Trains rack up $ 1.4m taxi bill
SYDNEY’S ramshackle rail network is costing taxpayers more than $1.4 million in cab fares as stranded train drivers and commuters have to be sent home in taxis.
Passengers on their way to catch a flight or sit an exam can get a complimentary taxi to their destinations if trains will fail to arrive.
Taxis have also been made available to help train drivers to get home during system breakdowns.
Figures obtained by the state opposition reveal these fares have cost hundreds of dollars, with one from Central Station to the Southern Highlands in August hitting $672.
Seven stranded passengers were given a complimentary maxi cab to get from Campbelltown to Moss Vale with the fare costing $590.10.
The most expensive month was January with more than $278,000 spent on ferrying Sydney Trains staff and passengers around as cancellations, staffing issues and lightning sent the system into meltdown.
Apart from September, taxi fare costs were consistently over $100,000 a month following the introduction of 1500 new train services.
State opposition WasteWatch Committee chair Hugh McDermott took aim at Transport Minister Andrew Constance. “More than a million dollars of taxpayer dollars have been wasted due to a bungled train management system by a completely incompetent transport minister,” he said.
A Sydney Trains spokesman said taxis were only granted when no other form of public transport was available.
“Sydney Trains works hard to ensure our services are punctual and customers arrive at their destination on time,” he said. “However from time to time, a number of factors can affect our services.”