Friday, May 3, 2013

Mount Druitt Hub Meeting Sparks Good Response From Locals Re- Safety Issues On City Rail Trains!

Last night, as a local public transport advocate and representative for Mount Druitt and the Mount Druitt Commuters Improvement Group Inc., I attended the Safety Meeting for City Rail Commuters that the NSW State Opposition had organised in conjunction with Patricia Hooker. Patricia Hooker is a mother of two sons who were assaulted on a Western Sydney Rail service between St. Marys and Rooty Hill.
Penny Sharpe MLC

NSW Opposition Spokesperson  on Transport, Penny Sharpe MLC, opened the meeting  with the noted reason why public transport is out in the community for the public: to get to schools, work, friends,  shops and relaxation & family events and also to cater the more increasing commuters that cannot drive around for whatever reason.

She explained that she knows that we need more of public transport and is a keen to more public transport service whilst there is more safer public transport to travel on. She would like to see a system of safer travel. A system where you are safe and feel safe on public transport.  The public transport system needs to work and with importance of safety.

Two years under the previous NSW Government there was 600 State Transit Officer covering City Rail and 300 Commuter Rail Police as support. Claims are the current NSW Government are getting rid of the State Transit Officers and transferring 150 of them as Revenue officers to cover fare evaders and there will be 600 Police Transit Officers covering Trains, buses and ferries.

Recent data shows a 13.2% in Graffiti and vandalism and half the fare evasion fines have been issued in compared to previous times.
She claimed that she receives calls regarding horrific events happening on City Rail Trains, claims there was no safety especially when a lady caught a train early in the morning from Emu Plains to the city one morning and over a hundred  young people entered the train, later destroying it. After 000 was called, it took until Parramatta where Transit Officers took over the situation. Also gets reports in Central Coast where seats are being ripped out and the transit officers arrive after the incident occurs.

Penny concluded that prevention of this behaviour is important.

John Robertson,
NSW Opposition Leader
The leader of The NSW Opposition, John Robertson advised one of his children has been affected  by anti-social behaviour on trains. That the current NSW Government has had 2 years to fix the problem out of 4 years: cuts to budgets, safety issues not being fixed and today asked in the NSW Government in 'Question Time' two questions, to the Minister of Transport take responsibility of antisocial behaviours on City Rail - ( I think this correct).

Claims Graffiti and vandalism is up as the Transit officers will be reduced leaving 600 police outstretched to  working on trains, buses and ferries! We need a Government to meet the needs of safety of all commuters!

Patricia Hooker was the main guest speaker and reflected on what had happen on her two sons: Chris and Stephen, in early February on City Rail Trains between St Marys and Rooty Hill and that they were both assaulted.
Patrcia Hooker, John Roberton,
Penny Sharpe and Richard Amery

She is concerned how many people actually feel safe travelling on our rail network.

She would  a review of  safety on our train system. As a community member and a mum she also wants a safer community on public transport travelling on all journeys. And finally she advised she will be looking a  possible petition  for the NSW Government to review  the current process of reducing transit officers, where they should be increased to provide a safer commuter community.

Comments raised from the community representatives were as follows:

  • Transit Police  are taking Police off roads.
  • Better accessibility to commuters by providing lifts at Doonside, Rooty Hill, Pendle Hill, Toongabbie train stations
  • One community members has issues with dealing with police officers/safety officers
  •  Need to have safe and clean transport,  no need to make a profit to provide public transport service
  • quoted by a police officer ( as mentioned by a community member), 'We have real jobs to go to no time to fix Graffiti crime!'
  • a commuter with disability claims that dislike Waratah trains as  the guard is in the eighth carriage not close to the commuters near the middle of the trains and they therefore cannot react immediately on  any issue that needs to be addressed
  • former Transit police Officer advised he now trains on trains and  claims transit officers are required to provide comfort for commuters as he, himself is petrified of any negative impact from commuters
  •  I stated that I agree for Police Transit Officers to have  more powers and that will reduce the  the time a person can be taken and arrested as a Transit officer can only hold the person down waiting for the police to arrive for them to exercise their powers.
  •  I also said, move the Transit officers to buses and  trains and even have more police officers to cover shortfalls
  • And I said ensure each train CCTV's that enable police investigations to be conducted and completed as it is on public transport  and this should not provide and privacy issues or discrimination to one's right - as it will always be good substantial evidence.
  • From my heart I apologised for happened to her and her sons
  • That Rooty Hill and Doonside have no taxi stands which allows commuters a safer trip home in a different mode of transport
  •  a community member involved as a social councillor, that you can have the best public transport system in the world but  thee are a lot of Western Sydney people that are sad, unresolved anxiety and depression and look into reason and cures to get people out of this behaviour. This type of behaviour should be looked at and researched as this could start anti-social behaviours not wanted in our community!
  • One of Patrcia's son's stood up and said thank  you  but what is need  in people's lives is the simple ' please' and 'thank you'. If everyone was like that we would not be here tonight. Thank you everyone for your support tonight!

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