The big lie

Attached - Railway Square 24/11/1958 following the George St conversion.
From Fairfax archives via a Sydney history Facebook group.

The big lie. The photo speaks volumes about why the conversion *wasn't* a
success. The four tramcars on the right could carry as many passengers as
seven of the eight buses lined up on the left. There was a loss of about
1/3 of capacity with the change to buses and the buses got tangled up in
their own congestion. But cars could move a little quicker (for a few years
at least), which was what it was really about.

Sydney Morning Herald - 25 Nov 1958:

Tests by police traffic officers yesterday showed that the conversion to
buses in George Street, city, enabled traffic to move twice as fast in peak
periods as when the trams were running.

The changeover began on Sunday, but the first real test was during the
morning and evening peak periods yesterday.

Traffic authorities agreed that despite a few "teething troubles" the
scheme was a success.

Further time checks will be made this week by officials of the Department
of Government Transport.

Police believe the traffic will flow even faster when a few modifications
are put into effect tomorrow.

The Assistant Superintendant of Traffic, Inspector B. Bertoli, supervised
traffic operations yesterday.

His officers made their tests yesterday morning.

They travelled from Wattle Street, Broadway, to the Quay in 12 minutes -
which used to take between 25 and 30 minutes - and from the Quay to Railway
Square in 10 minutes - which used to take 20 minutes.

The Commissioner for Government Transport, Mr A.A. Shoebridge, said that,
generally, the conversion to buses was very successful.

There were some minor bus delays caused by heavy loading, but passengers
were soon picked up by following buses.

About 440, or about eight every minute, passed in and out of the city
through Railway Square during the morning and afternoon peak periods

The general secretary of the NRMA, Mr H. E. Richards, said traffic was
certainly more flexible than when trams were running.

However, special measures were needed at places like Railway Square to
allow pedestrians to cross conveniently and safely.

[Photo by Alan Kemp » Fairfax Archives]

Tony P

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