Urban and suburban rail
Policy: The Science Party supports the creation of additional train lines, particularly underground rail, through suburban areas currently devoid of any train stations. We support the creation of an Epping-Rouse Hill line in particular.
Discussion: Many outer suburbs of Sydney rely on buses that need to travel up to 40 minutes to the nearest rail line. Even fewer services are available outside of Sydney. This situation discourages public transport use and encourages the use of private vehicles. Building train lines assures ongoing public transport services to an area, allowing local services and town centres to build up around them.
Policy: The Science Party opposes privatisation of existing publicly-owned rail lines.
Discussion: The NSW government is planning to replace several existing rail lines with “Metro” lines, and in the process convert ownership and operation to private companies. This is privatisation by stealth. The Science Party does not oppose privatisation or private-public partnerships wholesale; however, the privatisation of lines is substantially different from using a public-private partnership to build new infrastructure. Sufficient justification of the value of privatising the lines—in terms of the ongoing costs and revenue of the lines, the cost to users and the impact of competition—has not been presented to the public.
Discussion: The replacement of heavy rail is being presented as an upgrade to newer standards which include automation and safety gates. However, while the Science Party supports the creation of new infrastructure and the introductions of automation and safety measures, the Sydney Metro project is replacing a functioning system in many parts of the city instead of extending services to areas which have no rail services. Extended closures during the changeover period will also heavily impact users. For example, the bus replacement service between Epping and Chatswood is expected to last for 7 months.
Policy: The Science Party opposes the closure of the Carlingford line to be replaced with light rail.
Discussion: The Carlingford line is due to be closed and replaced with a light rail service. This conversion prevents the completion of a long-planned train line from Chatswood to Parramatta via Epping and Carlingford. The light rail service is billed by the government as 'connecting Parramatta' but does the opposite. The newly installed North-West rail line will be extraordinarily hard to access by rail from Parramatta, whereas a rail connection from Parramatta to Epping using the existing Carlingford line would allow North West metro users to quickly change trains to go to Parramatta.
Policy: Improvement and expansion of bicycle infrastructure in NSW.
Discussion: Driving accounted for well over half of all travel in NSW in 2014/2015, and the length of car trips was on average about 10 km ('How far do people travel by mode?'). Meanwhile, less than one quarter (PDF, 742 KB, via www.cycle-helmets.com) of NSW residents cycle monthly.
Cycling reduces road congestion, improves the environment and improves health. It is an excellent way for most people to make trips that are just a little too time-consuming to walk, and which might not be well-serviced by buses, e.g. from home to the nearest train station. Cutting down on driving for short trips has the potential to significantly reduce road congestion.
To encourage increased bicycle use, facilities must be in place to ensure that cyclists can travel safely. While bicycle networks in NSW are improving, many routes within cities are not properly connected, which forces cyclists to choose between using dangerous roads, using footpaths inappropriately, or not cycling at all. Attempts to 'retrofit' bicycle infrastructure to existing roads can put cyclists at risk. For example, many streets have bicycle markings in the door spaces of parked cars, which puts an expectation on cyclists to travel in an unsafe space on the road. The Science Party will conduct a review to determine dangerous road infrastructure that should be removed or upgraded to improve cyclist safety.
The development of bicycle infrastructure should be considered during the construction of new major transport projects.
Badgerys Creek airport area development
Policy: Heavy rail to the Badgery's Creek Airport.
Discussion: The Science Party strongly supports the NSW and Australian governments’ commitment to build a train line to the second Sydney airport site. This rail line must be operational by the time the airport opens (estimated mid-2020s), to minimise the impact of increased road traffic on local residents and to ensure that the airport development achieves the greatest return on investment.
Policy: Create a high-density business and residential zone close to (but outside the flight paths of) the airport.
Discussion: Areas that are close to airports but not under the flight path experience relatively little noise pollution. These areas have great potential for residential and commercial development. The Science Party proposes the development of a high-density Badgerys Creek residential and business hub.
Policy: Deregulate the taxi industry to encourage competition in the ride-for-hire industry and to decrease costs for operators and customers.
Discussion: Taxi customers face high prices and inconveniences (e.g. taxis refusing short trips), while many drivers make less than the minimum wage after deducting the costs of leasing the taxi and fuel, for a job that is often difficult and sometimes dangerous. Meanwhile, efficient ride-sharing services (like Uber) which promote passenger and driver safety by tracking trips, spent a long time under a legal cloud in most states and territories. Currently, the NSW charges taxi and Uber drivers a $1 surcharge per trip to compensate taxi licence plate holders, as is the case in most states.
The the current structure of the taxi industry is inefficient, with high taxi licence fees serving as a barrier to entry for drivers. Transport for NSW should instead maintain a hire car driver authority registration system, to ensure the safety of passengers and providers by requiring that:
Providers are properly qualified to provide these services;
Vehicles comply with minimum standards; and
Providers are properly insured.
This system should be open to any suitably qualified driver, for only the cost of maintaining the register, and be valid for driving across taxis, hire cars, and rideshare systems such as Uber.
Trams and Buses
Policy: The Science Party supports the development of dedicated public transport corridors to accommodate high-frequency, high-speed services between the CBD area of Sydney and junctions in the inner suburbs that connect to local bus services. We wish to thoroughly consider the issue of redundancy when implementing the tram system. In particular, current proposals have all major bus routes from both the eastern and western suburbs rolled into a single tram line along George st. This exposes transport across the entire CBD to possible failure in the case of breakdown.
Policy: The Science Party supports purchasing additional larger buses, such as double-decker and articulated (bendy) buses as a means to increase capacity on long range and popular routes with limited investment. These buses may also help with the connections between the tram junctions in the east and the west of the inner suburbs. These larger buses should have larger doors and allow entry through all doors. Buses which allow people to enter through the doors at the back of the bus should have cameras, flashing lights and beeping alarms to inform passengers that the doors are closing.
Policy: The Science Party supports the creation of bus stations that will allow passengers to get on and off buses more quickly at popular stops. The bus stations will have ticket readers to let passengers swipe their tickets before they get on and after they get off the bus.
Policy: Legalise testing of driverless vehicles in NSW with an aim to introduce driverless cars to NSW roads.
Discussion: The Science Party believes that driverless cars, trucks and public transportation should be legalised for a testing program in NSW, with aims to introduce driverless cars as regular vehicles on the road as soon as is practical and safe.
Driverless cars have already shown reduced collision rates compared to human drivers, and can also drive more efficiently and find quicker routes. They may also increase the efficiency of car share schemes, meaning few cars per capita. Driverless cars prevent intoxicated driving and increase the mobility of people who cannot drive, as well as allowing people who would otherwise drive to use their travel time for work or recreation.
Transport Modelling Transparency
Policy: All transport modelling should be released, to inform the public about expected costs, minimum operating viability, transportation times and maximal capacity.
Discussion: The release of transport modelling will allow residents of NSW to understand the implications of transport decisions, which will aid them in making decisions such as where to live, what mode of transport to use, and which transport infrastructure plans are the best.
High Speed Rail
Policy: Creation of a high-speed rail link from Brisbane to Melbourne, via Sydney and Canberra.
Discussion: The creation of a high speed rail-link will occur in several stages, as distance and population size will determine feasibility. The feasibility of incorporating unutilised and under-utilised tracks, such as that between Redfern and Bankstown, should be investigated as a part of the high speed rail corridor.
Importantly, this system will be designed such that no change in trains is necessary between these cities, and travellers will be delivered directly to the centre of the city. This is in contrast to current domestic air travel, which requires 15–30 minutes’ travel from the CBD to the airport plus time to navigate the airport.