Changes to Operator Draft still not good enough

ON THE RIGHT TRACK: 80by20's Marcus Webb and Adam Jacobson are hoping for better services for Highlands commuters. Photo: Lauren Strode.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK: 80by20's Marcus Webb and Adam Jacobson are hoping for better services for Highlands commuters. Photo: Lauren Strode.

After commuter concerns were raised about a proposed new train timetable, changes have been made to ensure arrival times on a major service aren’t affected. 

Goulburn MP Pru Goward announced that commuters travelling on the Goulburn to Central weekday morning service would maintain their existing arrival time of 10.34am, when a new train timetable is introduced on November 26.

However, 80by20 co-founder Adam Jacobson said the change still wasn’t good enough.

“While we appreciate Ms Goward making representations to the Transport Minister, the amended new timetable doesn't bring about any benefit to Highlands rail users,” he said. 

“Essentially under the new timetable the city-direct journey time will still be six minutes longer than present and the afternoon direct service longer still.”

Ms Goward also confirmed that journey times on the return Central to Goulburn afternoon service would be cut by six minutes, when compared with the times displayed in the Operator Draft.

“The community feels strongly about this and I’m committed to making their voices heard,” she said.

“[This] announcement is a step in the right direction but I acknowledge that more needs to be done.”

Mr Jacobson said a continued push for better Highlands rail services was necessary ahead of the release of the final timetable. 

“We need local representatives at all levels to deliver a consistent message about the need and pent-up demand for well-timed, fast services,” he said.

“A new train dedicated to morning and evening commuter trips would help attract people back to the service.”

The NSW Government has directed Transport for NSW to start community research among Southern Highlands and Southern Tablelands rail customers.

Ms Goward said this information would be used to  guide plans for future timetable improvements.

“It will also help rail customers understand that the rail timetable has many competing needs,” she said. 

“We know there are many constraints on this part of the network which means that there’s no quick fix.

“Southern Highlands trains are also travelling through congested parts of the suburban network where we have no choice but to add more services to cope with increasing demand.”

80by20 wrote a letter to the Minster for Transport, Andrew Constance regarding the proposed changes and are yet to hear a response.