Cut the commute: Why the government must act to improve Illawarra rail services

With the launch of the Cut The Commute campaign, the Illawarra Mercury will push for this region to get a rail service it deserves.
With the launch of the Cut The Commute campaign, the Illawarra Mercury will push for this region to get a rail service it deserves.

A colleague shared a story with our newsroom team this week.

Her partner is about to celebrate the dubious anniversary of 10 years of commuting to Sydney from Wollongong.

In the wake of this week’s stories about road and rail priorities in this region they’d worked out an interesting fact.

Read more: F6 extension plan must also consider rail options

Since starting commuting all that time ago, if half an hour could have been saved each way in the train trip to Sydney and back it would have made a remarkable difference in their lives.

If a half hour saving per day – or an hour saving per day – could have been made in all those train trips it would have translated to her partner spending over three full months of time at home.

That is a remarkable difference in someone’s life no matter how you look at it.

Our readers reacted this week and sent a clear message their preference would be a better, more effective rail service to Sydney. One better than the steam train one in the 1930s poster accompanying this editorial.  

The politicians will tell you we need both better rail and road options. No disputing that.

The NSW Government has tabled an option for the F6, but there is little vision by government on how this region can achieve a significant improvement to our rail service.

And by significant, we mean significant. Not tinkering around with timetables to make some slight headway.

This region is tired of the arguments about why it can’t be done. We can put man on the moon, we can send spacecraft to Mars, we can sure as hell put a faster train service in place between a fast-growing region and the capital city.

Heck we can find an awful lot of money for rail projects north of Sydney, hundreds of millions of dollars in fact.

It is high time this region saw the benefit of some positive change. We have put up with “no” and “can’t” for too long.

With the launch of the Cut The Commute campaign we will actively campaign and partner with local organisations to campaign for this region to get a rail service it deserves.

We understand it won’t happen in the blink of an eye but we can all apply pressure so that we start to see the wheels turning.

An vastly improved commute to Sydney from this region can be a game-changer for this region. More so though, it’s high time we got it. It’s time to Cut The Commute.

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