December 10 - 16, 2017: Issue 341

B-Line Two Weeks On: Feedback Being Monitored - Newport Residents Update

The first two weeks of the new B-Line and 199 Services has now elapsed and people have had a chance to experience in person what was so long pondered - would this be better, would it be faster, would the conglomerate of new services and ending old services encourage people to leave the car at home and thereby contribute to decongestation of our local roads?

The Answer is a mix of: yes, no, and a stream of;
'It's longer, more crowded'
"Elderly people are having to change buses to get a little way down the road' and even 
"Buses are just driving straight past people or telling them they have to wait for another bus.'
'The seats are hard (BLine Buses), the top floor roof is too low, the stairwell too narrow.'

Those who have to change to a 199 during peak hour have found making a connection to one of these at Mona Vale means waiting 20 minutes for a 199 bus to turn up after already spending an hour and 10 minutes on the commute out from town. The new 199 is an every half hour service, so a little finessing may streamline the connections. This is especially relevant for young adults being stranded on the way home late at night; one recent related incident shows a B-Line from town running late and the last 199 leaving Mona Vale on time means those on the BLine running late would miss their connection and have a long walk or a long wait if taxis weren't available

Those who have had to make these connections at Mona Vale during peak hour are finding their total commute is now two hours or longer and then the hike home.

One example of feedback;
' My first experience of the B line today. Quite disastrous. Lift to Mona Vale from Avalon and the first two B line buses failed to arrive. The third one didn’t stop to pick us up. Were we all at the wrong stop? Must have been 15 of us at least. Coming home from Wynyard three buses failed to arrive. Reaching Mona Vale I called a friend for a lift. '
The cancellation of the L90 into town during peak hour has caused commuters to board the E88 or E89 from North Avalon to City. The stopping pattern for this has been modified with services operating all stops to Narrabeen then stopping only at Neutral Bay Junction and the City. This too is a service commuters have stated has driven straight past them at stops to Narrabeen, some as close as three stops south from where it commences at Careel Head Road, North Avalon, or has been 'too full' to take on new commuters. Perhaps a remedy, as suggested by those who used to use the L90, may be to switch the timetables and reinstate the half hour L90 and make the 199 the hourly service. Then the E88 and E89 could return to their original limited stops and smooth commute inwards and outwards.

After watching the 199's run one after another out of Palm Beach and back to Palm Beach during the last two weeks, most were empty and some running almost on top of each other. Possibly a great service for visitors during Summer but clearly not meeting the needs of residents commuting. The increase in car traffic to and from Palm Beach during the 6.30 a.m. to 7.30 a.m. time frame is also an indication that many have given up on buses, already.

The L88, City to Avalon Route has been discontinued, replaced by B-Line services, which stop at Mona Vale, so more buses to catch to connect north and the end of a 'just get aboard and relax until you're there' dream for some commuters. Those in Warriewood Valley have also found their services reduced, stranding older residents and those with younger family members.

Commuters further south have found the cancellation of the E36 from North Curl Curl frustrating while those commuting from Manly to North Sydney find an all stops route is making their travel time longer and that buses are always full. Those who used the off the main road bus routes in Dee Why are stating they now have a 25-30 minute walk to connect to new services. Students commuting, some young, are having to swap buses to get to school and have added walking time between stops to meet others, which don't connect around the same time, adding stress and travel time to their to and fro.

At Mosman the closing of the bus stop at Military Road and Lang Street has meant the fare from North Sydney has changed from $2.15 to that which reaches the next stop at Military Road and Bond street, to $3.58, or an increase of $7.15 per week, or an increase over the 50 weeks of a year, if you get a two week break, of $357.50.

Those who would like to see some modifications are advised; "Transport for New South Wales will continue to monitor feedback and the demand and capacity on bus services, including those services..." (that are being missed/found wanting). There is also a feedback form available here (buses).

It's still early days but the new timetables are up at bus stops, a small indication of lots of work being done quickly if you consider how many bus stops there are. Fortunately there have also been people who have found their bus arrived on time, stopped and picked them up, and they then arrived in town on time. Others are finding the new services 'great'.

The carparks aren't finished - the first stage of the Warriewood car park is slated to be open prior to Christmas, with Manly Vale (and that fancy green wall) due for completion in 2018. The introduction of AM peak bus lanes in Balgowlah and Neutral Bay is also proposed in early 2018, although how these differ from the current bus lanes is not explained.

Either way, for people who aren't bent on going into town, the GSC's 'work within 30 minutes of where you live' may yet be realised and those who are finding it hard to get within 30 minutes of where they live right here and right now, especially with changes or bus route cuts, may find discontinued services reinstated - it's happened before. 

As construction work will continue in 2018 Transport for NSW anticipates the public will see the full extent of improvements upon program completion.

Next year is also the year slated for extending the BLine to Newport. Newport Residents Association and Community representatives have recently met with Transport for NSW and Northern Beaches Council reps to discuss the plans for Newport including informing those at the meeting of the collection of over 1000 signatures for a petition that basically calls for less smarmy PR and more detail:

I will not support the extension of the B-Line to Newport without having a fully developed and researched plan to judge. Everything exposed to us as yet threatens to increase traffic congestion, threatens our local and beach parking, threatens our trees and threatens our village life. I want a public transport solution that works for the whole Peninsula.

By the conclusion of the meeting the most senior rep of each of TfNSW and NBC appeared to understand the frustration from community stakeholders north of Newport to the lack of response regarding services, delivery and routes. NRA contended that their services proposals had been inflexibly based on historic Opal and ABS data versus the community groups position that 'you can’t judge the usage of a public transport service until you have provided it and asked the community what it wanted.'

The resident's association pointed out the need for greater awareness of the sensitivities surrounding a Newport extension and the necessity for extension of the consultation to include the communities north of Newport to Palm Beach. Transport NSW and NBC accepted  there was a need to ensure that there is an ongoing dialogue with the community and considered responses (and revisions, where necessary).

The meeting also confirmed that the current intention is not to acquire private property for the proposed roundabout. Although proposal aim is for “a more comfortable” sized roundabout than kamikaze corner, it will: a) require removal of the nearest, small Norfolk Pine and b) extend into the bike path area.

Putting in the proposed roundabout, it was stated, will be more expensive than building more parking elsewhere (eg, Mona Vale) due to complexity of re-positioning underground services, etc.

A draft considering all the feedback provided so far will be provided for community feedback early next year as part of the Planning Process - visit the B-Line Newport page to download the documents available.

The NSW Government's Transport for NSW Future Transport Technology Roadmap for NSW, set out five strategies for the network, defined as:
  1. Personalise customer interactions: moving to customised, integrated service systems, smart digital mobility platforms, and frictionless access and payments
  2. Transform the mass transit network: incorporating automation to improve safety, service frequency and travel times and attract customers from private car use
  3. Foster shared, demand-responsive services: enabling flexible, shared use service models
  4. Enable connected and automated vehicles: supporting vehicles and enabling infrastructure that improves mobility services, efficiency, reliability and safety
  5. Create intelligent transport networks, managed with data: installing technologies and building networks that actively gather data, using Artificial Intelligence and real time analytics to optimise capacity and planning.
The Future Transport Strategy is focused on six key outcomes for the future of mobility in the State, which together aim to positively impact the economy, communities and environment of NSW. These are listed as;
1. Customer focused – Every customer experience will be seamless, interactive and personalised by technology and big data.
2. Successful places – By having a local focus across New South Wales, we support the growth of communities, places and the economy.
3. Growing the economy – A transport system that powers our State’s $1.3 trillion economy and enables economic activity across the State.
4. Safety and performance – The transport network will provide every customer with efficient, safe and secure travel across a high performing network.
5. Accessible services – Making it possible for everyone to get the most out of life, wherever you live in NSW.
6. Sustainable – By building a more efficient network we deliver benefits for our environment, economy and wellbeing.

Achieving these outcomes is to underpin every planning decision.; 'To attract more people to public transport and grow customer satisfaction levels, we need to provide better connections, improve service frequency out of peak hours and offer more flexible services. services.s We need to continue expanding the reach and responsiveness of services, while addressing pain points such as overcrowding and congestion to convince reluctant customers and customers of different ages and abilities to use our services.' - Future Transport 2056, Our Customers

Some of this is to meet the NSW Government’s Digital Strategy - Launched in May 2017, the Digital Government Strategy "sets the vision and imperative for the whole of government transformation to a digital, responsive and agile public sector. It drives an ambitious agenda for leveraging digital technology to deliver smart, simple and seamless services to the people of NSW."

As so many older Readers have pointed out, they prefer a paper timetable (these are available - just ask for them), to know the bus they are going to catch will be wheelchair or walking stick friendly and to catch a bus that will take them where they have to go without having to make too many route changes. What may happen, or is happening already according to some using the new services, is a greater sense of isolation instead of the connection and connectivity this grand vision has set as its goals under 'Customer focused' and 'Accessible Services'.

For those who still don't want to use Apps, read their news online or access data, services and information online, this disconnect will grow and instead of creating 'Livable Communities' for a growing aging population, a system that entrenches voiceless isolation may have been established. This may lead to a rise in privately run community buses to fill the gap but what if it does not...

While the discussion and feedback continues a constructive amount of input is occurring which is the opposite of trying to trip up runners as they leave the starting gate. We also have one community member who is determined to collect and collate feedback - details below.

Northern Beaches People 

As promised I’m launching a website to collate our case for better buses on the northern beaches and present it to government and the media.

As I’d like to make an impact with a credible information plus story sharing place on the web would you please take a moment to email me your experience so far with the new service. Let me know your name, age if willing and location and what the difference it has made negative (or positive). Give me as much detail as you can to

As per this photo I would like to quote you so please let me know if you would rather remain anonymous. PLEASE share this information  - let’s mobilise and make this count people!

Experiences related so far:

December 3rd, 2017
1. At 11:48pm I received a text from my son saying he's '...' if he doesn't get to Mona Vale by 12:47am. He is on a BLine which left Wynyard just before midnight. He needs to catch the last 199.
2. At 12:19 I realised that there was a good chance he would indeed miss the connection as the B1 was running 6 minutes late so I drove to Mona Vale.
3. At 12:47am the 199 arrived and only one passenger (a young hospitality worker) was waiting. I asked the driver if he would mind waiting because the B1 was running a few minutes late and this was the last 199. At first he said 'No I can't' but then while talking to him thankfully the B1 arrived and around 15 people got off, all of them apart from my son who was coming with me got on to the 199 (they were so happy to see it there).

Note the majority were female and if the 199 had not waited there would not be another bus until the 188 service at 2:15am stopping at Avalon Parade.
The people of the peninsula deserve better than this don't you agree? I am committed to collating and publishing these stories over and over again until we can get this fixed. 

L90 Gone
December 1, 2017
Several of my friends & neighbours work in hospitality at Palm Beach, live around Avalon & North Avalon, only one drives, all their hours of work differ...
Until this week, they all caught the L90 bus to & from work, walking dark streets home from the bus stop;
however, the new bus service no longer runs at a time to bring them home, when they finish work late at night or in the early morning hours.
The only one who drives is now forced to drive to work & even though the holiday season has not started, is having extreme difficulty parking car;
The others CAN NOT AFFORD, nor easily get Uber or Taxi from Palm Beach at work hour finish time - late at night or early hours of morning.
The new KEORIDE bus service designed to slot in to the VERY LARGE GAPS in between the new BUS SERVICE DOES NOT RUN late at night or early morning.
What are these hard working people who supply the service for other's celebratory nights out meant to do? (Food, service, kitchen wash-up, cleaners...)
Public Transport is failing us, to the point of non-existence, at the Northern end of the Northern Beaches.
I have had a love-hate relationship all my life with the 190, then L90... it was SUCH A PAINFULLY SLOW TRIP, BUT, it ALWAYS WENT

Helen Crozier


Bus Rapid Transit Interchange At Mona Vale 

Mona Vale Residents Association: September 22 , 2015 - Community News, October 2015

Investigative Drilling is currently being undertaken in Beeby Park Mona Vale and Village Park Mona Vale by Transport NSW. They are looking at potential sites to build the bus rapid transit interchange. A number of sights are being looked at around the MV CBD.

MVRA contacted Transport NSW this week and found out there are 5-6 sites under investigation around Mona Vale.

The state owned Bus depot in Darley Street is also being looked at as a potential transport hub. This is a site that the Mona Vale Residents Association think should be seriously considered as it will not have an impact on green open space and will be far better for traffic movements. 

We are now seeking a meeting regarding this matter with Transport NSW. It is disappointing that communication with the community had completely been ignored. 

Pictures courtesy Mark Horton

Misleading B-Line Rumours Are Unhelpful - Issue 328 - September 2017
B-Line Services Reaches Its Day One - includes downloadable PDF's on new routes and On Demand Service details