Blue Mountains train commuters will no longer be able to disembark at Redfern station from November 26 when new timetables are introduced.
Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle has attacked the change as a slap in the face for local university students and hospital workers who leave the service at Redfern.
But transport minister Andrew Constance hit back, saying it will result in shorter train journeys for most Blue Mountains commuters who are currently disembarking at Central, not Redfern.
Commuters working at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital or studying and working at the University of Sydney would have to travel beyond their final destinations and double back on a second train when Redfern is removed from the stopping patterns of all Blue Mountains services.
“The Berejiklian Government gives with one hand and takes away with the other,” said Ms Doyle.
“While on the one hand, transport minister Andrew Constance has heeded the call for longer trains on weekends to deal with overcrowding, he has turned around and cut crucial stops at employment and education precincts where Mountains commuters need to travel to and from every day.”
Census data indicates that about 29 per cent of Blue Mountains residents are employed in the health services and education sectors, and a further 22 per cent are undertaking tertiary study.
“I am already hearing from university and hospital staff who will have to double back from Central in order to get off at Redfern, and they are telling me they are simply bewildered by this decision,” Ms Doyle said.
University librarian John Paul Cenzato travels between his home in Leura and Redfern each morning by train, and the additional platform change and doubling back will add a further 10 minutes to his twice-daily commute.
“This cut to our train service will force me to either get off at Strathfield to catch a train to Redfern, which would increase my travel time, or I can get off at Central and travel back which is just silly, or I could catch a bus, but this would increase my travel costs. It is simply not good enough,” Mr Cenzato said.
But transport minister Andrew Constance said the Member for Blue Mountains “needs to deal in facts, not fiction”.
“We are delivering the largest ever increase in capacity on the train network – adding 1500 extra weekly services in one hit.
“With demand for train services going through the roof, we’re acting now to deliver more services.
“It’s an evidence-based approach, considering factors like customer feedback and Opal data which shows us where and when our customers are travelling. For example, in the weekday morning peak, five times as many customers from Blue Mountains stations are travelling to Central rather than Redfern, which means that the majority of these customers will enjoy quicker journey times.”