GRIDLOCK: A pricey message in a bottleneck on the congested roads of Sydney’s West
Congestion in Western Sydney is getting worse and it’s increased the operating costs of 7 out of 10 businesses by as much as $5,000 in the last 12 months, according to the annual NRMA Motoring+Services BusinessWise congestion survey.
The BusinessWise survey of almost 730 fleet running businesses in Sydney’s greater western suburbs found three-quarters (77%) of businesses believed congestion had worsened in the last 12 months and 72% noticed an increase in congestion on weekends.
BusinessWise provides roadside assistance and fleet support to over 22,000 businesses across NSW and the ACT. BusinessWise also provides roadside assistance to heavy vehicle fleets.
Local businesses said that travel times for each vehicle had increased by a almost an hour (59 minutes) every day. The BusinessWise survey found that in the past 12 months, six out of ten (59%) businesses in greater western Sydney have seen an increase in fuel consumption as a result of congestion.
The survey also found that congestion had caused a:
- 37% have seen an increase in capital and running costs
- 31% have seen a slowdown in overall productivity
- 26% decrease in staff punctuality; and
- 24% reduced predictability of deliveries
In a positive sign for the Australian and NSW Governments, 70% of greater Western Sydney businesses support the WestConnex project. More businesses (45%) said they would use WestConnex and pay the toll than those that wouldn’t (35%).
The BusinessWise survey also found that three-quarters of business (74%) support the NSW Government’s clearways on major western Sydney roads like Victoria Rd and the overwhelming majority (97%) support the clearways roll out on major roads identified as having heavy weekend congestion.
NRMA President Wendy Machin said the BusinessWise survey showed local businesses were forced to allow more travel time for staff each day (75%) and almost half (46%) were forced to change staff shift times.
“The BusinessWise survey provides decision makers at all levels of Government with a gold mine of information on the impact congestion is having on the western Sydney economy – the second biggest in Australia – and the solutions needed to get Sydney moving again,” Ms Machin said.
“When the NRMA asked local businesses what solutions they would like to see introduced the majority (55%) want governments to fix traffic pinch points.
“We therefore urge The Australian and NSW governments to revisit the NRMA’s idea – introduced in the lead-up to the 2013 Federal Election – for a $150 million Congestion Busting Fund for local councils to fix traffic hot spots.”
The BusinessWise survey found that parking continues to be a major concern around Western Sydney’s key business hubs such as Parramatta, Penrith, Liverpool, Castle Hill, Campbelltown and Blacktown, with almost half (48%) struggling to find a park.
The BusinessWise survey results have added weight to recent calls for a major NSW Government department to relocate to western Sydney with two-thirds (61%) supporting the move.
NRMA Group CEO Tony Stuart said 84% of businesses believed such a move would lead to a greater focus on greater western Sydney’s infrastructure needs.
“The overwhelming majority of NRMA staff work from our North Strathfield office and our main patrol base is also located there, so when the NRMA talks about the transport infrastructure needs of greater western Sydney we do so from experience,” Mr Stuart said.
“BusinessWise Members think there is real merit in the Head Office of one of the major Government Departments – Treasury, Planning, transport or the Department of Premier and Cabinet – moving to western Sydney with the relevant Director General.
“When you travel to western Sydney every day you become acutely aware of what needs to be done to get the engine room of the state’s economy moving.”
Do you think congestion has worsened in the last 12 months? Do you think Western Sydney’s infrastructure would benefit from a government head office relocation?