New arrangements for rail commuters between Sydney and Newcastle demonstrate the state Labor government’s failure to deal with the challenge of public transport in the Hunter, The Greens candidate for Newcastle, John Sutton, said today.
“This week’s announcement that three daily rail services between Sydney and Newcastle will now be broken at Gosford will further reduce rail patronage, and is effectively another broken Labor public transport promise,” Mr Sutton said.
“When NSW Labor’s public transport blueprint for the decade (Action for Transport 2010) was launched by Bob Carr in November 1998, they promised that they would cut 30minutes off the rail journey between Sydney and Newcastle.
“Instead, we find in the target year of 2010 that trip times have actually increased over that period, and these latest changes mean that some rail commuters will now have to suffer further inconvenience and delays by the forced Gosford interchange.
“Aside from the inconvenience caused, the 8 to 15 minute delays that will arise from the new service changes can be crucial to a significant number of commuters with time-dependent travel needs, who may well choose to drive their cars instead of taking the train.
“Forced interchanges inevitably lead to a decline in public transport use.
“This is a real step backwards for Newcastle rail commuters, just at a time when the city most needs its vital inter-city transport link, and when the introduction of MyZone ticketing was showing real promise in stimulating greater patronage on the Sydney-Newcastle line,” Mr Sutton said.
“The current Labor government has presided over a gradual demise of Newcastle’s public transport system, and is even considering further forced interchanges to our inter-city services (e.g., the proposed Wickham terminus).
“The Greens intend to put public transport at the centre of local public policy debate in the campaign leading up to next year’s March state election”, Mr Sutton said.
For further information or comment, please contact John Sutton (Greens candidate for Newcastle), on 4969 2668 or 0411 154 004.