Many Penrith residents face long daily commutes of over two hours each day even if they work in other parts of western Sydney.
The surprise findings from a Council survey shows it’s not only people working in Sydney’s CBD who are spending around 10 hours each week getting to and from work.
“A St Clair resident who works in Regents Park told us they spend two hours each day getting to and from work because of the ‘M4 parking lot’,” Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown said.
Residents surveyed said more time with friends and family, opportunities to exercise and being more active in their community were the main benefits they’d enjoy if they were able to work closer to home or spend less time commuting.
One question asked whether residents think their job or industry could be located in western Sydney – and half of the respondents said they already are.
“Considering the average commute is more than an hour each way, it shows the inefficiency of our current transport system,” Cr McKeown said.
Council is using the survey to campaign for a rail link connecting the North and South West Growth Centres via Badgerys Creek, even before the airport opens.
“$3.6 billion has been directed to roads that will serve the airport but we want infrastructure spending to go further. We’re advocating for passenger rail to run from the airport to the Western Line and the expediting of the Outer Sydney Orbital – these two transport links will connect innovative developments that are dense with jobs, even before the airport opens and help our residents who are wasting so many hours commuting,” Cr McKeown said.
“What’s the point in waiting for the airport to be built to provide a rail link? It won’t only be airport passengers using it, but the thousands of employees who will work in new jobs, closer to home and within an easy commute. Let’s get it right from the start.”
Another respondent said the North West Rail and South West Rail lines need to connect with the Western line at Penrith or St Marys to help people get to the NorWest Business Park.
“Poor transport links from western Sydney means that employment opportunities that may be geographical closer actually take longer to get to. A classic example is the North West Business Park,” the resident said.
The survey is still open: www.surveymonkey.com/r/extendrail
Other comments from the survey:
“Anything less [than a rail connection] is a half-baked project that will disadvantage Sydneysiders, our economy and our tourism industry. Existing transport links are inadequate to cope with the demand created by the airport as well as the existing traffic.”
“More time with the family, the ability to engage in greater physical activities after work, greater connection to the community that I live in.”
“Extra family time, more time for exercise and general more work/life balance.”
“Without fast rail, Badgerys Creek airport will become like Avalon – disused, avoided, unpopular, and a nuisance. Western Sydney deserves high speed rail. The M4 is already clogged.”