Three new bus layover sites will be created in Wollongong and Oak Flats to replace the current location on Marine Drive.
Following consultation with the community and other stakeholders, Transport for NSW has confirmed Wollongong and Oak Flats train station carparks and a public carpark in Atchison Street, Wollongong as the new sites to provide facilities for bus drivers to take their breaks between services.
Layover areas provide meal and bathroom facilities near route termination points for bus drivers to take breaks. The current site services about 200 bus layover stops per day.
The Marine Drive layover was temporarily relocated to make way for carparking during the UCI World Championships in September 2022, with bus drivers parking in nearby streets during their breaks.
Bus drivers have since returned to using Marine Drive but Wollongong City Council wants it to be permanently relocated from the busy Lang Park location to free up beachside parking and allow greater community use of the area.
Transport for NSW, along with council, local bus operators and the Transport Workers’ Union, reviewed more than 20 locations as part of the site selection process and considered all necessary requirements including passenger outcomes, layover capacity, vehicle access, route coverage, adjacent land use, driver safety and access to facilities.
A three-week consultation period found there was general support for the relocation of the layover facilities to the three new sites, particularly those more centrally located in the Wollongong CBD.
According to Transport for NSW, the Atchison Street site will provide 11 bus parking spaces and facilities for bus drivers to rest and rejuvenate between shifts including bathrooms, kitchen facilities and space to relax.
However, it will also result in the loss of the current 31-space paid parking area.
Converting part of Wollongong Train Station carpark will create six bus parking spaces and drivers would be able to access existing facilities at the station.
The number of unpaid carparking spaces will be reduced and Lowden Square will be converted into a one-way loop. The work will also include relocating bike lockers and taxi ranks.
Four bus parking spaces will be created at Oak Flats Train Station carpark for drivers on southern routes.
Transport for NSW said there were no plans to offset the parking losses, as there was “alternative paid and free parking within walking distance of all three sites”.
Wollongong MP Paul Scully said the community consultation showed there was support for the new sites.
“We have done a lot of careful work to make sure the community’s voices were heard and transport needs understood during this consultation process, while balancing the essential needs of our frontline public transport workers,” he said.
“The move from a single layover site at Marine Drive to three layovers across the Illawarra will help local bus services continue to expand while supporting the Illawarra region into the future.”
Design and planning work will progress on the new layover sites during the year, including detailed bus service and operational planning to inform a business case to permanently relocate the bus layover to the new sites.
The Atchison Street site is expected to be the first developed.
For more information, visit the Transport for NSW page.