Commute time between Maitland and Newcastle via rail would double if the state government agrees with the Newcastle Renewal Taskforce recommendation that the line should be cut at Broadmeadow, rail user Kim Cross said.
Ms Cross, the Maitland Save Our Rail president, said travelling on the heavy rail line between Maitland and Broadmeadow and then moving onto light rail for the remainder of the journey into Newcastle CBD would disadvantage commuters and discourage them from using public transport.
“Studies that were done when Broadmeadow was being mooted as the place to terminate the rail line in 2005 showed there would be a 60 per cent loss of patronage if a person’s travel time was lengthened,” Ms Cross said.
“When this happens people who have the luxury of having a car will use it to travel to Newcastle CBD and that will only increase traffic congestion on our roads.”
Ms Cross said commuters with wheelchairs and prams would struggle to transfer onto light rail and she was not sure how light rail through the streets of Newcastle, including Hunter Street, would work.
She said the taskforce suggestions lacked detail about how commuters with wheelchairs and prams would access light rail.
“We have always said that cutting the rail line is extremely complex and many factors need to be taken into account,” Ms Cross said.
She was also sceptical that the rail corridor in Newcastle CBD would be preserved after the line was cut.
Ms Cross said it appeared that the decision to cut the rail line was political and was concerned that the community was not being given an equal say.