A LONG-AWAITED report into ways of improving regional public transport falls short of calling for changes to the price difference between travel costs from Orange and Bathurst to Sydney.
But it recommends Transport for NSW examines and reviews the cost of fares on the NSW TrainLink and Sydney Trains networks, particularly where the two services connect.
As part of the Sydney Trains network Bathurst residents pay $17.20 to catch a coach to connect with the electric rail service at Lithgow.
For the same service, Orange residents pay $54.32 return, despite only travelling an extra 55 kilometres each way.
Member for Orange Andrew Gee has blamed the price difference on the previous Labor government’s decision to place Bathurst on the City Rail network.
He was unavailable for interview to discuss the final report of the Inter-Regional Public Transport Inquiry he chaired, but in a press release said a number of the report’s 31 recommendations were relevant to the Orange region and the NSW government would formally respond to the findings within six months.
The report calls for a statewide review of the connectivity between regional rail and coach services, and specifically mentions the anomaly of the Orange/Bathurst Bullet connection.
“An example of poor connectivity that the committee’s attention was drawn to was the fact that the NSW TrainLink coach service departing Orange each morning misses a connection with the new daily rail express service from Bathurst to Sydney by a matter of minutes,” the report said.
“This recently-introduced service has been well patronised and is an example of strong community support for improved inter-regional public transport.”
The report also refers to the antiquated nature of the rail line between Orange and Bathurst as a hurdle to faster rail services, but falls short of calling for improvements.
More broadly, the report calls for the Opal Card to be rolled out across the state, the scope of community transport in regional areas to be broadened, increased passenger comfort and onboard improvements, the identification of potential express services, and the purchase of rolling stock with tilt train technology.