Sydney commuters tell of utter chaos

Mrs. King thought she would leave the house a little early and find an alternative route.

‘I arrived at Hornsby station and there was absolute pandemonium as there was no replacement bus,’ she said. “The poor guards on the train were abused by everyone for things beyond their control.”

Ms King said she was lucky her partner could drive her to work, but the journey took an hour and 40 minutes.

When she got to work, she found that four of the 10 regular employees wouldn’t be coming to work, leaving “a huge hole” in the list.

The post office even had to close for lunch due to a lack of staff – “much to the chagrin of some customers”.

“It was absolute chaos. You have to do what you have to do to make sure everything is done on time. But there are some things we just can’t do,” she said.

Transport Minister David Elliott attacked the unions for the disruption, but they blamed the government and said workers were ready to work. Credit:James Alcock

Ms King is angry that the people she blames for the closure are not as affected by the transport crisis.

“It’s ridiculous that people making these decisions get a government-subsidized car to get to and from work,” she said.


Hayley Waters

As Ms Waters prepared to go to work, she received a text from her mother in Adelaide saying that trains from Sydney were cancelled.

Not good news for the head of clinical trials at the Royal North Shore Hospital, whose morning journey from Lane Cove North to Artarmon usually takes 20 minutes. On Monday, it took an hour and a half.

Ms Waters walked to the bus stop thinking she could take the bus instead of the train to work. No chance. During the half hour she was there, she lost count of the number of full buses that passed without picking up passengers.


“Even with the through lanes open, traffic was absolute chaos,” she said. “I’ve never seen him like this.”

Ms Waters struck up a conversation with another commuter.

They walked together on the Pacific Highway for 30 minutes before deciding to share an overpriced Uber.

She has ‘no idea’ how she will get home, but expects the trip to be worse than the morning commute.


Lisa Morgan

Monday was Mrs. Morgan’s son’s first day of college where he is studying teaching. Instead of taking the train from Macarthur station, he had to drive from Camden to the city.

“It took him almost three hours to get to college,” she said. “He missed his first lesson. I was not very happy.

Ms Morgan said she was shocked to learn the closure was not the result of a strike.

“I was flabbergasted when my daughter told me it wasn’t the unions, it was the government. I just shook my head, I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

“The government decides to do it on a day when most kids are starting college and international borders are opening today, that’s probably a nail in their coffin I think.”

Cameron Smith

Mr. Smith commutes between Campbelltown and Sydney’s CBD to work in digital marketing for a hotel chain. A friend texted him the bad news on Monday morning.

“I pretty much pulled the pin right away. The last time I made the decision to drive in traffic it was horrible, and I was late anyway,” he said.

“It was easier to stay in line and be on time than to sit in the car and pay tolls and gas.”

Although he is grateful to be able to work remotely, Mr Smith said it was frustrating not to have notice.

“It basically filled my week…I had organized things to do in the office that we can’t do at home.”

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