We are asking the Minister for Transport to commission a public feasibility study into the construction of a park-and-ride facility near the eastern end of the M4 (where the Olympic Park train line crosses the M4 and Parramatta Road), to enable express trains from there to Strathfield and Central.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is the Sydney Alliance working on this?
- Is it achievable?
- How does M4 Park & Ride fit in with broader transport planning and the WestConnex project?
- What else is the NSW Government saying about this issue?
- What options would be available for commuters to access the M4 Park & Ride?
- Is there enough rail capacity and demand for the service?
- How will this fix problems on the M4 and Parramatta Road?
- How many people will this affect?
- How does the M4 Park & Ride relate to the concept of a Transport Oriented Development?
- What upfront costs will be involved in building the M4 Park & Ride?
- What ongoing annual costs are associated with running the M4 Park & Ride project?
Why is the Sydney Alliance working on this?
Transport between Western Sydney and other parts of Sydney is a significant issue that affects huge numbers of people.
Hundreds of people brought up the issue of traffic and the difficulties in getting around during our listening campaign around Sydney.
The M4 Park & Ride project at Olympic Park offers an opportunity to divert cars onto a park and ride facility, meaning there would be less cars that travel into the city, causing greater congestion and delays. It also provides a facility for those living in suburbs far from train stations to park and get onto the network.
Many who would park and ride cannot because commuter car parks are full and street parking (especially at stations on the Western Line like Granville and Strathfield) is not available or convenient.
All these people will be able to drive to the Park & Ride station, park and catch a shuttle service into the city.
Finally, as the final stages of planning for the multibillion dollar WestConnex project are underway, this is the best time to ensure that efficient public transport is included ‘in the mix’ of travel options.
If the full Westconnex project goes ahead, there will be road works on Parramatta Rd and tributaries for the next decade, making greater access to the public transport system to avoid traffic congestion highly desirable.
Is it achievable?
Yes. Compared to other proposed public transport infrastructure, the project itself is relatively inexpensive (see below) as significant parts of the required infrastructure are already in place. The first step is to work with the Sydney Alliance to develop a feasibility study into the proposal, this is a modest ask on the government.
How does M4 Park & Ride fit in with broader transport planning and the WestConnex project?
- The Parramatta Road Corridor (Draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney to 2031). The M4 Park & Ride project would improve transport options along the Corridor.
- WestConnex urban revitalisation plan. This aims to improve Parramatta Road and make it a more pleasant place to be. M4 Park & Ride would contribute to this as it would reduce the total number of cars using Parramatta Road/WestConnex and thus result in less traffic congestion.
- NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan.
- Section 5.5.1 of the plan focuses on “[building] or [upgrading] commuter car parks [sic] interchanges in Greater Sydney”. M4 Park & Ride could be added to the specific proposals already outlined.
- Section 1.4.2 of the plan focuses on “supporting Sydney as Australia’s only global city”. The M4 Park & Ride will support Sydney’s role as a global city by improving transport options from Western Sydney to the CBD.
What else is the NSW Government saying about this issue?
Former NSW Premier and Minister for Western Sydney, Barry O’Farrell, has described the WestConnex project and its associated public transport developments as “a once in a generation opportunity to finally fix one of Sydney’s most hated roads” (source: Media Release, 19 September 2013).
M4 Park & Ride would work hand in hand with the WestConnex proposal in taking cars off Parramatta Road and allowing urban revitalisation in the area.
What options would be available for commuters to access the M4 Park & Ride?
Commuters would be able to access the Park & Ride station by car via the M4 and Parramatta Road. Commuters will be able to ‘park and ride’ using the new car park which is part of the proposal. There is also the potential to run bus services to or via the Park & Ride station to turn it into a bigger transport hub.
Is there enough rail capacity and demand for the service?
Preliminary consultation with stakeholders shows that there is enough rail capacity to run the proposed Park & Ride service, as well as sufficient demand from commuters to justify such a service. Any remaining questions can be clarified by a feasibility study, which is what we are asking the Government to commit to.
How will this fix problems on the M4 and Parramatta Road?
By removing cars from the M4/Parramatta Rd corridor between Olympic Park and the city, congestion on this stretch of road will be significantly reduced. Furthermore, it will have flow-on effects even further West than Olympic Park, as reduced congestion closer to the city (where there is a lower speed limit anyway after the motorway ends) reduces the likelihood of traffic blockages backing up from Parramatta Road onto the M4 and affecting other traffic.
How many people will this affect?
Roughly 8000 people per day commute by car only from Western Sydney to the city or North Sydney. A further 4000 travel by car and train (i.e. they already ‘park and ride’). The M4 Park and Ride proposal would primarily assist those who currently drive all the way to the city, providing them with a convenient way to leave their home by car (particularly important for those who live in areas with limited public transport) but leave their car outside the city and avoid traffic on the CBD approaches by switching to the train . Those who already ‘park and ride’ would also benefit from having a hub specifically designed to suit their needs, with more parking and also facilities such as shopping, childcare etc.
(Above statistics are based on journeys that commence in the Penrith, Parramatta, Auburn, Blacktown, Holroyd or Fairfield LGAs. Source: 2011 Census—Journey to Work.)
How does the M4 Park & Ride relate to the concept of a Transport Oriented Development?
A number of housing and commercial developments are proposed for the M4/Parramatta Road corridor, including some very close to the Olympic Park area. Incorporating the M4 Park & Ride planning with the planning for these developments means the developments can become Transport Oriented. This provides significant benefits in terms of ensuring that development does not lead to increased congestion, as transport will be readily available for new residents.
What upfront costs will be involved in building the M4 Park & Ride?
The only new infrastructure required is the train station, the car park and the connecting walkways. Other possible costs would include the refurbishment of existing trains and possible changes to signalling from Homebush to Strathfield.
We estimate the costs as follows:
Train Station: $50 million
Multi-level car park (including access road): $60 million
Train refurbishment (eight trains): $16 million
Signalling upgrade: $4 million
Total cost: $130 million
(Source: published costs for multi-level buildings and estimated costs for train refurbishment and signalling upgrade)
What ongoing annual costs are associated with running the M4 Park & Ride project?
Labour costs: $2.4 million
Running costs: $4.6 million
Maintenance costs: $3 million
Total cost: $10 million
(Source: published rates for labour and estimated costs for running and maintenance)
Of course, a full feasibility study is required to ascertain costs (and potential offsets, such as retail space at the park and ride facility) with a higher degree of accuracy – hence our request to the Minister for Transport to conduct such a study.