An overhaul of Sydney's rail timetable last year produced a 1000 per cent increase in complaints.


The latest auditor-general's snapshot of the state's transport system also reveals an increase in security and ticketing complaints among rail passengers, and shows the experience of driving in Sydney continues to get worse.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian lauded the October 2013 rail timetable as representing the biggest overhaul in a generation.

But in a report issued on Tuesday, NSW auditor-general Grant Hehir showed the number of complaints about timetable issues increased from 458 in 2013 to 4808 in 2014 – a 949 per cent increase, which Sydney Trains attributed to the timetable changes.

According to Ms Berejiklian, the new timetable added 1000 extra rail services per week. This helped produce an overall drop in crowding on the rail system.

But this was not spread evenly among all lines, and some stations experienced a drop in the number of rail services.

Kogarah, for instance, which for decades has been promoted as a major employment destination, lost its direct rail connection with the Sutherland Shire and the Illawarra. A number of smaller stations in the Central Coast, Illawarra and Blue Mountains also received fewer services.

In a release, opposition leader John Robertson said rail commuters were "unhappy about the trains on a level never before seen in NSW".

"This is an end-of-term report card on Sydney trains and the NSW Liberal Government has been given an F for fail," Mr Robertson said.

But Ms Berejiklian said Labor had failed to provide opportunities for public transport users to provide feedback.

"The vast majority of our customers are pleased with the new timetable," Ms Berejiklian said.

"Patronage is up, crowding is easing and independent surveys show customer satisfaction is improving."

The audit report also shows that complaints on the rail system increased 50 per cent, while security and service complains increased about 25 per cent. Compliments, however, increased about 15 per cent.

Transport agencies continue to be castigated by the auditor-general for their reliance on outside contractors, who cost the state $173 million last year. The number of contractors has increased in each of the past two years.

And the cost of the Opal card program increased. According to the auditor-general, there have been six additions to the Opal project, which had been slated to cost $1.2 billion over 15 years. The biggest change is to allow light rail users to use their Opal cards on the system, which has helped increase the original cost of the program to $1.3 billion or an eventual $1.8 billion with inflation.  

For motorists, the average speed of driving in peak hour also slowed. In the afternoon peak, the average speed dropped from 37 km/h to 36 km/h in a year. 


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