If you remove more than 200 seats out of a Sydney-bound South Coast train, more people will have to stand, right?
Not at all, according to Transport for NSW. The Transport Minister Andrew Constance feels the same way.
That’s more than 200 fewer seats across an eight-car train.
Despite the regular complaints from Illawarra commuters about having to stand all the way to Sydney now, Transport for NSW said that won’t be an issue with the new trains – the ones with more than 200 fewer seats.
“Based on current services and projected demand, on average more than 95 per cent of intercity customers will have a seat on the New Intercity Fleet,” a Transport for NSW spokeswoman said.
In a written response to a Greens petition calling for improvements to the South Coast line, Mr Constance said the same thing.
“Based on current services and projected demand, more than 95 per cent of intercity customers will have a seat available,” Mr Constance said.
It’s a claim that Illawarra Rail Fail group founder Bronwyn Batten said was like something out of TV shows like Yes Minister or Utopia.
“They are trying to sell commuters the benefits of the new trains when the number one thing commuters want – a seat – is missing,” Ms Batten said.
“No one cares about phone chargers if 50 per cent of the train are standing there watching the privileged few use them.”
The reduction in seat numbers comes from changing the 3x2 seat configuration of the Oscars to a 2x2 set-up – a decision based on the comfort factor.
“The feedback we received was that the 3 by 2 seating configuration on the Oscar trains was not comfortable, especially during longer journeys,” the Transport for NSW spokeswoman said.