Huge delays on Sutherland Shire roads during school pick-up

Car chaos: Traffic stretched about one kilometre down Port Hacking Road at Caringbah this afternoon.
Car chaos: Traffic stretched about one kilometre down Port Hacking Road at Caringbah this afternoon.

There have been huge delays and long traffic jams around schools in Sutherland Shire today as parents heed the state government's call to drive their children to and from school.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian have asked children to stay off public transport where possible, unless a designated service is available, as part of the state government's plan to continue social distancing on public transport.

The government last Monday unveiled its plan for a safe public transport system during COVID-19, which will see passenger numbers slashed.

Distinctive green dots will be used on trains, buses and ferries to show passengers the safest places to sit and stand. This will reduce capacity to 12 passengers on buses and 32 per train carriage.

If there are no safe seats available, passengers will need to wait for the next service.

While school students will be given 'priority access' to public transport, Mr Constance said parents should drive their children to and from school if they don't catch a specialised school bus, which like schools, do not require social distancing measures.

"Ideally, we would like parents to obviously drop their kids off to school through cars," he said.

During this morning's press briefing, Ms Berejiklian thanked parents for keeping their children off public transport.

There was a noticeable increase in cars on the road around schools this morning, but staggered drop-off times seemed to help avoid too many problems.

But by this afternoon, the streets around schools were packed with vehicles and many roads were at a standstill.

By 3.30pm, traffic stretched about one kilometre down Port Hacking Road from De La Salle Catholic College and Our Lady of Fatima primary school at Caringbah, while many nearby streets were also choked with extra traffic.