Some South Coast trains are so crowded commuters have been forced to use a toilet as a seat, according to Wollongong MP Paul Scully.
This comes as recent figures from Transport for NSW show South Coast trains are getting more crowded.
Speaking in parliament this week, Mr Scully spoke about the two afternoon services that leave Central bound for the South Coast with only four carriages.
Those trains – the 3.24pm and the 3.54pm services – are the source of much complaint from commuters.
Some have said they have to get to Central 10 minutes before the train leaves to find a seat.
Others claim commuters have to stand all the way to Sutherland or Waterfall before finding a seat.
In parliament, Mr Scully said some commuters have resorted to desperate measures to find a seat.
“Recently, one constituent mentioned that to get a break from standing they went and sat in the toilet for a while, as this was the only seat available,” Mr Scully said.
The Wollongong MP said he had raised the issue with Transport Minister Andrew Constance “multiple times" and had been told there are no extra carriages to spare or to wait for the new intercity fleet’s arrival – which could be as late as 2021.
“The response from the minister defies any real understanding of the issue or sympathy for passengers,” Mr Scully said.
Figures from Transport for NSW confirms that South Coast train are getting more crowded – at least during the morning peak hour.
The data compares train loads from September 2016 and September 2017.
On the morning services, those numbers have gone up.
In September 2016, the average load was 110 per cent compared to 116 per cent a year later.
The maximum load went up too – from 141 per cent to 145 per cent.
A figure of 100 per cent means every seat is taken while 135 per cent is the benchmark used by Transport for NSW to denote overcrowding.
The evening peak-hour services average rose by six per cent to 74 per cent with the maximum load also up, to 87 per cent.
The crowded four-car trains are not included in these figures as Transport for NSW data only counts trains leaving Central between 5pm and 6pm.
Mr Scully said the NSW government had a chance next month to improve the rail experience for South Coast commuters.
“The June 19 budget is an opportunity for the government to get serious about passenger rail services in the Illawarra,” Mr Scully said.
“In the budget the government can end the commuter crush.”