Residents, young and old, have struggled for years at Doonside train station because there are no lifts. They will continue to struggle, because the station has been forgotten in the latest upgrade announced for western Sydney. Kylie Stevens reports.
THE steep journey for stranded Doonside residents continues to fall on deaf ears.
Doonside and Rooty Hill stations were snubbed once again when the state government last week announced a $150 million package to upgrade six western Sydney stations.
New lifts will be installed at five of the six stations, including Pendle Hill and Wentworthville.
Blacktown will get more upgrades on top of lift and lighting improvements, general repairs and a clean-up completed earlier this year.
Doonside senior citizens president Martha Lynch described the latest snub as "disgusting."
"I've been fighting for the lifts for ages," she said.
"I took the first petition to Paul Gibson, who was the Blacktown MP at the time."
To get from one side of Doonside to the other via the steep ramp is a struggle in itself.
"I have a walker, so I'd be buggered getting up and down the ramp," Mrs Lynch, 86, said.
"Our secretary comes from the other side and she gets exhausted doing it. I don't get the train, even if I want to go anywhere."
Mrs Lynch believes the government has no idea of how busy Doonside is.
"It's about time they got off their rear ends and come out here," she said.
"I'd be more than happy to show them around."
State Opposition Leader John Robertson, the Blacktown MP, vowed to keep fighting.
"The Liberals are wasting taxpayers' money on cheesy Opal Man YouTube commercials and 'refreshing' stations that have already been upgraded while stations like Doonside continue to be kept on the waiting list for a basic station access upgrade," he said.
"Local commuters are getting a second rate train services under the Liberals - the Western line is the worse rail line for crowding and on-time running and local residents with limited mobility and parents with prams still cannot have easy access to Doonside station."
A Transport for NSW spokesman did not say why Rooty Hill and Doonside were overlooked.
"More planning and design work will now occur to see which Transport Access Program projects will be delivered next centred on evidence-based criteria including: current and future patronage, the needs and demographics of customers who use the location, whether important services such as hospitals or educational facilities are nearby, and the accessibility of other nearby transport interchanges and facilities," he said.
"Rooty Hill, Doonside and other stations in the western Sydney area will be considered as part of this ongoing work."
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Who gets what in the $150 million package:
■ Penrith station: New lifts, stairs, concourse and bus interchange
■ Pendle Hill: New lifts, stairs, concourse and entrances
■ Blacktown: Extension of the Richmond Line concourse and new bus turnaround on Patrick Street
■ Flemington: New lifts, stairs, concourse and pedestrian link bridge
■ Wentworth Falls: New lifts with forecourt areas
■ Wentworthville: New lifts, stairs and widened footbridge between platforms