Social Media Clout Chasers Blamed for Spike in NSW Train Incidents

social media likes train
Image: Getty Images

People chasing ‘likes’ on social media post are being blamed for a spike in train incidents in New South Wales, the state’s transport minister has said.

The NSW transport minister, Andrew Constance, has said an increase in train-related incidents can be blamed on people undertaking risky behaviour in order to get a popular or viral social media post. The announcement comes during Rail Safety Week as new CCTV vision captured on Sydney’s rail network reveals some particularly dangerous stunts.

“It’s really concerning to see people getting hurt and risking their lives to chase social media likes,” Constance said in a media release.

“We’ve seen 2,689 incidents of trespassing in the last 12 months, many of them reckless acts for selfie stunts.

“We’ve also seen 1,925 incidents of slips, trips and falls around stations. These numbers are far too high, even one is too many.”

Gizmodo Australia requested the data breakdown on how many of these incidents were directly related to people taking selfies for social media but the department was unable to provide us with the data. It explained it was anecdotal based on vision from the CCTV footage.

The figures show there were 2,689 trespassing incidents during the 2019-2020 year, a nearly 10 per cent increase on the previous year’s tally.

Buffer riding — where someone jumps onto the train’s bumper guard as it leaves the station — increased by two on 2018-2019’s numbers to 141 incidents.

Slips, trips and falls also saw an increase with just under 2,000 occurrences over the year, 566 of which happened on the platform and 213 were falls into the gap between the train and platform.

While the incidents alone are a concern given the immediate physical harm to transport users, they also produce a flow-on effect that has been known to cripple the city’s network.

“These incidents also have an effect on the broader network and can cause delays to services,” Constance said.

“Some of these incidents such as people sliding down handrails and spraining their ankles, or falling over while looking at their phones are easily avoided with just a little more common sense.”

Whether it can really be blamed on social media clout chasing or not, it’s always a good idea to take extra precautions around the giant metal tube hurtling through the station.