Double-decker buses are back as NSW phases out bendies

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A man travels in a double-decker bus as it passes the Bank of England in central London March 24, 2010. Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi

The State government has announced its plan to phase out congestion-causing bendy buses. This means the double-decker could be back for good.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government will spend $1.5 billion for the purchase of over 170 buses under the New South Wales budget this year. The amount is expected to be handed down next week.

There will be additional 42 buses and 134 will replace ageing buses. Per the Daily Telegraph, the fleet will also include six double-decker buses.

The additional buses will assist in adding more than 3,300 weekly services across Sydney, the Illawarra, the Central Coast and Hunter. Berejiklian stressed there is no doubt some communities are dependent on extra bus services.

Phase out bendy-buses

Berejiklian said the move is part of a commitment to “phase out bendy-buses that cause increased congestion on our streets.” In the northwestern suburbs out to Blacktown and Sydney’s Northern Beaches, double-decker buses are already in service.

There are also plans for improvements to key corridors across Sydney in order to provide better bus access and advance reliability of bus services. Berejiklian noted people are not only using public transport to go to work. She explained it is important to provide as much frequency, flexibility and longer hours as they could, since people are also reliant on public transport to move around and socialize.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance believes the commitment will result to more services and would create new routes. It would also extend operating hours and delivering bus priority infrastructure.

“This is not just about adding more services, but also allowing for future growth,” Constance added. He confirmed bendy buses would be replaced by double-deckers, adding it is the way to go.

The management of Sydney's bus network was quick to react about the latest announcement. Rail, Tram & Bus Union's bus division secretary Chris Preston said he thinks it is ridiculous.

Preston argued the three-door bendies are faster to load and unload. "And I can't see double-deckers going around back streets where trees overhang,” he continued.

But Constance said the plan is a better way in terms of road space as the roads for bus commuting are better utilised. As for when all bendy buses would be replaced is yet to be announced. David Bennett, director of the Sydney Bus Museum, said bendy buses were introduced to replace double-deckers in Sydney in the 1980s.

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