See how Sydney commuters responded on social media to the bus route overhaul in preparation for the construction of the city’s new light rail network.
With a raft of new routes installed on Sunday, and a public holiday on Monday, Tuesday morning was the first peak period Sydney’s new bus setup was truly put to the test.
With the city’s busiest street for buses abandoned, many predicted chaos. NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley predicted a “nightmare” morning for commuters.
On Elizabeth – one street taking more of the traffic burden – Foley said: “We’ll see long tailbacks of buses and, of course, traffic for other motor vehicles confined to one lane in each direction.”
We will have to wait for formal statistics to come in to truly know the impact of the changes.
But the reaction – at least across social media – was far from chaotic.
In fact, tweets and other commentary ranged from pleasantly surprised, to mildly annoyed; rarely venturing into ‘total meltdown’ territory.
The Sydney Morning Herald quoted one “forlorn-looking” customer who was prepared for the changes, but said the timetable was “annoying,” because “it’s going to take me about 20 minutes longer to get to work”.
But those heading to Twitter to revel in the chaos were not rewarded:
I was hoping to have a giggle at angry commuters using the #sydneybuses hashtag, unfortunately it seems like people couldn’t be happier 🙁
— Simon Masterton (@OiSimmo) October 6, 2015
— Brooke Curlewis (@BrooklanaC) October 5, 2015
The transition wasn’t entirely smooth for everyone, however.
One commenter on the popular social sharing site Reddit said the removal of his bus stop had left him “lost on how to get to work”. Later in the morning, he updated: “I arrive, with Uber. 6.5x the cost of bus.”
Others on Twitter encountered some issues:
— Ian S (@ianyono) October 5, 2015
Sydney CBD transport coordinator general Marg Prendergast urged commuters to plan their journey from scratch under the new conditions, as many bus routes are impacted by the changes.
“We have been pleading with bus customers for weeks to plan for this change, but despite handing out more than 300,000 flyers and brochures, there will be some customers who still need to get across the changes,” Prendergast said on the eve of the overhaul.
“With any major change, it will take some time to bed-in, so we expect some issues will present themselves in the first days and weeks, but we will overcome that, improve the network where we can and support customers and staff.”
“Habits are hard to break,” Prendergast continued, “and there’s every chance a bus might take a wrong turn at some point – that’s why these changes are happening now, before we begin to close sections of George Street for light rail construction.
“If you’re frustrated with the changes, don’t take that out on the bus drivers – they are doing a great job learning new routes to ensure they keep delivering great service.”