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 Rooty Hill commuters continues to fall on deaf ears.
Rooty Hill and neighbouring station Doonside were snubbed once again when the state government 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.
The Star has lost count of the number of times it has reported on the campaign for lifts at Rooty Hill since 2009, where the only way people can access the platforms is via stairs.
Wheelchair-bound Olga Galagher was incensed when she read the news last week.
She recently wrote to Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian after Mount Druitt's inclusion in the government's $33 million Station Refresh program.
"I dared her to meet me at the bottom on the ramp of Rooty Hill and push me to the top," Ms Galagher said.
"But she was too gutless and got the parliamentary secretary (MP Ray Williams) to respond instead.
"I would understand if they were upgrading a station such as Westmead. But what's so special about Pendle Hill? Rooty Hill has twice as many shops as it has."
Ms Galagher has to go Mount Druitt to get a train because the Rooty Hill ramp is too steep.
"The minister should man up and take whatever flak gets given to her," she said.
"Come out and show she really wants to do something for the people she represents."
Mount Druitt MP Richard Amery collected 2000 signatures last year for the Rooty Hill lifts.
"You're kidding me!" he said when told the latest news.
"Rooty Hill is one of the most justified projects on the list. It's not just about access to the platform.
"It's the only pedestrian link between the north and south."
A Transport NSW spokesman refused to 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, 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."
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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