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Author Archives: mathew

Growth on the [NSW] public transport network has hurtled past long-term government predictions, with 93 million more trips taken on buses and trains last year [FY 2018-19] than what was forecast for 2031.

A report used by the NSW government as the “framework” for investing tens of billions in transport projects over the coming decades predicted rail growth would increase by 26% between 2011 and 2031.

However, the rail network reached and then exceeded that predicted figure by 2017, more than a decade early.

Rabe, Singhal (2020-02-19)

Several people have highlighted the government’s response.

Asked how it would respond to the patronage, the state’s transport agency said the department was “delighted” that demand was outpacing population growth.

Rabe, Singhal (2020-02-19)

This story in the SMH is based on research I conducted and brought to Mr Rabe’s attention, back in November 2019. It took awhile to get the all the planets aligned.

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Most commuters travelling from stations west of Bankstown will be able to use direct services to get to Sydney’s CBD and avoid having to switch trains if a “preferred option” for a shake up of the rail network to accommodate a new metro rail line is adopted.

O’Sullivan (2020-02-09)

My Quotes

“The preferred option is the best option for customers because it allows for faster trips to the city and connects the west with the inner west,” said Mathew Hounsell, a transport expert at the University of Technology’s Institute for Sustainable Futures.

But Mr Hounsell said the complexity involved in funnelling more trains through the western rail corridor between Lidcombe and Homebush risks a reduction in the reliability of services.

“It could lead to a less reliable network if investment is not undertaken,” he said.

“It is essential that the government builds the missing two tracks between Lidcombe and Homebush to keep our western rail network reliable. It has to be fixed and it has to be fixed soon.”

O’Sullivan (2020-02-09)
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Buried deep below Sydney’s tallest buildings, giant caverns have been churned out of sandstone and other rock. On the streets above, tens of thousands of people go about their daily lives, oblivious to the work underground on this mega transport project.

Twin tunnels spanning more than 15 kilometres in each direction from Chatswood in the north to Sydenham in the south, link these underground cathedrals. They will become the train stations for the second stage of Sydney’s automated metro train network.

Yet the metro rail project is at risk of quickly becoming a political and financial headache for the Berejiklian government. A highly confidential budget review, completed more than 18 months ago, forecasts the government’s signature public transport project will cost up to $16.8 billion to complete by 2024 – more than $4 billion above what had been budgeted.

O’Sullivan (2020-02-08)

My Quotes

Mathew Hounsell, a transport expert at the University of Technology’s Institute for Sustainable Futures, says demand on Sydney’s transport system is already well ahead of long-term forecasts. “The transport system is essential to keeping the city pumping. Without it flowing properly, the transport network will end up clogged and inefficient,” he says.

“There is a significant risk that the government will delay the essential projects such as Metro West and the upgrade of the signalling on the heavy rail network in order to keep the budget looking good. But if we don’t invest in the transport system, the city will become less attractive and we will lose our global competitiveness. The transport system is the arteries of the city.” [emphasis added]

O’Sullivan (2020-02-08)
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Trams in Sydney’s CBD will pick up their first passengers in over half a century today, as a project plagued by delays, legal disputes and a $1.3 billion budget blowout reaches fruition.

The light rail will carry tourists and commuters from Circular Quay to Randwick, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, but covers only a fraction of the ground of the old tram network, which was ripped out in the late 1950s.

Whitehead (2019-12-14)

I was interviewed for a piece broadcast on the AM program on ABC Radio National for the opening of the CBD South-East Light Rail. I’m quite glad Whitehead picked up on the importance of the urban layer and kept that comment in the piece.

“The trams provide that urban layer between railways and between walking.”

Mathew Hounsell
See resources Transport Hierarchy for a complete description.
Transport Network Hierarchy
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Passenger crowding on trains travelling along Sydney’s western rail spine to the city during the morning peak has worsened significantly over the past year, underscoring the need for major investment in the ageing network.

Half of suburban lines have at least some trains unable to fit more passengers on during the busiest hour of the peak from 8am to 9am, figures from the state’s transport agency show.

Trains on the busiest line, the T1 Western, recorded average passenger loads of 150 per cent during the morning peak in March, up from 139 per cent a year earlier.

O’Sullivan, Gladstone (2019-10-25)
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More than 66,000 commuters have piled onto Sydney’s new driverless metro trains on average each weekday in their first two months of operation despite a spate of disruptions, figures show.

The weekday patronage in June and July makes the 36-kilometre Metro Northwest rail line from Chatswood to Rouse Hill in Sydney’s north west almost as well used as the Eastern Suburbs line, the city’s fourth busiest.

O’Sullivan (2019-08-19)

Frequency is Freedom

Mathew Hounsell, a transport data analyst at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, said the new line’s patronage showed that people responded well to frequent all-stop services.

O’Sullivan (2019-08-19)
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Commuters on Sydney’s busiest rail lines are regularly unable to get home on time during the evening peak on weekdays, as new figures show the T1 Western and T8 South lines have been the worst performers over the last year for passengers.

Trains on the T1 Western – one of the most heavily patronised – and T8 South lines did not meet on-time performance targets during the evening peaks on three out of five weekdays in the 12 months to early July.

The T8 Airport and the T2 Inner West and Leppington lines also failed to meet on-time targets of 92 per cent of services running on time on almost half of weekdays over the past year.

The T4 Eastern Suburbs line, which benefits from the fact it is separated from the rest of the network, was the best performer during the evening peak from 3pm to 7pm. Trains on the line were on-time on 222 of the 256 weekdays captured by data from July 2 last year to July 5 this year.

O’Sullivan, Gladstone (2019-07-10)
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North Western commuters will be slugged Opal transfer fee, but Eastern Suburbs commuters wont be.

It has been revealed that passengers travelling in the Eastern Suburbs will not pay the Opal transfer penalty when changing from their truncated bus routes to the new CBD & South East Light Rail.

However passengers in the North Western Suburbs will pay the Opal transfer penalty when the Government cuts bus routes to force passengers on to the new privately operated single deck North West Rail Link.

“In every other modern city that has introduced smart-card ticketing they have taken the opportunity to integrate fares and remove the transfer penalty. However the NSW Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian has shown that the government intends to use the Opal card to silently increase fares.” said Mathew Hounsell the co-convenor of Ecotransit Sydney.

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Inner West Locals get organised to stop the WestConnex toll road.

On Wednesday 12 February 2014 at Herb Greedy Hall in Marrickville the community hosted a meeting to hear about the WestConnex from noted transport planner Michelle Zeibots and public transport advocate Gavin Gatenby.

Gavin Gatenby is the co-convenor of Ecotransit Sydney, a community-based transport advocacy group. Ecotransit Sydney grew out the city resident’s long running fight for sensible modern transport planning, and was instrumental in ensuring the construction of the Airport Rail Link and the Inner West Light Rail. Mr Gatenby delivered a detailed presentation on the proposal and its impacts on the Inner West.

“An unholy convergence of interests has gathered around WestConnex. The big construction companies want a multi-billion contract that’ll run for years, the developers want the government to resume whole slabs of the inner west and sell it to them for high-rise, and the tollway companies are trying to salvage a failed business model by generating another round of traffic growth with car-based redevelopment. It’s all backed by new planning laws stack the deck against local government, residents and small business. Sydney ‘s road traffic has been almost flatlining for a decade. The tragedy is that if we were to spend a fraction of the funds earmarked for WestConnex on public transport solutions it would fall dramatically.” EcoTransit Co-Convenor Gavin Gatenby said.

Dr Michelle Zeibots is a transport planner and research principle in transport at the Institute of Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney . Her research into road capacity, traffic speeds and volumes is widely respected and cited.

Dr Zeibots talked about her experience as an expert adviser on the transport panel during the drafting of the NSW Transport Masterplan. Working with the department and minister, the experts believed the state was ready to build the vital second harbour rail crossing, which would increase the Sydney rail network’s capacity by 50 per cent. Then just weeks before the master plan was released, WestConnex and other motorways motorways appeared in the plan and were given priority by the government.

Dr Zeibots refuted the argument that the motorway will reduce traffic and congestion, by citing the many examples of induced traffic; especially her research into the significant induced traffic caused last time the M4 was extended.

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