Fix our crowded trains, Kiama MP says to Transport Minister

Kiama MP Gareth Ward wants his own government to tell Illawarra commuters whether extra carriages will be allocated to the South Coast line. Picture: Robert Peet
Kiama MP Gareth Ward wants his own government to tell Illawarra commuters whether extra carriages will be allocated to the South Coast line. Picture: Robert Peet

The stream of stories about overcrowded South Coast trains are “not acceptable”, Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward told NSW Parliament.

The Kiama MP was adding his voice to the chorus of concern about the overcrowding on two four-car trains – the 3.24pm and 4.24pm services – that leave Central headed for the South Coast.

“It is not acceptable to read reports about passengers sitting on stairs,” Mr Ward said in parliament.

“It is not acceptable to hear stories of people using toilets as seats due to the lack of space on our trains.

“I make a great effort to read emails and letters that come into my office but I know from my own experience of giving up my seat on a stair for a woman who needed it that this situation is unacceptable, and it must change.”

Mr Ward has put out a petition calling for the NSW government to add extra carriages on those two afternoon services and more than 1200 people have signed it in the last two weeks.

Labor spokesman for the Illawarra Ryan Park criticised the petition, calling it “a political stunt” – an action that “disappointed” Mr Ward.

“I say to the member for Keira: People are fed up with politicians attacking one another,” Mr Ward said.

“People want results.”

The two crowded afternoon services were “two examples of trains that are consistently full and overflowing”, Mr Ward said.

“Whilst I appreciate that peak periods require transport authorities to do the greatest good for the greatest number, it is clear that public services from this region are becoming more popular for a variety of reasons,” he said. 

Mr Ward called on Transport Minister Andrew Constance to issue a “plan and an announcement that will allocate surplus carriages to the South Coast service”.

“I make it clear to the minister that our community expects an outcome and I look forward to a reply to our petition and the request I am making in this House,” Mr Ward said. 

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