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All aboard the sardine express

Is it just me, or is the NSW Labor Government running the state into the ground? Now, as a Labor voter myself, I suppose that I only have myself to blame, but I am increasingly becoming frustrated with the way they are attempting to run this state. My biggest grievance? CityRail.

Yes, the shambolic rail system that is shaming our state and our country. As someone who commutes to work every day, I witness CityRail’s blunders on a daily basis, and wonder when they will ever get it right? Just when I think it can’t get any worse, another train service is cancelled, and ticket prices are increased by an extra $2 for another time in as many months.

A survey conducted in September 2008 by the Independent Transport Safety and Reliability Regulator highlighted just how frustrated people are becoming with CityRail, with the survey uncovering two major issues for rail commuters: crowding and frequency of services.

I couldn’t agree more. I for one am getting sick of riding the sardine express. I feel like cattle, as we are pushed through doors and restricted of air. I half expect someone to yell out “moooo.”

The other day, I was travelling home from work, reading my book and attempting to wind down for the day. I had scored a great window seat, which was a nice change from standing the whole way. Unbeknownst to me, the train halted at Central for about 5 minutes. Ok, nothing new I thought. Then began the waiting game… so I waited… and waited… after what seemed like an eternity, the train driver announced, “this service will no longer be a (I would like to refrain from naming the particular line) service. We will no longer be going to this destination. This is now a (insert new service line here) train. WHAT? So then we all had to disembark at Central and wait around for 15 minutes for the next train, which arrived at the station already packed to the brim. Oh and did I mention this was in peak hour? What a joke. How silly of me to assume that when I got on a train on my line that it would actually stop at my station.

Now I know these things can’t be helped. But this is not an isolated incident. No this is just one of the many mishaps that occur every day on the trains. Not only is it frustrating for commuters, but it also means they are inconvenienced even more by arriving late to work, or arriving late home and missing an appointment, gym time, dinner with their families, etc.

With traffic on our streets getting worse, and pollution slowly eroding what clean air we have left, the Government is encouraging commuters to catch the train to work. I couldn’t agree more. But is it worth it to fork out that $50 a week for a train service that is frequently late, crowded and, can’t deliver you to your destination stress-free and on time?

I went to Europe last year and was totally amazed by their rail systems. So clean, efficient and most importantly, on time!! A train would breeze in every 2 minutes, without delay and deliver passengers to their destination in record time. No need for timetables. In Barcelona, there was a screen that would actually count down to when the train would arrive (in seconds). And you know what? It was never late. In Japan, commuters would consider a late train to be 30 seconds. In Sydney, it’s more attune to 15-20 minutes.

So the question I would like to ask is when the NSW Government are going to wake up and realise this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed?

Is it too much to expect a seamless and drama-free trip to and from work?

I would like to know what you think. Do you agree, or are you happy with the service CityRail provides?