NRMA survey reveals increasing congestion costs

Western Sydney fleet owners bearing more of the brunt of costs due to traffic delays

NRMA survey reveals increasing congestion costs
NRMA has costed traffic congestion

Motoring organisation NRMA has reiterated its call for a $150 million fund to tackle local traffic congestion after a survey on the scourge highlighted its cost to business.

Western Sydney fleet-owners and other businesses have lost $5,000 more in the past 12 months to congestion than they had the year before, according to the annual BusinessWise congestion survey.

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.

The survey of almost 730 fleet-running businesses in Sydney’s greater western suburbs found that 77 per cent of them believed congestion had worsened in the last 12 months and 72 per cent noticed an increase in congestion on weekends.

Local businesses said that travel times for each vehicle had increased by an additional 59 minutes every day. The survey found that in the past 12 months 59 per cent of these businesses have seen an increase in fuel consumption as a result of congestion.

The survey also found that congestion had caused businesses to report a:
37 per cent increase in capital and running costs
31 per cent slowdown in overall productivity
26 per cent decrease in staff punctuality
24 per cent reduction predictability of deliveries.

In a plus for the Australian and NSW governments, 70 per cent of greater western Sydney businesses support the WestConnex project. At 45 per cent, more businesses say they would use WestConnex and pay the toll than the 35 per cent that would not.

The survey also found that 74 per cent of local businesses support the NSW Government’s clearways on major western Sydney roads like Victoria Road and 97 per cent support the clearways roll out on major roads identified as having heavy weekend congestion.

NRMA President Wendy Machin says the survey showed that 75 per cent of  local businesses were forced to allow more travel time for staff each day and 46 per cent 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," Machin says.

"When the NRMA asked local businesses what solutions they would like to see introduced the majority (55 per cent) want governments to fix traffic bottlenecks.

"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 results have added weight to recent calls for a major NSW Government department to relocate to western Sydney with 61 per cent supporting the move.

NRMA Group CEO Tony Stuart says 84 per cent 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," Stuart adds.

"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."

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