Train passengers have been offered "late-for-work" slips this week after being unable to squeeze into packed carriages as Perth's public transport system groans under the weight of increased patronage.
Commuters said morning peak-hour train services on the Joondalup line struggled to cope in recent weeks, with carriages virtually full by the time they reached Greenwood station - the half-way mark of the trip to Perth.
Many at the Warwick, Stirling, Glendalough and Leederville stations miss out entirely: the train stops, the doors open, but there is no room for them to board.
"The morning train has become a nightmare," one commuter said. "Three trains stopped today before I could squeeze in."
Transport Minister Troy Buswell said many trains that were "leaving people behind" were not actually full.
"Unfortunately, passengers already aboard do not move down the train but instead congregate around the doors and block access to other passengers," he said. _The West Australian _travelled on the line for two hours yesterday morning and saw little evidence of patrons not moving down the train.
Frustrated commuters said taking the train in the morning was no longer a pleasant experience.
"It is unfortunate that there are no other alternatives as the buses and freeways are even worse," one commuter said.
"I come down to the station at 7.15am and three or four trains usually go past before I can get on to one," another said.
A Public Transport Authority spokesman said March was traditionally the busiest time, largely because of a big influx of university students and people returning from holidays.
He confirmed "late-for-work" notes - available for about the past 12 years - were offered to passengers who experienced "unscheduled delays".
Joondalup MP Tony O'Gorman said government inaction meant commuters faced many years of overcrowded trains. "Mr Barnett and his ministers need to get out of their chauffer-driven limousines and try using public transport during peak hours," he said.
Shadow transport minister Ken Travers said 30 rail cars needed to be ordered immediately.
Mr Buswell said 15 new rail cars had joined the Joondalup and Mandurah lines late last year. Further investment in rail infrastructure would still be needed.
"We are having similar pressures with the bus network, with whole suburbs without a bus service and key arterial routes working above capacity," he said.