Posts Tagged “network”

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The man in charge of rolling out Newcastle’s new bus network says it will be a “quantum step up” for commuters in the city.

Mark Dunlop took over from Keolis Downer Hunter chief executive Campbell Mason in December after 33 years in South Australia’s public transport system.

On Sunday, he will take the wheel as Keolis Downer’s Newcastle Transport launches an overhaul of bus routes and timetables six months after the state government privatised the network.

Mr Dunlop, who moved to Newcastle in September, said his team had drawn on customer and driver feedback, Opal data and the company’s Australian and international experience to devise the network.

“Overall, from what I’ve looked at this network, I’m very confident that the package overall is a quantum step up,” he said.

“The network here hasn’t changed since 2008, and, whilst I haven’t been in Newcastle for that long, but with any community the dynamics and geography and social parameters change over that time.

“Something that traditionally ran down the street in 1953 is going to change.

“Yes, will there be issues? Will there be people trying to work through it? It’s a big change. We understand that. We understand it can be daunting.”

Some commuters have complained about losing direct bus services to the CBD and other key destinations, such as shopping centres.

Mr Dunlop said the new network was based on routes feeding into “spines” of high-frequency services, which would require more transfers for some commuters.

“It’s all about high-frequency routes and feeding into those and giving more travel options. There are people who will have to change a bus, but that’s all been built in and timetabled.

“It’s not hop off a bus and wait 20 minutes.

“It’s all been timetabled to connect and you’re on a spine that’s with a 15-minute frequency.

“Our operations team and designers have worked hard to make sure that all meshes together.”

The company, which also runs bus networks in Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane, has drawn flak from Newcastle commuters and the government for underpaying drivers and cancelling services.

The Newcastle Herald reported this week that on-time running statistics for buses had deteriorated in the three months after Keolis Downer took over, a problem the company attributed to “Supercars, school formals and King Street congestion”.

Mr Dunlop would not disclose the firm’s targets for increased patronage on the new network but was confident the timetables had been “appropriately timed to real conditions”.

“I think all of us have to acknowledge what everyone’s been dealing with in traversing Newcastle,” he said. “That’s a matter of life, but the new network has taken that into account.”

He said the company would continue to adapt the network based on customer feedback.

Keolis Downer will have “travel concierges” and pink-shirted customer service staff on board buses and ferries from Sunday to help commuters.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5164294/keolis-downer-says-bus-changes-big-step-ahead-for-newcastle/

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Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes say new ferry stops at Stockton and Wickham should be a “very strong part” of the state government’s transport master plan for the Lower Hunter.

The state government’s Draft Regional NSW Services and Infrastructure Plan lists new ferry stops in Newcastle as an “initiative for investigation in 10 to 20 years, subject to business case development”.

But Cr Nelmes said a new ferry wharf to service Stockton’s 4000 residents, airport commuters and Port Stephens should be a priority, along with a stop near the new Wickham transport interchange.

Hunter Development Corporation is understood to have included a future Wickham wharf in its planning for a stretch of vacant Honeysuckle waterfront land near the marina.

“Linking passengers from the expanding suburbs north of the Hunter River, and from Newcastle Airport, directly to the interchange would certainly create a better commuter experience for those passengers, especially workers who commute daily for work,” Cr Nelmes said.

She said a new Stockton wharf could be built near the refurbished North Stockton Boat Ramp.

Newcastle City Council announced last week that it was investigating doubling the size of the car park at the Stockton terminal, from 120 to 250, and introducing paid parking. It has included a north Stockton terminal in its feasibility study.

The Newcastle ferry service catered for more than 450,000 passengers in the past year, according to Transport for NSW Opal card data, although the true number could be significantly higher.

Transport for NSW told the council in June that a draft of the 40-year Greater Newcastle Future Transport Plan would be released in the fourth quarter of this year.

“Exploring options for an additional ferry stop at north Stockton would naturally ease pressure on the Stockton terminal, and the surrounding commuter car parking, as well as providing a great option for commuters travelling to Newcastle from north Stockton and Port Stephens,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Ultimately, expanded ferry services should also be a very strong part of the NSW government’s integrated transport plan for Newcastle, along with all other modes of transport required to assist Newcastle transition from a great regional centre into an emerging global city.”

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp also urged the government to include the Wickham interchange in its short-term thinking, saying 10 to 20 years was far too long to wait.

Supercars will use the existing Stockton car park and parkland to the west and east as a paid parking area during the Newcastle 500 weekend in late November.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5023521/lord-mayor-urges-state-to-expand-ferry-network/

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THE region’s largest support group for mentors will present 26 scholarships to deserving students across the Hunter this month.

And, in 2017, it will all take place at the Parade Ring room of the Newcastle Harness Racing Club on Tuesday, February 21, from 1.30pm

Since the first two scholarships were presented in 2008, Mentor Support Network (MSN) has supported 149 pupils from Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Upper Hunter, Cessnock, Dungog and Muswellbrook.

Incoming chair Jon Chin says the educational scholarships would not be possible without the generous backing of their sponsors.

“This year marks the 10th anniversary since the scholarship program began,” Mr Chin said.

“The support from the wider business community and industry enables us to offer a real lifeline to help keep students at school.”

The scholarships are designed to assist eligible secondary or tertiary level students aged 15 years or older with their educational expenses.

Scholarships are granted to those students who demonstrate the drive and determination to achieve educational goals while experiencing a level of hardship.

Established in 2005, Mentor Support Network supports youth development organisations in the Hunter by providing regular networking events, annual forums, scholarship programs and youth mentor training.

Source: http://www.huntervalleynews.net.au/story/4456750/a-decade-of-youth-mentoring-support/