TRANSPORT - Illawarra Over The Next 20 Years
The NSW government discussion paper on the region's future says what the people of the Illawarra have long known - our public transport system needs some serious work.
During 2010-11, only 5 per cent of all trips in the Illawarra used public transport.
By 2016, the government wants to increase commuter trips on public transport to the Wollongong CBD to 15 per cent, which the discussion paper called "an ambitious target".
However, the paper does point out people can be swayed to use public transport more often, citing the Gong Shuttle, which carries up to 11,000 passengers a day.
"Public transport use can increase if we make the most of the existing network by supporting more people to use bus and rail services," the discussion paper stated.
"Improved bus services must be able to compete with private car use and we need to provide better access to rail services and improve the integration of services."
Brett Whitworth, regional director for southern region for Planning NSW, said the discussion paper released today would help with feedback on where public transport improvements should be made.
"What we're going through in the planning process is identifying how to make the conditions right so as to provide improved public transport, whether it's providing more shuttle services on the South Coast line or increased frequency of the shuttle services, or the increased delineation of particular bus corridors," Mr Whitworth said.
The discussion paper also deals with the issue of freighting of goods in and out of Port Kembla.
"There is a freight challenge of connecting the port to its markets, connecting the port to the coal-producing areas," Mr Whitworth said.
While the paper identifies the Maldon-Dombarton rail link as a potential solution, it focuses on road as the main way of moving freight over the next 20 years.
"Transport for NSW is looking at how the South Coast rail corridor can be improved so that some of those freight challenges can be met," Mr Whitworth said.
"Maldon Dombarton is an important issue that needs to be investigated.
"But it's not a case of 'If the Maldon Dombarton doesn't go ahead that the whole thing falls apart', because we're looking at other options," he said.