Inner West Mayor responds to light rail debacle
Friday 5 November 2021
Inner West Mayor Rochelle Porteous is demanding the NSW Government provide alternative – and free - transport for stranded Inner West residents.
Today, Transport Minister Rob Stokes announced the heavily patronised Inner West light rail service will be decommissioned for up to 18 months, after cracking was identified in all 12 carriages.
“This is crushing news for the Inner West. The light rail is a critical public transport route,” said Mayor Rochelle Porteous.
"The Inner West is paying the price of foolish decisions made by the Coalition Government which have been more focused on privatising the route than delivering a safe, integrated and reliable light rail service,” she said.
“The Inner West is sick of the NSW Government privatising public transport. They did it with our buses – which meant fewer stops and less frequent services. Then they gave Transdev the right to operate the Dulwich Hill light rail line until 2034.
“Well, anyone can see private contracts and public transport don’t work. But that’s never stopped the NSW Government from privatising anything and everything,” Mayor Porteous said.
“It’s also extremely concerning that our transport experts told the NSW Government the technology was already dated and was incompatible with the CBD and south-east light rail.
“Which meant they are not inter-operable, but they did nothing to rectify the situation.
“Which finds us here – without any light rail service at all.
“It’s time to tear up the contract, and give Inner West residents their public transport back,” Mayor Porteous said.
The light rail has a capacity of up to 270 people on each train. A Sydney bus carries a maximum of 80.
“Obviously this doesn’t add up - particularly when you add in traffic and longer routes,” Mayor Porteous said.
“Our residents – commuters and school children who would normally be on light rail travelling up to 80 kilometres per hour within its own right of way – will now be on buses compounded by WestConnex and Metro West construction.
“The whole situation is deplorable.
“What we want, and what most Sydneysiders want, is a standardised, publicly owned and run network of trams for Sydney. We want trams that are fully integrated, safe, reliable and accessible.
“I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
“Everyone uses the Inner West Light rail – commuters, locals travelling across the inner west, schoolkids. It is far more popular than anyone ever predicted and it’s been over-subscribed from day one,” Mayor Porteous said.
“This is a disaster of the NSW Government’s making.
“It’s up to Transport Minister Stokes to fix it,” Mayor Porteous said.
For media enquiries, contact Elizabeth Heath, Media and Communications Coordinator, 9392 5334 or Elizabeth.Heath@innerwest.nsw.gov.au