The calls continue for the State Government to make serious changes to our rail timetable, with claims the recent amendments have added up to 40 minutes to the trip to Sydney and not alleviated the parking issues around local stations.
While the trial that saw six extra express stations stop at Austinmer appeared to benefit local commuters, the Government opted to scrap two southbound services, making it harder for people to return to their cars in the afternoon.
Austinmer commuter Erin O’Dwyer is the sole parent to two three year old boys, and says the new timetable has increased her travel time by 40 minutes a day. She’s written to Keira MP Ryan Park in a bid to have the situation improved.
“My best option is to drive my children from our home in Austinmer to their day care in Coledale (which opens at 7.30am). I then drive to Thirroul station to catch the 8.08am express service to Sydney. To travel south from Austinmer to Thirroul station at peak hour, I have to allow at least ten minutes. Then I have to allow an extra ten minutes to walk from the Church St car park. I repeat the journey in the evening. And there’s my extra 40 minutes. Dear Mr Park, please fix this now.”
Erin says these recent changes make no sense. “Even if commuters can make one of the early Austinmer express trains, they are limited to catching one of two express services in the afternoon to retrieve their car. One of the services leaves Central at 4.46pm. which is before most people have finished work.”
And she says the changes have done nothing to ease local parking problems.
“By 8am in Helensburgh there are no free spaces and dozens of cars are parked on median strips and footpaths. The new Church Street commuter car park in Thirroul is a ten minute walk from the station, which adds 20 mins to a commuter’s daily travel time,” she says, “which is significant when you consider most people are travelling at least three hours a day.