THE Bathurst Bullet has gone off with a bang, with an average of 75 people catching the train to Sydney each day.
Patronage on the new daily return rail service between Bathurst and Sydney has exceeded the wildest expectations of its supporters.
Figures released by CityRail after the first month of operation highlights the services’ early success.
The Bullet set off on its maiden journey on Sunday, October 21.On that historic day 165 people boarded the Endeavour train’s carriages in the city for the trip to the big smoke.
With a seating capacity of 178, the introduction of the service was the culmination of years of lobbying from the Rail Action Bathurst organisation, led by John Hollis.
It also delivered on an election promise made by Bathurst MP Paul Toole before the Coalition was swept into power in March 2011.
According to the CityRail statistics, the trend for the service is for passengers to predominantly come from Bathurst, with Lithgow and Katoomba the other major pick up destinations.
The figures also shows weekends and the Family Funday Sunday services, which offers tickets for $2.50 per person and includes unlimited travel anywhere in Greater Sydney on all trains, buses, ferries and light rail, as big winners.
On Saturday, October 27 some 92 people boarded the Bullet in Bathurst with another 82 lining up the following day.
It was an even better turnout on Saturday, November 3 with 130 passengers boarding in Bathurst and 83 on the Sunday.
Weekday figures pinpoint Monday as a popular day for the commute to Sydney with turnouts of 70 people (October 22), 60 people (October 29), 125 people (November 5), 69 people (November 12) and 45 people (November 19).
Bathurst MP Paul Toole said yesterday both he and Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian had been surprised by the turnout on the Bullet.
“The numbers are way above our expectations,” he said. “We always said it was important for residents to use the service to justify its introduction. Well, they certainly have patronised it. The figures speak for themself.”
Mr Toole said it’s not only the residents of Bathurst who are catching the train.
“A couple of weeks ago I was on the Bullet sitting next to a lady who had travelled all the way to Bathurst from Parkes to use this service,” he said.
“I also know that people from places such as Blayney and Oberon and everywhere in between are using it. In short, the response is just overwhelming and so positive. It vindicates the persistent campaign Rail Action Bathurst ran and shows that lobbying does pay off.”
John Hollis from Rail Action Bathurst said the numbers say it all.
“It justifies all our hard work to achieve this result,” he said. “This service is a milestone for Bathurst and shows people really did want a daily return rail service to the city.”