Social distancing on trains will be a problem

Central Coast Commuters Association Vice President, Eddie Ellis, at Gosford railway station

Central Coast Commuters Association is backing calls from the State Opposition for the enforcement of more social distancing and hygiene measures on our trains, with hundreds more commuters expected to return to the rail network as coronavirus social restrictions continue to ease.

Association Vice President, Eddie Ellis, said hand sanitisers at the entrance to all Coast railway stations would be “a good start”, as would be fast-tracking of the full delivery of the 55 New Intercity Fleet trains now being trialled.

Ellis said that with overcrowding on the trains to ramp up, extra measures need to be taken now.

“The trains will be very crowded and pose a serious risk of transmission of COVID 19 to passengers,” he said.

“Without more trains, I can’t see how social distancing can be maintained.

“Perhaps another measure could be looking at refining the air conditioning system on our trains.”

Shadow Transport Minister, Chris Minns, said a recent NSW Auditor General’s report had highlighted that overcrowding on Sydney’s trains is “a major health concern at a time when COVID-19 restrictions are being eased and people are returning to work”.

“As the social isolation measures implemented in response to COVID-19 are eased, up to a million daily riders may soon be back crowding on to Sydney’s trains,” Minns said.

“Sydney Trains’ risk rating acknowledges that overcrowding can impact the safety and health of staff and customers by causing illness, injuries or fatalities.

“We need a clear and comprehensive plan to ensure that social distancing continues on public transport, and this plan needs to be in place before we all return to work.

“Employers should stagger the start times of their employees.

“Hand sanitisers should be installed at major city stations.

“We need strict rules around where a commuter should stand or sit on a train or station.

“These preventative measures have been employed with some success around the world, and we need them here now.”

Source: Media release, May 1, 2020 – Shadow Transport Minister, Chris Minns

Media statement, May 4, 2020 – Central Coast Commuters Association Vice President, Eddie Ellis