Thursday, May 29, 2014

All State Transit operated buses will stop selling PET tickets thisSunday

This Sunday, 1 June 2014, will mark the date when all State Transit operated bus services (also known as Sydney Buses) will stop selling Pensioner Excursion Tickets (or PET) on board it buses due to the rollout of the Opal ticketing system.

We here at Transport for All NSW have been able to come up with some frequently asked questions and answers so you know what to do so you are ready for the change over this Sunday.

1) Why are Sydney Buses operated by State Transit no longer selling PET tickets this Sunday?

The reason for this is simply because the current NSW Liberal/National Government has a mandate to continue the rollout of the Opal Card ticketing system which is now fully rolled out onto the Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink and Sydney Ferries services.

2) if I require a PET, where can I buy these types of tickets from?

Transport for NSW has stated that anyone requiring to purchase a PET ticket, can do so by pre-purchasing these types of tickets from your local 7-Eleven stores and Woolworths supermarkets with selected other agencies and stores also selling the PET ticket as well.

3) Are the pre-purchase tickets time stamped or only available to be used on the same day as purchase?

No. PET tickets that are pre-purchase are not time stamped and can be used at any time, according to a post on Transport NSW website. It is suggested that you pre-purchase a number of these tickets and keep them handy should you require to use public transport, especially Sydney buses with little notice or in the event of an emergency.

4) Can these pre-purchased ticket be re-used for another day?

No. You will be required to use a seperate PET ticket should you be required to travel the next time after the initial use of the ticket on the day.

5) Can you still use Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink PET tickets aboard Sydney's buses past 1 June?

Yes you can. Any ticket brought at your local Sydney Trains or NSW TrainLink intercity station can still be used aboard Sydney Buses including private bus services not operated by State transit, Sydney Ferries, Light Rail Services along with Newcastle Buses & Ferry services.

6) State Transit also run Newcastle Buses & Ferry services, are they affected by this move?

No. PET tickets can still be brought on board all Newcastle Buses & Ferry services at this stage and are not affected come 1 June.

7) when will the Gold Pensioner/Consessioner Opal Card be available for me to purchase?

At this stage, Transport for NSW and the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, have not given an official date or time frame as to when the Gold Pensioner/Concessioners card will be available to purchase via the Opal Card website. 

As far as Transport for All NSW is aware that the Gold Opal Pensioner/Concessioner card will be available later on this year sometime, but again we are unsure of any exact date at this stage.

8) If I experience any issues with trying to pre-purchase a PET ticket or use a pre-purchased PET ticket, what should I do?

If you experience any issues relating to purchasing or using a pre-purchased PET ticket aboard any bus, train, ferry or light rail service, you will need to ring 131 500 and listen for the prompt to make a complaint. You can also make your complaint about any issues relating to buying and using pre-purchased PET tickets via the Transport NSW website -

We hope that these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) have helped you make sense of the change but also help you pre-plan your journey should you be required to use any State Transit operated Sydney Bus services come 1 June this Sunday.

It is also good to note that with the pre-purchased PET tickets, that the price will remain at $2.50 per PET ticket.

If you are not sure if you live in an area that is services by a State Transit Sydney Buses service, you can find out via the Transport NSW website ( or the State Transit website (

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Carlingford Line - what to do with a line that goes and connects to nowhere....yet

The Carlingford line seems to be one of the many forgotten rail lines which have become a very old, outdated and somewhat disjointed and unconnected part of the Sydney Trains metropolitan network, yet the NSW Government nor Transport for NSW or the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian know what to do with it.

The poor Carlingford line in the only suburban rail line which in my own opinion, that is not connected via a fully accessible interchange at Clyde. Now before you start having a go at me, stating that Sydney Trains and Transport for NSW have classified the station as accessible, its really not.

Clyde is serviced by a stair walker which over the years has been more broken and out of service that more so actually in services. At one point that I am aware, there was a Union ban on using this critical piece of technology for wheelchair users, yet it is still there, but only available during certain hours (namely in the peak periods) for which after that time, Wheelchair users are required to either travel to Granville or Parramatta to travel towards Carlingford.

To me whilst the bus option is the much more safer than actually trying to attempt to use the stair walker at Clyde, it certainly goes a long way to prove the Carlingford line and Clyde for that matter is  certainly biding its time to closure.

So what should we do to fix the option?

This idea I have fought long and hard on, and have spoken to many both involved with sensitive talks with stakeholders (such as Parramatta City Council and the NSW State Government along with Transport for NSW) for the possibility of the Carlingford line to be converted to a light rail system, that will ultimately connect to Westmead hospital precincts (Such as the Adults, Kids & Private hospitals) to Macquarie University and maybe even onwards towards Lane Cove, to provide this suburbs with a more connected piece of critical public transport infrastructure than what they currently have.

Why not have single metro style trains on the Carlingford Line?

Lets be honest here, this idea which has been circulating thanks to a few MP's who seem hell bent against light rail, think the only option is to turn the line into a metro 3 car system, however the dilemma is that how would this link into the current Sydney Trains Metro network?

Can a metro style train service use the same piece of infrastructure as the current double deck network is offering? Hell no!!

A single deck 3 car metro style network would offer no greater benefits and ultimately lead to further segregation of the line and its commuters, leading to further frustrations for not only commuters but transport planers alike.

Why not convert the line into a rapid bus line?

This option again would only create further gridlock and would take a lot longer to actually plan and build. The cost of converting it to this type of system would also cost more as more would have to be done for the conversion. Buses are already clogging up areas within Westmead, Parramatta, Carlingford and Macquarie University precinct.

Why convert to light rail then?

This answer is actually quite simple, as it would take far less time to convert,  the current trams that the NSW Government is considering retiring from next year onwards would be used to gap fill until new rolling stock can be brought, Frequency of service could jump unto every 10-15 mins in the peak and in the off peak every half hour instead of the current hourly services provided by heavy rail (aka Sydney Trains).

It would also offer an opportunity to make Clyde wheelchair accessible whilst also plan for the network to expand to Westmead and Macquarie University precinct or Lane Cove and even continue further expansion of this network towards Bankstown in areas currently underserved by bus services which have been cut or frequency dropped from previous levels.

It would also offer a more accessible service for people with disabilities using wheelchair or walking frames, stick or crutches, the elderly or families with prams.

The majority of the light rail stops can be built either where the current existing Carlingford Line stations are or next to them with most actually at street level requiring no lifts or major ramp constructions.

To me this makes a more sensible plan and help builds growth for patronage and expansion as well as improve public transport connections not only for the community as a whole but a more accessible transport option for people with disabilities without having any major hassles or drama's which they currently face to this day.

But I would like to get your feedback or suggestions on converting the Carlingford Line to Light Rail? Do you think it is a sensible and though out process and idea to carry through with or would you consider another option or stay with the current incumbent form of transport. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Gladys Berekjilian announces new intercity train set. So here are our concerns

Gladys Berejiklian announces the new trains with the NSW Premier, Mike Baird & NSW TrainLink Manager Rob Mason. Photo: Fairfax Media

The Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, yesterday announced that NSW TrainLink will be getting 520 new intercity carriages to replace the ageing V set intercity sets that are reaching their life expectance/service period.

Aunty Gladys has stated that these new carriages will be from existing “on the shelf” trains that could be potentially built overseas and not in Australia. The one issue I would like to point out that whilst that would mean that it could be built much more cheaply overseas, the problem is that with the current A Set or Waratah train sets, they have had many defaults which have required fixing and in some cases where work completed on the frames of these train sets had to be fixed via complete replacement of areas to ensure that they complied with state and federal building and safety regulations.

So it begs the question, why would we consider having off the shelf trains built overseas where they could possibly not meet manufacturing, building and safety regulations and laws and then possibly having rectification work completed at an additional cost after they have been brought here?

This to me sounds like a major oversight, but then again when we are dealing with Queen of all that is stupid, Gladys Berejiklian, it doesn’t honestly surprise me sadly.

However there are more unanswered questions regarding this new procurement of the train sets, with the main being are people with disabilities and their relevant organisations get any word or at east some consultation on what we know is needed to ensure that these train sets meet specifications and disabled customer requirements.

Its one thing to just add wheelchair spots, add automatic voice announcements and have passenger information displays, but there is more that would need to be taken into consideration, such as:

  • Would the train sets be step free and be equal with all platforms?
  • Will the guard be at the end of the train sets and if so, how many carriages would form each complete train set (4, 6 or 8)?
  • Will the train sets be single deck or double deck?
  • Will confirmation of wheelchair accessible disabled toilet be included?
  • How many disabled spots be in each complete train set?

What is even more ludicrous is the consideration by the transport minister to have 1st class areas/seating on the train sets which would replicate what train companies offer in the UK, however to me it just sounds like an additional source of revenue and excuse to charge customers more for just priority seating which would be made from the same materials as “economy” or the “everyday” seats which are found throughout the remainder of the train set.

I would like to point out at this stage that I despise this idea of a 1st class system as I can see big problems with this system causing further frustration and issues for NSW TrainLink staff both on board the train sets but also the stations. I also find this system as a way of ensuring Aunty Gladys gets a place to call her own and not be in the muck of the everyday commuter she claims she works for.

Basically in a nutshell, whilst I applaud Gladys on announcing the plan to procure new intercity train sets and move the Oscar trains into the Sydney Trains fleet, but if I am being honest, this is something Gladys could have announced 2 years ago or even last year when she split RailCorp into their current iterations - Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink.

It would also be a timely reminder that this comes upon the new premier being put into office but also because we are in election mode, with the NSW State Government elections due between August this year and March next year.

We can hope that this process is expedited but proper consultation occurs with all relevant stakeholders but also with the relevant commuters who will use the new train sets like us disabled commuters to ensure our voice is heard.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Transport Minister announces $100 million refurb of Wynyard Station - However no plans to replace the lifts just yet

The transport minister, Gladys Berejiklian, has announced on Monday that Wynyard station is set to receive a $100 million refurbishment to make it more friendly, inviting and open to passengers whilst bringing it into the 21st century.

Whilst this is a welcomed start to bring Wynyard station finally into this century, there is one issue on this plan and that is a simple one - what about the hydraulic lifts? Are they going to be replaced?

It would seem that the refurbishment will only include the following:

  • new lighting
  • new tiling
  • overhaul of the retail outlets
  • fresh coat of paint
  • new signage to help customers move around the station easier
  • reduce clutter on the platforms

Now whilst we do welcome this refurbishment, we are left wondering why the lifts, which are now well beyond the operational lift and in constant need of repair and are also constantly breaking down.

Now whilst the lifts at Town Hall have been replaced and new lifts are being built at Circular Quay and in the not to distant future at Museum, it would be worth to point out that these lifts should be considered for replacement under this program to ensure their operational life can be assured but also to provide a much more stable accessible piece of infrastructure that is in high demand given that Sydney's CBD is getting even more busy day in and day out.

It would also ensure disabled people can be assured that if they travel on the train, they know they can get off at Wynyard without having to either somehow go back to Town Hall and wheel or walk back to their office building nearby to Wynyard Station.

However, like everything so far that the current transport minister and her office, Transport for NSW have announced, we certainly won't be holding out breathe waiting for Wynyards lifts to be replaced.

Do you think the lifts at Wynyard should be included in the $100million refurb package? we would like to hear your thoughts below

Monday, May 5, 2014

Last Waratah train has been delivered to Sydney Trains, so where are the plans for more new trains?

So a couple of weeks ago, A80 or the last Waratah train was delivered to Sydney Trains and is now undergoing the process acceptance trials for it to begin revenue service later on in the year and this got us wondering, where are the plans for more new and more wheelchair friendly accessible trains?

The short and correct answer would be that the current incumbent transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, does have any!

This got ask intrigued here at TfANSW because there is still going to be about 20-30 Silver sets (also known as S sets) that are not air conditioned nor very wheelchair accessible still around in revenue service simply to help provide additional capacity for the SWRL (South-West Rail Link) when it opens either sometime later this year or early next year.

What is even bluntly stupid on the Ministers behalf is that she could have ordered more Waratah train sets to fill this gap and finally get rid of the last of those ugly trains which have become more frequent to breakdowns along with the lack of audible announcements because of the electrical cables between the carriages are so worn or dirty they can't be fixed nor replaced because the greater costs.

So why is it that Gladys Berejiklian didn't order more of the trains from reliance rail (builders, financial and maintenance company of the Waratah train)?

There could be a number so reasons, namely because the current government did have to save the project and inject money to become the sole shareholder of reliance rail, but it still begs to ask, why not build more of Waratah trains because of this reason?

Is the government therefore also looking at getting single decked train sets because their argument is they can transport more passengers over double decked train sets (which Sydney trains currently have as their whole entire fleet) which has been proven is absolutely false, or could it be that they just don't have a plan because they are looking to fully privatise Sydney trains (which has been a rumor floating around for a while now)?

We have reached out to Transport for NSW and the Ministers office for comment but are yet to here anything from either party.

Do you think the Transport Minister should have ordered more Waratah trains or should they be looking for other types of train sets to replace the older S sets?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sydney Buses no longer selling PET, Family Funday Sunday tickets and MyMulti Day passes. Eastern Subs from April 28, rest of Sydney buses by June 1

The incumbent NSW Transport Minister's office through Transport for NSW, has announced beginning April 28, anyone catching any Eastern Suburbs Sydney Buses routes will no longer be able to purchase Pensioner Excursion Tickets (PET), Family Funday Sunday tickets and MyMulti Day passes.

What is even further stupidity displayed by the incumbents is that from Sunday 1st June all Sydney  Buses operated routes will be going to this new model, meaning anyone requiring PET, Family Funday Sunday or MyMulti Day tickets and passes will now need to pre-purchase these types of tickets and passes before boarding any Sydney Buses operated service.

Now call me stupid but given that most bus stops are within streets where nearby approved shops that sell these pre-paid tickets are far away it begs the question, why isn't the Opal card for concessioners and pensioners not yet active?

Surely this could solve the dilemma of having to first travel great distances just to buy a pre-paid ticket, to only walk again to the nearest bus stop? It just begs the question that given the adult opal card has been officially active and available for everyone who doesn't need a concession or PET version opal card and that the kids opal card has been available for purchase now for over a month, it's just mind boggling that TfNSW nor the incumbent (and quite honestly simple minded dumbness) transport minister will not give an exact time frame for the concession/pensioner Opal card.

What is purely obvious is that this transport minister whilst in opposition was ready to criticize the pervious labor government and promise that if they (the current Liberal/National Government) came into power that the opal card system would be available for all, but yet again we see nothing but pure laziness and blantant lying on Gladys behalf and I would question her intentions or motives for future increases or plans for the Opal Card system as I am sure we haven't seen any plans about future fare increases which is a very strong possibility.

In the mean time if you are a concession or pensioner within the Sydney Buses operation areas, we suggest you contact the ministers office or Transport for NSW to vent your anger at this major oversight!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Gladys Berejiklian - possibly the worst transport minister NSW has ever had or seen

Ok let be honest here, I am not a huge fan of Gladys Berejiklian, in fact I would go as far to say that I despise her simply for the fact she honestly lies and tends to think she is the best thing since sliced bread. In fact I have been known to even call her old Aunty Gladys, Gladys the wicked witch of NSW and ever Gladys Berejerklian or Gladys Itsaberejerliating.

But why would I declare her as the worst transport minister has ever had comes down to a few things that I have obeserved and seen, but also based her lack of consultation process and the way she talks down to us mere commoners, as she seems to think.

These are just some of the reasons why I believe Gladys is the worst transport minister:

1) lies, lies and more lies 

Gladys has touted a number of projects were done by her Government and whilst yes they did ensure they were delivered during her stewardship but they certainly weren't either announced nor started under her control. These projects include:

  • The inner west light rail - started and announced under NSW Labor. Delayed for 6 months before re commencement under Liberal/National Government
  • South West Rail Link - announced and started under Labor. Somewhat finalized but not opened under the Liberal/National Government 
  • Rail clear ways program - started and most projects completed under Labor
  • Waratah train project - announced, started and somewhat delivered under Labor but saved and completed under Liberal/National Government

As you can see, most of the top big projects in the last 4 years were either announced with part of the work either started or done under the previous labor government.

2) North West Rail Link - an expensive rail shuttle to nowhere

This has to be the most and quite honestly biggest broken promise provided.

Why? That's simple. The NWRL does not intergrate nor will it ever with the current Sydney rail network. It has become a shuttle service that will push more people to already overcrowded existing Sydney trains services on the North Shore whilst causing crush points in the existing network, namely on the western line as existing ECRL (Epping to Chatswood Rail Line) trains will be forced to use the Nother Shore line which is at over capacity per trains per hour.

Why the NWRL is so bad is because the trains will be smaller in height but also driverless which means there would be no one around to help disabled passengers on or off the train or during an emergency during the train journey.

Also the tunnels are so small in design, the do not allow any safety ramps to be installed along side the rails within the tunnels which the ECRL has in case of an emergency. This also worries me because it would mean in the event of a fire, anyone in a wheelchair met end up loosing their life because they can't get off the train and they would remain stranded.

The other issue is that the NWRL does not go into the city, instead to terminates at Chatswood forcing more people into already overcrowded train services during the peak periods

3) Excuses, excuses, excuses

One issue I have with Gladys is her constant ability to constantly have excuses for why the rail network or indeed the whole transport system is broken - its Labors fault. This is certainly one excuse I think could be used for the first 1-2 years, but being we are now heading into the 4th year of Gladys being the transport minister, using this excuse is pathetic and quite honestly a joke.

Go back to school if you want to use lame and quite frankly childish excuses and antics simply because you don't have a plan to honestly fix the issues.

4) Maintenance - whats that again?

Under Gladys watch, we have seen the rail network continue to crumble and in most cases halt to a screaming stall simply because the lack of maintenance planning on her departments watch.

Yes I get they are trying to streamline the process of how maintenance is carried out but there have been way too many maintenance breakdowns and there has to be a point where we all question what the hell is exactly going on? Are maintenance checks being carried out in time or regularly happening or is Transport for NSW just thinking if its not broken or showing "little" wear and tear, its fine.

Obviously something has to give and then change for things to finally be sorted. 

5) Consultation - thats right, I don't have to be here

This is where my main criticism of the incumbent transport minister really come from. The issue that is at the heart of everything is Gladys inability to actually consult and when I mean consult, I mean actually have various meetings with actual stakeholders, community groups and the public in general and come up with fantastic ideas that will assist and help people who use public transport and have a disability.

However we know that the Minister for Transport has on one occasion stated to a group of residents regarding the announced city light rail project and the issues surrounding Devonshire Street where told that she didn't have to be at the meeting. That to us sounds like a Minister who is too self righteous and quite frankly not really wishing to hear the concerns or ideas or suggestions on how to engage with the public.

My emphasis

Lets be honest here. Gladys Berekerklian (yes I know, I spelt her surname wrong but its an appropriate title) is incumbent and whilst some of her lets say concepts may be worth some little merit, there is a lot she & Transport for NSW need to actually do to really transport public transport.

Concepts are one thing, but it remains to see whether her concepts will actually pay off or whether yet again transport in Sydney & NSW will suffer again another stuffed up project.