The NSW Opposition is calling for Premier Berejiklian to step in and remove Transport Minister Constance over the latest train network meltdown.
Today, frustrated train commuters were left waiting on platforms across the Sydney trains network, after last minute maintenance shut down the City Circle line, once again exposing the inability of the train network to react to incidents.
It is the latest in a string of network meltdowns due to under-resourcing of the train network, which have resulted in delays and skipped-stops.
This adds to a catalogue of failures by Andrew Constance whose time as Transport Minister has been marred by worsening delays.
In November, he oversaw the disastrous implementation of his new timetable which effectively shut-down the network. Leaked documents revealed that the Minister was warned that the new timetable would make it “harder to recover from delays” and it “won’t take much to send the network into meltdown”.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that the Berejiklian government slashed the Sydney Trains maintenance budget.
In Andrew Constance’s time as Transport Minister:
- He implemented a disastrous new timetable, despite warnings from transport officials that the network needed to be properly resourced first;
- Purchased intercity trains from South Korea that won’t fit the tracks and tunnels;
- Misled Parliament saying CBD South East Light Rail is “on budget and on time” when a leaked report shows that it was neither;
- The Office of the Transport Safety Investigations found that “inadequate maintenance were systemic”;
- Not enough train drivers have been employed to service the network;
- Narrowly avoided a city-wide network shut-down after industrial action was called when he ignored train drivers;
- The Ferry McFerryface scandal in which he made a captain’s call on the name for a ferry despite a taxpayer-funded naming competition;
- Implemented a failed bus timetable in the Hunter which has left people stranded;
- Broke an election promise by privatising inner west bus services;
- Ignoring the impact of delayed construction of the CBD South East Light Rail on small businesses;
- Complete breakdown of a working relationship to solve the CBD and South East Light Rail dispute – resulting in a $1.3b court case;
- A quarter of a million dollars investigating leaks from his department; and
- Emails were deleted that should have been released under Freedom of Information laws to cover up a multi-million dollar IT blowout.
Quotes attributable to Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill
“What does Andrew Constance have to do to get fired?
"He has let down inner west commuters time and time again - the rolling issues with our rail services are the last straw.
"It's time for Constance to go. NSW deserves a transport minister who will put the needs of passengers first."
Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley
“Enough is enough. It’s time to appoint a new Transport Minister. Andrew Constance is a big part of the problems on the Sydney Trains network and he’s certainly not part of the solution.
“These train network meltdowns just roll on and on but Andrew Constance’s arrogance and belligerence means he can’t fix these problems.
“NSW needs a new Transport Minister and new polices. A minister who will reverse the cuts to front-line services, who will engage properly with train staff to restore their morale and review the timetable – all to get trains up and running again.”
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Transport Jodi McKay
“The Premier needs to wake up and see that the train network is not functioning at the hands of Andrew Constance as Transport Minister.
“Currently, the Sydney Trains network cannot recover when there is an issue. Andrew Constance was warned this would happen and that his timetable would exacerbate this problem but he went ahead with it anyway.
“Andrew Constance’s belligerence and arrogance means he won’t listen to expert advice and it’s train commuters who suffer as a result.”