Transport Minister admits Sydney trains in a mess

Published: 10 January 2018

Andrew Constance checking out how the public transport system works

Opposition calls for refunds as unions blame new timetable

Andrew Constance checking out how the public transport system works
Image © 2017 AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

The NSW transport minister has apologised to Sydney commuters and admits the train network has been a "mess" over the past two days.

The network went into meltdown on Tuesday afternoon leaving thousands of frustrated passengers stranded on platforms across the city, with rail bosses blaming lightning strikes and driver sickness for the chaos.

On Monday the network was affected by a spike in sick leave taken by train drivers.

Perhaps they chucked a sickie after they weren’t able to get to work on time, due to disruptions to the train service.

"What we've seen in the last 48 hours has been enormously disappointing for commuters ...I want to apologise to them," Andrew Constance told reporters on Wednesday in Sydney.

"We're not hiding from the fact that it was a mess. We want to apologise but the trick is now getting it back on track as quickly as we can," the transport minister said.

Mr Constance has asked the head of Sydney Trains Howard Collins and Transport Secretary Rodd Staples to report to him within the next two weeks on how the network can better recover from major incidents.

But he defended the new timetable which he put in place six weeks ago.

Mr Collins said earlier on Wednesday the new timetable would be reviewed.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union says the new timetable, introduced at the end of November, is responsible for the delays.

"Management is scrambling to come up with daily excuses for the mess, but the reality is it's all to do with a poorly put together timetable," NSW Secretary Alex Claassens said in a statement on Tuesday.

Mr Collins said more train drivers were being recruited.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Luke Foley said the Berejiklian Government needed to "immediately" refund train passengers for Monday and Tuesday's travel fares.

He also slammed the new timetable, saying it was "not worth the paper it's written on".

"The government went against its expert advice on the timetable. The resources were not there to introduce the timetable six weeks ago," Mr Foley said.

"This is a train service reminiscent of a Third World city," he told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

He said the Berejiklian government needed to fix the transport chaos before spending $2.5 billion rebuilding two stadiums.

with AAP
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