The 26 November soft launch of the new 38-strong B-Line bus service and associated on-demand shuttle buses should benefit Northern Beaches businesses, however not all are convinced.
Double-decker buses will run from Newport to the city every five to ten minutes during peak times and every ten to fifteen minutes during off-peak, seven days a week between 4.30am and 12.30am. There will be changes to existing services. Trips can be planned here.
Six B-Line bus stops will also have new or upgraded vehicle and bicycle parking facilities for commuters who do not live nearby, while from 20 November the government is trialling on-demand shuttle buses.
Bookable by a smartphone app called RIDE Plus, the shuttles will connect commuters with central hubs at Brookvale, Balgowlah and Manly Vale as well as the Manly Ferry.
RIDE Plus will pick people up at or near their homes and drop them to and from the central hubs.
The 11-seat RIDE Plus shuttle buses will be Wi-Fi enabled and run Monday to Friday from 6am to 10pm. Trips will cost $3.10.
Better For Business:
Businesses will benefit from the B-Line both through improved accessibility to the city as well as improving access for workers coming into the area for employment, according to Warringah Chamber of Commerce President, Sam King.
“Regular routes, more capacity and less congestion will make it easier for people who are living and working in the region to get to work on time,” Ms King said.
“It will also help businesses connect, network and professionally develop.”
However she added that not all businesses are convinced.
“Feedback from business has generally been quite positive. There has been some negativity and uncertainty, however that is largely because people don’t understand.”
Some businesses are also concerned that a lack of car parking around B Line stops will negatively affect their business.
“If you’re running a laundromat and your customers have to walk for a block to drop off their laundry because they can’t park closer, that’s a legitimate concern,” Ms King said.
To help facilitate that feedback, the Warringah Chamber co-ordinated a business session with the B-Line project team, the Northern Beaches Council and other chambers. Around 50 businesses attended.
Other concerns voiced were east-west traffic congestion issues and how effectively the RIDE Plus shuttle bus service would operate.
“Council flagged that they are also looking to improve access for commuters through cycle ways and other transport options that could get people to the B-Line stops,” Ms Kind said.
Pine Property director, Patrick Kelleher said that while there may be an adjustment period for some businesses, ultimately the B-Line will be good for the Northern Beaches.
“It simplifies the process of businesses getting to or from the CBD and will make it easier for them to find good staff,” he said.
“Logistically it is going to really help open up the region.”
B-Line Bus Stops: [(P) indicates new commuter parking facilities]
- Newport (from late 2018)
- Mona Vale (P)
- Warriewood (P)
- Narrabeen (P)
- Dee Why (P)
- Brookvale (P)
- Manly Vale (P)
- Neutral Bay
Manly Public Transport
Manly-based businesses already benefit from streamlined public transport with the Manly Fast Ferry which will soon be Opal card compatible and from 26 November will run every 20 minutes during off-peak.
The newly launched Barangaroo Fast Ferry further opens up the CBD for Manly-based businesses who service, network or employ workers in the city and surrounds.