Roads and Maritime Services integrated into TfNSW

Transport for NSW this week announced the integration of functions of the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) into the agency.

The changes were first announced in April as part of an administrative overhaul following Gladys Berejiklian’s state election win earlier this year, but the passing of the Transport Administration Amendment (RMS Dissolution) Bill 2019 on Tuesday formalised these changes.

“The passing of this Bill enables a more integrated and strategic approach to transport for everybody in the State, leading to better roads and services,” minister for transport and roads Andrew Constance said.

“With $55.6 billion being invested in transport and roads infrastructure over the next four years, an integrated transport agency that meets the needs of the community is vital.”

“With a single transport agency we will no longer have roads being built in one corner and transport delivered in another, without anybody talking to each other. These changes will better serve our community with a new fit-for-purpose, ready-to-respond transport agency.”

Minister for regional transport and roads Paul Toole added that TfNSW is now better placed to plan and deliver roads, transport, and freight movements across the regions due to the integration.

“This re-organisation is not about cuts, we have given a solid commitment that there will be no job losses in regional NSW,” Toole said.

Earlier this week, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the changes mean a major reshuffle of TfNSW’s senior positions. Based on internal documents it obtained, SMH reports that the roles of many executive-level managers have disappeared and their names are absent from the proposed structures for each of TfNSW’s divisions.

NSW Govt adjusts traffic lights in Newcastle to improve tram awareness

Transport for NSW has released a statement urging road users in the Newcastle CBD to be tram aware due to a number of near misses since the launch of the city’s light rail service in February.

Road and maritime services director for the Hunter, Anna Zycki said that there had been in excess of 200 near misses around Stewart Avenue, Steel Street and Worth Place in the last few months due to motorists travelling through red lights and nearly colliding with trams that have the right of way.

In response to these incidents, Roads and Maritime Services has adjusted traffic light phasing and installed new signs at Stewart Avenue to raise awareness among drivers of passing trams. Zycki added that signs would also be installed on Steel Street “in coming weeks”.

Keolis Downer employee and tram driver Corey Moore and NSW Police Chief Inspector Amanda Calder joined Zycki in stressing the importance of vigilance among drivers as the light rail service becomes increasingly embraced.

“NSW Police will be out monitoring driver behaviour around the sites over coming weeks, but it’s important to remember police can be out in force, new signage can be put in, and traffic lights can be adjusted, but at the end of the day – drivers and other road users need to be aware of their surroundings and take care on and around the road,” she said.

Moore added that drivers should always be aware around light rail tracks.

“As tram drivers, we are trained to look out for other drivers and pedestrians,” he said. “We are being extremely cautious as we travel through intersections, but trams can’t stop quickly or easily and the close calls we’ve had are really concerning.”

The Newcastle Light Rail service, part of Transport for NSW’s Revitalising Newcastle project, launched on February 17 and runs 2.7 kilometres from Wickham to Newcastle Beach.