Transport for NSW has released a report on the performance of the Sydney passenger rail network, 12 months on from the release of the new timetable in November last year.
The report was commissioned to examine the performance of the 2017 More Trains, More Services (MTMS) Stage 1 Timetable, with the findings to inform the implementation of future stages.
The report states that the 1,500 extra weekly services introduced with the new timetable have led to a “significant increase” in demand across all time periods throughout the day.
According to the report, the lines targeted in the new timetable – the T1 Western, T2 Inner West and Leppington, T3 Bankstown, T5 Cumberland, and T8 Airport and South lines – have seen their average passenger loads reduce slightly from 137 per cent to 127 per cent while at the same time experiencing a 4.3 per cent increase in morning peak passenger numbers. Some part of the network reportedly saw train loads drop by 47 per cent.
Approximately 70 per cent of suburban stations now receive a minimum 15 minute service frequency across most of the day, up from 29 per cent of stations prior to the release of the new timetable, while 89 per cent of passengers are able to catch a train every 10 minutes (at a mimimum) during the AM and PM peaks.
“The data doesn’t lie. We’ve had to contend with huge growth on our network- a 30 per cent increase over the last five years, and as the report shows, that trend is set to continue,” NSW transport minister Andrew Constance said.
“This report is proof that we couldn’t sit back and do nothing, this was the timetable that Sydney needed.”
According to the report, an extra 750 services on weekends and 180 late night has led to a significant increase in demand. Journeys made on the weekend (13.6%) and late night (10.7%) has outstripped AM (2.5%) and PM (3.1%) peak travel as a result of the more frequent and consistent services provided by the timetable.
“Our focus was to provide more capacity during the peak to key areas where it was needed most, as well as giving customers more services during off peak periods to respond to changing travel patterns,” said Constance.
“Customers now have more choice and more options for travel across the entire day. They’re voting with their feet and coming through the gates in droves, proving that train travel is a convenient option at any time of the day.”