Sydney rail privatisation targets disadvantaged communities

Sydney train
A Sydney train.

Community groups and transport experts have spoken out about the wrong-headedness of dismantling the existing public Sydenham to Bankstown rail line service only to replace it with a privately-run service.

Ecotransit, Sydenham to Bankstown Alliance, Save T3 Bankstown Line, Action for Public Transport NSW, University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures’ Mathew Hounsell and former NSW Department of Transport rail coordinator general employee John Austen are among those who have made submissions to a parliamentary inquiry opposing the proposal.

Under the proposal, commuters who used the nine stations west of Bankstown will lose direct T3 Bankstown Line train services to the CBD. This follows similar moves in 2013 when residents along the T2 Inner West Line from Liverpool via Regents Park lost direct services to the city.

All of these stations service some of the most economically-disadvantaged areas in Sydney.

During the construction period, 100,000 daily commuters will be forced onto replacement bus services.

In contrast, passengers in the wealthy North Shore benefit from 35 direct trains an hour to the city.

Further cuts to train services are also planned once the privately-owned Metro Southwest is opened in 2024, including all train services at Carramar, Villawood and Leightonfield.

Community groups are calling for the Metro to be redirected at Sydenham to Miranda via Brighton-Le-Sands, as a viable alternative to the proposed four-kilometre M6 tollroad, for which the first of three stages alone is set to cost taxpayers up to $2.6 billion.