The biggest overhaul of transport in a generation in central Sydney is underway as we prepare to begin construction on the CBD light rail project.
Bus route changes came into effect on Sunday 4 October and, so far, the redesigned bus network appears to be running smoothly. People working and travelling into the city appear to have listened to the advice to familiarise themselves with the changes using the My Sydney website: www.mysydney.nsw.gov.au
However, we’re under no illusion that things will always run as smoothly as they have been for most people during the first days of the changes. They won’t. There will be major glitches and there will be times of huge inconvenience as we build the roads and rail that NSW deserves.
But my promise to you is this: it will be worth it.
It will be worth it to have less congestion in the city. It will be worth it to have more public transport options to choose from. It will be worth it to get home sooner and have more time to see your kids each night. In the meantime, thanks for your patience and positive attitude.
We’re expecting teething problems as commuters and bus drivers get used to the changes and we’re watching closely to identify any glitches as they arise. We have established an Olympics-style Joint Operations Centre to ensure the changes to bus routes we’ve made continue to keep people moving around the city during this busy time.
We have experts troubleshooting emerging issues, police motorcycle response teams are out managing congestion and bus marshals are out guiding people in the right direction – they’re dressed in pink so you can’t miss them.
We’ll keep a watching brief – if we see areas where we can make improvements, where the new network presents problems, we’ll deal with it as soon as possible.
With any major change, it will take some time to bed-in, so we expect some issues will present themselves in the first days and weeks, but we will overcome that, improve the network where we can and support customers and staff.
Habits are hard to break, and there’s every chance a bus might take a wrong turn at some point – that’s why these changes are happening now, before we begin to close sections of George Street for light rail construction.
This is one of the biggest projects, one of the biggest challenges this city will ever face and we are working hard to make it work.
Meanwhile, the brutal killing of police accountant Curtis Cheng as he left work in Parramatta has shocked the community and my thoughts are with his family and friends at this devastating time.
I find it difficult to believe that a 15 year old boy could undertake this kind of action without any form of help or assistance or encouragement, and I want to ensure the community that we will track those responsible down and they will face the full consequences of the law.
This latest incident leaves us in no doubt that Sydney has a problem with Islamic radicalisation. However, I can assure the community this is an issue that will be dealt with, and will be dealt with jointly with the Muslim community.