The NSW Opposition has slammed the Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian and the Liberals for failing to provide free travel passes to students using the Inner West Light Rail to go to school.
Opposition Leader John Robertson was joined by Labor Candidates Verity Firth for Balmain and Jo Haylen for Summer Hill at Waratah Mills light rail station in Dulwich Hill, where they spoke with high school students and their parents angry at having to pay to get to school.
“The Inner West Light Rail has been operating for months – but the local students who use the light rail are forced to pay while other students travelling on trains and buses have access to free travel passes,” Mr Robertson said.
“Some students are simply sticking to their previous, more time-consuming modes of transport or turning to parents to drive, adding to local traffic congestion - just to avoid the unfair burden of paying for the light rail.
“This ridiculous Liberal failure is unfair on families living along the route of the light rail, and simply doesn’t make sense. We should be encouraging our kids to use public transport instead of penalising families for sending children to school on the best transport option.”
Labor Candidate for Balmain Verity Firth said: “There are at least 10 schools within range of a light rail station, but unlike ferries, buses and trains, students are excluded from free travel to school on the light rail.
“One of my proudest achievements as Member for Balmain was ensuring that this light rail was built – I am now campaigning to encourage more people to use public transport, including school students. The Liberals, however are locking out a key group of commuters and pushing more people back into cars.
“A single-zone return ticket, to get to and from school each day, is $12.50 per week – that’s $500 a year. This light rail was supposed to make life easier – but instead it’s hitting family budgets.”
Labor Candidate for Summer Hill Jo Haylen said: “The light rail is meant to reach those people living in areas that have limited public transport in the first place – the lack of student passes just defeats that goal.
“The Liberals have said they’re considering making travel to school free. Months down the track, we’re still waiting – and paying every single day.
“Students should have access to free travel to school regardless of where they live and which form of public transport they use.”