too far for reasonable commuting, even if half hours was taken off the trip.
I make the trip between Newcastle and Sydney a lot and I imagine doing it every day for a 9-5 job would prove too exhausting for all but the dedicated and would not be good for quality of life.
And then there is still the cost of living issue; in Sydney a family of 4 will pay an expensive premium for housing but will benefit from only needing 1 family car, in Newcastle a family of 4 will pay for cheaper housing but will suffer from the need to own 4 individual cars. Even if all 4 family members are commuting to Sydney daily for work, without proper local transport, they would likely still need cars to get to the station. This requirement for such car ownership should be expected in an area that is actually regional or rural, but in a city of almost 400K that has everything a city should have except for employment and usable public transport - it's unacceptable.

Is is also sustainable to have such large areas of unemployment and requiring such a large amount of people to make the long commute to another city?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Wollongong might be close enough to Sydney to make commuting reasonable (with that being said, Wollongong has a perfect layout for public transport) but Newcastle is simply too far for reasonable commuting, even if half hours was taken off the trip.
I make the trip between Newcastle and Sydney a lot and I imagine doing it every day for a 9-5 job would prove too exhausting for all but the dedicated and would not be good for quality of life.
And then there is still the cost of living issue; in Sydney a family of 4 will pay an expensive premium for housing but will benefit from only needing 1 family car, in Newcastle a family of 4 will pay for cheaper housing but will suffer from the need to own 4 individual cars. Even if all 4 family members are commuting to Sydney daily for work, without proper local transport, they would likely still need cars to get to the station. This requirement for such car ownership should be expected in an area that is actually regional or rural, but in a city of almost 400K that has everything a city should have except for employment and usable public transport - it's unacceptable.

Is is also sustainable to have such large areas of unemployment and requiring such a large amount of people to make the long commute to another city?
Ethan1395
I don't think too many commute from Newcastle itself, but they start from around Morriset, my brother's ex used train it to Nth Sydney every day and she was not alone. If you can sleep its ok, I used to from Gosford.

Newcastle has a geographically diverse employment opportunities and much of this is far away from even the most optimistic PT corridors.

Most suburban house holds in Sydney have one car for every adult, why would Newcastle be any different?

Anyway its clear the context of your comments are actually not about PT, but lack of employment options. PT in an unemployment ghetto is useless.
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
I don't think too many commute from Newcastle itself, but they start from around Morriset, my brother's ex used train it to Nth Sydney every day and she was not alone. If you can sleep its ok, I used to from Gosford.

Newcastle has a geographically diverse employment opportunities and much of this is far away from even the most optimistic PT corridors.

Most suburban house holds in Sydney have one car for every adult, why would Newcastle be any different?

Anyway its clear the context of your comments are actually not about PT, but lack of employment options. PT in an unemployment ghetto is useless.
RTT_Rules
Not too many people currently commute form Newcastle, but form some of the things I've read here, it seems as though some think it's okay for other cities to have no employment opportunities and to have everyone commute to Sydney. Morriset is probably at the extreme of what can be considered reasonable, Central coast is reasonable to commute from though, as it Wollongong (with that being said, Wollongong has the perfect layout for PT).

Newcastle has very little employment opportunities, it was once the home of manufacturing, but we all know where that went, hat do you mean by 'geographically diverse employment opportunities', industrial areas? mines?

With the every increasing cost of living which is making people push for higher wages (which some way will decrease employment opportunities even more so), I doubt people will continue to own multiple vehicles for much longer (car ownership being a households biggest cost outside of housing), and in Newcastle it's not just every mature age adult owning a car, it's not uncommon for the majority of people to get their first car the instant they turn 17 due to unusable public transport - simply put, most employers in Newcastle do not like to hire people who don't have a car (even for young people in entry-level work), compare this to Sydney where public transport is usable.
Once again, this would be acceptable in a small rural town in regional Australia, but in a sprawling city of almost 400K, it's simply inexcusable.

This topic and my comments are about public transport, it' just the employment issues can stem from public transport, in this case, it's about how small businesses who rely on foot traffic will struggle in a car dependent environment, and how employers only favour applicants with cars (and how do you get a car without a job? come from a rich family of course) when PT is unusable.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Not too many people currently commute form Newcastle, but form some of the things I've read here, it seems as though some think it's okay for other cities to have no employment opportunities and to have everyone commute to Sydney. Morriset is probably at the extreme of what can be considered reasonable, Central coast is reasonable to commute from though, as it Wollongong (with that being said, Wollongong has the perfect layout for PT).

Newcastle has very little employment opportunities, it was once the home of manufacturing, but we all know where that went, hat do you mean by 'geographically diverse employment opportunities', industrial areas? mines?

With the every increasing cost of living which is making people push for higher wages (which some way will decrease employment opportunities even more so), I doubt people will continue to own multiple vehicles for much longer (car ownership being a households biggest cost outside of housing), and in Newcastle it's not just every mature age adult owning a car, it's not uncommon for the majority of people to get their first car the instant they turn 17 due to unusable public transport - simply put, most employers in Newcastle do not like to hire people who don't have a car (even for young people in entry-level work), compare this to Sydney where public transport is usable.
Once again, this would be acceptable in a small rural town in regional Australia, but in a sprawling city of almost 400K, it's simply inexcusable.

This topic and my comments are about public transport, it' just the employment issues can stem from public transport, in this case, it's about how small businesses who rely on foot traffic will struggle in a car dependent environment, and how employers only favour applicants with cars (and how do you get a car without a job? come from a rich family of course) when PT is unusable.
Ethan1395
The first thing that most 17 year olds do is get their drivers license and then a car ASAP after because thats what they do.

No one thinks its ok for Newcastle to have lower employment opportunities than anywhere else.

I grew up at Saratoga, 10km from Gosford station but went to school in Sydney and after school worked in Sydney nth side (for me it was Top Ryde), along with a few friends from other areas of Gosford. We all use to catch the bus to the station, then bus to the beach, usually Avoca and back then there was 2-3 buses a day. To meet the Avoca bus to ride with my friends I'd walk 5km to the bus stop although some went via Saratoga, talking late 1980's here.

The very first thing we did after getting a car, STOP TAKING THE BUS to the station and the beach or to simply visit each other. That was life then and today I assume its pretty much the same. So yes, in my parents house had 3 adults and 3 cars, so did my friends unless they had older brothers and sisters.

Nearly all my Central Coast friends worked in Sydney after school unless they went to Uni as the jobs on offer locally were limited and not well paid. I developed X-ray film at a Radiology practice, so hardly high tech and automated and later digital X-rays killed that job long after I left.

Your topic is listed as Newcastle PT, but you are actually talking about employment opportunities in Greater Newcastle, this has nothing to do with PT. If there were jobs, PT will follow, but not lead. As I said before, Newcastle's current employment opportunities are geographically diversified, making PT more complex to provide. My brother did is apprenticeship in Newcastle, Forjacks or however its spelt, he lived I think at a Newcastle Uni campus and went by bus/train what ever then back to Gosford each weekend.

If you have been paying attention to Don's posts you will notice that there is minimal wage growth, so don't worry about this reducing jobs. If anything the drop in the dollar to below 70c will help boost job opportunities in Newcastle going forward as more mining and more on-shoring than off-shoring various contracts and projects. Perhaps the next time the govt looks to buy trains, local manufacture or assembly may prove more inviting.

I agree there is always opportunity to improve but look at the trains running now, hardly over flowing with patronage and indeed the trains servicing the Hunter Line would not survive in Sydney as being too lightly used. The sparks coming in from the south are more of an extension of the Central Coast line.
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
The first thing that most 17 year olds do is get their drivers license and then a car ASAP after because thats what they do.

No one thinks its ok for Newcastle to have lower employment opportunities than anywhere else.

I grew up at Saratoga, 10km from Gosford station but went to school in Sydney and after school worked in Sydney nth side (for me it was Top Ryde), along with a few friends from other areas of Gosford. We all use to catch the bus to the station, then bus to the beach, usually Avoca and back then there was 2-3 buses a day. To meet the Avoca bus to ride with my friends I'd walk 5km to the bus stop although some went via Saratoga, talking late 1980's here.

The very first thing we did after getting a car, STOP TAKING THE BUS to the station and the beach or to simply visit each other. That was life then and today I assume its pretty much the same. So yes, in my parents house had 3 adults and 3 cars, so did my friends unless they had older brothers and sisters.

Nearly all my Central Coast friends worked in Sydney after school unless they went to Uni as the jobs on offer locally were limited and not well paid. I developed X-ray film at a Radiology practice, so hardly high tech and automated and later digital X-rays killed that job long after I left.

Your topic is listed as Newcastle PT, but you are actually talking about employment opportunities in Greater Newcastle, this has nothing to do with PT. If there were jobs, PT will follow, but not lead. As I said before, Newcastle's current employment opportunities are geographically diversified, making PT more complex to provide. My brother did is apprenticeship in Newcastle, Forjacks or however its spelt, he lived I think at a Newcastle Uni campus and went by bus/train what ever then back to Gosford each weekend.

If you have been paying attention to Don's posts you will notice that there is minimal wage growth, so don't worry about this reducing jobs. If anything the drop in the dollar to below 70c will help boost job opportunities in Newcastle going forward as more mining and more on-shoring than off-shoring various contracts and projects. Perhaps the next time the govt looks to buy trains, local manufacture or assembly may prove more inviting.

I agree there is always opportunity to improve but look at the trains running now, hardly over flowing with patronage and indeed the trains servicing the Hunter Line would not survive in Sydney as being too lightly used. The sparks coming in from the south are more of an extension of the Central Coast line.
RTT_Rules
If most 17 year olds WANT to get a car ASAP and if a family WANTS to own 1 car per family member by choice, that is perfectly fine, the problem comes when it is a requirement, and when it's impossible to get a job without a car, and a 17 year old needs to get a car BEFORE they can work is unacceptable, and it doesn't help that it's impossible to get a car without first getting a job unless you come from a family wealthy enough to buy you one and pay for all the registration and insurance. I didn't get my car as soon as I was 17 (never came form a rich family), I managed to get some work (but from what I was told, it was the exception rather than the rule) and it would take me upwards of 2 hours to get from some parts of Newcastle to another - almost quicker to commute to Sydney.

I was not referring to Newcastle specifically in terms of people being okay with unemployment, I was actually referring to a time when I was talking with another use about improving the Thirroul-Waterfall route and they mentioned giving a large number of people access to the Sydney labour market and I said it would be better for there to improve local services and there should be a Wollongong labour market, they actually disagreed with this and defended the commute to Sydney model we have now.
As I mentioned earlier, I am mainly talking about public transport, but unemployment and the cost of living stems from public transport, in this case, it's about how small businesses who rely on foot traffic will struggle in a car dependent environment, and how employers only favour applicants with cars.

Currently the sparks are more of an extension of the Central Coast line, previously, 2 carriage K-Sets ran local services between Newcastle and Morisset, now it's just all top Sydney services every hour on weekdays, still the same level of the service though, and no local service on weekends, they just stop every second Sydney express to give local stations a frequency of 1 train every 2 hours.
The biggest problem with the sparked line is fact that any local destination along the line doesn't have a station, or if it does, it's inaccessible (not reffering to lifts here but rather safe places to cross roads), likewise in the Newcastle suburban portion of the Hunter Line, local destinations alongside the line don't have nearby stations, the large Newcastle TAFE being an example here.
Connection times between the Hunter Line and the sparked line are usually also very poor (especially on weekends when there is reduced services).

PS: I think I remember hearing somewhere that the NSW government was committed to local manufacturing for the new regional fleet, but that never happened.

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