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PASSENGERS VENT THEIR ANGER ABOUT THE “DISEASE EXPRESS”

Tags: Gawler / Safety / Public Transport

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  • By Light Electoral Office
  • May 21, 2020
PASSENGERS VENT THEIR ANGER ABOUT THE “DISEASE EXPRESS”

Photo: Seven News

Train commuters in Gawler and the northern parts of Adelaide continue to suffer from chronic overcrowding of train services, despite Premier Steven Marshall promising to address the crisis.

On Friday morning radio, the Premier promised this week would see the return of more frequent services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On Monday we’ll be back to full service, so during those peak periods we’ll have 15-minute services,” he stated.

Local Member of Parliament Mr Tony Piccolo said that according to train users this morning, the health crisis on our trains continues after more than 10 days since the alarm was first raised with the Marshall Liberal Government.

Passenger Vanessa Schiemenz was one of many local residents to express her frustration on social media this morning.

“Still Saturday timetable. I'm on the 7.25am from Gawler Central. Most seats were full after stopping at every station by Smithfield,” Ms Schiemenz said.

“I'll be getting up extra early tomorrow to catch a 6.30am train like I did last week, just to gain some social distance.”

Another passenger, Dodie Woods added “Just got off the 7.25am… two carriages and no room for social distancing even on the back carriage.”

Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier has urged South Australians to avoid boarding crowded train carriages to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, public transport commuters are being forced to cram onto trains during morning and evening peak hour to get to work and school on time, after the government took dozens of trains out of service due to mechanical problems.

“The State Government’s mixed messages are confusing and undermine the important health restrictions,” Mr Piccolo said.

At the height of the crisis last week, train passengers took to social media to vent their anger about the risk to their health of being packed in railway carriages like sardines.

“The Gawler line was horrendous yesterday. The doors wouldn't even close because that is how many people were on it,” Local resident Danielle Peake said.

“People were coughing and spluttering, and social distancing is impossible. I won't be going on the train at all now and will drive to the city and pay to park for work.”

Her sentiments were echoed by Stephanie Chorlton.

“Yes and it was like this when COVID-19 was taking its grip on our state. It was really awful travelling to work like this. So glad I am now working from home, I’m lucky,” she said.

Rachael Greenshields summarised the concerns of most passengers when she described her train service as the “Disease Express 🤢😷”.

Mr Piccolo said Transport Minister Stephan Knoll has displayed a great deal insensitivity to the plight and concerns of passengers by suggesting they had nothing to complain about.

“For many people, public transport is their only affordable option, and not all families can afford a second or third car, or even a first car,” said Mr Piccolo.

“Mr Knoll has demonstrated a clear indifference to the important role public transport plays in our community.

“While the current situation is completely unacceptable, this will be norm once the service is privatised.”

Minister Knoll has come under fire in parliament and in the community for his decision to force rail passengers to travel on trains like stacked sardines.

Commuters have vented their anger on social distressed that the breaking of social distancing rules on trains will lead to a second wave of corona virus.

Despite this, the Marshall Liberal Government is sticking to its public transport privatisation agenda in the face of constant community backlash.

 

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