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MORE THAN NINE OUT OF 10 Sydney
businesses believe congestion has
worsened in the past 12 months, according
to the 10th annual NRMA Business
Members Congestion Survey.
The survey of more than 1000 fleet-
running businesses found that worsening
congestion is impacting their operations,
with two-thirds saying they used more
fuel than last year. Half of those surveyed
say their fleets spent an extra hour in
traffic per day on average and even more
time is wasted looking for parking.
NRMA Director Coral Taylor says the
result emphasises the importance of
completing congestion-busting projects
like WestConnex and NorthConnex.
“Congestion places a strain on families
trying to go about their lives, but the
impact on businesses is magnified,” she
says. “Getting stuck in traffic on a regular
basis sets off a chain reaction that impacts
economic growth by reducing capacity to
hire, invest, develop and expand.”
The NRMA Business Members
Congestion Survey found that businesses
have adjusted their operations to
address the city’s congestion by
allowing more travel time for deliveries
or callouts (52 per cent), rescheduling
meetings and appointments to avoid
peak hour (46 per cent) and changing
operating hours (19 per cent).
There was strong support for the
major infrastructure projects currently
underway to address this congestion,
with more than half saying they planned
to use WestConnex and/or NorthConnex
once they’re open.
CONGESTION REACHING CRISIS POINT
Why franchising will improve service and get you better value for money
Case for better public transport
YELLOW RIBBON SHINES
LIGHT ON TRAGIC STORY
This year’s Yellow Ribbon
campaign kicked off with a
spectacular light display on
the Sydney Harbour Bridge,
but the underlying message
is a sobering one.
The week-long event
remembers Sarah Frazer
and NRMA contractor
Geoffrey Clark, who were
killed on the Hume Highway
in 2012 when a truck
slammed into their vehicles.
Mr Clark was preparing to
tow Ms Frazer’s stricken car
in a breakdown lane, which
was only half the national
standard width and left
them dangerously exposed.
This year was timed to
coincide with global and
national Road Safety Weeks.
Further bolstering the
campaign was the Federation
#3500LIVES social media
messaging to reduce the
global road toll. In Australia,
posters of music icon Pharrell
Williams showed his stand
against texting while driving.
NRMA Director Marisa
Mastroianni says these
combined efforts show just
how critical it is to achieve
ongoing reductions in car-
related deaths: “When you
realise that nearly 1.3 million
lives are lost on the world’s
roads every year, it becomes
clear why these famous and
very busy people are
prepared to lend their time
to such an important cause.”
THE DECISION TO PUT the operation of
bus routes in Sydney’s inner-west up for
competitive tender has drawn a strong
reaction from some sections of the
community, but evidence from other
operations in Australia and overseas shows
the introduction of private operators gets
better results for customers.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance
says inner-west services had attracted the
highest number of customer complaints of
all metropolitan areas in recent years, and
that the routes also had some of the worst
results for punctuality. The results also
compared unfavourably to those of private
operators in neighbouring regions.
In its 2017 NSW Budget submission, the
NRMA discussed the benefits of contestable
public transport in terms of improved
service and value for money. This is backed
by a recent Infrastructure Australia report
that found transport supply contestability
leads to better customer service.
In 2016, the Auditor-General found that
franchising Sydney Ferries resulted in a 12
per cent reduction in costs to taxpayers
and, in his words, “good service performance
and effective risk transfer from government
to the private sector operator”.
The Infrastructure Australia report also
found that improved customer service from
franchising led to increased use of public
transport, reducing traffic congestion.
Early signs are positive in Newcastle,
where Transport for Newcastle will take
over running bus, ferry and light rail
services. The operator has promised better
and more frequent transport options,
including late-night and on-demand
services. While the private sector will plan
and run the services, the NSW Government
will still own assets, including depots and
wharves, and will continue to set Opal fares,
service levels and timetables.
Franchise operators will have to reapply
for contracts every five to 10 years and will
only have contracts renewed if they meet
high standards for safety and ser vice.
OR0717_NEWS 02.indd 14
19/6/17 3:14 pm
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