WORK at Pendle Hill station on what's been called an easy access upgrade is on track.
A new concourse will replace the existing footbridge with four lifts to provide access to the platforms from both sides of the rail corridor.
A Transport for NSW spokesman said the new concourse is expected to open by the end of July.
But many commuters aren’t on board with the upgrade because existing ramps will be removed.
It means if the new lifts are out of order, those with restricted mobility will have no alternative means of access to or from the station. If they need to cross the railway line to and from the Pendle Hill town centre, they will have to use the Goodall Street overpass 400 metres away.
Previous concerns raised by the former Holroyd Council fell on deaf ears.
“We were told the ramps weren’t compliant,” former councillor Lisa Lake said.
“The ramps aren’t compliant at Wentworthville either but they’re staying. What is going to happen if the lifts are broken down? It’s going to be impossible for someone in a wheelchair. Non-compliant ramps are better than nothing at all.”
Prospect MP Hugh McDermott described the decision as “irresponsible”.
“It doesn’t take a wizard to work out that by not replacing the ramps our most vulnerable people wanting to use public transport will be disadvantaged,” he said.
Ms Lake met with Dr McDermott to hand over a 700 signature petition calling for the retention of ramps, which will be tabled at the next sitting of parliament.
“Pendle Hill commuters have had a gut-full of being taken for granted by the Berejiklian government,” Dr McDermott said.
“I can’t think of anything more important than giving our disabled, elderly and parents with prams the same access rights as any other commuter when using public transport.”
Ms Lake hopes common sense will prevail. She fears existing ramps at nearby Toongabbie will also be removed when work on its upgrade gets underway.
“Think of the growing development of this area, particularly when the redevelopment of the old Bonds site goes ahead,” she said.
“The ramps aren’t in the way of construction.”
Transport for NSW has no plans to remove ramps at Wentworthville because the station is listed on the Sydney Trains heritage register.
A spokesman assured the ramps at Toongabbie will also stay but confirmed they will be soon removed at Pendle Hill, which promised provide better access for customers to the platforms.
“The existing ramps are expected to be removed in August. These were built in 1945 and would require expensive, ongoing maintenance work,” he said.
- Should the ramps stay? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.