The NSW government is yet to entertain an offer to buy land adjacent to Metford train station that could make a commuter car park.
East Maitland's Roma and David Boyle approached Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison about potentially selling part of their property to the north of the station.
The semi-retired couple thought the government might be interested in the land to enable access to the station from Raymond Terrace Road.
Metford station, opened in 1995, has only ever had access from the south. But the population on the northern side of the railway line has ballooned in recent years.
"The back 10 acres would make a tremendous car park," Mrs Boyle said.
"Prior to the coronavirus you would be very, very lucky to get a park up at Thornton station, and with the new subdivisions directly across from us, people have to go to Thornton or right the way around [to Metford].
"With the growing population here in the Maitland area, I just thought that 10 acres we don't really need."
Ms Aitchison wrote to the Transport Minister last year about the "rare" land offer.
A response came from Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Transport, Stephen Bromhead, who said while he "appreciated" the offer, the land needed to be "identified" by Transport for NSW as required before any acquisition process could occur.
Ms Aitchison approached the transport department, but it has not followed up on the offer.
"To my mind it's a no-brainer," she said.
"You look at the number of houses that are being built in Thornton north and Chisholm, and the developments that are slated to go ahead ... we're going to have a whole new generation of kids growing up in those homes and we want them to become public transport users, yet there's a station they can see but can't use."
Every intercity train on the Hunter line stops at Metford station under the current timetable. In 2019, an average 240 people passed through the station on a typical weekday, according to Transport for NSW data. That was 100 more than in 2016.
Ms Aitchison said northern access to the station and a car park would help increase public transport use not only in her electorate, but in Newcastle as well if it attracted more commuters.
She said it would be a "lost opportunity" if the land was not acquired while the couple's offer was still on the table.
"When was the last time they built a station in Maitland? Not in the last 20 years and our population is booming," she said.
"I'm sure the government could negotiate an outcome that would be good value for the community and even if they don't plan to put a car park there in the short term, certainly in the longer term."
Transport for NSW said in a statement that station upgrades were prioritised using "evidence-based criteria" like "current and future patronage", "the needs and demographics of customers" and "the accessibility of other nearby transport interchanges and facilities".
"Whilst additional parking at Metford Station is not currently proposed, Transport for NSW continually reviews our services to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers and communities across NSW," it said, adding council would be consulted if extra parking was required.
The NSW government has previously outlined its desire for more people to use public transport in the Hunter.
Only 3 per cent of all weekday travel occurs via public transport, according to the 2018 Greater Newcastle Future Transport Plan, falling to only 1 per cent on weekends.
The government wants that mode-share figure to rise to 7.5 per cent by 2056, and the plan identifies "station upgrades and integration between stations and surrounding land uses" as a key initiative "to support increased public transport use".
It also highlights how the number of daily trips between the Maitland and Newcastle LGAs will grow from 44,100 (2016) to 53,700 (2036) and 58,200 (2056).