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NSW transport bosses have admitted to “hiccups” this morning, the first test of the seven-month closure of one of Sydney’s busiest and most modern rail lines.
But they’ve said commuters themselves made a big mistake by ignoring advice and “overwhelming” one station in a bid to get on buses while leaving other rail replacement services almost empty.
The verdict from commuters on the Epping to Chatswood line is also in, and in many cases, it’s not pretty: “What a s**t show” said one.
“Be prepared for one of the biggest transport messes on the network,” said another on social media.
Queues for rail replacement services were a hundred strong at one point as tens of thousands of former double-decker train users squeezed onto single-decker buses.
One commuter, who had the doors of a rail replacement bus shut in her face, expressed her feelings in three simple words: “I hate it.”
Confused commuters ta Epping station this morning following the rail line’s closure. Picture: Dylan RobinsonSource:News Corp Australia
Commuters wait in line at the new Station Link bus stop at Macquarie University station. = Picture: John AppleyardSource:News Corp Australia
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) has said the shutdown of a line not even a decade old is a “nightmare” and the city had been plunged into “commuter chaos for no good reason”.
But Transport Minister Andrew Constance urged commuters to grin and bear it. Mr Constance said he was hoping “carmageddon” wouldn’t ensue from the increased road congestion.
Transport for NSW said 114 buses moved 10,000 people this morning. The transport body said it was surprised by the thousands who got off trains at Chatswood and headed for buses - of which there simply weren’t enough. Yet at nearby St Leonards station legions of rail buses left for Epping nearly empty.
News.com.au joined the throng of peak-hour commuters and students on Tuesday.
The last train rolled out of the underground link on Saturday evening. But with the Labour Day holiday on Monday, today was the first real test of the new arrangements.
Unlike many passengers, Gaia, waiting at Epping, had done a test run.
“We used the buses yesterday and it was great. They were empty, it was like a taxi,” she said.
“But today, because of the traffic, everything’s changed,” said her companion Brad.
This article first appeared on www.news.com.au
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