The first two of 55 new intercity fleet trains are due to arrive at Port Kembla in weeks but the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government still can’t say whether Wi-Fi will be operational on them.
Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully, asked the Minister for Transport and Roads, Andrew Constance MP, the latest in a series of questions over the last two years on whether Wi-Fi will be operational on the new intercity fleet when they will be used on the South Coast Line.
The Minister refused to provide an answer, instead referring Mr Scully back to previous responses which only indicated that the fleet was Wi-Fi enabled but no decision had been yet made “…to make this feature operational…”
Mr Scully said, “Two years after I started asking questions of the Government about when the new intercity fleet would be made available to South Coast commuters and we are still no closer to whether Wi-Fi services will be operational when they are.
“The South Coast Line carries over thousands of commuters every day on passenger services into the Sydney CBD.
“Many of them would love the opportunity, while on the daily commute, to use the time to work but they are continually frustrated by the lack of satisfactory mobile reception especially between Thirroul and Waterfall”, he said.
Mr Scully also said the proposal by Telstra to establish a mobile base station at Coalcliff appeared to have stalled too.
Telstra has cited problems with getting an agreement between land owners and the preferred site was prone to slippage as reasons for not yet proceeding with a base station.
“My Parliamentary colleagues, Sharon Bird MP, Ryan Park MP and I have been trying to get improvements to mobile reception along the South Coast Line for our local commuters but we just seem to be hitting a brick wall.
“We are just as frustrated as commuters that improved mobile reception in the 21st century is hampered by buck passing between government and big telecommunication providers”, he said.
Mr Scully has called on the Minister to make a decision on the availability of Wi-Fi on the intercity fleet before the trains become operational in 2021.