Sydney bus contract 6 to be privatised – which routes will be affected?

The state government has announced the intention to privatise the operation of bus services in the Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract Region 6 (SMBSC 6).

Government operator State Transit Authority (STA) currently holds contracts 6 – 9, which geographically covers the Inner West, Eastern Suburbs, North Shore and Northern Suburbs. Contract 6 predominantly covers Inner West services, with some services reaching into the Eastern Suburbs, up to the Northern Suburbs and down south to the St George area.

Map showing Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract Region 6

Notwithstanding changes route which may occur between now and privatisation, 223 bus routes will be affected including 59 regular bus routes and 164 school bus routes:

Regular bus routes

Route Name Route Description
401 Lidcombe to Sydney Olympic Park
406 Five Dock to Hurlstone Park
407 Burwood to Strathfield
408 Rookwood Cemetery to Burwood via Flemington
412 Campsie to City Martin Place via Earlwood
413 Campsie to City Martin Place via Canterbury
415 Campsie to Chiswick
418 Bondi Junction to Burwood
422 Kogarah to City Martin Place
423 Kingsgrove to City Martin Place
425 Tempe to Dulwich Hill
426 Dulwich Hill to City Martin Place
428 Canterbury to City Martin Place
430 Kogarah Shuttle
431 Glebe Point to City Martin Place
433 Balmain to Central Pitt St
436 Chiswick to Central Pitt St
437 Chiswick Wharf to Abbotsford Wharf Shuttle
438 Abbotsford to City Martin Place
439 Mortlake to City Martin Place
440 Bronte to Rozelle
441 Birchgrove to City Art Gallery via QVB
442 Balmain East Wharf to City QVB
444 Balmain East Wharf to Campsie
445 Balmain East Wharf to Campsie via Lilyfield LR
460 Five Dock to Concord Hospital via Canada Bay
461 Burwood to City Domain
462 Mortlake to Ashfield
463 Bayview Park to Burwood
464 Ashfield to Mortlake
466 Ashfield to Cabarita Park
470 Lilyfield to City Martin Place
473 Rockdale to Campsie
476 Rockdale to Dolls Point (Loop Service)
477 Miranda to Rockdale
478 Miranda to Rockdale via Ramsgate
479 Rockdale to Kyeemagh (Loop Service)
480 Strathfield to Central Pitt St
483 Strathfield to Central Pitt St via Australian Catholic University Strathfield
487 Bankstown Central to Canterbury
490 Drummoyne to Hurstville
491 Hurstville to Five Dock
492 Drummoyne to Rockdale
493 Roselands to Rockdale
495 Kingsgrove to Bexley North
502 Five Dock to City Town Hall
504 Chiswick to City Domain
508 Drummoyne to City Town Hall
526 Burwood to Rhodes Shopping Centre
L23 PrePay Only – Kingsgrove to City Martin Place (Limited Stops)
L28 PrePay Only – Canterbury to City Martin Place (Limited Stops)
L37 Haberfield to City Town Hall (Limited Stops)
L38 PrePay Only – Abbotsford to City Martin Place (Limited Stops)
L39 PrePay Only – Mortlake to City Martin Place (Limited Stops)
M20 Prepay Only – Botany to Gore Hill
M30 Prepay Only – Sydenham to Mosman
M41 Hurstville to Macquarie Park
X04 PrePay Only – City Domain to Chiswick (Express)
X25 Sydney Olympic Park to Strathfield


School bus routes

Route Name Route Description
560s Ashfield Station to Trinity Grammar Summer Hill
561s Balmain to Newington College
562s Trinity Grammar Summer Hill to Ashfield Station
563s Summer Hill Station to Trinity Grammar Summer Hill
565s Kingsgrove Station to Trinity Grammar Summer Hill
566s Trinity Grammar Summer Hill to Kingsgrove Station
567s Rockdale Stn to Moorefield Girls High
568s Strathfield Station to Rosebank College
569s Rosebank College to Pemberton & Arthur Sts Strathfield
570s Rosebank College to Five Dock Shops
571s Rosebank College to Five Dock Shops
572s Rosebank College Five Dock to Croydon Park
573s Rosebank College to Concord Hospital
574s Rosebank College to Homebush Station
575s Homebush Station to Rosebank College
576s Rosebank College to Canterbury Station
577s Rodd Point to St. Patricks Strathfield
578s St. Patricks Strathfield to Five Dock Shops
579s Strathfield Stn to St. Patricks Strathfield
580s St Patricks Strathfield to Punchbowl Rd, Belfield
581s St. Patricks Strathfield to Belmore Station
582s Drummoyne to St. Patricks Strathfield
583s St. Patricks Strathfield to Five Dock Shops
584s St. Patricks Strathfield to Rhodes Station
585s St. Patricks Strathfield to Burwood & Parramatta Rds
586s St. Patricks Strathfield to Burwood & Parramatta Rds
587s St. Patricks Strathfield to Burwood Stn
588s Burwood to St. Patricks Strathfield
589s St. Patricks Strathfield to Ashfield Station
590s De La Salle Ashfield to Hurlstone Park Station
591s De La Salle Ashfield to Rodd Point
592s Bethlehem College to Strathfield Stn
593s Haberfield to Homebush Public School
595s Parramatta Rd & Dalhousie Sts to Burwood Girls High
596s Burwood Girls High to Leichhardt Town Hall
597s Burwood Girls High to Georges River Rd & Burwood Rd
598s Earlwood to Hunters Hill High
600s Strathfield Girls High to Strathfield Stn
601s Strathfield Girls High to Concord Hospital
602s Strathfield Girls High to Ashfield Station
603s Strathfield Girls High to David St & Liverpool Rd, Burwood
604s Burwood Stn to Strathfield Girls High
605s Strathfield Girls High to Burwood Rd & Gipps St,Concord
606s Earlwood to Christian Bros Lewisham
607s Kingsgrove Depot to Christian Bros Lewisham
608s Christian Bros Lewisham to Undercliffe (Cooks River Bridge)
609s Campsie Station to Christian Bros Lewisham
610s Christian Bros Lewisham to Kingsgrove Station
611s Belfield (Punchbowl Rd) to Christian Bros Lewisham
612s Christian Bros Lewisham to Belfield (Punchbowl Rd)
613s Georges River & Burwood Rds to Christian Bros Lewisham
614s Five Dock Shops to Christian Bros Lewisham
615s Concord Shops to Christian Bros Lewisham
616s Concord Shops to Christian Bros Lewisham
617s Campsie Station to Christian Bros Lewisham
618s Campsie Station to Christian Bros Lewisham
619s Christian Bros Lewisham to Campsie Station
620s Christian Bros Lewisham to Earlwood
621s St.Maroun School to Bexley Rd & William St (Kingsgrove)
622s Kingsgrove North High to Belmore Station
623s Kingsgrove North HS to Earlwood
624s Campsie Station to Kingsgrove Depot
625s Clarke St, Earlwood to Belmore Station
626s Santa Sabina Strathfield to Drummoyne
627s Santa Sabina Strathfield to Five Dock Shops
628s Bexley Rd & William St to Canterbury Boys High
629s Canterbury Girls High to Earlwood
630s Canterbury Girls High to Belmore Station
631s Canterbury Boys High to Belmore Station
632s Campsie Station to Canterbury Boys High
633s Dulwich Hill Shops to Canterbury Primary
634s Canterbury Primary to Dulwich Hill Shops
635s St. Marthas Strathfield to Drummoyne
636s Bexley Rd & William St, Kingsgrove to Kingsgrove High
637s Bexley Post Office to Kingsgrove High
638s Canterbury Rd & Tincombe St, Canterbury to Kingsgrove High
639s Greenhills St & Liverpool Rd, Croydon to Kingsgrove High
640s Kingsgrove Primary to Campsie Station
641s Kingsgrove High to Rockdale Stn
642s Georges River Rd & Brighton Ave to Kingsgrove High
643s Canterbury Rd & Beamish St, Campsie to Kingsgrove High
644s Marrickville High to Kingsgrove Depot
645s Kingsgrove to St. Scholasticas, Glebe
646s Canterbury to St Scholastics
647s Railway Square to St. Scholasticas, Glebe
648s St. Scholasticas, Glebe to Balmain (Gladstone Pk)
650s St. Scholasticas, Glebe to Parramatta Rd & Dalhousie Sts
651s City to Balmain High
652s Balmain High to City
654s Canterbury Station to Balmain High
655s Dalhousie & Deakin to Concord High School
656s Concord High School to Five Dock Shops
657s Concord High School to Chiswick
658s Annandale to Concord High School
659s Drummoyne to Concord High School
660s Concord High School to Burwood, Westfield
661s Burwood Stn to Concord High School
662s Concord High School to Mortlake
663s Concord High School to Drummoyne
664s Parramatta Rd, Petersham to Rosebank College
670s Domremy College Five Dock to Leichhardt Town Hall
671s Earlwood to Domremy College, Five Dock
672s Domremy College. Five Dock to Campsie Station
673s Domremy College to Burwood
674s Concord Road & Victoria Street to Domremy College
675s Domremy College to Burwood & Canterbury Rds
676s Burwood & Canterbury Rds to Domremy College, Five Dock
677s Domremy College to Concord Shops
678s Domremy College to Campsie Station
679s Kingsgrove Depot to Domremy College
680s Balmain (Gladstone Pk) to Fort Street High
681s Fort Street High to Strathfield Stn
682s Fort Street High to Balmain (Gladstone Pk)
683s Blackwattle Bay Campus (Glebe High) to Canterbury Station
684s Blackwattle Bay Campus (Glebe High) to Newtown Bridge
685s Blackwattle Bay Campus (Glebe High) to Millers Point
690s Blackwattle City Campus – Balmain
691s Blackwattle City Campus – Leichhardt Market
692s Blackwattle Bay Campus (Glebe High) to City
693s City to Blackwattle Bay Campus (Glebe High)
700s Earlwood to Tempe High
701s St. Pius, Enmore to Tempe
702s Rockdale Stn to St. Pius, Enmore
710s Homebush Boys High to Cabarita Junction
711s Homebush Boys High to Concord Hospital
712s Homebush Public School to Strathfield Stn
713s Broughton St & Parramatta Rd,Burwood to Homebush Boys High
714s Strathfield Stn to Homebush Public School
715s St. Marys Concord to Homebush Station
718s Ashfield Boys High School to Broadway, Enfield
720s St. George Girls High to Campsie Station
721s Campsie Station to St. George Girls High
725s De La Salle Ashfield to Liverpool Rd, Strathfield
726s De La Salle Ashfield to Earlwood
730s Endeavour High to Rockdale Stn
731s Rockdale Stn to Miranda Station
732s Rockdale Stn to Brighton Public School
733s Kogarah Station to Endeavour High
734s Endeavour High to Ramsgate & Rocky Pt Rds, Ramsgate
735s St. Ursulas Kingsgrove to Kingsgrove Depot
736s St. Ursulas Kingsgrove to Croydon Park
738s Campsie Public School to Claremont & Orissa Sts Campsie
740s John St, Pyrmont to Ultimo Primary
741s P.L.C. Croydon to Drummoyne
743s Earlwood to Burwood Girls High
745s Drummoyne to Drummoyne Primary
750s Ramsgate to Miranda
751s Taren Point to Rockdale Stn
753s Bankstown Hospital to Kingsgrove & Canterbury Rds, Belmore
755s Belmore Station to Kingsgrove Station
757s Drummoyne to Burwood Stn
760s Newington to Concord High
761s Newington to Concord High
762s St. Scholasticas, Glebe to Forest Lodge Public School
763s St. Finbars School to Ramsgate
764s Dolls Point to Marist Bros, Kogarah
765s Canterbury to Marist Bros, Kogarah
766s Rockdale Stn to Moorefield Girls High
767s Moorefield Girls High to Rockdale Stn
768s Rockdale Stn to Endeavour High
769s Bay St & Moate Av, Brighton to Moorefield Girls High
770s Archery Centre, Wentworth Point to Concord High School
780s Burwood Stn to Homebush Boys High
781s Georges River Rd & Walsh Ave to Homebush Boys High

Could TPG end up partially subsidising NBN for Qantas Wi-Fi?

NBN Co placed in a potential conflict of interest under new regional broadband tax

Earlier this year, I made a submission to the Government’s consultation on the Telecommunications Reform Package.

I’ve been meaning to write a summary for some time.  I thought I’d whip one up together after it was announced that the Government planned to introduce the legislation next month despite not responding to the submissions.

As part of the reform package, the government planned to introduce a $7.09 charge per line to most fixed line “superfast” broadband services (defined as 25 Mbps download speeds or greater).

This is to help subsidise the cost of nbn’s fixed wireless and satellite networks — primarily servicing regional and remote communities around Australia.

The NBN fixed line footprint is expected to be the primary contributor of the tax.  However, other operators such as TPG with its fibre to the building network will also be hit.

NBN Co’s commercial interest

The problem is that the NBN satellite network is no longer solely about the delivery of broadband services to regional areas.

It now has other commercial interests — including the Satellite Mobility product which allows commercial entities like Qantas to tap into the satellite network for the delivery of in-flight Wi-Fi.

This could mean that a provider like TPG could be paying taxes which help subsidise the provisioning of Wi-Fi services on a Qantas aircraft.

No restrictions on subsidy for regional broadband only

The proposed bill had no restrictions that the funding must only be used to provision broadband services to regional areas — as I explained in 2.1.5 and 2.1.6 of my submission.

So, NBN Co is placed in a conflicting conundrum.  It can spend its subsidy funds on improving the quality of satellite services to regional communities like relaxing the Fair Use Policy with no additional revenue.

Alternatively, it could spend it on developing new revenue streams through commercial products like the Satellite Mobility product — competing with the likes of Optus who also have satellites in the sky.

My suggestions?

In my submission, I suggested:

  1. The Bill should make clear that the funding made available through the Regional Broadband Scheme is not available for services where the primary purpose is not to deliver broadband to regional communities.
  2. The strict Fair Use Policy (FUP) imposed by NBN Co on its Satellite network means the quality is still not directly comparable to fixed-line super-fast broadband services.As a condition of the Regional Broadband Scheme funding, the funding recipient should prioritise upgrades to the capacity and service reliability of rural and regional customers over the development of supplementary products like the Satellite Mobility product.
  3. Ensure similar protection is afforded to services delivered by means of the NBN Fixed Wireless network.

Full submission

Sydney Growth Trains – what to expect?

Advertising screens and provisions for driver-only operation expected for the 24 new eight-car Waratah-style trains

24 new trains have been ordered as part of Transport for NSW’s More Trains, More Services program.  These eight-car trains, together with signaling and rail infrastructure upgrades, will enable Sydney Trains to deliver more express services over the existing heavy rail network.

Downer EDI won the contract, worth $1.7 billion dollars, to deliver and maintain the new trains.  Chinese manufacturing company CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles will manufacture and deliver the trains under a subcontract agreement with Downer EDI.

These trains have been described as being “Waratah-style” trains.  I decided I’d take a peek inside the Sydney Growth Trains contract, to see if there are any other quirks expected in the new fleet.

I also did a similar summary on the New Intercity Fleet contract, if you’re interested.


TPG licences hint at LTE fixed wireless trial in Bendigo

New 3.6GHz “point to multipoint” licence at existing Vodafone tower suggests trial LTE deployment

Australia’s second largest telco, TPG, was granted a number of apparatus radio licence covering parts of the Bendigo area in Victoria.

These new licences, issued on 21 March 2017 by the ACMA, are in addition to the spectrum licences owned by TPG to operate in the 1800 MHz and 2.5 GHz bands.

Whilst apparatus licence are typically issued for one year, the TPG licences are only valid until late October this year — hinting at a short-term trial.


New Intercity Fleet – what to expect

On-board Wi-Fi and passenger load displays coming to the New Intercity Fleet

Edit: earlier I had indicated that the trains will come in 6+2 and 2+2 sets.  I have now corrected it to show 6+4 and 4+4 sets as per the contract.
Correction (2/1/18): I had indicated that this contract delivers 426 cars rather than the full 512 cars. This is because I incorrectly calculated using 4 car short trains (rather than 8 car short trains).

It’s been long overdue, but the beloved intercity V sets first introduced in the 70s will soon be replaced by a new shiny fleet of trains — the New Intercity Fleet.

Some of the details have already been publicly announced by Transport for NSW and NSW Trains… but I thought I might as well dive a little further into the contract with the UGL/Mitsubishi/Hyundai Rotem consortium to see what else I can find.


Qantas to sign trial satellite product with NBN for Wi-Fi

nbn co and Qantas set to begin a proof-of-concept agreement to test the delivery of a on-board Wi-Fi from February 2017

The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, has released its test agreement with Qantas allowing them to test a “Proof-of-Concept Aeronautical Mobile Satellite Service” on a Qantas test aircraft.

The proof-of-concept test is expected to help guide the development of nbn’s Satellite Mobility Product expected to launch in the third quarter of 2017.

Qantas has already begun preliminary engineering testing of its proposed on-board Wi-Fi product on a Boeing 737 aircraft (VH-XZB). The national carrier intends to partner with service provider ViaSat to deliver on-board Internet connectivity once the mobility product becomes available.

The trial product will be delivered over a Layer 3 VPN connection over the NBN Satellite Network. nbn will be responsible for the network between the Air Network Interface (ANI) located on the test aircraft’s Air Terminal and the Mobility Network-Network Interface (M-NNI) located at the NBN Point of Interconnect (POI).

As part of the trial, the network speed will be limited to 20 megabits per second for each aircraft on at most two aircrafts concurrently. The connection will also be limited to agreed flight corridors.

Earlier analysis by jxeeno blog has concluded that on-board Wi-Fi products are likely to have little or no impact on the congestion of beams given the short duration of time each aircraft spends under a single beam.

The proof-of-concept agreement is set to kick in from 1st February 2017 and is expected to run until 1st September 2017 unless terminated early or extended. However, Qantas is yet to officially announce its public launch date for the on-board Wi-Fi service.

nbn™ logo (large)

nbn introduces DOCSIS 3.1 NTDs this month

No high-speed tiers to accompany launch of higher speed network

The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, is set to begin installing new HFC Network Termination Devices (NTDs) at the end of this month to allow them to connect to the upgraded DOCSIS 3.1 network.

nbn’s NTD is a customised CM8200B DOCSIS 3.1 modem from Arris, who successfully won a tender to supply the network equipment.

nbn's new HFC Network Termination Device capable of DOCSIS 3.1
nbn’s new HFC Network Termination Device capable of DOCSIS 3.1 (Source: nbn co)

nbn had initially planned to begin deploying its DOCSIS 3.1 NTDs in December 2016. This has been pushed back by a month to the end of January 2017, with the company issuing an amendment to its Wholesale Broadband Agreement (WBA2).

In their notification letter to Access Seekers, nbn states that it intends to “introduce the new CM8200B (DOCSIS 3.1) HFC-NTD deploying on all HFC installations from end January 2017”.

No speed increase despite upgrade

Despite touting the speed capabilities of the new DOCSIS 3.1 modems, nbn will not launch new speed tiers to accompany the launch of the new modems.

In November 2015, nbn’s Chief Technology Officer penned a blog post saying that new modems by Arris will be capable of delivering “a stunning 5Gbps downstream and 2Gbps upstream”.

However, the maximum speed tier nbn will offer over the HFC network will remain at 100/40 Mbps. The January 2017 Integrated Deployment Plan also shows no future plans to introduce higher speed tiers already available the NBN Fibre network.

DOCSIS 3.1 promises to provide improved network performance and speeds through increased modulation orders and wider spectrum utilisation.

The new NTD will also have a second Ethernet port, however, the port will be disabled and covered by a sticker at launch.

NSW TrainLink refutes existence of non-binary gender

Update (26th November 2016): NSW TrainLink reached out in regards to the blog post. They agreed that the instruction was “offensive and inappropriate” whilst ensuring me that the “instruction was never followed in practice”.

As I have already updated at the bottom of the page, they’ve removed the instruction from its business rules to reflect their “values of inclusion and non-discrimination”.

Folks who don’t identify as either male or female pay double or denied tickets by regional train company

Well, here’s a bit of a shock.  In this day and age, NSW TrainLink is refusing to sell tickets to people who do not identify solely as male or female.

NSW TrainLink is the Government-owned company which runs intercity and regional transport services in New South Wales.  It operates routes to over 350 destinations by trains and coaches.

In its Business Rules Manual, last updated September 2016, the organisation outlines limitations on its sleeper car product on overnight regional trains.

In order to be eligible to purchase a sleeper berth ticket, the company requires the passenger to identify either as a male or female.

Staff are instructed to refuse the booking or request the passenger pay for two beds if they do not elect a binary gender.

The manual goes on to say that “transsexual is not a ‘gender'”:

If a person refuses to nominate being male or female then staff can either sell the person both berths as sole use in the compartment or refuse the booking. Transsexual is not a ‘gender’ and a berth must not be allocated.

This should not be happening.  Not least that this is a Government-owned organisation where this business rule legitimately exists.

What are people who have a “non-specific” sex on their birth certificate supposed to do?

Given how clearly it’s stated, there is ample grounds for a complaint under the Sexual Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth).  Under the law, NSW TrainLink not only has to recognise the existance of non-binary genders, it must also not discriminate against them.

In fact, in the intersex status factsheet on the AHRC website clearly states that intersex people need to be given fair treatment when getting or using services — including transport services:

Getting or using services – such as services provided by restaurants, shops or entertainment venues, banking and insurance services, services provided by government departments, transport services, professional services like those provided by lawyers, doctors or tradespeople

I’d encourage anyone who feels they are being discriminated against this business rule to lodge a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

It’s one thing to segregate passengers by gender, but to refuse to recognise the existence of non-binary gender is outright ridiculous.



NSW TrainLink claims in its business rules that transsexual is not a gender
NSW TrainLink claims in its business rules that transsexual is not a gender
Update (25th November 2016): all references to gender has been removed in the latest version of the manual.  I’m pleased to see NSW TrainLink’s swift response to this.

NSW TrainLink removes non-binary gender restrictions from its business rules
NSW TrainLink removes non-binary gender restrictions from its business rules

Say goodbye uni concession stickers for good

2016 saw the phasing out of concession foils common to uni students around the Greater Sydney region. Students commuting within the Opal-enabled network were no longer given a concession foil sticker.  A student identification card and Concession Opal card would suffice as concession proof on the network.

However, the sticker foil still remained for those of us who wanted to travel on NSW TrainLink’s regional services. As part of the fare rules, students must present their booked ticket with their Tertiary Student Concession Card or ID Card with a valid foil.

According to the Transport for New South Wales website, the tertiary concession foil will be phased out for good next year.  Starting 1st April 2017, tertiary students will have to order a Transport Concession Entitlement Card to prove their concession entitlement when travelling on regional services.


Transport Concession Entitlement Card is coming in April 2017 for Tertiary Concession Holders
Transport Concession Entitlement Card is coming in April 2017 for Tertiary Concession Holders

Currently, this card is available to Job Seekers, Approved Centrelink Customers and Ex-Defence with Disability.  More information about the card’s availability will be made available from February 2017.

Don’t stress: bus timetables aren’t being “scrapped”

Timetables are set to become more dynamic with on-demand complementary shuttle services

Yesterday, the Minister for Transport announced that Transport for NSW will trial “on-demand” public transport next year as part of their Future Transport Roadmap. A number of media outlets reported “New South Wales Government to scrap bus timetables” based on initiatives promised to “transform the mass transit network”.

As one would expect, a flurry of fury followed after the announcement. Punters complained of the inability for current buses to stay within their current timetables as it is. How are they to deliver services quality “without a timetable”?

I don’t think the media did a great job at explaining what the plans were. So, let’s break it down. There are two parts to this puzzle:

  1. Timetables are becoming more dynamic
  2. On-demand services are being introduced

The truth is, timetables aren’t going way but are becoming more flexible. There are also additional on-demand services to help make the trip to timetabled services more efficient.

Hub and spoke model

You may have heard of the hub-and-spoke model. That’s where commuters take a short service close to their homes to a major transport hub to reach their final destination.

This reduces the number of low demand, point-to-point services required to get commuters to and from their destinations whilst still maintaining flexible route options.

The challenge with the current system is that spoke services (the short hops between homes and hubs) have long routes within the suburbs to get to as many pick up points as possible. This means that it could take a long time for commuters to get from their home to the hub regardless of whether all the pick up points have passengers.

On-demand spoke services

The on-demand trial that was being mentioned is about improving commuter connections to and from transport hubs. As the Future Transport Roadmap says:

The future of personalised transport will involve customers being able to book flexible, on-demand local services to make first- and last-mile connections to and from mass transit hubs.

Page 41, Future Transport Technology Roadmap 2016

On-demand services would complement existing “spoke” bus routes with routes being optimised for booked demand.

Diagram showing how a hub and spoke model with on-demand services could work
Diagram showing how a hub and spoke model with on-demand services could work

On-demand example:

Imagine the resident living in the middle of the suburbs, around a 15 minute drive from the train station. Currently, the options may be for the resident to drive their car to the station and commute to work. However, parking spots are limited.

Catching a bus is also an option. However, the closest bus stop may be a 10 minute walk away and only runs during peak hours. Worse still, it’s a bus service which is route is long and stops at many locations within the suburb before reaching the train station.

The on-demand public transport model tries to solve this. A commuter can “book” what is effectively a shuttle service between their home and the closest train station in advance. The route and times for this on-demand service will be generated continuously based on who’s booked a service.

Dynamic timetabling in trunk routes

It’s something that Sydney Trains have been doing for years. Despite having seemingly static timetables, Sydney Trains timetables are generated at least once a day to account for things like track work, special events and “operational issues”.

Some bus routes are also brought in especially in time for special events. For example, an example I know well is the Central to Moore Park shuttle during major sporting events.

The promise made in the Future Transport roadmap is that these dynamic timetables will reach more modes of transport (including buses). These timetables will also extend in reach, modelling patterns based on weather, demands based on day of week.

Using the supply/demand insights, develop an algorithm that optimises the timetable for day-of-week, weather and planned/unplanned events

Page 88, Future Transport Technology Roadmap 2016

It’s also about being able to generate new routes and increased frequency when new demands arise. With the Opal data that Transport for NSW has on their hands, they could potentially generate new high demand, point-to-point routes to cater for new businesses opening up or when new developments are built.


Don’t stress: timetables aren’t going away. They remain very important for the operation of transport services.

The good news is that the timetables will likely be adjusted more frequently based on demand on each route at particular times.

On-demand services will likely complement existing spoke services to make them more efficient and convenient for commuters.

Hopefully, this will less crowded services and quicker journey times into the future.