More than 840 Blue Mountains residents have seized the opportunity to have their say on train services in a survey, with 92 per cent of respondents citing lack of services west of Katoomba as the main reason limiting their use of trains.
Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre (BANC), the Getting Around in Community (GAIC) group and the Blackheath Community Alliance conducted the survey which found the current train timetable was a major barrier, particularly for Upper Mountains residents.
Currently there is a more than two hour gap between trains west of Katoomba to Lithgow during weekdays. The community also expressed significant concerns with the quality of the train service in the groups’ Mind the Gap report.
“We hear many stories of people being disadvantaged by the lack of a regular train service. The survey results have confirmed the need for an hourly train service,” said Judy Finch, manager of BANC.
“We were overwhelmed by the amount of interest generated by this survey,” Ms Finch said.
“People were actively coming into the neighbourhood centre to complete surveys and offer to distribute them. It demonstrates the strength of feeling the community has around this issue.”
The NSW Government is set to introduce a new train timetable in October 2013.
“The review and introduction of a new train timetable survey presents a once in a decade opportunity to introduce an hourly weekday service between Katoomba and Lithgow— an initiative that has strong support in the Blue Mountains community,” said Ms Finch.
Blackheath resident Murray Bailey said the train service is “so important for people who don’t drive and very soon there will be even more of us who simply do not have the option to drive”.
Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage has been presented with the Mind the Gap report with the three groups urging Mrs Sage to make representations to NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berijiklian for the introduction of an hourly service west of Katoomba and to improve the service’s quality.
The Mind the Gap report can be downloaded from the Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre website at www.banc.org.au.