Commuters are so angry about overcrowding on South Coast trains that they’ve put in a formal complaint almost every second day for the last two years.
Transport for NSW figures show, from February 2014 to February 2016, there were 340 complaints made about crowding on South Coast trains – an average of nearly one complaint every two days.
Crowding is only second to “service reliability” when it comes to complaints about the South Coast line.
Service reliability – which includes late or early trains, missed stops and cancellations – racked up 660 complaints in the last two years.
TfSNW said the 340 complaints about overcrowding represented 1 per cent of overall complaints made across the entire rail network.
The most recent load data for the South Coast line – in March 2015 – stated the maximum load in the morning was 118 per cent and 94 per cent in the evening.
A 100 per cent load is when there are no vacant seats, while a 120 per cent load sees 11-12 people standing in the vestibule.
Anecdotally, the issue of overcrowding is one of the biggest bugbears for South Coast commuters, with people regularly complaining about it through the Mercury’s social media channels.
A TfNSW spokeswoman encouraged people to also complain through official channels.
“We welcome customer feedback and use this information, along with Customer Satisfaction Index data, to help us drive improvements for customers,” the spokeswoman said.
She said TfNSW has been addressing the issue of overcrowding.
“In 2014, Transport for NSW added additional carriages on South Coast line services to help address crowding issues and now, the majority of peak period services are eight carriages long,” she said.
“Attracting more people in the Illawarra to public transport is a major priority which is why we will continue to monitor the network closely, and act on the data/feedback we receive, to deliver further improvements for customers when and where they’re needed.”
Shadow minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park said commuters were “fed up” about the South Coast train service.
”Let’s not forget that this is a government who built a car park no one uses, they took two years to add an extra stop on express services at Austinmer and have increased travel times for many commuters,” Mr Park said.
“Elderly passengers regularly tell me that they have had to travel all the way to Sydney standing because they couldn’t get a seat.
“They feel there is no point in doing a formal complaint to the Government because they feel they don’t care.”