Buses and trains reach capacity in Sydney during afternoon peak

After a surprisingly quiet day on Sydney’s public transport on Monday, real-time network data from Tuesday has shown things starting to ramp up on buses and trains across the city.

Much like yesterday, there were a lot less commuters than expected during the Tuesday morning peak but the network quickly clogged up during the afternoon.

Almost 400 public transport services across the city reached capacity this afternoon as children finished school and workers started to knock-off for the day.

Shadow Transport Minister, Chris Minns, posted a screenshot of a map from real-time data website Anytrip to Twitter along with a picture of a crowded platform at Town Hall Station.

“Got a tip that it’s crowded in the afternoon peak. I was just sent from Town Hall. Keep in mind many are school buses but shows the PM afternoon may be a bigger problem than first realised,” Mr Minns wrote.

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Just before 4pm there were around 380 buses that were at capacity, along with services on the T8 train line, according to Anytrip.

Of those buses, 27 were dedicated school services.

Under coronavirus prevention measures, Sydney buses can carry just 12 people and train carriages can have 32 passengers.

State Transit have said they will put an extra 100 services at Bondi and Ryde tomorrow to prevent overcrowding and ensure social distancing measures can be followed.

There were concerns that the public transport system would be a “nightmare” on Monday as children headed back to school and people started to return to work.

However fears of overcrowding were unfounded, with just 280,000 people moving through the public transport system during the morning peak, 70 per cent less than before COVID-19 restrictions were introduced.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was “pleased” that people weren’t rushing onto public transport now that restrictions were easing.

“The public transport system to date doesn’t seem to have buckled under pressure,” she said on Monday.

“I’m very pleased there hasn’t been a mad rush, that people are considering their options and doing it in a very considered way.”

Hundreds of extra transport staff including security and marshalling officers have been out across the network this week to ensure social distancing rules are followed.

Commuters will also be monitored through thousands of CCTV cameras across Sydney train networks to further ensure physical distancing is in place.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance on Tuesday announced a special team of 80 workers would monitor 11,000 CCTV cameras inside the Rail Operations Centre at Alexandria.

Frontline transport workers will feed real time data to the centre, which was launched about a year ago, and through to smartphone applications which commuters can access.

Travellers can then assess from the previous days’ data when peak times occurred and whether they need to re-route or change the timing of their journey to work or school.

Mr Constance advised people to continue work from home arrangements where possible and to use common sense when catching trains or buses.

“At this stage we need people to not travel in the peak, we need people to continue to work from home where they can,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“We just need everybody to be very mindful that we’re doing everything we can to keep people safe, but common sense has got to apply.”

Mr Constance told travellers to wait for another bus or train if one appears overcrowded.

He also said 60 per cent fewer students were using the public transport system compared to this time last year.

“People are listening and that’s very important as we work our way through the survival mode that we’re all in, in terms of this pandemic,” he said.

With AAP

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