Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sydney Bus Outrage

Trim a bit here, chop a bit here, cut that bit out. How easy it is to alter bus routes, unlike trams where it much harder to alter a route.

In the early 2000s, along with R's sister and brother in law, we were staring up Bayswater Road in Kings Cross, vainly waiting for a bus to take us to the Quay.

Oh look, where did this one come from. Quickly, it says Circular Quay, we'll grab it. It had come down Darlinghurst Road and was continuing in that direction towards the Harbour. Little did we know. It felt like it took an hour to get to the Quay, but just checking timetables, it would have been a bit over thirty minutes.

The bus route begins at Railway Square, Central Station, and travels under the Eddy Avenue viaduct, down Elizabeth Street, Liverpool Street and Oxford Street where it then turns in Darlinghurst Road. You go along the main drag in Kings Cross and along Macleay Street before heading off towards Elizabeth Bay Road whereby it follows the circuit of the road and then does a marvellous diversion down Ithica Road and loops around to rejoin Greenknowe Avenue. The streets twist and turn, up hill and down dale. None of us regretted catching the slow bus to the Quay, it was such an interesting trip.

While it is only pretty well half hour service, the bus was quite busy, with people, most of them older local people, getting on and off the bus as we went. It was a very nice trip for us tourists but clearly a very useful local bus for local people. It seems not everyone in Elizabeth Bay is rich.

After that part, it goes down to Cowper Wharf Road and then back to William Street via back streets of Wooloomoolloo? and on to the Quay in a more conventional manner.

Now Sydney Buses want to chop off a bit of the route, the most interesting bit, the Ithica/Billyard/Onslow loop where the numbers are on the map. I don't doubt it is uneconomic, but I will plead that it is socially useful. Shame Sydney Buses. 'Want to' are perhaps wrong words, it is fait acompli. The service cut will start this coming Sunday.


  1. I think it is disgusting for the residents that they are cutting out the Elizabeth Bay loop from the trip.

    However the 311 is a peculiar service for reasons you have alluded to and the irony is that for the first bit of its route from Railway Square so much time is wasted on the journey.

    Intending passengers who assume the bus goes straight down Elizabeth Street to the Quay hail it and then do not board after the driver explains it goes all the way around Darlinghurst, Kings Cross and Elizabeth Bay.

  2. oh that description made me so nostalgic for the times I lived there years ago.

  3. Well...that's capitalism for you, and as long as people are self-serving and greedy, it's all anyone can expect.

  4. I haven't checked Victor, so don't you worry either, but would it be the only direct bus from Central to the Cross? But if only a half hour service, it might be quicker to find an alternative combo of bus train. The point being, perhaps that part of the route could be gotten rid of. Hard one, because I think it would be the only bus to go down Darlo Road.

    I am nostalgic for it Ann, and I have never lived there.

    In NSW Brian, the Labor Party is so on the nose, and justifiably so, it cannot be re-elected. Worse than UK Labour. However, no one seems to be embracing the Liberal (Tory) party either, also for good reasons. Maybe the socialist alliance will form the next government. Seriously, I would think there could be a big showing for the Greens. I don't know much about Sydney Greens, but I think they have done reasonably well in the past.

  5. It is the only bus route between Central and the Cross but there is a direct train link between the two which is quicker.

  6. Thanks Victor. So I go on to say, truncate the route, Kings Cross to the Quay via the old route.

  7. Tis a sad day the Lizzy Bay shuttle becomes less ,it's route takes in St Vinnies and the Sydney Eye Hospital, two places popular with many Lizzy Bay residents.

  8. Lizzie Bay, I like it Ian. So you clearly know of it then.

  9. Yes, some years spent living there

  10. The reason why it was chopped off is because those roads are too tight for low floor buses to turn in. They used to use the older buses which are higher off the ground exclusively on it.

    Now that they've got rid of it, I doubt there will be many (read: any) people in wheelchairs trying to catch the 311 anyway.

  11. Thanks Somebody. I had no idea of the real reason. Interesting way that the authorities think about such things.