Half of all long distance train passengers will be forced to travel backwards on the new intercity fleet because the Berejiklian government has scrimped on seating.
Seating will be fixed not reversible on intercity trains, including ones to the Hunter, Central Coast, Illawarra and Blue Mountains.
The Berejiklian government made this decision will full knowledge that passengers have a strong preference for seats that face the direction of travel.
Documents obtained by NSW Labor under Freedom of Information laws reveal that the government was warned “…half the passengers on a fixed seating train usually face backwards, which is not always popular for passengers on long journeys.”
Passenger feedback on the design for the new trains indicated there is “strength of preference for reversible seating” and “fixed seats was perceived as a backward step”.
Instead of providing passengers with what they want on long distance train journeys, the government has proposed a spin campaign to manage customer expectations prior to the trains arriving without reversible seating.
The Berejiklian government has previously faced strong criticism for purchasing the trains from South Korea, with no local content in their manufacture.
It has also been revealed that these trains will not fit the tracks and tunnels through the Blue Mountains, meaning that substantial and expensive modifications will have to take place on the Springwood to Lithgow line.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Transport Minister Jodi McKay
“Premier Berejiklian has regularly said ‘The customer is at the centre of everything we do’, except it seems when it comes to providing passengers a comfortable journey.
“For some passengers who suffer motion sickness, travelling backwards is just not an option.
“The journey for some intercity passengers can be almost three hours – that’s a long time to sit facing backwards or to be forced to stand.
“These documents reveal that the government knows this will be an issue, but it’s going ahead with it anyway.”