Commuters unhappy with proposed new train timetable

ON THE RIGHT TRACK: 80by20's Marcus Webb and Adam Jacobson.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK: 80by20's Marcus Webb and Adam Jacobson.

Under the proposed new train timetable, Highlanders travelling to the city could be worse off.

Under the Operator Draft released by Transport NSW a trip from Moss Vale to Central will typically increase by five minutes to 2 hours and 25 minutes in many cases. 

Research done by Highlands rail action group 80by20 found the average speed for the inbound and outbound journey would decrease to just 61km/h. 

Although the Operator Draft is not final, the community is not happy about the lack of consultation between the government and Highlands commuters. 

80by20 Southern Highlands is a community action group which is fighting for improvements to Southern Highlands intercity train services.

Members of the group are not happy with the proposed changes. 

The group recently sent a letter to state transport minister Andrew Constance requesting a meeting to discuss the proposed new timetable. 

80by20 co-founder Adam Jacobson said if Mr Constance agreed to a meeting, the group would “illustrate the ongoing decline of the service.”

“[We will] present a case that demand for services on the Southern Highlands Line is underrepresented because a large proportion of commuters travel to Campbelltown and beyond for electric services,” Mr Jacobson said. 

Although the new timetable is a draft at this stage, Mr Jacobson said it was “disappointing and shortsighted”. 

“Slower, poorly timed services are not what we need. The Southern Highlands Line is an opportunity for the government to demonstrate how smart initiatives could transform a neglected service into a great service,” he said. 

The group, along with local MPs and councillors, have campaigned for a morning and evening commuter service that exceeds 80km/h by year 2020.

“We think that's a realistic and achievable starting point for improving train services on the line and for encouraging people back to the service,” Mr Jacobson said. 

“Instead, the proposed timetable further reduces accessibility to the city and will probably result in more people giving up and driving to Campbelltown where they will find the carparks full.”

A Transport NSW spokesperson said further tweaks would be made to the Operator Draft. 

“We are committed to delivering the best possible service for customers and are currently investigating options to make further tweaks to some Southern Highlands services in response to community feedback.

“Service times could still be subject to change and we’d advise customers to hold off planning their journeys until the final Customer Timetable is released on October 15.”