Despite major timetable updates multiple train lines are still operating well above capacity on weekdays, new figures show.
Data collected by Sydney Trains and seen by the Sydney Morning Herald show Sydney’s overcrowded-trains problem has worsened in a year. Average passenger loads during the morning reached 120 per cent capacity in September last year, which was a rise from 112 per cent the year before. The average train load during the evening reached 94 per cent in September last year, up from 91 per cent a year earlier. Between 8am and 9am on weekdays most trains are at 185 per cent capacity. That’s 85 per cent over capacity, which means every seat is taken and there are more than 50 people standing. That’s nearly double the amount of people in a carriage than there should be.
The benchmark used by transport officials to indicate “overcrowding” sits at a load of 135 per cent (100 per cent is all seats filled, no one standing).
According to the data the busiest train line in the morning is the T1 Western line with an average load of 145 per cent between 8am and 9am. It’s followed by the T1 Northern line train via Strathfield (137 per cent) and the T4 Illawarra (132 per cent).
At night it’s the T1 Northern line via Strathfield that is the most hectic.
Overcrowding means further delays for commuters, placing increased stress on the Sydney transport system. So, what are we to do?
Commuters can now monitor the amount of space available on each carriage by using apps such as Tripview, NextThere, AnyTrip and TripGo. These use weight sensors to calculate the number of passengers on board and provide real-time information and advice on which carriage to choose for Waratah Series (A set) trains.
Relief may be on the way for some commuters with Sydney’s new north–west rail link planned for completion early next year. This $8.3 billion line will connect commuters from Rouse Hill to Chatswood.