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Flex in the city commonsense way to tackle traffic congestion

15 January, 2008

NSW’s largest employer organisation, NSW Business Chamber, said that Melbourne’s plan to trial flexible starting and finishing work hours could be adapted for Sydney and help combat traffic congestion.

“Flex in the city" is a commonsense approach to tackle traffic congestion by spreading the movement of commuters over a longer time period,” said Kevin MacDonald, CEO of NSW Business Chamber.

The Bureau of Transport Economics has estimated that congestion costs $6 billion a year.

“We need to focus on ways we can encourage people to travel outside the pressured morning peak period - this can include ideas such as greater off peak travel concessions, off peak tolling for major roads and incentives to encourage staggered starting times for schools and businesses.

"Our roads are not coping with the nine o’clock rush - we need to find ways to encourage travel earlier and later in the morning.

“Time spent trapped in gridlock is wasted time - time that is neither spent at work or with loved ones.

A "Flex in the City" plan for Sydney could see commuters encouraged to change their working hours by incentives such as discounts on tickets purchased before 7am. A 10% discount on a yearly ticket for a commuter travelling by train from Penrith to the CBD would save close to $200.

Additionally, commuters travelling from Campbelltown would save $180, from Hornsby and Sutherland nearly $150, from Liverpool nearly $170 and from Strathfield a commuter would save $115 a year.

Commuters who use a combination of bus, train or ferry to travel to work would save $140 on a yearly red TravelPass, over $170 on a green TravelPass, nearly $190 on a yellow TravelPass, $200 on a pink TravelPass and nearly $230 on a purple TravelPass.

“Flexi-time is not a silver bullet. Sydney still needs a substantial investment in public transport over the long-term but a flexi-time initiative would help to reduce the strain on our transport system.