Sydenham–Bankstown Metro Environmental Impact Statement confirms impending chaos for Bankstown line

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 | Dr Mehreen Faruqi

Today, submissions to the Environment Impact Statement for the Sydenham to Bankstown Sydney Metro. The EIS has confirmed that commuters on the Bankstown line will be subjected to seven years of disruption by the construction of the Sydenham to Bankstown Metro.1

Greens NSW MP and Spokesperson for Transport, Dr Mehreen Faruqi has said that it will be chaos for years for both rail users and drivers.

The Bankstown line will be shut down for 28% of the July 2019–2024 construction period, forcing commuters to use replacement buses and alternate train lines that will lengthen their commute and dramatically increase road congestion.2

100,000 customer trips will be affected each day when the first of eleven line shut downs occurs in 2019. Commuter demand is expected to grow at 6% per annum over the next seven years. This means 135,000 trips will be disrupted each day when the line is shut down for six months in 2024.3

The single Temporary Transport Plan option considered in detail by the EIS proposes a haphazard mix of bussing commuters along the shut down line and to stations on T2 the Airport, Inner West and South line, with modest increases to the frequency of existing bus services.4

This EIS acknowledges this plan would cause extraordinary congestion, stating “delays would increase to unacceptable levels at a number of intersections.”5

“A minimum of 101 buses per hour would travel through Marrickville destined for Sydenham Station in the AM peak period.”6

A trip from Bankstown Station to Sydenham Station in the morning will take more than twice as long: 45 minutes on replacement buses compared to 21 minutes on the train.7

Construction around stations, and the narrowing of bridges along the line will exacerbate road congestion at the same time commuters are displaced from public transport to private vehicles.8

“Customers would be unable to rely on the temporary bus services to get them to their destinations on time,” the EIS concludes.9

The Government acknowledges this plan will not work, but intends to continue without a viable alternative. They offer no detail for the claim that bussing commuters directly to other train lines from each station west of Campsie can mitigate disastrous congestion.10

Further, no modelling of the impact the impact the Bankstown line shut down will have on local business has been made public.

The Sydenham to Bankstown project will spend billions modifying 11 stations and 13.5km of railway tracks despite lacking a clear justification and there being little evidence to suggest a privately-operated metro is the right way to improve Sydney’s public transport.

The Liberal-National government must release the full business case for the project.

Greens NSW MP and Spokesperson for Transport, Dr Mehreen Faruqi said:

“By closing the Bankstown line and attempting to put a hundred extra bus services an hour on busy roads at the same time as 23 bridges are closed and commuters opt to use their cars, the Liberal-National Government has created a perfect storm of congestion.

“The Liberal-National Government has tried to downplay the enormous impact line closures will have on commuters on the Bankstown line.

“Seven years of disruption is not ‘short-term pain,’ it is a slap in the face to Sydneysiders who have time and again put up with this Government’s mismanagement of public transport.

“People living on the Bankstown line should not be subjected to daily chaos while the Liberal-National Government spends billions on a privately-run Metro that they cannot show offers any benefit to the people of Sydney.

“The Government has no plan to handle this impending disaster. Community members are right to be furious.”

“The EIS confirms the community’s worst fear — this project is a joke. The Government should go back to the drawing board and invest in expanding public transport, not handing it over to corporations.”

1 Complete Environmental Impact Statement: http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=8256 . Appendix G, “Sydenham to Bankstown Temporary Transport Strategy”: https://majorprojects.accelo.com/public/dce05b3ff70e9ff17fbe255096be7525/17_%20S2B%20EIS%20Vol%201C%20Appendix%20G.pdf

2 28% is calculated on 28 weeks of planned shut down, plus the final 6 months closure and 4 weekends of planned additional closure each year for 2019–2024. See Temporary Transport Strategy, 4–5.

3 Temporary Transport Strategy, p6.

4 Temporary Transport Strategy, p17.

5 Temporary Transport Strategy, p36.

6 Temporary Transport Strategy, p36.

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Media contact: Matt Hilton for Mehreen Faruqi. P: 9230 2625 M: 0474 437 111