Activists call for public transport, not motorway madness

 

A "Fix NSW Transport" lantern walk will be held on August 11, beginning at Town Hall and proceeding through city streets, to highlight community opposition to tollways, especially WestConnex, and the crisis of public transport in the state.

Initial endorsements included activist groups No Westconnex: Public Transport Not Motorways; EcoTransit; Friends of Erskineville; Keep Sydney Beautiful; Rail Tram and Bus Union; Netwown Residents Against WestConnex, National Tertiary Education Union; Restore Inner West Line; and Westconnex Action Group.

Other transport and environment action groups around Sydney and regional areas including Newcastle have also joined the Fix NSW Transport coalition.

The Sydney City Council has endorsed the lantern walk and is also providing support for the project.

A mayoral minute adopted overwhelmingly by the council on June 25 also called "on other local government areas to endorse this broad coalition and ask the Lord Mayor to write to Councillors in the Sydney metropolitan area encouraging them to take part in the lantern walk with their communities."

The coalition aims to highlight that public transport is falling to pieces while the NSW government wastes $45 billion on WestConnex and other toll roads.

In particular the trains are packed, the timetable doesn't work, the drivers are overworked and the stations are inaccessible for the mobility impaired. The new public transport that is being built is unfit for purpose and designed for privatisation.

Car-dependent communities have had tolls inflicted on previously free roads. Private toll operators control the major parties through their political donations and now have a near monopoly on the motorways.

The Fix NSW Transport coalition says transport is no longer a rational issue where decisions are made in the best interests of the public. Vested interests have taken control. They want people to become active and fight back, to build a massive movement that will stand up and force change.

The August 11 lantern walk follows a successful lantern procession in July last year, in which hundreds of people converged on Camperdown Oval from various points along the proposed route of WestConnex Stage 3. Organisers are hoping for an even larger protest in the heart of the city before the NSW state election in March 2019.

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