Tuesday, May 7, 2013

City Rail Safety Meeting - St Marys Mount Druitt Star

Safety a big worry for rail passengers 

St Marys-Mt Druitt StarNot all commuters feel safe travelling on City Rail’s western line trains since NSW Police took over security on public transport.
A community forum was held in Mount Druitt last Thursday, hosted by state opposition leader John Robertson and shadow transport minister Penny Sharpe.
Transit officers are being phased out as part of a dedicated Police Transport Command announced by the state government last year.
Ms Sharpe has demanded a review of public transport security and will set up a petition.
She said vandalism and graffiti on trains has gone up 13.6 per cent in two years.
Guest speaker was North St Marys resident Patricia Hooker, whose two sons were assaulted on a train between St Marys and Rooty Hill earlier this year.
‘‘I’m just a mum who wants safer trains for their children,’’ she said.
A transit officer vowed to keep commuters safe until they’re fully phased out in December.
‘‘I promise you my colleagues will protect you as much as we can,’’ he said.
Penrith commuter Adrian Catt was a transit officer until he was made redundant last year.
‘‘I’m concerned about safety on trains,’’ he said.
‘‘Police don’t have a grip on graffiti, which is no criticism of them. Transit officers know the train network better than police.’’
Rail, Tram Bus Union organiser Helen Bellete would rather drive her teenage son to friends’ places then let him catch the train.
‘‘They needs to bring back security officers on trains and give people what they expect, a safe and efficient transport system,’’ she said.
Wheelchair-bound Glendenning resident Alex Dennis has never seen police on a train.
‘‘I’ve witnessed incidents where I’ve wondered if I will end up in hospital,’’ he said.
‘‘It scares me whenever I get on a train as to whether I will get to work and get home okay. There should be more transit police on trains but not taken out of local area commands.’’

‘‘Safety and security is one of the key concerns of customers, and there is nothing more reassuring than a high visibility, high profile police presence on trains, buses and ferries. Only police have police powers,’’ she said.Transport minister Gladys Berejiklian said the change was in commuters’ best interests.
‘‘In 2011-12, RailCorp spent $26 million to repair and remove vandalism and graffiti, down from $40 million the previous year.’’
Go to stmarysstar.com.au for the full story and to comment.

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