Rach Haych is one of a number of northern suburbs residents who will suddenly face a longer working day on Monday.
The Woonona resident commutes by train from Thirroul station to work in Hurstville and, since the new rail timetable started on Monday, things will change for her.
And not necessarily for the better.
While the new train she will catch will be faster, it will also mean she has to leave home earlier and will arrive later.
Last week, she could catch the 7.44am train from Thirroul to work but this week, she’ll be forced to board the 7.28am train to get to work on time. That means she’ll be leaving home 16 minutes earlier every day.
On the way home, last week she could catch the 5.34pm from Hurstville and get to Thirroul at 6.33pm. This week, it will be the 5.45pm, arriving at Thirroul at 6.41pm – meaning she will get home 11 minutes later.
If she works five days a week, the new timetable will see her lose two hours in travelling to and from Hurstville.
‘‘My work start time is not flexible, so I have to catch an earlier train,’’ she said.
‘‘How do I feel about getting up earlier than I already do to commute? Not happy.
‘‘Please fit out sleeper carriages, Sydney Trains.’’
Last month, Ms Haych wrote an open letter to Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian about the timetable changes, asking for more South Coast services, especially in the morning.
‘‘Some of the year I get up in the mornings and it is dark, but to do that more frequently is not only a depressing thought but has made me realise that a more convenient option than catching public transport might be to drive to work, and cop the expenses and stress of doing so,’’ she wrote.
Ms Haych said that she would trial the new train times over summer but, come winter, if there were no changes, she would likely start driving as it was ‘‘certainly more time-efficient’’.
Train times face big test
Peak-hour commuters will put Sydney’s sweeping public transport changes to the test on Monday.
The changes include an extra 2700 ferry, bus and train services across the network, but authorities admit some commuters will miss out under the new integrated timetable that started yesterday.
Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the real test would be Monday morning.
‘‘Chances are, depending on where you are catching your train, you will spend less time on the train because there are more express services in the network,’’ she said.
‘‘The new system makes sure, where we can, we are managing overcrowding. So you can expect to have fewer people on your train as well when you have to make those journeys.’’
There will be 600 extra express services a week, including 125 for the South Coast train line and 70 new weekly express services between Newcastle and Sydney, in the timetable that was two years in the making.
Extra staff will be on hand at transport stations across the network to help travellers with the changes.
Opposition transport spokeswoman Penny Sharpe said many people were in for nasty surprises and disruptions because the NSW government did not consult about the timetable rewrite.
‘‘The new timetable cuts some peak-hour services right across the network and will instead require people to drive to major stations,’’ she said.
The overhaul has been led by Sydney Trains chief executive Howard Collins, formerly the chief operating officer for the London Underground.
Mr Collins conceded there would be losers, but said most people would get a better deal.
‘‘You can never ever satisfy everybody,’’ he said on Sunday.
‘‘There are a million customers out there...90per cent of those customers will get a better deal.’’
Mr Collins said some customers could adjust smoothly by ‘‘interchanging, just checking your timetable and making an adjustment to your travel pattern so you get that stopping service’’.
Western Sydney receives the biggest boost in bus services with 1284 extra services a week.
NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson said a cut in peak-hour services in Como and Jannali in Sydney’s south contributed to the Liberals’ defeat in Saturday’s Miranda by-election.
‘‘Anger at the cuts to train services and the strong campaign against them by Labor’s Barry Collier were a big part of the massive swing in Miranda,’’ Mr Robertson said.
The opposition claims Jannali has lost 11 peak-hour train services a week, and Como has lost seven.
But Ms Berejiklian said there were 149 extra weekly services on the line into the electorate.
‘‘For anybody that doubts that, look at the timetable and count them,’’ she said. AAP