Not a single train station along the South Coast Line will be part of a free NSW Wi-Fi trial to be conducted over the next three years at 19 stations between Hornsby and Wyong announced by the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government last week.
Under the trial commuters will be able to connect for up to an hour each day at stations between Hornsby and Wyong.
The project which is funded by the Federal and NSW Governments and Telstra aims to improve connectivity along the 68-kilometre railway, which is known for having internet black spots.
Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully, slammed the NSW Government for not going into bat for commuters along the South Coast Line to be included in the trial.
“The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government just doesn’t care about commuters along the South Coast Line having access to improved passenger services, upgraded infrastructure, and now a free Wi-Fi trial.
“The South Coast Line passes through two Government-held seats at Heathcote and Kiama and yet even these commuter populations have been ignored.
“The problems of connectivity on the South Coast Line are well known and yet continue to be ignored”, he said.
Mr Scully asked the Minister for Transport and Roads, Andrew Constance, a question in writing on 18 May 2020 seeking details on which South Coast Line stations would be involved in the trial. The Minister responded on Friday with:
The Transport for NSW Free Wi-Fi trial will run for 3 years at 19 stations between Hornsby and Wyong. Transport for NSW will use the learnings from the trial to inform future plans with respect to customers and connectivity needs. More information about the trial is available on the Transport for NSW website.
Mr Scully said the Government was wasting an opportunity by not including South Coast Line stations in the free trial.
“Commuters along the South Coast Line also experience internet black spots and they should be included in this trial so our experiences can be factored into how we can fix the problem once the trial is finished.
“I call on Ministers Ward and Hancock to back my call for including South Coast stations in this trial; there is time to adjust the trial to include our local stations as well if these Ministers speak up now”, he said.
Mr Scully said he was concerned that Illawarra-based commuters were always left for last waiting for improvements to passenger services from the roll-out of the new Intercity Fleet and upgrading infrastructure as other parts of the public transport network were prioritised ahead of the region.