5 May 2021

Broken government promise for wasteful metro project to inconvenience a million commuter trips during Winter

 

The NSW Government has broken a key transport promise and will delay and inconvenience more than one million commuter trips in the middle of winter by shutting down the Bankstown line to build its unnecessary Sydney Metro extension.

 

The Sydenham to Bankstown Alliance, which is made up of residents’ and environmental groups based along the corridor, condemned the shutdown decision.

 

In February, the government hid an announcement that it would be shutting down the Bankstown line from 28 June to 11 July 2021 in the bottom paragraphs of a website statement about contracts being awarded.

 

This shutdown runs contrary to the promise made by the NSW Government when it released amended plans for the Sydenham to Bankstown Metro line in June 2018.

 

A summary brochure supporting the amended plans stated: “Temporary possessions are now only planned for two weeks over the Christmas school holiday period”. It also stated that the “the project is no longer planning for two-week possessions during the July school holidays each year.”

 

If rail patronage returns to pre-COVID levels during June and July, then it is expected that around 1.1 million commuter trips will be forced on to buses during the 14-day shutdown, with the government yet to release its detailed alternative transport plan.

 

“This is going to be a miserable winter for Bankstown Line commuters thanks to a broken promise by the NSW Government,” said Sydenham to Bankstown Alliance spokesperson Barbara Coorey.

 

“When the NSW Government released amended plans in 2018 to reduce some of the worst construction impacts of the Metro construction, it also promised to not have a mid-year rail line shutdown. “At the first opportunity, it’s broken that promise and then tried to hide the broken promise.

 

“What is more, many commuters do not know this shutdown is going to happen, because of the sneaky and under-handed way in which this announcement was made.

 

"This means they may not have made arrangements to avoid the shutdown.”

 

“In addition, the shutdown is likely to force T3 Bankstown Line commuters on to other lines, such as the T1 Western Line, T2 Inner West/Leppington Line, T4 Illawarra Line, and the T8 Airport/South Line – causing huge overcrowding and problems on those lines.

 

“Sydney’s commuters don’t have to go through this inconvenience – the Bankstown Line can be upgraded through new signalling and station improvements without the need for these destructive shutdowns and billions of dollars in wasted expenditure.

 

“The Sydenham to Bankstown Metro has been created as a gift to property speculators and developers and it’s commuters and residents in heritage suburbs along the line who are now paying the price.

 

“The good news is that it’s not too late for the government to reconsider and implement only the station upgrade aspects of the Metro line, without the introduction of the Metro itself”

 

The Sydenham to Bankstown Alliance will be commencing direct action along the Metro corridor from June to inform commuters, residents and businesses of the significant impacts arising from the shutdown of the T3 Bankstown Line.