A Griffith pensioner has urged the state government to do more than investigate when it comes to the city’s train services, saying train travel is one of the few affordable and comfortable options available to the city’s elderly.
The NSW government announced in October it would be upgrading its ageing XPT fleet operating in regional areas, with opportunities to replace Explorer and Endeavour models servicing cities like Griffith and Armidale to also be investigated.
But President of the Griffith combined pensioners and superannuants association Peter Knox wants more than an investigation, saying updating and reinvigorating the local train service needs to become a priority.
“There comes a time in your life when you can’t drive and you can’t get around like you used to and you come to rely on public transport,” he said.
“As older people we can’t always afford Rex flights, I had to go by bus not long ago and in this case it took us 12-15 hours and there is not much room to get up and move about which can be a problem for older people.
“The train is a much more comfortable option, you can get up and go for a walk.”
With NSW TrainLink reducing the hours of ticket selling services across the state – that easy and affordable option has become more difficult for pensioners to access, Mr Knox said.
“A lot of older people don’t really know how to go online to buy their train tickets,” he said.
But not only would an increase in train services benefit pensioners, it would have the added effect of increasing tourism to the city, according to Mr Knox. “This could create a two-way tourism bonanza,” he said.
“Griffith has so much to offer with its wineries and farms whenever I go to conferences the other pensioners say they would love to come here to visit. You see countries around the world going back to rail travel, I’m just asking the Griffith community to help try and reverse this trend of decreasing train services.”
Mr Knox is creating a petition on change.org in aid of the cause.