Greens NSW Transport Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has asked the transport minister to clarify whether people being forced to change from the rail to the light rail in Newcastle will have to pay twice.
“Speaking on ABC Radio, the minister implied that people, who would be forced off trains at Wickham once the government has cut the rail line, would be charged again when they get on the proposed light rail to continue their trip.
“How will double charging people who want to get to the city centre of Newcastle encourage public transport use?
“The minister has repeatedly refused to offer a truly integrated Opal system that allows people to change modes without being penalised, stating that different modes of transport should be charged separately. Penalising people who take multiple modes of transport goes against every principle of an integrated and effective public transport system.
“What this means is that commuters, many of whom are from the surrounding areas of Maitland and Dungog, who are currently already buying a ticket to get to the centre of Newcastle, will have to get off at Wickham and pay for another ticket to continue the journey on the proposed light rail.
“Newcastle could benefit from light rail, but as an addition to, rather than a replacement for, current services. The Greens strongly support investment in integrated public transport, including light rail, but this must not be done at the cost of existing infrastructure and without clear and transparent justification”, she concluded.
DrMehreenFaruqi MLC is a civil and environmental engineer and a senior visiting fellow at the Institute of Environmental Studies UNSW.
Published in Indian Magazine, Australia