Friday, 26 June 2015

Debunking the Liberal lies on trains & public transport for South West Sydney

The Liberal Baird State Government have voted against a motion for more trains South West Sydney (restore Inner West train line) as moved by Tania Milhailuk (Labor Bankstown MP).
The Liberal Party/State Government under Premier Mike Baird opposes more trains for South West Sydney

In opposing the motion to restore the Inner West Line, John Sidoti (Liberal Drummoyne MP & Parliamentary Secretary for Transport) made the following claims:

CLAIM: "...the $8.3 billion Sydney Metro Northwest, the $14.9 billion WestConnex, the $3 billion NorthConnex and redevelopment right across the State including for the Sydney Metro high-capacity rail line that will provide a second harbour rail crossing for more than 100,000 commuters per hour across the city as well as much needed road projects"

FACT: The Sydney Metro Northwest, WestConnex, NorthConnex, Sydney Metro and other road projects DO NOT service South West Sydney suburbs such as Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar which have lost train services.

FACT: The Sydney Metro DOES NOT service South West Sydney suburbs such as Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar which have lost train services. The Sydney Metro line is for stations east of Bankstown only.

CLAIM: "In October 2013 this Government introduced the biggest timetable change in a generation, restructuring weekday services"

FACT: The timetable changes are not only the biggest change in a generation, they are arguably the worst downgrade in a generation for the area.

FACT: Restructuring weekday services has resulted in over 98% of regular weekday Liverpool via Regents Park trains CUT and 100% of weekend Liverpool via Regents Park trains CUT. There are only 3 'special' weekday services (2 to Liverpool in the morning, 1 to City in the afternoon) which travel on a the Liverpool via Regents Park route similar to the former Inner West Line. Also 100% of all weekday and weekend City to Bankstown via Regents Park train services have been CUT.

CLAIM: "...improved off-peak frequencies. The timetable is simpler and easier to understand and has removed about 250 stopping patterns"

FACT: The Inner West Line (Liverpool via Regents Park) under the old timetable had service gaps of up to 24 minutes. With the new timetable suburbs such as Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar which used to be serviced by the Inner West Line now have service GAPS of up to 30 minutes especially in off-peak times.

FACT: There is has been a reduction of over 80% of trains stopping at Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar due to the Inner West Line terminating at Homebush under the new timetable.

CLAIM: "focus... on customers"

FACT: If the timetable changes and the cuts to the Inner West Line was truly customer orientated it would not disadvantage commuters from Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar whom now have to make up to 3 INTERCHANGES and catch up to 4 trains on what used to be a direct 1 train journey.

FACT: No 'business' would treat its customers so poorly in the manner that the Liberal Party & State Government has done to South West Sydney. The State Government & Transport NSW/Sydney Trains' continual ignorance and dismissive attitude to this issue highlights the disregard and contempt for their South West Sydney 'customer' base.

FACT: If the Liberal Party & State Government was truly customer orientated, the least the Transport Minister could do would be to give answers relevant to commuters of Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar instead of reminding them of the need to INTERCHANGE or boasting about extra train services on parts of the rail network not in the area. Continual reference to the Bankstown Line services also demonstrates the Liberal Party & State Government's attempt to cover up the fact that Inner West Line (Liverpool via Regents Park) train services have been CUT.

CLAIM: In addition, the capacity of the busy main western line, which supports western and south line services, has been reliably enhanced.

FACT: Peak punctuality has actually fallen between 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 on the Western Line according to Sydney Trains' statistics. Trains on the Western and South Lines are over 135% capacity.

FACT: A 7 News report in June 2015 showing government statistics indicate that the Western Line is at 137% and the South Line is at 138% in the peak morning period.

CLAIM: "This government... upgraded stations... and [deliver] the Sydney Metro". That project will transform Sydney by delivering more trains and faster services for the entire city.

FACT: No stations in the affected area of South West Sydney (Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar) have recieved or a scheduled to receive upgrades in the government's Transport Access Program. Birrong station is need of an urgent upgrade due to its status as a key interchange on the Bankstown Line as the Inner West Line has been removed from the area.

FACT: The Sydney Metro does not address the public transport needs of Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar as it operates east of Bankstown. Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar are west of Bankstown.

In opposing the motion to restore the Inner West Line, Kevin Conolly (Liberal Riverstone MP) made the following claims:

CLAIM: In October 2013 this Government took a different approach and introduced more than 1,000 additional services.

FACT: There has been no increase in train services for the former Inner West Line (Liverpool via Regents Park) route. Stations such as Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar have had a REDUCTION in over 80% of trains.

CLAIM: "...increased the number of seats available for passengers by 20,000 to the city every morning peak period"

FACT: A 7 News report in June 2015 showing government statistics indicate that the Western Line is at 137% and the South Line is at 138% in the peak morning period. There has been no increase in seats available for commuters travelling from Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar whom have less trains and have to catch already overcrowded trains at Lidcombe, Cabramatta, Strathfield when they interchange.

CLAIM: "changes in 2013 improved the travel experience for... commuters across the network"

FACT: Complaints to Sydney Trains/Transport NSW have risen following the introduction of the Sydney Trains timetable. A 1001% increase in complaints has been recorded with the 2013 timetable being a major problem for many commuters.

CLAIM: "...this Government attempted to encourage public transport use by making it better"

FACT: Transport NSW and State Government statistics show patronage has fallen on the Bankstown Line (the only remaining train line which services Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar). Commuters are now less inclined to take public transport as there are infrequent rail services due to the removal of Inner West Line (Liverpool via Regents Park) train services. 

FACT: Many local residents and now former train commuters have spoken to Restore Inner West Line of their need to drive to work as taking the train consumes too much time with the multiple interchanges and increased wait and travel times.

FACT: Traffic Congestion has also worsened on key arterial roads such as the Arthur St and Centennial Drive intersection in Flemington. The CUT to the Inner West Line at Homebush has also resulted in changes to train services for Flemington and a DISCONNECTION between Lidcombe and Homebush resulting in more people driving to reach Inner West destinations from the South West. Strathfield Council has passed a motion in 2014 calling for the restoration of the Inner West Line as traffic congestion is worsening in the area.

CLAIM:  "If I left Villawood at 7.16 a.m. I would arrive at Town Hall at 8.06 a.m. That is 56 minutes on a direct service to Town Hall and 53 minutes to Wynyard. There are four such services an hour, 15 minutes apart. They are direct services to the city for people travelling from Villawood to Sydney."

FACT: Mr Kevin Conolly cannot do basic mathematics. It is a 50 minute journey between Villawood at 7.16am arriving at Town Hall at 8.09am (Wynard 8.09am). The 2013 timetable changes which the Liberal Party & State Government boast of also changed the direction of the Bankstown Line's entry point into the City Circle. Previously it would enter via Musuem now it enters via Town Hall meaning that Town Hall comes before Wynard not after. For Mr Kevin Conolly to claim that Wynard is a 53 minute journey and Town Hall is a 56 minute journey shows that even Liberal MPs are not adapt to the new train timetable.

FACT: To claim that there are 4 'such' trains (direct from Villawood to Sydney on the Bankstown Line) per hour is misleading and not the full truth. Only in the 7am-8am weekday period are there 4 Bankstown Line services from Villawood to Sydney. At all other times on weekdays and weekends, there are only 2 'such' train services per hour at up to 30 minute intervals.

FACT: NOT ALL COMMUTERS AND JOURNEYS ARE FROM THE SOUTH WEST TO THE CITY CBD. 
Many commuters and journeys are from the South West to destination such as Strathfield (a key interchange for the Northern and Central Coast/Newcastle Line) and to other Inner West destinations including Flemington, Homebush, Strathfield, Burwood, Croydon, Ashfield, Summer Hill, Lewisham, Petersham, Stanmore, Newtown, Macdonaldtown etc. There is more to the Liverpool via Regents Park train service than just the City Circle as destinations.

CLAIM:  "It made the travel experience better. It adds to the number of services..."

FACT: Over 80% of trains have been cut for suburbs such as Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar on the (former) Inner West Line (Liverpool via Regents Park) route. Multiple interchanges does not improve the travel experience nor does overcrowded trains.

CLAIM: "Opposition members speaking about the problems but we have heard no solutions. There is no commitment to do anything: no money, no new services and no commitment."

FACT: The Labor and The Greens are speaking about the problem of a lack of train services due to the 2013 timetable changes which CUT the Inner West Line to Homebush and removed Liverpool via Regents Park train services from Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar. This may be a partial acknowledgement from the Liberals that there is a problem.

FACT: Labor (under former Shadow Transport Minister Penny Sharpe in 2013) has previously committed to launching an immediate review of the timetable in-lieu of the need to restore the Inner West Line. Labor has promised at the last election to restoring the Inner West Line which will increase (add 'new') services for Berala, Regents Park, Sefton, Chester Hill, Leightonfield, Villawood, Carramar which have suffered due to the 2013 timetable changes.

Liberal Premier Mike Baird's celebratory cake after his 28 March 2015 NSW election win reflects well of his government's actions & attitudes towards train services and public transport.