Commuters get chance to trial on-demand buses

Transport Minister Andrew Constance says on-demand shuttles will transform daily commuting habits. Photo: Ben Rushton

Transport Minister Andrew Constance says on-demand shuttles will transform daily commuting habits. Photo: Ben Rushton

Commuters will get the chance to book shuttle buses from or near their homes to a local transport hub within the next few months as part of a state government trial of on-demand public transport – including one at Wetherill Park.

Pricing for a standard trip will range from $2.60 to $5.60, and customers will be able to book online, by phone or via an app on their smart device.

The eight trials of on-demand services starting as early as October will be carried out in Sydney's north west, south west and west, the eastern suburbs, northern beaches, Sutherland Shire and the Central Coast.

A service at Wetherill Park and Greystanes to connect employment precincts to T-Way bus interchanges will start from late 2017.

Ride-sharing legislation that passed early last year deregulated the booking market for buses of 12 seats or less. The latest trials will be run by private operators such as Keolis Downer, Transdev and Transit Systems.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the trials were just the start of the state's transport future and would transform daily commuting for people across Sydney.

"Imagine not having to check a timetable because you know your service will be there when and where you need it," he said.

The trials include on-demand mini-bus and mini-van services for people living within 15 kilometres of Macquarie Park in Sydney's north from early next year.

On the northern beaches, services will run from Palm Beach to North Narrabeen to bus stops on the B-Line service which starts later this year.

At Bankstown, on-demand services will be available 18 hours a day from October for visitors, patients and employees of Bankstown Hospital for a standard fare of $4.

The other trials include:

  • A service at Edmondson Park to pick customers up from home or a nearby location and drop them at the train station.
  • A Sutherland Shire service from November to collect people from home or a nearby location in Jannali West, Sylvania, Caringbah and Gymea and take them to transport hubs or local shops.
  • A Manly and eastern suburbs service from November to pick customers up at home or nearby location and take them to Edgecliff and Bondi Junction stations, ferries at Manly or Rose Bay wharves.
  • A service starting early next year on the Central Coast to transport people to Woy Woy station from locations on the Woy Woy peninsula.

Since holding a "Future Transport" summit last year, the Transport Minister has sought to stamp his mark on the portfolio by ramping up his focus on the use of technology to enhance public transport services in the state.

He has said he wants to "do away with timetables" and extend the trial of on-demand public transport services to trains and ferries.

This month the government began a two-year trial of autonomous vehicles, which involves operating a driverless shuttle bus at Olympic Park.

The $20 billion-plus metro train line under construction in Sydneywill also not operate to a timetable; instead, driverless trains will run on the line every four minutes that will eventually extend from the city's northwest to Chatswood, the CBD, Sydenham and Bankstown.

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