Don’t sacrifice people for profit: listen to the people!

The Maitland Greens and the Newcastle Greens today congratulated the Maitland City Council for their resolution to support the retention of the rail line into Newcastle Station and called on local State members, like Mr John Price, to listen to the wishes of the people.

Aina Ranke, Maitland Greens’ candidate in North Ward for Council, said that the rail line running into Newcastle is fundamental to sustainable transport systems in the rapidly expanding Lower Hunter region.

“Our road systems are becoming increasingly busy with the community’s heavy reliance on the private car, but, sadly, I have heard many committed Maitland public transport users say that they will go back to their cars as they do not wish to change their mode of transport at Broadmeadow and waste time getting to and from work with the proposed increased travelling times,” Ms Ranke said.

“There are many Maitland surfers and young families who use the rail line to go to Newcastle beach. They won’t want to use a public transport system that will take longer than the current service. We need more frequent trains not less track,” Ms Ranke said.

“While there are lots of ways in which we could improve the current transport system, removing rail lines is not one of them,” Michael Osborne, the Newcastle Greens Ward 2 Candidate said.

“The community has had many ideas over the years about how to develop and update our transport system. Ideas such as a landscaped rail line with level pedestrian crossings, integrated ticketing for trains, buses and ferries and expanded car parking at suburban stations are all valuable community suggestions which would solve many current concerns about the Newcastle rail line, and encourage greater use of public transport,” Mr Osborne said.

“The rail line should be the back bone of our public transport system,” Mr Osborne said. “The government should listen to the community. The travelling public has been cut out of the debate up to now and they need to be included in the review of our public transport system.”

“Numerous large cities around the world are expanding their rail facilities – it is time to consider realistic sustainable transport options,” Ms Ranke said.

“We need to improve our public transport system with better and more coordinated connections between services, the provision of efficient and attractive interchange services and facilities such as storage lockers for bikes and radio alerted taxi connections,” Mr Osborne concluded.

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