M2 Bus Service
M2 BUS SERVICE
Mr MERTON (Baulkham Hills) [5.37 p.m.]: I bring to the attention of the House the demonstrated need in my electorate of Baulkham Hills and the adjoining electorates for urgent action to be taken by the Department of Transport. The introduction of the M2 bus service has been welcomed by many of my constituents and others in adjacent areas. I am sure that if the question were put to WestBus, the operator from my electorate to both the city and North Sydney, it would say that patronage has exceeded all expectations. However, a number of issues have been brought to my attention by constituents in relation to the lack of designated car parking facilities where they can leave their cars while they travel to their places of employment by
public transport. I have also had complaints from residents in streets in the vicinity of the city bus stops. Those residents are now faced with cars being parked all day, sometimes on both sides of the road, in narrow streets which were obviously never designed for such intensive parking.
This matter has been regularly raised over past months at Baulkham Hills shire local traffic committee meetings. My representative has advised me that at the meeting held on Monday of this week representatives from the council and the police stated that immediate action is needed to address the problem. I have spoken in this House on numerous occasions about the need for public transport for people within the Hills district. Some Government members have openly declared that they do not believe that Hills residents want public transport. The success of the M2 bus service disproves that. The Minister for Education and Training, who is at the table, does not hold that view. His electorate is adjacent to mine and he knows that more public transport is needed in the Hills.
Residents in Charles Street, John Street and Yattenden Crescent, Baulkham Hills, have experienced increased all-day parking in their streets caused by the success of M2 bus services. Many other streets could be added to the list, including Oakland Avenue, Baulkham Hills, and Perry Street, North Rocks. I am sure that my colleague the honourable member for The Hills could list just as many streets affected in the same way within his electorate.
I call on the Minister for Transport to give urgent attention to this very important issue. Everyone acknowledges that we must protect our environment. People should be encouraged to use public transport, but easy access to public transport is necessary if it is to be viable. People within the Hills district have to drive their cars to gain access to the nearest public transport to the city - the M2 express bus. The Department of Transport has had plenty of time to assess the situation along the route of the M2 to ascertain where suitable car parking facilities can be introduced. It is time for the department to come up with answers.
Integrated ticketing for all public transport services throughout Sydney - whether private or government services - is another issue the department should consider. Integrated ticketing would make it easy for people to travel around the city on public transport. They could then leave their cars at home. This issue is important not only to the Baulkham Hills electorate but to the whole of the Hills. The M2 has given easier, safer and, in many instances, cheaper access to the city. The only public transport in my electorate is by bus; there is no rail service. I have raised this matter many times in the Parliament.
At the forthcoming election a rail service to the Hills will be a major issue. I am confident that I will be able to go to people in the Hills and say that when the Opposition is returned to power on 27 March 1999 part of its policy will be to have a rail service to the Hills. In the meantime we have to allow people who want to use the M2 bus service to park their cars with safety and without clogging up streets. They should have a decent place to park that is safe. They will then be able to hop on the bus, travel to Sydney and return to find that their cars have not been vandalised. Public transport is a must for the Hills. The M2 is a great success but a car park for people who catch the bus is needed. [Time expired.]