Train crowding solutions not working, says MP

Standing room: Images from a video of a crowded Sunday afternoon train, which Wollongong MP Paul Scully raised in state parliament this week.

Standing room: Images from a video of a crowded Sunday afternoon train, which Wollongong MP Paul Scully raised in state parliament this week.

One of the government’s measures to reduce crowded trains on the South Coast line has done absolutely nothing, according to Wollongong MP Paul Scully.

In parliament this week, Mr Scully raised the issue of overcrowding on the South Coast line and cited several Mercury stories.

These included a story about a Sunday afternoon service that was standing-room only all the way from Wollongong to Sydney

In his parliamentary speech, Mr Scully mentioned a letter from Transport Minister Andrew Constance that listed five government initiatives to improve the South Coast line.

These included the controversial 2013 timetable revamp, the 2015 addition of carriages on South Coast afternoon services and upgrades at six stations.

Mr Scully took particular issue with the introduction of pick-up only stops at suburban Sydney stations for some afternoon South Coast services.

The idea behind the introduction was that it would discourage inner Sydney commuters from catching those trains heading to the South Coast.

But Mr Scully said, a year later, these trains were still overcrowded.

“Despite this measure being in place for 12 months, they are the most complained about services from Central,” Mr Scully said.

... they are the most complained about services from Central. - Wollongong MP Paul Scully

He added that the move was useless as there was no enforcement of the pick-up only stops.

“Not a single person has been fined for getting off a train at a pick-up only station, not one,” Mr Scully said.

“Yet despite the measure being ignored by passengers and those tasked with its enforcement, it is listed as one of the top five crowning achievements of the government in the Transport portfolio on the South Coast line.”

With the South Coast line under increasing demand but also already at capacity for passenger services, Mr Scully said in parliament that the government had “no ideas of program on how to address this conflict”.

“This government is entering its seventh year in office,” Mr Scully said in parliament.

“It can list five items that it claims have improved rail services on the Illawarra line.

“My obvious question is, if all of these initiatives have improved services and reduced overcrowding, why are my constituents and other residents of the Illawarra still complaining about overcrowding and poor services on the Illawarra line?” 

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