Wollondilly speaks out on National Nightmare Commute Day

Warragamba Panorama

Wollondilly speaks out on National Nightmare Commute Day

Posted on: 04.04.2019

Today is National Nightmare Commute Day, a nation-wide social media event for people who live outside Australia’s capital cities, such as those in Wollondilly, to share their ‘nightmare commute’ stories and ultimately put pressure on politicians to invest in transport in their area.

The campaign provides an opportunity for commuters to vent their frustration at the length of time it takes them to get to work, school or study by using #nightmarecommute on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Wollondilly Mayor Matthew Deeth said, “The purpose of the campaign is to elevate conversation about life in fast-growing outer suburbs to a point that it reaches politicians, increasing their understanding of the level of frustration of our residents.”

“National Nightmare Commute Day gives Wollondilly residents a chance to show the Federal Government why we need to ‘catch up’ with those closer to the city and have the roads and public transports we need to become a thriving community,” he said.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has shown that Wollondilly residents travel the furthest and expend the greatest amount of time travelling than any residents in the Greater Metropolitan Sydney Region, and that they have a significant reliance on private vehicles.

Statistics from the 2016 census revealed that 65% of our residents travelled outside the Shire for work, with      resident workers travelling to over 40 different local government areas.

Time spent travelling represents a significant time and cost penalty, impacting on family budgets and adding to ongoing family stress. It is also a factor that is reflected in the high road toll experienced in Wollondilly.

Travel distances are exacerbated by the poor public transport available in the Wollondilly Shire. Groups particularly disadvantaged by this include older people, young people, those on low incomes and those who are ill or have a disability without a carer to drive them. There is a very high demand for community transport for medical-related trips.

The time it takes to travel by car from Picton to Central is about 1hr 45min in peak morning times, not allowing for accidents or roadworks, and can be even longer for people travelling to other parts of the city.

A train trip involves changing trains at Campbelltown and takes about an hour and a half, however if you miss a connection you can be delayed at least 40 minutes.

At most times of the day trains are only leaving from local stations to the city once an hour. Due to this, many Wollondilly residents drive to Macarthur or Campbelltown to catch the train, often causing a shortage of parking availability at these stations.

Wollondilly Council has been campaigning for a number of years for better rail services and an electrified rail line, but so far the message has gone unheeded.

Mayor Deeth noted, “We live in a growth area, so there will be more and more cars on the roads as more houses are built. It will only get worse. I encourage anyone affected to share their story with the #nightmarecommute hashtag on their social media channels.”