BY JOSEPH FENAUGHTY
NSW MP for Leichardt Jamie Parker is calling for an upgrade of the current inner west light rail line. MP Parker believes that the line needs upgrading to make the carriages compatible with the CBD and South East Light Rail line, which is currently under construction.
As it stands at the moment, tram carriages on the new line will not be compatible with the existing Inner West Light Rail and Dulwich Hill Line extension.
However expensive the new light rail upgrade might be, it is essential, according to MP Parker, who says that the government needs to invest more in the inner west line.
“We’re calling on the government to take urgent steps to fix the unacceptable overcrowding on our light rail lines. From this week, our community volunteers will be out and about at the light rail stations asking commuters to sign our letter to the Transport Minister, demanding he take action before the overcrowding gets any worse.”
The Inner West Line has been much more successful than anticipated. When it was first installed there were concerns that it would not be used. However the number of journeys on the light rail service has grown 148% from 2014-2016, jumping from 3.9 million to 9.7 million trips.
With the population of the area continuing to grow, so do concerns that the over-crowding on the already busy line will get worse.
To try and ease congestion, the existing 12 trams now run for longer throughout the day, when previously at least two would be removed during off-peak times.
Former Leichardt mayor Maire Sheehan agrees that something should be done to fix the overcrowding of the line although admits that “they already have all 12 vehicles running at peak times there so they can’t put any more on because there are no more to be put on.
“The way it works is that they have 12 cars and they already have them all running at peak times.”
The inner west line also runs at full capacity on weekends. Erika Campbell of Dulwich Hill uses the inner west service frequently to get two and from work. She says, “It was mostly reliable but on some days it was shockingly bad. I would say it’s more reliable than the bus though.”
There are obvious advantages with light rail even though it has its critics, as it bypasses traffic jams, which slow down buses, making them unreliable in peak periods.
MP Parker agrees, “Compared with a general traffic lane, which carries fewer than 2,000 people per hour, light rail carriages can carry up to 7,500 people per hour. Every light rail vehicle can carry 200 passengers, which is equivalent to a single lane of traffic two kilometres long.”