The Public Transport Commission was established by the Public Transport Commission Act 1972 (Act No.53, 1972) which was proclaimed to commence on 20 October 1972. (1) The constitution of the Commission led to the abolition of the offices of Commissioner for Railways and Commissioner for Public Transport.
The Public Transport Commission consisted of five commissioners appointed by the Governor, two of whom were nominated by the Minister. (2) Two of the Commissioners were full time one of these was appointed by the Governor as Chief Commissioner. (3) The Commission acquired the assets and liabilities of the former commissioners, were bound by current agreements or contracts, and were responsible for the completion of business commenced by them. (4) The Commission inherited the functions of the previous Commissioners as prescribed in the Railways Act 1912 and the Transport Act 1930.
The Commission was required soon after its commencement to institute an investigation into all of the transport services operated by it and the ferry services provided by the Sydney Harbour Transport Board and others by arrangement with the Board. The report to the Minister was to advise any administrative changes for the integration, co-ordination or improvement of these services. (5)
In its first year of operation the Commission identified the needs to increase the emphasis on the marketing, planning and personnel functions; update equipment and improve industrial relations. (6) Changes to the organisational structure began immediately. The bus and rail systems were merged and directors of most of the key positions had been appointed.
The Director of Engineering was responsible for the co-ordination of the combined bus and rail engineering functions;
The Director or Operations was responsible for commuter, country, passenger and freight operations, for buses, trading and catering services, rostering of locomotives and locomotive staff;
The Director of Planning was responsible for short, medium and long-term planning, feasibility studies, cost-benefit analysis, evaluation of alternatives, corporate planning including forecasting trends and advising on investment policies to assist specific planning in the areas of marketing, operations and finance.
The Director of Personnel was responsible for recruitment, training and industrial relations policies.
The Secretariat was responsible for Administration, Legal Advice and Property administration.
At the end of the first financial year of business the roles of marketing and finance directors had been delineated, but the positions had not been filled. (7)
The Report required by section 15 of the Public Transport Commission Act 1972 was submitted in November 1974. The recommendations included stronger legislation; re-equipment; upgrading of workshops to meet technological development; improvement of freight terminals; capital investment; more effective use of all of the Commission’s resources; productivity improvements; decentralisation; and co-operation with other authorities – including other NSW agencies and the railways of other jurisdictions. (8)
The Commission also became responsible for the operation of the services formerly operated by the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Co Ltd and Sydney Harbour Ferries Pty Ltd. on 1 December 1974, following the passage of the Public Transport Commission and Sydney Harbour Transport (Amendment) Act, 1974 (Act No. 81, 1974). (9)
All of the legislation relevant to the constitution and functions of the Public Transport Commission were repealed by the Transport Authorities Act 1980 (Act No. 103, 1980) thus dissolving the Commission. The public transport services were again organised into more specialised units from 1 July 1980 (10) when this legislation which established the State Rail Authority, with a Railway Workshop Board subsidiary, and an Urban Transport Authority that assumed control of bus and ferry services came into force.
1. New South Wales Government Gazette No.110, 20 October 1972, p.4115.
2. Public Transport Commission Act 1972 s. 5.
3. Ibid. s. 6.
4. Ibid. s. 13.
5. Ibid s. 15.
6. Annual report of the Public Transport Commission of New South Wales for the year ended 30 June 1973, p.1.
7. Ibid., p.9.
8. Looking ahead: a reprint of the Report by the Public Transport Commission of New South Wales to the Minister for Transport, November, 1974. 35pp. in NSW Parliamentary Papers 1974-75 vol. 5 p.277 ff.
9. New South Wales Government Gazette No.146, 6 December 1974, p.4727.
10. Transport Authorities Act 1980 (Act No.103, 1980), Part 1, Clause 2.
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