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More than 100 people rallied near Regents Park train station on October 20 to demand the Gladys Berejiklian Coalition government restore Sydney's Inner West rail line and maintain the T3 Bankstown line, which it plans to replace with a privatised Metro service.
The Restore Inner West Line Community Action Group (RIWLCAG), which organised the protest, argues that “every major transport issue in the [Inner West] area can be fixed by restoring the Inner West Line train to Liverpool (and Bankstown) via Regents Park”.
RIWLCAG also argues that the proposed Sydenham-Bankstown Metro will affect thousands of commuters who will no longer be able to get trains direct to the city from nine stations west of Bankstown. "Stations are likely to be shut down, with buses to replace trains between Cabramatta and Bankstown", according to RIWLCAG
In an open letter to state government MPs, RIWLCAG states: "Since November 2013, our direct connection to the city via Lidcombe has been cut and now you are proposing to block our direct train via Bankstown.
“The NSW government has not only made our travel to the city inconvenient, but increased our travel time, and not provided the appropriate staff and resources for us to change platforms safely at interchange stations.
"We hear and agree with the many rail professionals who say that heavy rail must be the centrepiece of our public transport system, and Metro, light rail, electric buses should serve as a feeder to the heavy rail system.
“[We are] seriously concerned that there has been no proper public consultation with the residents of Western Sydney, when the Metro proposal will have such a negative impact on our community.
"[We] don't support backdoor privatisation of our heavy rail by replacing it with bits and pieces of Metro.
“Privatisation of public transport in Melbourne and Newcastle has been a disaster for commuters.
"[As taxpayers, we want our] tax dollars invested in maintaining heavy rail in public hands, and restoring the Inner West Line to Liverpool/Bankstown via Regents Park."
Addressing the rally, Labor opposition leader Luke Foley pledged to reverse the Coalition government's plan to pull up the Bankstown rail line and restore rail services to Sydney's west to 2013 levels. Foley also said that a Labor government would refund fares to commuters if their public transport service was more than 30 minutes late.
This article first appeared on www.greenleft.org.au
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