Plague of petitions for crowded South Coast rail services

Crowded afternoon South Coast services are getting more attention, with the second petition this year calling for more carriages. Picture: Robert Peet
Crowded afternoon South Coast services are getting more attention, with the second petition this year calling for more carriages. Picture: Robert Peet

Gareth Ward has launched a petition calling for improved afternoon services on the South Coast line – four months after another petition asked for the same thing.

And Illawarra Rail Fail’s Bronwyn Batten – who started that first petition – admitted to being baffled as to why a second one was needed.

That first petition, which collected more than 2000 signatures, called for extra carriages on two crowded four-car trains that leave Central bound for the South Coast each weekday afternoon.

This week, Kiama MP Mr Ward launched a petition calling for extra carriages on those very same trains – the 3.24pm and the 3.54pm.

For Ms Batten, the original petition already informed the government there was a problem on the line.

“It just baffles me,” Ms Batten said.

“Why would he do the same thing again?

“There is already knowledge that there is a problem, what are we putting time and effort into saying there is a problem again? We’ve proved it.”

Mr Ward said he created petitions “all the time” and that this was designed to give people in his own electorate a voice.

“I commend the people who signed the earlier petition, I’m running my own one to make the case directly to government,” Mr Ward said.

“The one that was run earlier this year was more targeted around the northern suburbs of the Illawarra.

“I’m also a local member ... and I’m giving people in my electorate as the local MP the chance to have their voice heard too – what’s wrong with that?”

Mr Ward said his second petition would “make my case stronger” when he went before the state Cabinet to argue for extra carriages on those afternoon services.

“The wider the scope the better the argument,” he said.

“I think it proves this is something that is impacting on a very large amount of people.

“This is not about a petition competition, it’s about getting outcomes.”

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