LORD Mayoral candidate, Cr Ian McKenzie, last night announced a Newcastle
Greens proposal for a 12-month trial of free train travel between Hamilton
& Newcastle at the ‘Save Our Rail’ public meeting.
He also called for a passenger survey in conjunction with the trial to
evaluate utilisation and travel mode shift, especially in regards to
increased use of public transport to access the Hamilton – Newcastle area
because of the free service
The initiative was warmly welcomed by the more than 200 strong crowd at
Newcastle City Hall, who had gathered to listen to Lord Mayoral aspirants
espouse their policies on the Newcastle rail line.
“The soon-to-be-former Lord Mayor was noticeable in two regards – firstly
his absence and secondly his unshared desire to cut the rail line to
Newcastle Station,” Cr McKenzie said.
“He deserves to lose the Lord Mayoralty if he’s not prepared to come and
face his opponents on what is one of the most critical issue for this
election,” Cr McKenzie said.
Cr McKenzie and other Lord Mayoral candidates urged voters to send Premier
Carr a message by voting for the sitting Lord Mayor last on the ballot, and
voting for other pro-rail candidates before Labor. No other Lord Mayoral
candidate supports the Lord Mayor’s position on cutting the rail.
Cr McKenzie attempted to introduce the Newcastle Greens initiative for a
twelve month free train trial as an amendment to a motion at last week’s
council meeting supporting the retention of the services to Newcastle.
“I will introduce the proposal to the debate next week when the adjourned
item is again considered by Council,” Cr McKenzie said.
“It’s a far better alternative than the Lord Mayor’s push for free buses.
The trains are already operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day
of the year. This proposal can be implemented quickly and at far less cost
than a free bus service, and importantly, without adding to road traffic or
“Encouraging people to use the reserve capacity that already exists on the
trains, will increase the efficient utilisation of the trains and
simultaneously provide an incentive for travellers to use public
transport,” Cr McKenzie said.
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