We have ten more trains stopping in the Northern Illawarra from next month, but it may not be enough to solve the parking problems in Thirroul.
That’s according to the Thirroul Transport Committee, which has been lobbying for change since the current timetable was implemented in October 2013.
Spokesman Stephen Kennard says the main issue is NOT the stations to the north. “Our research shows two-thirds of the people driving to Thirroul to catch the train come from the south. We believe that out of those 10 stops, five should be at Bulli.
“People are travelling from Woonona and Corrimal to catch the train at Thirroul. It’s unlikely they’ll drive on to Austinmer. Plus, Austinmer station has 30 car spots. Bulli has 100.
“It’s fantastic they’ve made changes,” he says, “but the Government really should have listened to what we had to say. If they’d done that in the first place they wouldn’t have spent money on a car park at Thirroul which is used by so few people.”
Meanwhile Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward says it’s only a three month trial.
“I’m really proud to have been a part of this. It’s unheard of for a timetable to be altered midway through it’s run, which is certainly a credit to all the lobbying we have been doing. Freight trains make it difficult for commuter trains to run to time. We are hopeful these changes will make for a more reliable, more efficient service.”
Gareth says the long term future of the changes hinge on the next three months. “It all comes down to patronage,” he says. “The Opal card makes is easy for us to track commuter travel-patterns. the Government will use data from Opal to determine how many people are using Austinmer station, and we will weigh that up against any
effects the changes may have on other commuters.”