When developer Billbergia decided to create a new suburb in Sydney’s west, a bus service that is now electric became critical to its success

What goes into making a new community? Adequate housing? Top notch amenities? For developer Billbergia, it quickly found out that transport is key when designing and introducing a new suburb to Sydney.

“We acquired the Wentworth Point site in Sydney in the early 2000s, and my father John, who founded Billbergia, always had a vision to create a new suburb,” Billbergia group director Joseph Kinsella told ABC. 

“As a former industrial precinct on the banks of the Parramatta River, we saw an opportunity to develop a vision for Wentworth Point. The main issue to overcome was the site’s peninsula location, with almost no social infrastructure or transport in and out of the area.

“Delivering a bridge across Homebush Bay to connect Wentworth Point to Rhodes has been a game changer. It’s effectively cut the travel distance between the suburbs from eight km to several hundred metres.”

The $63 million bridge was funded and delivered in 2016 by the private sector and handed over to the NSW government, with the bridge only being available for active and public transport. Fast forward to today, where another zero-emissions bus was recently added to the popular Baylink Shuttle fleet that Billbergia is providing in Wentworth Point alongside local operator Punchbowl Bus Co. 

“There was a huge opportunity to connect these suburbs, all through the shuttle bus that connects people to Rhodes train station,” Kinsella says.

“Providing a regular and reliable transport option has helped achieve a mode shift from car to public transport by about 13 per cent.

“We’ve been running the bus for nearly six years already and we’ve committed to operating the service as part of the final stage of our Bennelong Cove development, until delivery of the Parramatta Light Rail in 2031.”

The service started with two Optare solo buses and quickly grew once passengers began to take the bus instead of driving themselves. An immediate upgrade saw Billbergia introduce  Euro 6 buses as part of the private service.

After COVID lockdowns ended and passenger trips once again increased, Billbergia partnered with Punchbowl Bus Co to make the service a staple for Wentworth Point locals. Punchbowl has been operating in Sydney since 1947, with this latest development being a new step for the operator.

“We immediately found that both Punchbowl and us have similar values and it was an ideal partnership,” Kinsella says.

“Having regular drivers who complete these routes every day has given parents the trust to allow their kids to catch the bus to and from school. It’s been very good for the community.”

To date, the service has completed more than five million passenger trips since Billbergia first began the run in January 2018. The partnership with Punchbowl has also seen electric buses added into the mix, with the pair recently introducing their third zero-emissions model into the fold. 

With the Parramatta Light Rail still the best part of seven years away, there’s no limits as to how popular the Baylink Shuttle service can get with its new electric additions.

“The recent addition of a third electric bus has seen trips return to close to pre-COVID levels,” Kinsella says.

“It shows that people will ditch cars if they can get fast and reliable transport. The Wentworth Point design has won numerous national awards in recent years, and a large part of that is due to the Baylink Shuttle.”

Article by: ABC News – The Back Seat from 6/06/2024

3 electrical Baylink Buses are introduced this week
3 electrical Baylink Buses are introduced this week

Head office:
Billbergia Pty Ltd
25 Angas St, Meadowbank NSW 2114

Billbergia Sales Office:
Rhodes Central Shopping Centre
Shop 5, 6 Walker Street, Rhodes NSW 2138

Sales Enquiries:
1300 55 11 23 | sales.enquiries@billbergia.com.au

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