Passenger Rail

Extra services added to cope with COVID-19 demand

Transport for NSW has added an extra 3,300 weekly bus and train services around the network to allow for passengers to travel safely as patronage returns to the network.

The services include an extra 250 train services on the Sydney Trains network and 3,100 buses across Sydney.

Already, some bus routes have reached their reduced capacity during peak periods, leading to commuters having to wait for the next bus. Capacity has been limited to ensure physical distancing can be maintained on the transport network.

The services began on June 1, in response to the increase in peak hour travel since restrictions were eased over the past fornight.

The extra trains and buses are in addition to 800 wekly bus and light rail services that were added during May.

According to Transport for NSW, the increase in services will provide 59,000 extra spaces on trains and 37,000 extra spaces and buses each week.

The NSW government is continuing to advise commuters to use alternative travel arrangements, such as driving, walking, or cycling, or work from home, where possible.

In Victoria, passenger groups are asking for more services outside of the peak periods.

Public Transport Users Association spokesperson Daniel Bowen said that unless frequency outside of the peak was increased, the benefits of staggering work times wouldn’t be realised on the transport network.

“It makes sense to encourage staggered working hours, with people travelling at different times – but this won’t help if public transport frequency and capacity is not boosted to enable it.”

Bowen said that in comparison to Sydney and Perth, Melbourne’s off peak capacity of trains every 20 minutes severely limits the network’s capacity outside of peak periods, particularly with the current limits in place.

“The public transport network is key to Melbourne’s economic recovery from this crisis. But it must be run in a way that ensures passengers and staff are as safe as possible.”

Fundamentally, capacity must be managed, and the key to this is encouraging staggered travel, which is only possible by providing sufficient services throughout the day,” said Bowen.