As a Western Sydney student studying at the University of New South Wales at Randwick, the commute before October 20, 2013 already a time and effort consuming adventure. With the introduction of the new timetable supposedly designed to improve train services, Berala is one of the suburbs that have fallen victim to the biggest downgrade in a generation. Now everyone has to change at Lidcombe station for overcrowded trains on the Western and South Lines to the City whereas previously there was a direct Inner West Line train from Liverpool via Regents Park through Lidcombe to the City Circle. For more commuter stories from students and other residents please go to www.restoreinnerwestline.org and www.facebook.com/RestoreInnerWestLine
Below is my letter highlighting my adventure from Berala to the University of New South Wales this morning. Please continue to write, call, email, tweet the revelant departments and offices for the Restore Inner West Line month of action. Please email your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like us to publish them online here.
Dear Barry O'Farrell (NSW Premier), Gladys Berejiklian (Transport Minister), Stuart Ayres (Minister for Western Sydney), Barbara Perry (MP for Auburn) and Transport NSW,
Commuting to the University of New South Wales from Western Sydney has always been a long journey and the removal of the Inner West Line from Homebush to Liverpool via Regents Park has resulted in the severe reductions in train services for stations such as Berala and an overall deterioration in the quality of the commuter experience especially for students like myself.
I arrived at Berala station at 8:50am this morning (Monday 10 March 2014) for the 8:55am train to Lidcombe. The ticket queue was quite long as the ticket machine was malfunctioning, not accepting notes and coins were just falling through without being processed. There were a number of less mobile and elderly pensioners struggling to climb the steep stairs thus when I bought my ticket at the window, the train had already arrived. After the Sydney Trains staff had mistakenly sold me a student City return ticket ($5.20) instead of student Central return ($4.60) in which I paid using credit card to save time, I dashed around the corner only for the train guard to begin closing the doors of the train in my face. (Considering that the train just terminates at Lidcombe for the 15 minutes after Berala, I had hoped that the guard would press the button again to open the doors as there was just enough space for me to dangerously jump on board - maybe this is too much to expect...)
Now I am late and seeing that the next train from Berala to Lidcombe was due in half an hour (and going via Bankstown isn't an option as the number of stations on the Bankstown Line would result in even longer travel time for me making me more late), I sprinted down to Lidcombe station arriving at 9:11am. To my frustration there were delays on both the Western and South Lines. Platform numbers were also changed at Lidcombe station but when I finally got on board a Western Line train to Central, as usual there were no seats and thus as a result I was forced to stand and drip sweat for 25 minutes. Upon arriving at Central station, the large volume of commuters inside and also at the bus stops provided me with no relief as I scrambled with other UNSW students onto the 891 bus to Randwick.
If this had happened before October 20, 2013 I would have been able to simply wait around 15 minutes for the next Inner West Line train to Central where I would have easily obtained a seat instead of having to run to Lidcombe station with my heavy backpack, books and laptop and then drip sweat into the city. Overcrowding is a serious problem for all commuters at Lidcombe especially on City services. The removal of regular Inner West Line services from Liverpool via Regents Park to City unfairly increases patronage demand on Western and South Line trains at Lidcombe station.
Please restore regular services (as at pre-Oct 20, 2013) on the Inner West Line i.e. Liverpool to city via Regents Park. I am aware that the Opal Card is coming soon to Berala station, but even with an Opal Card, we need frequent train services at Berala to use it on, we need easy access for all commuters i.e. lift for Berala station and we need to restore the Inner West Line all the way through to Liverpool. You are invited to visit Berala and other local stations in the area as residents and commuters including myself would gladly share our thoughts and comments with your government.
I look forward to receiving your response in relation to this matter and the Inner West Line.