Earlier this week, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian recommended residents who use public transport “consider different ways to get to work” given “constraints” on capacity during peak hours as social distancing is observed:
“In the past we would have encouraged everybody onto the public transport network but in the COVID environment, we’ll ask you to consider getting dropped off,” she said.
“Buses and trains are pretty much at capacity during the peak so you might want to think about a different way you do your route in the morning.”
The statement coincided with new limits on public transport numbers, with only 32 travellers allowed on each train carriage (normally 123) and only 12 passengers allowed on buses (normally 63).
Accordingly, only 600,000 would be able to use Sydney’s public transport system per day, down from nearly 2 million previously.
Yesterday was the first day of operation of the new rules and already cracks are appearing. Specifically, passenger numbers are already exceeding the government’s new limits, and there is no way to enforce the rules:
Next week marks the return to school, and experts are already warning of ‘carmageddon’:
“We are looking at basically ‘carmageddon’, where all the roads are full with the people that were on buses and trains [but are now] in cars,” University of Technology transport expert Mathew Hounsell said…
“There will be roughly 800,000 people now needing to travel without using public transport, they can’t all go onto the roads,” Mr Hounsell said.
Sydney’s transport systems was already operating at breaking point before COVID-19, thanks to 15 years of extreme immigration-driven population growth. So obviously, they won’t be able to cope with a sudden surge of travellers on roads.
The only solution is for a large chunk of the population to continue working from home. And even then, the transport network will likely grind to a halt.