Taxpayers have footed the bill for more than $48,000 worth of taxis in the last year to ferry NSW public transport passengers around because of late, cancelled or overcrowded trains.
According to Freedom of Information documents obtained by the NSW Labor opposition, the Baird Government has spent $188,148.80 on taxi fares for stranded passengers since coming to office.
The news has riled shadow transport minister Ryan Park, who has damned the move as ‘a ridiculous waste of money’.
‘[This is] close to $1000 a week on taxi fares because train cancellations are skyrocketing under the Baird government.”
‘The Baird government needs to explain how it justifies spending $1290 on a taxi from Hornsby to East Maitland. It would have been cheaper to fly,’ he added.
“Year after year we see train cancellations skyrocket – and now we see the Government pouring almost $200,000 into taxi fares instead of rail maintenance. It’s just obscene,’ Mr Park saidl
The opposition said that in some cases, it would have been cheaper to fly, hire a limousine or rent a private car, including:
- A trip from Hornsby to East Maitland through Broadmeadow costing $1290;
- A trip from Hamilton to Hornsby costing $862; and
- A trip from Cardiff to Sydney Airport costing $724;
- A trip from Maitland to Scone costing $502.
‘In one instance, taxpayers were left with a $450 bill for one taxi which didn’t even leave Lidcombe station – because it waited for a passenger for several hours,’ Mr Park said.
Peak train cancellations across the Sydney rail network have increased 23 per cent in the last year, according to the opposition
There were 172 more peak train cancellations across Sydney in the last year – 921.5 in 2014-15 compared with 749.5 in 2013-14.
On top of that, the number of peak intercity services cancelled increased by 65 per cent – up from 144 in 2013-14 to 237 in 2014-15.