The country’s peak rail body is reminding travellers to show respect towards each other and staff during the busy Christmas and New Year period.
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA)’s General Manager – Passenger Rail and Safety, Jesse Baker, said passenger numbers on services across all cities are expected to peak in coming days and weeks.
“It is fantastic to see so many people return to rail as a safe, fast and hassle-free alternative to sitting in traffic to get the Christmas shopping done or meet up with friends and family for celebrations,” Mr Baker said.
“However, it can sometimes be a stressful time of year, and the ARA is urging everyone to be mindful of other passengers and rail staff to ensure the safety of everyone on the network at all times.
“Take care of those around you, particularly the elderly and other people who may need some help, and please always show respect to the thousands of rail staff who continue to work throughout the festive season to ensure the trains keep running.”
Ridership across Australia’s capital cities has grown in recent years and is now at 80-90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
“With the current cost of living pressures and free travel being offered by some of the networks, we are expecting to see ridership continue to rise and is likely to double over the Christmas and New Year period,” said Mr Baker.
Several rail transport networks have launched safety and respect campaigns reminding passengers of a zero-tolerance policy towards any behaviour that makes frontline staff feel unsafe and of the penalties that apply for anti-social behaviour.
The ARA’s 2020 Value of Rail report showed that if just two per cent more people used rail each year, it would save the community $32 million in avoided accident costs. It also showed that every full commuter train takes 578 cars off the road, with rail passenger travel generating 30 per cent less carbon pollution than road travel.
The rail industry contributes $29.8 billion to the economy and supports 165,000 direct and indirect jobs.
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