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Berejiklian Government must deliver South Coast public transport strategy after Sydney CBD-centric plan failed to address the region

May 19, 2020

Labor is calling for a clear public transport strategy for commuters in the Illawarra and on the South Coast, after the Berejiklian Government yesterday released a Sydney focused COVID-19 plan to let fewer people on trains and buses.

Labor Shadow Minister and Illawarra MP Ryan Park said: “It’s fine for the Berejiklian Government to tell people in Sydney to ride a bike to work or wait for the next train. But it takes commuters in the Illawarra and the South Coast an over an hour to get into Sydney, on trains that are regularly overcapacity already.

“These changes mean that some people won’t be able to get on their regular trains if there isn’t enough space. Leaving them waiting to see if they can fit on the next train.

“The Berejiklian Government must release a clear public transport strategy for people in the Illawarra and on the South Coast.”

The Berejiklian Government has recommended that people check passenger data on phone apps to see if there’s space available, but real-time passenger data isn’t available for trains in the Illawarra or on the South Coast, because the Berejiklian Government decided to delay the rollout of new trains from the Intercity Fleet.

Labor MP for Shellharbour Anna Watson said: “It’s not okay that the Berejiklian Government will leave commuters here to show up at train platforms with their fingers crossed and hope they can get on the train to make it to work on time.

“Any public transport strategy for our region needs to include surging the number of public transport workers at stations helping people get to work on time, and helping make sure there is capacity for them to safely board trains and buses.”

Labor MP for Wollongong Paul Scully said: “A one-size-fits-all approach that delivers a Sydney CBD-centric transport plan doesn’t work for the thousands of people who leave Wollongong each day for work in all parts of Sydney, not just the CBD. 

“It appears Illawarra commuters and their employers have been the last to be considered in this transport plan.

“It could be greatly improved by working with employers to stagger start and finish times; setting up satellite offices in large centres like Wollongong and the provision of additional services both in Wollongong and between Wollongong and Sydney”, he said.