NSW chauffeur-drive hire cars lose access to bus lanes

NSW chauffeur-drive hire cars lose access to bus lanes

Chauffeur-driven hire cars in NSW will no longer be able to use bus lanes following the state government's decision to roll the industry into a new all-encompassing category of 'point to point' transport operators.

The government's Transport for NSW department no longer issues the white-on-black HC plates and licences required by chauffeured vehicles, although there are still 1,548 HC plates in use as of September 2018.

A Transport for NSW spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that "changes from 1 July 2020 to the Road Rules 2014, amending rule 158, will mean vehicles with HC plates will no longer have access to bus lanes."

Hire cars will join taxis, airport/hotel shuttle buses, mini-vans and rideshare services such as Uber in a common 'point to point' transport system.

"Hire cars remain a crucial part of the NSW transport system, but it is unviable to keep things the way they were," Transport for NSW says, adding that "that the hire car industry is facing fundamental challenges from changing customer expectations and new technologies."

"These changes were recommended by the Point to Point Transport Taskforce to bring the legislation for the hire car industry into the 21st century and to free up the industry so that it can compete more effectively in providing a great service for customers."

Despite the winding back of HC plates, a spokeswoman for Uber scotched reports that the company planned to close its HC-based Uber Black service in NSW and merge this with the broader Uber Select program.

"Uber will continue to offer a premium service for our customers who have these requirements," Uber spokeswoman Nicky Preston told Australian Business Traveller. "There are no current plans to close down Uber Black."

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

15 comments

  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    28 Nov, 2018 02:51 pm

    A good decision. Bus lanes ought be for public transport buses - not taxis or hire cars. It's increasingly unsustainable for passengers to drive or be driven to Australian airports.

    The Sydney airport train is generally good, even though the station access fee adds to the cost. I always use it and have no difficulties with finding a space for a suitcase or backpack.
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  • Ricardo

    Ricardo

    28 Nov, 2018 04:15 pm

    It strikes me that this represents little more than the politics of envy (the proletariat will be required to use the public transport).

    I am well aware of AusBT's commenting policy (and I in no way intend this as a personal attack on Traveller14) but I can't let the comments go unchallenged.

    The Sydney airport train is only of limited utility under three very specific circumstances:
    1. You are not trying to use in peak train times;
    2. you don't have much in the way of luggage; and
    3. you actually want to go somewhere serviced by a Sydney train.

    Equally fortunately, not all of our decisions are limited to what might be the most sustainable choices (train vs car) or otherwise there would be no argument that the airport should simply be closed and the question becomes moot. I, for one, am not ready for the socialist collective regime yet.




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    flatearth

  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    29 Nov, 2018 09:32 pm

    But I've had a suitcase and backpack (total weight about 32kg) and have never had any hardship using the Sydney airport train.

    Try coming to Melbourne. We just have terrible Skybus, with its dangerous practice of luggage onboard where if there was a collision on CityLink at 80kmh or higher, bags might well end up injuring travellers.

    Or you could go to Brisbane, where the airport train is only every half hour for some or all of each day.

    Sydney Trains do not extend to the northwest suburbs (but Sydney Metro Northwest will) but overall it's an extensive network and one can connect by Sydney Buses or privately run (but covered by opal) buses to many non-rail suburbs.
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  • Fred888

    Fred888

    28 Nov, 2018 06:58 pm

    I agree the train service to the airport is terrible. It charges a high fee for what is just a normal suburban train service NOT set up to deal with airport travellers.

    Compare it to the Hong Kong airport train service. For about the same price, it has train carriages purposely built for travellers, with flat train/platform access (no gap or height difference), racks for luggage, WiFi, downtown check in, connecting bus serves that branch out across Hong Kong included in the fare.

    The Sydney airport train service has NONE OF THESE. It is an utter joke.
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    puppy79

  • Andrew

    andyf

    28 Nov, 2018 10:59 pm

    Here's some fun facts:

    Sydney Trains trip from International Airport to Central is 12 minutes; exactly half the time from Hong Kong Airport to Hong Kong Central (which is 24 minutes).

    Sydney Trains generally come every 7 minutes in peak, compared to every 10 minutes at Hong Kong. Off peak however, Hong Kong trains leave every 12 minutes, compared to every 15 minutes for Sydney Trains.

    Sydney Trains charges $17.84 for an Adult to Central from the International Airport during the morning peak, or $16.77 other times. This compares to $19.42 (at current exchange rates) for the Hong Kong Train.

    Here are some real jokes:
    - In Melbourne, there is no train. The bus costs $19.50.
    - In Brisbane, the train (which costs $18.50) stops operating just after 10pm.
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    othy

  • puppy79

    puppy79

    2 Dec, 2018 09:29 am

    another one is singapore.less than two bucks to town.10 times the price for the same distances.i have yet to try it but should just to see how it adds up.
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  • Irritated

    Irritated

    28 Nov, 2018 11:16 pm

    Typical of the arrogance of so many quoting the train as an alternative is not a realistic proposition for an ageing person with limited mobility . A hire car is their only means of getting to the airport.Changing trains at Central is not a helpful alternative suggestion especially during peak periods . I dare say the pollies would get an exemption because of their status.
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  • Andrew

    andyf

    28 Nov, 2018 11:29 pm

    Nobody is banning hire cars or taxis. They are just saying they can't use the bus lane - so just like every other car.

    Considering there is at most 4 people in a hire car, compared with a bus which has up to 65 people, I think that's a pretty fair deal. Also, this isn't just about the airport - its Sydney wide.

    As far as politicians, I think you 'dare say' incorrectly. There is nothing that gives their cars any special status.
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    29 Nov, 2018 09:27 pm

    A relative has limited mobility and found the train easy to use.

    There are lifts at Domestic, International, Central and many other stations. For the latter, travel in the front car departing the airport stations.

    It's true (and bad) that some Sydney suburban railway stations still lack lifts (so have only stairs). This is gradually being addressed (but ought have been years ago). The pollies largely don't use trains in Oz, even suburban ones.
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    29 Nov, 2018 09:38 pm

    There's no 'arrogance' - just what I would hope is sensible recognition that as a society, if we are to accommodate more and more residents and visitors, we have to make some changes in the way we travel.

    Investing in mass transit rather than roads that soon congest is what heaps of other large cities do, and what Sydney and the other three major cities ought be prioritising.

    But our pollies never travel by train, bus, tram, light rail or ferry unless they're overseas on a junket and then only 'sometimes.' They lack an understanding as to why individual car, Uber or taxi travel is becoming unsustainable.
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  • Fred888

    Fred888

    29 Nov, 2018 06:55 am

    I am old enough to remember the State government 300 Airport Bus Service which went direct from the city to the airport. That was cancelled to generate more profit for for the owners of the Sydney airport station operators.

    That bus service was really convenient as it had stops that the train doesn't have. Any sensible choice would have been to have them both but not in backward Australia.

    When on earth are politicians going to realise that going to the airport is a 'special' thing that deserves a premium. It should just be considered like any other transport route as it is in most European countries with no premium payment to get to the airport.
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  • Fred888

    Fred888

    29 Nov, 2018 06:57 am

    Correction: "When on earth are politicians going to realise that going to the airport is a NOT a 'special' thing that deserves a premium.
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    29 Nov, 2018 09:33 pm

    I agree BUt remember the airport rail line was built by the private sector. The first owner made a huge loss when it sold the outfit to Westpac, who now make a sizeable profit.

    Maybe Premier Berejiklian will commit to dropping the station access fee as an election promise for post-March 2019? Would be a popular move.
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  • puppy79

    puppy79

    1 Dec, 2018 10:08 am

    how silly is this.they have just as much right to use those lanes.granted one way people are paying 8 times the train fares or just over 3 times that of the taxi for something that does not smell

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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    1 Dec, 2018 10:19 am

    What people 'pay' has nothing to do with why bus lanes are created or enforced. It's about the number of passengers carried, and a realisation that private cars, taxis, Uber, Taxify or hire cars add as much to road congestion as a private motorist.
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23 Mar, 2019 02:14 pm

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