NSW plans to increase train fares
Responding to the IPART review of CityRail services, Greens MP and transport spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said today the NSW Pricing Tribunal should withdraw its call for fare increases and heavy job cuts.
"IPART's recommendations of massive fare hikes and front line service sackings reveals that it has failed to understand the new priorities of regulating public transport services," Ms Rhiannon said.
"IPART should be advising the NSW government that increasing the attractiveness and reliability of CityRail services is its top priority. Increasing revenue should be a secondary priority.
â€œSydneyâ€™s roads are choked. Peak hour is a thing of the past, air pollution is reaching dangerously high levels and chronic traffic congestion is making Sydney unliveable.
â€œWith rising petrol prices and the peak oil phenomenon set to boost rail service patronage the government should be looking to employ more station staff and rail workers.
â€œThe Government must encourage more commuters onto trains, not turn them off.
"The IPART recommendations include cutting operation costs by $480 million, the axing of 1,176 train guards and replacing staff at 204 of the 305 train stations with ticket machines.
"Instead, IPART should be recommending a large increase in the rail budget to put CityRail on a world class footing, not relying on the traditional economic rationalist approach to drive change.
"It is disappointing that the Tribunal has given such poor advice at a time when the NSW government's public transport policy is so out of step with what passengers need.
"Everyone knows that CityRail has to lift its game but IPART has targeted the wrong areas.
"IPART has jeopardised its standing with these recommendations. They show contempt for public transport passengers and hard working CityRail staff, and a complete lack of understanding of the transport crisis that lies ahead with predicted fuel shortages.
"Fewer staff and higher ticket prices on CityRail services would hit people living in western Sydney and commuters from the Illawarra, Hunter and Central Coast particularly hard.
â€œThe Greens will be making these recommendations in our submission to the IPART review,â€ Ms Rhiannon said.