Light rail can play a significant role in Sydney’s transport future, offering an effective option that builds on our current transport network.
Congestion is costing our economy around $5.1 billion each year, and this is expected to rise to $8.8 billion a year by 2021.
Simply adding more cars and buses to existing routes would only make Sydney’s roads more congested, particularly in the CBD, where the Harbour Bridge, York Street, George Street and Elizabeth Street are often clogged during peak times.
Growth in our population, travel demand, employment and economy is placing pressure on Sydney’s CBD.
On a typical weekday, the number of people in the centre of Sydney grows from around 50,000 mostly residents and visitors at night time, to 500,000 people during work hours. This is the highest concentration of people and jobs in Australia.
A total of 509,000 trips are made into the city centre each weekday, including 205,000 in the morning peak hour. This number is expected to grow to around 242,000 trips by 2031, an increase of 18%.
Most people arrive in the CBD via public transport. This means we can see 370 buses moving along George Street outside Town Hall in the morning’s busiest hour, creating significant congestion. This can result in travel times of up to 30 minutes to get from Central Station to Circular Quay, a distance of just 2.5 kilometres.
Additionally, employment in the Sydney CBD is expected to grow to 415,000 jobs by 2031, an increase of 31%. This, combined with limited capacity for expansion on bus and road networks, means we must act now to accommodate future growth.
Sydney’s Light Rail Future is the NSW Government’s plan to address these problems.
The O’Farrell-Stoner Government will deliver a new, fully integrated light rail route from Circular Quay to Kingsford and Randwick, via George Street in the CBD. This project will transform our city, introducing high frequency, reliable services and driving economic development.
We are designing Sydney’s light rail and bus networks together, achieving an integrated solution that will significantly cut CBD congestion. This integration, together with Sydney’s Rail Future and other actions we are undertaking, will reduce congestion in the centre of our city.
The Liberals and Nationals are already getting on with the job of delivering modern, efficient and reliable light rail solutions:
- Construction is underway on the 5.6 kilometre Inner West Light Rail extension from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill (on track for completion in 2014); and
- We have extended MyZone and Pensioner Excursion Tickets to light rail services from Central to Lilyfield, resulting in a jump of 44 per cent of people using light rail last year.
We are also investigating light rail as part of future long term corridor planning, where light rail could offer a viable, sustainable transport solution.
What are the benefits of Light Rail?
- Space for 300 commuters on each 45 metre long light rail service, equivalent to five standard length buses;
- Reduced crowding and congestion; and
- Buses freed up to service other destinations.
Faster, simpler, more reliable services:
- ‘Turn up and go’ services every two to three minutes in peak times;
- 97 per cent reliability;
- Services that are on time and fast;
- Real-time information at all stops and on vehicles, showing route and stop locations;
- Simple to navigate; and
Effective way finding at stops and interchanges, to help you transfer to bus, ferry or heavy rail.
Urban renewal opportunities:
- Pedestrian friendly streets, open spaces and revitalised public areas;
- Reduced congestion at the heart of the CBD;
- A more attractive, accessible environment for visitors, businesses and workers; and
- Improved connections where people live, work and visit.
- Integrated, electronic ticketing available at outlets or on-board;
- Light rail stops maximise accessibility, with multiple doors available to alight at your stop;
- Smooth, comfortable and quiet services, with air-conditioned vehicles; and
- Safe, clean, accessible and comfortable environment.
Long term Light Rail planning
Light rail has the potential to play a more prominent role in Greater Sydney’s future transport network.
The Liberals and Nationals will undertake ongoing investigations to determine the best way to provide fast, reliable and flexible transport on key corridors throughout Sydney. Light rail will integrate with the heavy rail, bus and ferry network.
Extending and enhancing Sydney’s public transport network
The demand for transport in Sydney is continuing to grow and commuters’ travel patterns are changing. Light rail offers an opportunity to provide a high quality transport service that can be extended over time to connect key centres and strengthen communities.
The NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan has nominated a number of strategic transit network corridors to be considered for bus rapid transit or light rail.
The priority corridors for further investigation are:
- Victoria Road;
- Parramatta Road;
- Anzac Parade between Kingsford and Maroubra or Malabar; and
- the Western Sydney light rail network.
For further information on the Government’s Light Rail strategy, Sydney’s Light Rail Future, view a copy at http://engage.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/document/show/601.