Gong slow to embrace public transport

Wollongong is the worst-performing CBD of the six targeted by the NSW government to increase public transport usage, despite having the lowest target.

The NSW 2021 policy included a plan to increase the number of peak-hour trips to and from six CBDs made by public transport.

The CBDs are Sydney, Parramatta, Newcastle, Wollongong, Liverpool and Penrith. Each area has a target to reach by the 2016-17 financial year.

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The Wollongong CBD has the lowest target for peak-hour trips at 15 per cent.

Regional rival Newcastle is the next lowest at 20 per cent.

However, the 2011-12 figures showed that Wollongong is a long way from that target.

Figures from the NSW Bureau of Transport Statistics show that in 2011-12, just 8.5 per cent of peak-hour trips in and out of the Wollongong CBD were made by public transport - the lowest of the six CBDs.

Newcastle almost doubled Wollongong's 2011-12 results with 16.9 per cent.

A Transport for NSW spokesperson said the government was committed to getting more people catching public transport.

"While there is still a way to go, early figures from 2012-13 show the proportion of trips to and from Wollongong CBD by public transport has increased to 9.8 per cent," the spokesperson said.

"Wollongong's target is the lowest because it is coming off a historically lower base."

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the government was investing in new services and infrastructure.

"Earlier this year we introduced a new rail operator, NSW TrainLink, to focus on the needs of customers who travel longer distances from regional areas," Ms Berejiklian said.

"The 2013 train timetable has resulted in improved journey times from key stations such as Kiama, Dapto and Wollongong. The new timetable also includes an extra 125 express services."

The rollout of the Opal card on the South Coast rail line would make public transport more attractive to people in the Illawarra because of reduced ticket costs.

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