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E-scooter trial may support Sydney T3 line replacement plan

22 days ago

2 minutes

Source: The Guardian

Transport minister ‘not going to sugarcoat’ disruption to 60,000 people to last until 2025

During the closure of one of Sydney’s major train lines, thousands of commuters in the area face the prospect of more than doubling their daily journey times, even if the government succeeds in recruiting 160 replacement bus drivers within the next two months.

As the T3 line undergoes a 12 to 14-month shutdown for conversion into a driverless metro line, Transport for New South Wales has unveiled its plan to accommodate up to 60,000 daily commuters affected by the closure, trialling e-scooters as an alternative mode of transportation.

The transport minister, Jo Haylen, acknowledged the shutdown would be an “inconvenient and difficult period for commuters in this part of Sydney. We’re not going to sugarcoat this – communities along the T3 lines are going to have a tough time, but there will be services available for them”.

The Inner West Council is deliberating on approving the government’s request to host Sydney’s second e-scooter trial during the T3 shutdown. However, concerns were raised regarding resident safety, with the initial 10 linked stations proposed by TfNSW suggested to be cut to just 3 by council staff.

The current trains on the T3 line accommodate over 1,000 commuters during peak hours. While the metro line’s completion in 2025 promises trains running every four minutes during peak times, interim measures include “high-frequency” replacement bus services with three dedicated routes through Sydney’s inner west and southwest.

According to TfNSW’s latest projections, the replacement bus service between Sydenham and Bankstown is expected to take 58 minutes during evening peak hours, compared to the 24 minutes by train.

Despite the effort to recruit additional bus drivers, there remains a chronic shortage of drivers across Sydney. Transit Systems, the private bus operator hired for the replacement services, Transit Systems, has made progress in recruitment but faces challenges due to the existing shortage.

While Transport Minister Haylen expresses confidence in meeting the driver shortfall, concerns persist within the Rail, Tram and Bus Union regarding the feasibility of finding enough drivers. The opposition transport spokesperson, Natalie Ward, criticizes the government’s planning for the conversion project, citing increased driver vacancies and delays in implementation.

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