Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sydney Buses

Our first Sydney visit. Nifty Neville Wran was in power and I think the Eastern Suburbs Railway had not long opened and there were a whole heap of modern new buses and smart double deck trains too. It made Melbourne's public transport system look pretty sad.

Twenty plus years later, some of those buses still seem to be in service. However, most seem to be newer, some gas powered and some hybrid technology.

Like all modern public transport, you are not going to get a nicely padded and comfy seat. But otherwise, the Sydney buses are quite comfortable. I only have experience of one private bus company in Melbourne and although their newer buses are quiet enough, they seem quite rough riding compared to Sydney buses. Maybe Sydney roads are smoother. Actually, I think they are.

I certainly admire the Sydney bus drivers in the way they are reasonably tolerant of tourists who have no idea of where they are or are going, and the way the drivers get their buses around narrow streets and tight corners with a minimum of fuss. I noticed places where there had been alterations to make things easier for buses to navigate, but also places where things could be improved.

Motorists seem well adapted to interacting with buses with much letting in and out by both, unlike how Melbourne motorists see trams as an enemy and must be passed or their path blocked by any driving measure possible.

I was a bit mystified by the infrequent service on a couple of routes through the eastern suburbs, especially so as when the tram service operated, one was dispatched from Erskine Street Wharf and along King Street every thirty seconds in the evening peak heading off in the direction of Watsons Bay, not that they all went to Watsons Bay. Many stopped short somewhere.

Of course, now the Eastern Suburbs Railway carries many of the passengers that would have used the trams. There was an interim though, after the trams stopped and there were only buses and no trains. Methinks that might have pretty nightmarish period for eastern suburbs public transport users. It is impossible to imagine what it might be like now if not for the Eastern Suburbs train system.

The big thing while we were there was the expansion of pre pay buses. Only pre pay in the city area daytime weekdays and the number of prepay buses routes extended. After the dismal failure of T Card, I guess something had to be done to keep buses moving and not have drivers sitting stationary while selling tickets. I thought the information and the publicity about the changes was very good. Only the most idiotic would not have picked up about pre pay and tickets are widely available in shops.

On the whole, a decent tick for Sydney buses, with the qualifier of course that I did not have to use them to get to and from work.

Back to the Eastern Suburbs Railway. I used to think it was absurd that it did not go to Bondi Beach. I still do really. The argument that locals did not want it as it would bring even more people to Bondi Beach, while valid, does not hold up so well now, as the locals who use the train to Bondi and then the bus to Bondi Beach are badly affected by the overwhelming number of tourists who do the same. I could not believe the numbers of people on a summer Sunday a couple of years ago who caught the train to Bondi Junction and filled bus after bus to Bondi Beach.

I have the solution. Extend the train to Bondi Beach and then tunnel along the coast via Bronte and Clovelly to Coogee. City to Coogee via Bondi trains will have to be introduced to make it a frequent service. It would alleviate pressure on Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee buses, never mind Bondi Beach buses, and many people, such as us, would not get off at Bondi Beach but go on to one of the quieter areas.

I took these photos, so may well as add them.

Return Sydney Airport Gate Pass, valid for seven days.
Five day ticket covering all Sydney public transport, trains, buses and ferries and River Cat for a good distance out from the city. Does not cover Monorail or LRV. (tram) Used in conjunction with Airport Gate ticket for airport train service, but validation doesn't start until the next time used for normal public transport.

Tramway Museum of Sydney tram ticket. Existing tram travels on an old railway line.


  1. Anonymous2:57 am

    So what type of bus is this one Andrew?

    Maybe some research for a blog item is required.

    Sydney Anon.

  2. Anonymous3:14 am

    Here is another version:

  3. Odd vehicles Anon. Rail buses. Probably used by maintenance crews. Will see what I can find later.

  4. Anonymous12:56 am

    Back in the days when we all got pay envelopes ring a bell? They are pay buses used to deliver pay to rail staff.

  5. Well, they would be worth robbing then. I wonder if they had much security? Oh for the days of a handful of cash paid to you by your employer.