MIL-OSI Australia: Better buses as Budget delivers for Western Sydney commuters

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Source: New South Wales Premiere

Buses carry more than 40% of public transport passengers in NSW, representing nearly 300 million trips each year.

The 2024-25 Budget will allocate $91 million towards a Bus System Upgrade program that will deliver major improvements for commuters.

The work, set to begin later this year, will see upgrades to 4000 Opal-enabled buses in Greater Sydney and another 1000 in outer metropolitan areas.

This will involve installing modern passenger communications including on-board screens and audio announcements, so commuters know which stop they are at and where to get off. It will also eliminate so-called ‘ghost buses’ by further replacing old technology to provide passengers with live, accurate information about when the next service is coming.

The project represents the first time this number of buses has received a coordinated overhaul in the state’s history.

The 2024-25 Budget will also inject $24.7 million over 4 years for more services, new routes and more Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs) in Western Sydney which will create opportunities for local manufacturers.

Key suburbs to receive critical changes include Penrith, St Marys, Mount Druitt, Marsden Park, Riverstone, Blacktown, Eastern Creek, Kemps Creek and Arndell Park – areas where the former government allowed development to occur but didn’t provide the essential transport services needed.

Investment in bus services for the North West will:

  • increase the frequency and service hours for many existing routes
  • provide more bus connections to train and metro stations to help reduce congestion and relive pressure on commuter car parks
  • deliver new routes that will connect passengers with schools, shops and employment hubs.

The Bus Industry Taskforce found the former government’s lack of investment in buses has not kept up with population growth in our west, leaving expanding communities at risk of becoming ‘Uber only’ communities.

The Budget sets aside a further $23.8m over 2 years for a statewide “Medium Term Bus Plan”. This was a crucial recommendation of the Bus Industry Taskforce that will address the needs and growth of different bus regions, and set a much-needed strategy for bus network improvements for the next 10 years.

This is part of the Minns Labor Government’s plan to build better, well-connected communities for NSW. To ensure people have reliable access to the essential services they rely on.

A plan to build a better NSW.

Premier Chris Minns said:

“This vital investment into our bus network means Western Sydney has greater access to services than ever before.

“These are modest upgrades that will make a major difference to passengers across NSW, while continuing our transition to net zero public transport and driving local jobs and manufacturing in the emission-free bus sector.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Western Sydney Prue Car said:

“People living in our fast-growing suburbs really rely on affordable transport options.

“Buses are an essential service that our community should be able to count on, whether that is their sole form of public transport or a vital connection to a nearby train station.”

Minister for Transport Jo Haylen said:

“Millions of people rely on buses – they’re the cornerstone of a thriving, interconnected and reliable public transport network.

“We’ve done a lot of positive work with buses since coming to government but there’s still more to do – and that’s what this investment will begin to deliver, especially for communities in our growing West.”

“Combined with our budget commitments to Metro West and Parramatta Light Rail, we’re covering all bases when it comes to connected, reliable public transport in Western Sydney.”