Contributed from New South Wales
A wide coalition of community groups have come together in Sydney to protest the state of public transport in the city.
On 17 February, they will rally at the Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park (2pm) and march to Martin Place, to demand a major investment injection into the city’s public transport
One of the main groups, the community based No West Connex, which has been fighting the construction of the toll road. And last year, Premier Gladys Berejiklian promised two further projects, extensions to the F6 and the Western Harbour Tunnel/ Beaches link.
Many residents are becoming increasing warried about the preference given to putting more care on the road, in a city that is already heavily congested with traffic. They are also seeing that this preference is bleeding funds away from public transport.
Another participating organisation is the Alexandria Residents Action Group. Co-convenor Ben Aveling said that, “everyone loses under the NSW government model. If you drive, you will pay more for the roads you have now. If you take public transport, you won’t be able to get on a train or bus. Walking or riding a bike will be less safe and more polluted. While cities all over the rest of the world are working to give people alternatives to cars, we’re doubling down on what no longer works.”
The recent chaos in the train network that was brought to national attention by the industrial dispute in the system, illustrated how far the cutback in services had gone and the consequent overcrowding, cut down timetables and over working of staff.
According to Alex Claassens of the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU), the drive to cut spending has resulted in a shortage of around 150 staff. The RTBU has endorsed the rally. Alex Claassens said: “The system is broken. It’s important for people to come together and make the politicians take notice.”